Roller Coaster Chess

A while ago I drew a comic about playing chess on a roller coaster. Various xkcd readers took up the challenge.

Pictured above: Andrew Burke, Chris Ranker, Ryan DowlingSoka, and Chance Brown.

To see more pictures of chess on rides, go to If you think you can do better, go for it, and send the pictures to But remember, I am not advocating doing anything dangerous unless it’s really cool.

143 thoughts on “Roller Coaster Chess

  1. Somewhere in my closet from a trip a couple years back is a picture of me painting my nails on the tower of terror and another of me meditating on the same ride. It’s my belief that everyone should have one awesome picture on some kind of coaster or they just aren’t living to the max.

  2. Fantastic! I’m afraid it’s not a legal chess position, though. They cannot be playing a game of team chess (ie. black is closest to the camera), as the piece placement would indicate, as black would then have a dark field in the lower-right (you can see the “f8″ field being dark, so “h8″ must also be dark). So, black must be on the right and white on the left, or vice versa. But then there is a black pawn on either the 1st or the 8th rank, both of which are impossible.

    /* Steinar */

  3. Clearly black has just moved a pawn to its 8th rank and is contemplating what to promote it to. Stalemates due to white being unable to move are historically frequent at Daredevil Falls, especially when the Three Sailors opening is used, so promotion to Queen might be injudicious.

  4. They probably got the Loch Ness picture off during one of the million ride set-ups the crew gets per day. Would’ve been easier to take it onto Wolf; unless the article is as big as you (or dangerous, I guess), we don’t even care what you bring on the ride, but we’re damn well not going to shut the ride down because you dropped it.

  5. It would make a good picture if a whole group of people put a little chess table in the middle of one of these.

    Too bad the park officials would never allow it.

  6. We did get it on one of those circle raft ride things. And also on a baby car ride. The pictures aren’t very good, though. That was so fun… Great times at Dollywood.

  7. There will be comic where very hyperbolically it is suggested that the fans of xkcd rise up and take over the world.
    The morning following the posting of that strip you will receive an email along the lines of “Objective Achieved. What your bidding my master.”

  8. Yup yup. Aaron has the right of it. A very common stalemate at Daredevil falls strangely enough.

    But yeah, Steinar. When I was gluing the pieces to the board I didn’t really care about getting anything more than a ‘realistic’ looking board. I went for balance over anything else, mostly because I didn’t know if we would be able to get it on at all.

    @Qabach: Yeah we got a picture on it, the guys were really nice about it. Not sure those came out well as I never saw them. I’ll see if I can get the guy who took them to get them online. (If they aren’t already).

    You have no idea how happy this has made me… Like crazy happy… Insanely even.

  9. Yes, Ryan told me of his plan and I decided to join in. We got two more than expected so we played four-way chess. I cannot believe that I did not laugh on the way down, but I pulled off the serious look of contemplation.

    I won the game.

  10. I was just talking to a friend about this xkcd comic a couple of days ago — and am taking off with the family to Dollywood tomorrow for our annual summer vacation — so what a hoot to pull this up today and see this — BRILLIANT!!

  11. That “on your coastr” pic is good – clever twist on the usual. Anyway, awesome speight of digging people, first time I’ve every picked a story that hit the front page – maybe we’ll see even more extreme gaming pictures as a result.

  12. I’ve actually played Go on the floor of a metal disco. The floor had some mosaic-like stones…
    We also had no pieces, so we ripped some flyers apart. It was fun, but we didn’t make pictures :-/

  13. I take it the wind/air friction would be too high to play cards on a rollercoaster?

  14. I’ve been planning to do that at the next amusement park I go to. But amazing pictures! Yay for your fandom!

  15. now, if we can somhow get a yoga person, get him to like put his leg over his head, and have the second person spining the wheel. better picture maby?

  16. I rode the Everest ride at Animal Kingdom in Disney World Florida, and on the ride, I held on to my glasses at one point, and at that very point, they snapped the picture.

    There was a really awesome picture of me looking very thoughtful with my hand on my glasses as if I was putting them back on after cleaning them.

    I should have bought that one…

  17. OH NO, RAPTORS! If only xkcd-comic-strip guy had been wearing his antiraptor tshirt he would have been saved!

    PS Good luck to you megabigblur

  18. Pingback: Old Habits | The Remote Part

  19. this is the stuff of children’s lit of old…
    “…and the moral of the story is: if you take shortcuts in your work, you’ll be gored by a velociraptor…”
    and the children quiver in their beds.

    love it!

  20. I can see this being turned into an informational poster and put on the wall of our first year programming labs.

  21. That just made my day.

    Specially the Helicopter one. Good Job Captain.

    Next step: Parachuting with a chess board :D

  22. I hate y’all because I lost.

    And I wish I would have thought to do something similar when I was at Great America — it was physics day, they might not have checked too closely.

  23. From the pictures page:
    “Jordan Stosky (right, looking at the board) and his friend Lucas travel from Canada to Florida to play chess on the Revenge of the Mummy coaster.”
    From the picture it’s associated with:
    “Universal Studios Hollywood”

    Last I checked, Hollywood was California. “Universal Studios Florida” would be the one in Orlando, Florida. Besides, if they were in Florida, they would have taken the picture on “The Incredible Hulk”. Far geekier.

  24. I love the picture you guys!
    I wish they would’ve let you bring it onto more rides. That would’ve been pretty kickass but they suck so.. yeah.. they didn’t…
    Anyway.. I’m gonna try and find that AOTS episode and then I guess I’ll see you guys later..
    Next time we go to Dollywood, bring a game of Clue.
    ((“Mrs. Scarlet!!! How could you?!?!?!”))
    XOXO you guys!! ♥

  25. Crap. I can’t think of anything that would top this.

    Unless I played a game of chess on the back of the actual loch ness monster…

    /me gets his tiny net.

  26. Perhaps, to accentuate the geek factor of the whole thing, participants could attempt fit a new processor, set up wifi on Linux, program something in INTERCAL or create a detailed anti-raptor pamphlet in TeX in the time it takes for the rollercoaster to do a circuit?

    Not as many good photo-ops, but more of a challenge I feel :)

  27. I loved this picture, and then y’all made me lose.

    Now I hate y’all. But I still love the picture.

  28. AGH

    IF you don’t stop mentioning it,
    everytime I re-check the site
    i’m going to lose again!

  29. So are you planning on ever telling anyone you’re going to have a story in Ryan North’s Machine of Death anthology?

  30. I lost the game! STOP LOSING ON ME!

    Funny that, people kept saying that they lost and I didn’t know what they were talking about, despite having been playing the game for a good long time. I was that good at it. Then I took a moment to think again why everyone was losing and BAM!

  31. hmmm, I wonder if this could be done with Monopoly? But what would i do with my money and properties? Glue them to cardboard then glue that to the Monopoly board maybe?

  32. in the additional pictures you have, the one of this kid named nate, you said that the roller coaster camera didn’t catch it but they snuck on a digital camera. then you said, i’m amazed he held on to the board.

    …i’m equally as amazed they held on to the camera. :)

  33. I can’t help but notice xkcd-guy’s getting a lot of violent retribution for his crimes against the Standard Procedures of technology (read the manual, program flow…)

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