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Giveaway Chess

Also know as: Suicide Chess, Losing Chess, Killer Chess or Take-all Chess.

This game is one of the most popular chess variants, and probably of great antiquity. This was one of the chess variants, I used to play a lot as a child, after or before more serious `real chess games' in the chess club I was a member of.

There are claims that many opening moves for white have a forced win for black. Usually, this is for the variant where a stalemate is a win. If you know more about this, please tell me!

There are several different variants of rules, and I recall disputes on whether stalemate is a win for the stalemated player or a draw. Below, we give one set of rules, and mention the variations after that.

The game is, among other places, mentioned in Pritchards Encyclopedia of Chess Variants, under the name Losing Chess.

See also:
  1. Stan Goldovski's Losing Chess pages. Link.
  2. Strategy for Losing Chess. Link to page discussing a strategy for a variant of this game.
  3. Räuberschach. Play Giveaway Chess on 6 by 6 board against the computer online.
  4. Crazy Chess. Shareware program playing Giveaway or Losing Chess. Description by programs author Aleksey Bartashnikov.
  5. Andrzej's Suicide Chess page
  6. Fics top 1000 suiciders
  7. Suicide-chess problems
  8. Lenny Taelman's Suicide Chess page
  9. Losing Chess page (in French)


The rules below are those commonly used for Suicide Chess.

  • The opening setup is as in normal chess. All pieces move as in normal chess (but see below for the king).
  • Capturing is compulsory. The king plays no special role in the game, and can be taken as any other piece. There is no check or checkmate.
  • When a player can capture, but has different choices to capture a piece, he may choose which piece to capture.
  • In the case of stalemate, whichever player has fewer pieces left wins. If both have the same number, the game is drawn. The type of pieces makes no difference.
  • Castling is not allowed.
  • Pawns may also promote to Kings.
An alternate version of Suicide Chess:
  • As above except:
  • A player that is stalemated (cannot move) wins the game.


Other Variants

Variant One

  • As in the standard Suicide Chess rules, except:
  • Pawns promote only to Queens and stalemate is a draw.

Variant Two

  • As in the standard Suicide Chess rules, except:
  • The king can be checked, and mated. A player may not put his king in check, must escape check, and this has priority over capturing. A player wins when he is checkmated or has only his king left. Stalemate is a draw.

Variant Three

  • As in Variant Two except:
  • The player checkmating wins instead of losing.

Other possible rule variations:

  • Stalemate is a draw.
  • The player that loses his king first wins the game.

AISE rules

In AISE, this variant is known as Losing Chess, or as VINCIPERDI. The following is based on text by Andrea Mori integrated by Alessandro Castelli.

This variant was one of the two played in AISE since its founding (the other is Italian Progressive Chess).

Well suited for over-the-board regular and blitz games, it is possibly the most popular variant among general chessplayers.

The rules of this variant are specified above in the standard rules for Suicide Chess, with the following exceptions:

  • The game is won by the player who remains without chessmen on the board. If a player is stalemated (some chessmen on the board but no legal moves available) the game is a draw.

Another variant

Anders Ebenfelt wrote about the variant of this game, that he played as child:

All rules, as described in the main variant above are valid, with the following exceptions.

When stalemate, the stalemated player does not move but the opponent can if he wish to play for win go on moving and do as many moves he wants to do. If the stalemate then disappear, both players move again as usual. So, if white for example has a pawn on h2 and nothing more and black a pawn on h3, pawn on a7 and rooks on a8 and h8 black can win by moving : 1.-,Rh4 2.-, a5. 3.-, a4 4.- Ra5 5.-,a3 6.-,a2 7.-,a1=R 8.-,Rg1 9.-,Rg3 10.hxg3,h2 11.gxh4,Rg5 12.hxg5,h1=Q 13.g6,Qh7 14.gxh7 and black has won.

This variant has the advantage that there is often dangerous to let the opponent take all pieces but one if the one left is a pawn which can be blocked. The game will then be more complicated, or sofisticated (the strategy is not only to throw away pieces).

When we played like this, also we permitted promotion to all pieces, even king.

A variant from the Free Internet Chess Server

On the Free Internet Chess Server, or FICS (telnet), Suicide chess was implemented. The rules of this variant are specified above in the standard rules for Suicide Chess.

Another variant

A variant, where one wins when the king is checkmated, is played on the Internet Chess Club.


In international (i.e. non-AISE) events sometimes a game is won by the player who remains without legal moves. Thus, a stalemate is a win for the stalemated player.

The compulsory captures make long range pieces (in particular the Bishops, as practice shows) rather weak. Some care must be taken in the opening in developing the own pieces. For instance after 1. d3 ?? Black has a forced win (this is an exercise for the interested reader).

Lack of checks and the possible absence of Kings give to the endgames a characteristic flavour.

The best players

  • Roberto Magari (Firenze, 1934 - Siena 1994) seven times AISE champion!
  • Aldo Kustrin (Italy): three times AISE champion.
  • Peter Wood (England): Olympic champion

Sample game

Mori - Fontana (XIII AISE championship)
1. g3 d5
2. g4 B:g4
3. Bg2 B:e2
4. B:d5 B:d1
5. K:d1 Q:d5
6. Ne2 Q:a2
7. R:a2 f5
8. R:a7 R:a7
9. Na3 R:a3
10. b:a3 f4
11. N:f4 e6
12. N:e6 B:a3
13. N:g7 B:c1
14. N:e8 B:d2
15. N:c7 Ne7
16. K:d2 Nd5
17. N:d5 b6
18. N:b6 Nd7
19. N:d7 Rf8
20. N:f8 h5
21. Rg1 h4
22. Rg2 h3
23. Ne6 h:g2
24. Nd4 g1=K
25. h4 K:f2
26. Ke3 K:e3
27. h5 K:d4
28. c3 K:c3
29. h6 Kd4
30. h7 Ke5
31. h8=R Kf6
32. Rh4 Ke7
33. Rh5 Kf7
34. Rd5 resigns.

Written by Hans Bodlaender, using texts of Andrea Mori, Alessandro Castelli, and Anders Ebenfelt. Rules, as used in AISE, were described above. Thanks to Michael Fischer for drawing my attention to this popular variant. Thanks to Tim Mann for information on the variant played on the Free Internet Chess Server. Ross Crawform wrote me about Suicide Chess.
WWW page created: 1995 or 1996. Last modified: May 15, 2001.
April 9, 2000: David Howe modified the rule groupings to match the more commonly played suicide chess rules. Based on input from Lenny Taelman.