The Chess Variant Pages

Attrition Chess

by Nathan James - entry for "The 32-Turn Challenge"

Attrition Chess is a chess variant designed to last no longer than 32 turns. It is played on an 11x10 board, each player starts with 33 pieces. Before each move the player must sacrifice a piece which is not his king. A bare king loses the game, unless both kings are bare then the game is a draw.

All the orthodox chess pieces are used in this game. King, Queen, Rook, Bishop, Knight, and Pawn, and one new piece- the Squire. The Squire moves one square in any direction, and captures by moving onto an enemy piece. A Knight may not jump over an opposing Squire, and a Knight who is adjacent to a friendly Squire may move as if he were in the Squire's square. In the diagram below the Knight can move to any of the squares marked with a red X, and the black X's show squares blocked by white squires (see figure 1).

Figure 1

At the start of the game each side has 11 Pawns, 6 Knights, 5 Squires, 2 Bishops, 2 Rooks, 2 Queens, and a single King. The first three rows on the board are taken up by white's pieces, and the last three by black's pieces.

The King starts in the center square of the first row, with a Queen on both sides. A Rook is placed on the next to squares of the first row, then a Bishop on each side, then a Knight, and finally another Rook. The second row has a Squire is front of the King, a Bishop in front of each Queen, a Squire in front of each of the center Rooks, a Knight in front of each of the Bishops, a Squire in front of each of the first row Knights, and then a Knight in front of both edge Rooks. The third row is all pawns, and black's setup mirrors white's (see figure 2).

Figure 2

Play begins with white choosing a piece to forfeit, then moving one of his pieces. Then black forfeits one of his own pieces, and makes a move. Then if either King is alone, that player loses. If both Kings stand alone, the game is a draw. In this way the game will never last longer than 32 turns, and rarely that long.

One of the major changes in strategy, for this variant is the fact that one can win by material advantage. Position vs. material calculations will have to alter drastically. And if you lose all your pawns now, you'll have to give up a more powerful piece later.

This game is an entry in the 32 Turn Challenge.
Written by Nathan James.
WWW page created: April 7, 2000.