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Pillar Chess

By Sergey Sirotkin


Pillar Chess is a variant of orthodox chess that encorporates elements of the Russian game of Pillar Checkers (Stolbovie shashki) where pieces captured are stacked below the capturing piece. In Pillar Chess, it is the same.

Board and Setup

The board and array are those of orthodox chess, except that the pieces are flat tiles or checkers, thus can be stacked and moved as a stack. It it best if the pieces allow their owning player to be determined by looking at their side. However, while the sides are not colored, you could use a magnetic Chess set such as those made by Midnight Snacks Games to play this variant.


The game is conducted by rules of International Chess with the following changes:

  • When a piece is captured, it is stacked below the capturing piece. If the captured piece is itself a stack, then the entire stack is captured, and placed below the capturing piece in exactly the same order it was in before being captured. If the capturing piece is already a stack, the captured piece or stack is placed at the bottom of the capturing piece's stack. The resulting stack belongs to, and moves as the top piece.
  • When a player owns a stack containing more than one of their pieces (as the result of capturing an opposing stack), they may move a portion of their stack off of the stack in any legal move, leaving the remainder of the stack behind. The top piece of the stack left behind (which may be a single piece) must be of the color of the moving player. Both of the resulting stacks belong to the moving player.

    If the top piece of the left-behind stack is a Pawn, and the left-behind stack is on the last rank, it does not promote, and it can not move. If the top piece of of the left-behind stack is a Pawn, and the the left-behind stack is on the first or second rank (or a left-behind Pawn moves from the first rank to the second rank), the left-behind stack is entitled to make a double-move, any may be captured en-passant when so doing.

  • At any time during a player's move, they may ask to examine the contents of any stack on the board. This overrides the requirement to move any touched piece.


It could be allowed to split a stack so that a piece of the color opposing player is on the top of the portion left behind. This stack would then belong to the opposing player. The same rules about left-behind stacks with Pawns on top apply as with left-behind stacks belonging to the currently moving player; thus you could strand a blocking stack topped by one of your opponent's Pawns on your first rank, and it would stay there, unable to move until you captured it.

Written by Sergey Sirotkin. HTML Conversion by Peter Aronson.
WWW page created: June 9th, 2001.