The Chess Variant Pages

Diagonal Chess

David Howe invented in 1997 a diagonal chess variant. The idea to turn the board 45 degrees is not new: see e.g., Minotaur Chess. Diagonal chess can be played with a normal set of chess pieces and board. Below, you read the description of David Howe of his game.

Description

The board is set up as pictured below. Players should sit at opposing corners of the board, so that the board is situated diagonally between them. Forward movement is diagonal.

+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+ -
|   |...|   |.p.| r |.n.| n |.k.| 8
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+ -
|...|   |...|   |.p.| p |.q.| b | 7
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+ -
|   |...|   |...|   |.p.| p |.b.| 6
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+ -
|.P.|   |...|   |...|   |.p.| r | 5
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+ -
| R |.P.|   |...|   |...|   |.p.| 4
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+ -
|.B.| P |.P.|   |...|   |...|   | 3
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+ -
| B |.Q.| P |.P.|   |...|   |...| 2
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+ -
|.K.| N |.N.| R |.P.|   |...|   | 1
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+ -
  a   b   c   d   e   f   g   h   -
Initial board layout (text)
(visualize it tilted 45 degrees)
(graphic of initial board layout)
Initial board layout (graphical)

Rules

  1. The rules of normal chess apply unless otherwise noted.
  2. Pawns move forward diagonally, and capture horizontally and vertically (see diagram below).
  3. Pawns do not have an initial two square move.
  4. Castling is not allowed.
  5. Knights move as in normal chess, except diagonally (see diagram below).
  6. Pawn promotion. A white pawn that reaches a8, g8, h7 or h1 may promote to a Queen (or less). A white pawn that reaches b8, f8, h6 or h2 may promote to a Rook (or less). A white pawn that reaches c8, e8, h5 or h3 may promote to a Bishop or Knight. A white pawn that reaches d8 or h4 may only promote to a Knight. If a white pawn reaches h8 (on a legal move) then white wins the game. Similar rules apply for black. See the following diagram. Note, a player may still win by checkmating.
  Q   R   B   N   B   R   Q      *  -
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+   -
|   |...| $ |...|   |...|   |.k.|   8
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+   -
|...|   |...|   |...| N |...|   | Q 7
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+   -
|   |...| $ |...|   |...|   |...| R 6
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+   -
|...|   |...|   |...|   |...|   | B 5
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+   -
|   |...|   |...| $ |...| $ |...| N 4
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+   -
|...|   |...| x |.*.|   |...|   | B 3
+---+---+---+-|-/---+---+---+---+   -
|   |...|   |.P-- x |...|   |...| R 2
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+   -
|.K.|   |...|   |...|   |...|   | Q 1
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+   -
  a   b   c   d   e   f   g   h     -
The white pawn on d2 may capture on d3 or e2, or may move to e3. The white knight on f7 may move to any of the $ squares. Promotion squares for white are indicated on edge of board.
(graphical depiction of pawn and knight moves)
Pawn and Knight moves / Promotion squares

Notes


Written by David Howe.
WWW page created: April 24, 1997.