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Snake Chess

By Sergey Sirotkin


Snake Chess is a variant of orthodox chess played on a cylindrical board of twelve ranks by two files, with 10 pieces on a side.

Board and Setup

The Snake Chess board is a cylinder, with the A file effectively sandwiched on both sides by the B file, and visa versa.

Snake Chess initial setup.
Because the board is actually a cylinder, Knights attack the space immeadiately in front of and behind them as their wide jumps wrap around.

Additionally, Queens and Bishops make zig-zag up and down the board as their diagonal movements also wrap around.
This gives them effectively the movement pattern of a Crooked Bishop.


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

  • The setup is different (see the diagram above), with each side having a King, a Queen, and two Knights, Bishops, Rooks and Pawns each.
  • There is no castling, Pawn double-move or en-passant capture.
  • Pawns promote on the twelfth rank.

The game is won by checkmating or stalemating your opponent.


A game with some similarity to Snake Chess is Narrow Chess, which is played on a 20 by 2 board.

Zillions of Games

There is an implementation of Snake Chess for Zillions of games. You can download it here:

Written by Sergey Sirotkin. HTML Conversion by Peter Aronson.
WWW page created: June 16th, 2001.