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Desertion Chess

By Uwe Wiedemann


Desertion Chess (also called Desert Chess) is a variant where whenever you move a piece next to an opposing piece, the opposing piece "deserts" to your side. The goal of Desertion Chess is not checkmate, but rather the complete capture or conversion of your opponent's pieces.


The game is conducted by rules of International Chess with the following changes:

  • There is no check, checkmate, castling or en-passant. You win when there are no opposing pieces remaining on the board, or when your opponent has no legal move. Kings are normal pieces.
  • Whenever you make a move with a piece, capturing or noncapturing, that puts it on a square orthogonally or diagonally adjacent to any opposing pieces, all of the adjacent opposing pieces desert to your side, becoming pieces of your color.
    Before After
  • Pawns promote normally to Queen, Rook, Bishop or Knight on the 8th rank, including Pawns that have joined your side by desertion.

Computer Play

Uwe Wiedemann has written an implementation of Desertion Chess for Zillions of Games. You can download it here:

Written by Peter Aronson, from ZRF and e-mail from Uwe Wiedemann.
WWW page created: January 25th, 2002.