The Chess Variant Pages

Check out Hectochess, our featured variant for November, 2023.

This page is written by the game's inventor, David Short.

Slanted Escalator Chess

By David Short


Here's a pretty simple chess variant that I've created. Slanted Escalator Chess is a Chess variant with with same pieces as usual Chess -- except the Pawns are replaced by the more capable Crabs -- but with an unusual asymmetric board.

Board and Setup

Slanted Escalator Chess initial setup.
              a    b    c    d    e    f    g    h
            +----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+    Black
         8  |*R**|*N**|*B**|*Q**|*K**|*B**|*N**|*R**|  8
         7  |*C**|*C**|*C**|*C**|*C**|*C**|*C**|*C**|  7
         6  |    |::::|    |::::|    |::::|    |::::|  6
         5  \ab5 \bc5 \XXXX|    |::::|XXXX/fg5 /gh5 /  5
         4    \ab4 \bc4 \XX|::::|    |XX/fg4 /gh4 /    4
         3  |::::|    |::::|    |::::|    |::::|    |  3
         2  | C  |:C::| C  |:C::| C  |:C::| C  |:C::|  2
         1  |:R::| N  |:B::| Q  |:K::| B  |:N::| R  |  1
            +----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+    White
              a    b    c    d    e    f    g    h
Note that in the above ASCII diagram, BLACK pieces are surrounded by **asterisks**.


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

Castling is exactly the same as it would be in usual Chess. All other rules of usual Chess apply, including draw by stalemate, three-fold repetition and the 50-move rule (no captures or Crab moves for 50 consecutive moves).


Finally, please note that an interesting variant of Slanted Escalator Chess (but a rule not to be used in the original version of this variant) would be to allow pieces to "bounce" off of ab4,ab5,gh4 and/or gh5 when moving diagonally and continue along in the opposite direction.

For instance, in usual Chess, this variation would be used to, let's say, allow a Bishop or Queen which moves from d1 (or c2 or b3) to a4, and then continue as far along the opposite diagonal as it wishes, to b5, c6, d7 or e8. This has been described as a "ricochet" effect, like a bullet bouncing off a wall, carreening in the opposite direction. I could see this idea being used in my game, but I was reluctant to encorporate it into my game. The idea is that it should be harder to transverse the board, not made easier with tricky shortcuts like this. But still one could play around with such an idea as a further variation to the game if they wished.

Computer Play

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

The ZRF contains some variants: Slanted Escalator Chess without cross-barrier Knight moves and Almost Slanted Escalator Chess. The former is the result of a discussion between the author and the editor on whether the Knights ought to be able to leap the barriers/holes. The latter is a combination of Slanted Escalator Chess and Ralph Betza's Almost Chess, where the Queens are replaced by Chancellors. (Since Rooks and Knights benefit the most from 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: April 8th, 2002.