The Chess 
Variant Pages

Liars Chess

Liars Chess was inspired by Watergate Chess, which was invented by Ralph Betza in 1978. Betza’s original game was modified by Alessandro Castelli in order to eliminate a problem which arose in actual play. Castelli’s game differs from Betza’s in three essential ways: (1) it requires an arbiter, (2) players have complete information and (3) the element of luck has been eliminated.

Rules

All FIDE rules apply to Liars Chess, except for the following amendments:

  1. A record of the game must be kept in non-abbreviated algebraic notion (examples are shown below).
  2. Prior to making a move, each player will have the option of changing one of his previous moves. However, this option is limited to changes that can be made to the game’s notational record without creating a logical contradiction. This means that you must be able to reenact the game -- according to its final algebraic record -- without violating any of the FIDE rules.
  3. There is no limit to the number of times that a particular move can be changed, as long as rule number 2 (above) is not violated.

Comments on the game

The novelty of Liars Chess is that it violates the sacred FIDE rule forbidding players to take back moves. This can be very disturbing for the conservative player. However, if one can overcome his initial inhibitions, the game can be quite fascinating. Learning to play Liars Chess may at first be difficult, but once it is mastered, you will come to appreciate its unique beauty and complexity.

Imagine a captured piece returning from the past to upset your best laid plans. A piece that has occupied a particular square may suddenly appear elsewhere. Well built positions may crumble due to the diabolical ‘lies’ of your opponent. It is difficult to know where a piece will show up next -- even those that are captured and removed from the board. The position of any piece must therefore be considered "virtual." As a result, a piece’s effective move options prove to be much greater than its official move options. For example, a well developed Queen may exhibit extraordinary powers.

It is advisable to make the algebraic notations in pencil and to have a good eraser handy. This will allow you to make the necessary changes to the log when a move is taken back.

 

Sample games

Castelli-Kustrin (AISE 1992) 1-0


[Notes from A. Castelli]

e4, d6

Bb5+(1.e3), c6
[You change Pe4 to e3]

Qg3(2.Qg4)
[You change Bb5 to f1, you change Qd1 to g3]

...g6(2.e6) ?
[You change Pc6 to c7]
Another possibility is 3. ... Qf6(2.e6)

Q:h8(3.Qd4), Ne7

Qc3,Bd7

B:d7+(5.Bb5+) Q:d7
[You change Qc3 to h8]
This change is good for White, as it reinstates his development.

Qc3, Na6

Qb3, c5

Qe2(8.Qc4)
White continues to jockey with the Queen. This creates a series of threats that keeps Black on the defensive.

...Nf5

Qa4(9.Nc3), b:a4(8.b5)

Q:a4(10.a4), Nb8

Q:d7+, Resign

Finally White changes the Queen and the Rook moves, which ultimately decides the game.

Castelli- Forzoni (AISE 1995) 0-1
[Notes from F. Forzoni]

a4, Nf6

Qa4(1.c4), Qf6(1.e6)

Nc3, Nc6
Creating a trap that results in one of Castelli’s rare checkmates.

Q:a8(3.Q:a7)?? Q:c1#(3.Q:b2)

 

The above text is an edited version written by John William Brown on 14 April 1999. It is somewhat speculative. The original text is shown below:


The Original Text of Liars Chess

This game has been invented by Ralph Betza in 1978. It was changed and improved by Alessandro Castelli, after that the original version had been `demolished': a forced win for one of the players was shown. It is related to Watergate Chess by Ralph Betza, but that game needs an arbiter. The important difference is that in Liars Chess, players have complete information and luck doesn't play any role.

Rules

All the rules of the FIDE chess apply except as follows:

To each turn, before playing ones own move, the player has the right to change of his own preceding moves.

All the moves, following after the changed move, must stay completely legal according to the unshortened algebraic notation, inclusive the sign of capture, check and checkmate.

A move can be changed more than once during the game.

Comments on the game

The novelty inserted from the liars chess are bursting, desacralizer because strikes the orthodox play in his heart and in his more sacred rule. Win the FIDE taboo of the "piece ouch, played piece," it could be perturbing for the "conservative" but, if you becomes an attempt, you show oneself the fascination of "change the history" for have a present "better": the captured pieces could return in play from the past, even after many moves, creating meddlesome hits of scene. It is a play a few difficulty to the beginning, but of immeasurable beauty, for the complexity, once "assimilated." Is difficult have under control the position, the pieces that occupy a square materially, can to be virtually elsewhere. The position more solid can become to the sudden impermanent and crumble under the hits of the pieces put in play by by from the diabolic lies of the adversary. Rare is arrive to the end: the lies they could be as big from create arduous use of tactics to identify and there is not way of know where are the pieces adversaries, not even those out from the chessboard. As the position occupied with from a piece is "virtual," the list of the possible accessible positions from a piece is as bigger as it is bigger his mobility. In this sense, the developed Donna has an enormous force. In the notation is advisable to write to pencil the legitimate moves near to the text of the game, in way from to change, after have blanked, you with changed moves. As the adjourned situation will always be had and won't be had difficulty for audit if a movement is replaceable or no.

Sample games

Castelli-Kustrin (AISE 1992) 1-0
[Notes from A. Castelli]

e4, d6

Bb5+(1.e3),c6
[You move the Pe4 in e3]

Qg3(2.Qg4)
[You move the Bb5 in f1, you move the Qd1 in g3]

...g6(2.e6) ?
[You move the Pc6 in c7]
Another possibility is 3. ... Qf6(2.e6)

Q:h8(3.Qd4),Ne7

Qc3,Bd7

B:d7+(5.Bb5+) Q:d7
[You move Qc3 in h8]
The change is good for the White that is back in the development.

Qc3,Na6

Qb3,c5

Qe2(8.Qc4)
The White continues to jockey with the Queen, with each movement a series of threats is created that forces Black to an attentive defense.

...Nf5

Qa4(9.Nc3),b:a4(8.b5)

Q:a4(10.a4),Nb8

Q:d7+, Resign

Finally the White has been able to change the Queen and the Rook, which advantage will decide quickly.

Castelli- Forzoni (AISE 1995) 0-1
[Notes from F. Forzoni]

a4,Nf6

Qa4(1.c4),Qf6(1.e6)

Nc3,Nc6
Extending a trap that causes an of the rare checkmates of Castelli.

Q:a8(3.Q:a7)?? Q:c1#(3.Q:b2)


Fabio Forzoni send me the rules of this game, with comments and sample games. Some parts of his text were somewhat rewritten, but the Comments section was left unchanged. Above, you find a version, rewritten by John William Brown.
WWW page created: October 30, 1996. Last modified: April 14, 1999.