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Pyramidal 3D Chess

by Florian Klachl


In the following, the four planes of the pyramidal 3dChess version will be denoted by Roman numerals, beginning with I for the lowest and biggest, up to IV for the highest and smallest plane. The fields within a plane are denoted in the same way as usual for conventional chess games: numbers for the rows, and characters for the columns. The field with the name “A1” is always at the corner on the left hand side of the white player.

The pyramidal 3dChess version can be played in two different ways.

Variation 1:

Principally, the rules are the same as for conventional chess. However, the figures have now more possibilities to move. Only the king must stay in the lowest plane! (Otherwise, it would be too difficult to give checkmate.) The other figures can move through the 3dimensional space right in the same way as they can move along in the 2dimensional way. F.ex., the bishop may jump one level up or down each time he continues to the next diagonally adjacent field. However, the figures must keep their direction within a draw. Perhaps it would be better to give an understanding of the possible moves with the help of examples for each figure:

Pawn (white color):
Ie4-Ie5, IIIc2-IIIc3
Ie4-IIe5, IIe5-Ie4, IVa1-IIIb3
Ie4-Id5+, Ie4-IId5+, IIe4-If5+, IIIa1-IIa2+
Not allowed: Ie4-Ie5+, Ie4-IIe5+, IIe5-Ie4, IIe5-Id4+, …

Ib1-Ic3, Id4-IIIb1, IVa1-IIIb4, IVa1-IIb3, IIb1-IIIa2 etc.
This is also allowed: Ic1-Ia0 (sacrifice ;-) )

Bishop (white fields):
If1-Ia6, IIf1-IId3, Ih1-IVb1, IIIa4-Ia4 etc

Ia1-Ia8, IIIa2-IIId2, IVa1-Id4, IIb2-IIIa1 etc.

Can do Bishop or Rook moves

Ib2-Ib1, Ib2-Ib3, Ib2-Ia2, Ib2-Ia1, …
Not allowed: Ib2-IIa1, Ib2-IIb2+, …

Of course, the king may be kept in check by a figure from another plane. The pawn’s double move and capturing in passing are only allowed in the classical 2dimensional way. The pawns must reach the other side of the lowest plane in order to transform into a queen or another figure.

To increase his liberty of action, the rook has the possibility to move along the corners of the planes. However, he must not take another figure when doing this special draw.
Examples: IVa1-Ia1, IIf6-Ih8, Ia8-IIIa4, …

Variation 2:

There are figures on each plane, but only one king on the lowest plane. The king is the only figure that may change the plane. It is also the only figure that may restrict the other king’s liberty of action from another plane. In other words, the king is the only figure that can give check in 3d direction. The other figures may only give check if the king is situated on the same plane! The king can take one step in each dimension in a draw. F.ex., if he is positioned at the field IIb2, he may move to IIa1, IIa2, IIa3, IIb1, IIb3, IIc1, IIc2, IIc3, IIIa1, IIIa2, IIIb1, IIIb2, Ib2, Ib3, Ib4, Ic2, Ic3, Ic4, Id2, Id3, Id4 (of course only when he is not given check at those fields).

Only the pawns of the lowest plane may transform into a queen at the opposite border of the plane. The other pawns may jump back to the other side of the plane when they have reached the border. F.ex., a white pawn on the field IIb6 may go to IIb1. This jump counts as one single draw. It can only be carried out if the destination field is empty.

Here is one of many possible starting configurations for this 3d pyramidal chess variation (only the positions of the white figures are given; the black figures are to be set in the same way)

Level I:
Conventional 2d check initial state (8 pawns, 2 knights, 2 bishops, 2 rooks, 1 queen, the King)

Level II:
6 pawns: IIa2, IIb2, IIc2, IId2, IIe2, IIf2
2 knights: IIb1, IIe1
2 bishops: IIc1, IId1
2 rooks: IIa1, IIf1

Level III:
2 pawns: IIIa2, IIIb1
1 queen: IIIa1

Level IV:
1 rook: IVb1