The Chess Variant Pages
Custom Search

Ultra Slanted Escalator Chess

By David Short


This is my second and final entry for the 84 Spaces Contest. This game is an extrapolation of another chess variant I have previously had published on this site, called Slanted Escalator Chess.

It occurred to me that if I added an extra file on each side of the Rook files, and added an extra rank in the middle of the board, the resulting board would have exactly 84 squares.

Board and Setup

Ultra Slanted Escalator Chess setup

       a       b      c       d       e      f      g       h       i     j
9  |*U****|*R****|*N****|*B******|*Q****|*K****|*B*******|*N****|*R****|*U****| 9
8  |*C****|*C****|*C****|*C******|*C****|*C****|*C*******|*C****|*C****|*C****| 8
7  |::::::|      |::::::|        |::::::|      |:::::::::|      |::::::|      | 7
6   \  ab6 \ bc6  \ cd6  \XXXXXXX|      |::::::|XXXXXXXX/ gh6  / hi6  / ij6  /  6
5     \  ab5 \ bc5  \ cd5  \XXXXX|      |::::::|XXXXXX/ gh5  / hi5  / ij5  /    5
4       \  ab4 \ bc4  \ cd4  \XXX|::::::|      |XXXX/ gh4  / hi4  / ij4  /      4
3    |      |::::::|      |::::::|      |::::::|       |::::::|     |:::::|     3
2    |:C::::| C    |:C::::| C    |:C::::| C    |:C:::::| C    |:C:::| C   |     2
1    | U    |:R::::| N    |:B::::| Q    |:K::::| B     |:N::::| R   |:U:::|     1
        a       b      c      d      e      f      g      h      i     j
Note that in the above ASCII diagram, BLACK pieces are surrounded by **asterisks**.


All of the rules are the same as FIDE Chess, with the following exceptions:

  • All of the Pawns are replaced by Crabs. A Crab may, in addition to moving and capturing like a regular pawn, also make a non-capturing move by moving one square diagonally forwards. A Crab may move two squares forwards on its initial move, but may not move two squares diagonally forwards on its initial move. Crabs may capture and be captured en passant, and promote to a Queen, Ultra, Rook, Bishop or Knight upon reaching the last rank, and there is no restriction on promotion. Crabs do not move backwards.
  • The pieces in the corners are called Ultras. (Designated by the letter "U" in the ASCII diagram.) These pieces may move one or two squares in any direction, and may also jump pieces of either color, and the jumped piece is unaffected. (This piece moves identically to the Cannon from another game of mine, Cannons and Crabs).
  • Kings may castle with each Rook in a manner consistent with Orthodox Chess, and all of the standard prohibitions against castling apply. Kings may castle with a Rook regardless of whether the Ulta square next to the Rook used for castling is occupied or not.
  • The only other difference in this game between standard Chess is the board. Note the irregular shape. The columns on the sides of the boards remind one of those moving flat escalators one sees in airports. You hop on and ride it to the end. In the ASCII diagram above, each square has been widened to better illustrate the special features of the squares. The co-ordinates of the squares has been written inside the escalator squares.

    I'm not going to spell out the diagonals here for Ultra Slanted Escalator Chess as I did with Slanted Escalator Chess. I suggest to the reader that he read the rules for Slanted Escalator Chess and then look at the diagram for Ultra Slanted Escalator Chess and it should then be pretty easy to grasp how the pieces move along this board. Furthermore, this variant has been implemented for Zillions of Games. Download it and use it to play this game. However, I should add that on this expanded board, not only may the Knights jump over the barriers (as they can in Slanted Escalator Chess), but the Ultras may also jump the barriers, but ONLY laterally, and jumping the barrier counts as a square in its move. Therefore, an Ultra of either color could move from cd6 to e6, from e6 to cd6, from f6 to gh6, from gh6 to f6, from cd5 to e5, from e5 to cd5, from f5 to gh5, from gh5 to f5, from cd4 to e4, from e4 to cd4, from f4 to gh4, or from gh4 to f4, either in a capturing or non-capturing manner.

Computer Play

An implementation of Ultra Slanted Escalator Chess has been written for Zillions of Games. You can download it here:

The ZRF contains some variants: Ultra Slanted Escalator Chess with White going first, Almost Ultra Slanted Escalator Chess and Sort of Almost Ultra Slanted Escalator Chess. The latter two are combinations of Ultra Slanted Escalator Chess and Ralph Betza's Almost Chess, where the Queens are replaced by Chancellors, and Sort of Almost Chess, where one side gets a Chancellor and the other a Queen. (Since Rooks and Knights benefit the most from Ultra Slanted Escalator Chess' board, Chancellors, which combine both, are great deal of fun on it.)

Written by David Short. HTML conversion by Peter Aronson.
WWW page created: October 25th, 2002.