The Chess Variant Pages

Standoff Chess

By Robert Shimmin

Standoff Chess makes one small change to the rules regarding check, and in so doing, makes deep changes to tactics of the game.

The Rules

All Rules of International Chess apply, with the following change:

A threat to capture the opponent's king does not give check (ie, it could not actually be carried out) if it opens one's own king to immediate recapture.


First, this means that attacking the opponent's king is a valid escape from check. In a situation where both sides have pieces attacking the other king, then neither side gives check, because if one side carried out the king capture, the other side could immediately match it.

Second, it means that a protected king can attack the opposing king, provided no other opposing piece also attacks it. This has profound endgame consequences, because it means that K+B vs. K and K+N vs. K are at the very least winnable as helpmates. (Whether they can force mate is another question). If played with non-standard pieces, K+(any piece that can protect it) vs. K is winnable as a helpmate.

Written by Robert Shimmin.
WWW page created: June 30th, 2003.