Check out Chess with Different Armies, our featured variant for July, 2024.

This page is written by the game's inventor, Eric Clayton.


Invented by Eric S. Clayton 2004
Text by Eric S. Clayton

dUchess stands for Down Up Chess. It is played on one board with 128 squares, 64 squares on each of the two playing levels. Two chess sets for are required to play. One person handles both sets of dark or light pieces.

The rules are very simple. In turn each player makes a single move on either level or chooses to change level. A player cannot move and switch levels. The King may not move out of check or checkmate by switching levels, but if he is in a tight spot he can switch levels to get out of it. A dark King of one level can be right next to a dark King of the other level. And since the sets are one they cannot threaten each other. The same is true for the light Kings and pieces.

In order to move from one level to another there must not be a dark piece nor a light piece on the level square above or below. At no time can top level and bottom level pieces interact while on separate levels.

The game ends when a King is checkmated by either opponent on either level.

I have only played dUchess once. It is frustrating yet satisfying. It is not for every body.

Copyright Eric S. Clayton, 2004. All rights reserved.