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How deep is your madness?

Let's get this out of the way first. Inferno Chess is simultaneously named after Dante's Inferno (levels of hell, it'll make sense once you read the rules. Or hell, it might make sense just looking at the board), and the 1970 Doctor Who story "Inferno" which is set in a parallel universe.

What is this?

At it's core, this idea simply nests Chess boards, and provides a mechanism for moving between nested levels, and covers other contingencies (like winning). It could be applied to many (certainly not all) Chess variants. As described here, we'll be referring to standard chess as the reference.


Any of the following could be used:

  • Multiple normal chess boards (one per layer) and some notes to synchronise levels.
  • A single customised chessboard, and appropriate custom pieces to suit the levels.
  • An as-yet-nonexistent software version of this which would handle a lot of this


Inferno Chess expands on algebraic notation with a simple prepending of a digit to indicate level of move. The sample board on this page has five levels. I'll concede here that I don't know algebraic notation well enough to be certain that this avoids all ambiguation, but it shouldn't be difficult to fix that (eg, by indicating level within braces).



  • Setup is simple. Normal chess setup on every level.
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