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Chasm Chess

By Danielle Allen



This chess variant was developed for the use of the members of the Notre Dame School Chess Club in Kitchener, Ontario. Chasm Chess is inspired, in part, by Canyon Chess. However, Chasm Chess more closely follows the rules of regular chess than Canyon Chess does. Chasm Chess might therefore be considered a simpler variant.


The game uses the standard 8X8, 64-cell board. However, the following cells constitute the unplayable “chasm”: c6, d4, d5, e4, e5, and f3.


The opening array is as follows:
White has Berolina pawns on the 2nd rank, rooks, knights, and a king in the normal opening positions, reflecting bishops at c1 and f1, and a reflecting queen at d1.
Black has Berolina pawns on the 7th rank, rooks, knights and a king in the normal opening positions, reflecting bishops at c8 and f8, and a reflecting queen at d8.


Standard FIDE chess pieces are used in this game. Pieces (except for the pawns, bishops and queens) possess their regular moves.

Knights, reflecting bishops, reflecting queens, and rooks can pass over the “chasm” squares. Pieces are not allowed to occupy the chasm squares. Pieces that do end up on the chasm squares or pieces that are forced onto the chasm squares “drop out” of the game and, as a result, are lost.

The reflecting bishops and the reflecting queens can bounce off one, two, or three sides to move or capture. The reflecting bishops and reflecting queens cannot jump over pieces, but they can, of course, jump over the chasm squares.


A player wins by mating his opponent’s king.

A king that is “forced” into a chasm square is, de facto, mated.

Castling is permitted. Pawns promote. En passant captures are not legal in this variant.


Standard chess equipment is used.