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

This page is written by the game's inventor, Jean-Louis Cazaux. This game is a favorite of its inventor.


Invented in 1998.

On August 1998, I was thinking about designing an original game for the 39 squares contest of the Chess Variant Pages. Then, Rollerball came to my mind and I was immediatly convinced that I was taking a good one. I was pretty excited the following days, making the last choices, when I suddenly realized that this game was maybe good but it has a very strong drawback: it didn't have 39 squares !

How come I had been so stupid I don't know. I was so angry and sad that I decided to not participate to the contest and to wait a full year, quietly polishing the last details to be ready for the 40 squares contest. Now it's time.

Rollerball was a science-fiction movie in the 70's about an imaginary sport game where two teams from a World urban league where fighting on a skating ring . The players were running after each other and their clashes were violent and rough like in American football. This chessgame tries to retrieve the idea.

Players: 2


The board in a double ring of 40 squares made from a 7 x 7 with a 3 x 3 hole in the center. There is an inner ring and a outer ring. Also, it is convenient to see 4 zones, South, West, North and East.

Each side has 6 pieces only: 1 King, 1 Bishop, 2 Rooks and 2 Pawns.

White plays first. The play is mostly clockwise.


All captures are by displacement.

End of the Game

There are 2 ways to win the game:

Stalemate or three-time repetition is a draw.


Rollerball is a very tactical game, an aperitive game. You can try it easily if you own Zillions of Games software, a zrf file beeing available.

This is an entry in the contest to design a chess variant on a board with 40 squares. You may want to compare this game with Pachessi.

Written by Jean-Louis Cazaux.

WWW page created: August 29, 1999. Last modified: September 13, 1999.