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  • Progressive Chess

    Recognized! Recognized Variant of the Month for July 2002. Twelve times per year we will select a Recognized Variant for special consideration. Its web page will be reworked and improved and a connecting link displayed on all of our CV Pages. We hope to encourage CVPhiles to read about, play and explore this featured variant.

    Progressive Chess is perhaps the most widely played of all variants. It is unique in that each player makes one more move-per-turn than his opponent has made: White makes 1 move, black makes 2 moves, white makes 3 moves, and so on. The game quickly reaches a 'critical mass' as each player's move rate continues to grow. Games are intense, and few last for more than seven successive turns.

    Boards and pieces

    Although the Progressive Chess concept can be applied to almost any variant, the game is typically played as a variant of orthodox chess with orthodox board and pieces.


    There are three main variants of Progressive Chess: The rules for each variant are listed below:


    Italian Progressive Chess

    FIDE rules apply, with the following exceptions:

    1. Players alternately make a sequence of moves of increasing number: White makes 1 move, black makes 2 moves, white makes 3 moves, and so on.

    2. Each sequence of moves must be completed. Inability to complete a sequence counts as a 'progressive stalemate' (provided one's King is not in check).

    3. A check can be given only on the last move of a completed sequence.*

    4. A check can be nullified only in the first move of a sequence.

    5. If a check cannot be nullified without checking the enemy King, the game is lost by a 'progressive checkmate'.

    6. En passant capture permitted on the first move of a sequence only.

    7. If neither a Pawn is moved nor a piece is captured in 10 successive sequences, and neither player can show an impending mate, the game is a draw.

    *NOTE: According to D.B. Pritchard, in the Encyclopedia of Chess Variants, a premature check means forfeiture of the game.

    English Progressive Chess

    FIDE rules apply, with the following exceptions:

    1. Players alternately make a sequence of moves of increasing number: White makes 1 move, black makes 2 moves, white makes 3 moves, and so on.

    2. When a player gives check prior to the end of a sequence, he forfeits any remaining moves. His opponent's subsequent turn is not truncated, so the number of moves allowed for any given turn, is only dependent on the turn number.

    3. Pieces move in democratic cycles: Each mobile piece must move once before it can move twice, and each mobile piece must move twice before it can move thrice, and so on.** (If a blocked piece becomes mobile in a later cycle, it may not make 'catch-up' moves.) A just-promoted piece is considered having moved. Castling counts as having moved both King and Rook.

    4. A player may not expose his King to check during a sequence of moves, even if the check is only temporary.

    5. A check must be nullified on the first move of a turn. Failure to do so is checkmate.

    6. En passant capture is not allowed

    7. If a player moves into a stalemate position before completing his turn, the game is a draw.
    **NOTE: Incompleted cycles do not carry over to the next turn. At the beginning of each player's turn, a new cycle begins.

    Scottish Chess

    The rules are the same as those for Italian Progressive Chess, with one important difference:


    It is customary to number the sequences consecutively, according to their length:

    for preferable to...
    1. e2, e41. e2 e4, e7e5 f7f6
    2. e7e5, f7f62. Ng1h3 Bf1e2 Be2h5+,
    3. Ng1h3 Bf, 1e2 Be2h5+3. etc...

    I strongly urge players to adopt this notational system.

    Additional Information

    Italian Progressive Chess

    There are a great number of Italian Progressive Chess tournaments:

    The best players are:


    English Progressive Chess

    This game is played regularly in Italy, USA and Ukraine.

    Best players

    Tony Gardner (USA) and Alessandro Castelli (Italy) co-champion - 1st International Championship.


    Tony Gardner, Tactics and Theory of ENPR, privately printed 1995

    Scottish Chess

    Scottish Chess is the oldest of all progressive chess variants, probably originating in Great Britain (or possibly Scotland) just before World War II. The game is also known as Scotch Chess, Blitz Chess, Lightning Chess, Speed Chess, Avalanche Chess (which is also used for another chess variant), Scottish Progressive Chess, or just Progressive Chess.

    The variant is very popular. Two email tournaments were held, one in 1992/1993, and one in 1996.

    Computer Play

    This game can be played via email on Richard's Play-By-eMail Server.

    Originally written by Alessandro Castelli. Edited by John William Brown.
    WWW page created: 1995 or 1996. Last modified: July 2, 2002.


    This item is a game information page,
It belongs to categories: Orthodox chess, 
It is a 2 player game.
It was last modified on: 2002-07-03
 Author: Alessandro  Castelli. Progressive Chess. Several variants where white moves one time, black twice, white three times, etc. (8x8, Cells: 64) (Recognized!)
    2014-05-07 George Duke Verified as George DukeNone

    The article points out there were annual tournaments of Progressive in current-news Ukraine at turn of millennium -- as well as Russia, Czech Republic, and Poland. Then Glinksi was Polish,, though he perfected the leading hexagonal Chess in England.

    Then next the above mentioned Czech Republic is precisely the country where Bughouse thrives,, as "over the board" section documents. In that wikipedia, Hungarian-born Susan Polgar intones old-guardedly, "If your children want to play bughouse just for fun, it is OK. But just remember that it is not Chess and it has no positive value for Chess." Belying that attitude, there is Russian trainer's skill-shaping invented CV: Think rather than memorize, said Romanchenko:

    Tellingly Betza justifies in Chigorin,, that you cannot get scared novices interested, like these "grand-masters," without putting up only standard comfort-zone Bishops, Knights, Rooks, Queens.

    2013-01-12 Karlo UnverifiedBelowAverage

    The rule for the English variant says "Each mobile piece must move once before it can move twice", but it should say "Each mobile piece must move once before any piece can move twice". (Then the same change should be made for twice before thrice, of course.)

    Also, it would be clearer if the rules common to all three variants were listed first, and then the differences listed separately (perhaps summarized in a table, even). In particular, all three have the rule that you must escape check on the first move of a series, or else you're checkmated; and that the number of moves you get on your turn is equal to the turn number.

    2009-08-11 Alex UnverifiedExcellentIndeed in progressive chess the repetition rule regards the position of the pieces at the end of a turn, not at the end of a move. View
    2009-06-14 padysak UnverifiedNoneWhats about stalemate after three-times repetition the same position? On oponnent play: '11.Kd3 Kc3 Kb3 Kxa2 Kb3 Kb4 Ka5 Kb5 Ka5 Kb5 Ka5' and it was stalemate! I think this rule in progressive chess is wrong! When I play with stronger player, I can make three-times repetition position from move number 4. (If my king is not in check.) View
    2008-10-12 (zzo38) A. Black Verified as (zzo38) A. BlackNoneAnother variant of progressive chess, known as 'escalation chess' according to HAKMEM: White gets 1 move, black 2, white 3, etc. If a player is in check, he must get out of check on his first move. He may not move into check. Taking your opponent's king is verboten, but you can pile up triple checks, etc. A player is checkmated if he can't get his king out of check on his first move. View
    Number of ratings: 4, Average rating: Good, Number of comments: 9

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    Author: Alessandro Castelli.

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    Last Modified: Sun, 01 Apr 2012 20:50:58 -0400
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    Last modified: Sunday, April 1, 2012