Invented in 1998.
On August 1998, I was thinking about designing an original game for the 39 squares contest of the Chess Variant Pages. Then, Rollerball came to my mind and I was immediatly convinced that I was taking a good one. I was pretty excited the following days, making the last choices, when I suddenly realized that this game was maybe good but it has a very strong drawback: it didn't have 39 squares !
How come I had been so stupid I don't know. I was so angry and sad that I decided to not participate to the contest and to wait a full year, quietly polishing the last details to be ready for the 40 squares contest. Now it's time.
Rollerball was a science-fiction movie in the 70's about an imaginary sport game where two teams from a World urban league where fighting on a skating ring . The players were running after each other and their clashes were violent and rough like in American football. This chessgame tries to retrieve the idea.
The board in a double ring of 40 squares made from a 7 x 7 with a 3 x 3 hole in the center. There is an inner ring and a outer ring. Also, it is convenient to see 4 zones, South, West, North and East.
Each side has 6 pieces only: 1 King, 1 Bishop, 2 Rooks and 2 Pawns.
White plays first. The play is mostly clockwise.
- King: moves and captures exactly as in Orthochess to any
adjacent square but never to a square where it can be
captured. It is the only piece to have a symmetric move.
- Rook: slides any number of squares forward or sideways
along the row or column. Also, it can move 1 square only
orthogonally backward. It never slides backward. On the
external ring, they have one rebound allowed on the
corners of the board.
One can see the powerful situation of the Rook on b2 (and a6, f7,g2) where it can mate without assistance.
- Bishop: slides diagonally forward any number of squares
with one rebound allowed on the sides, external and
internal, of the board. Also, it can move 1 square
diagonally backward. It never slides diagonally backward.
One may note that the white diagonals are forming another ring joining the mid-points of the external sides. The Bishop is very powerful there.
- Pawn: moves and captures forward straight or diagonally. When reaching the starting square of opposite Pawns it promotes to either a Rook or a Bishop. (Promotion to a Bishop upon dark squares is not recommended)
All captures are by displacement.
End of the Game
There are 2 ways to win the game:
- Ckeckmate the opposite King, or,
- When the King reaches the starting square of the opposite King, but only if had turned clockwise.
Stalemate or three-time repetition is a draw.
Rollerball is a very tactical game, an aperitive game. You can try it easily if you own Zillions of Games software, a zrf file beeing available.
This is an entry in the contest to design a chess variant on a board with 40 squares. You may want to compare this game with Pachessi.
Written by Jean-Louis Cazaux.
WWW page created: August 29, 1999. Last modified: September 13, 1999.