The Chess Variant Pages

Check out Cylindrical Chess, our featured variant for March, 2023.

This page is written by the game's inventor, David Howe.

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George Duke wrote on 2007-06-23 UTC

A Chess Puzzle: to devise a game on 8x8 with no legal moves for White. All 8 Pawns(any kind) and 8 pieces(any mix of types)must start in own half of board, King only required to be within back-rank. Use already-invented pieces and Rules. Describe an initial set-up. Follow-up Puzzle Two is to contrive a starting array (also with full complement of 16 each side, 32 pieces and Pawns altogether), so that neither Black nor White can move, no legal first move at all either team, whoever goes first.Puzzle One Solution:

8 P____K____N____ ____ ____B____ ____P White small letters

7 P____ ____ ____ ____ ____C____ ____P Conventional Pawns

6 P____D____E____ ____ ____R____ ____P D = Dragon 5-square,5+way

5 P____I____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____P C = Crooked Bishop

4 p____i____ ____w____w____ ____ ____p B = Ibis leaper

3 p____ ____ ____w____ ____ ____ ____p E = Elbow Chess Rook

2 p____ ____ ____ ____ ____f____w____p w = Wazir (1,2)

1 p____ ____ ____ ____f____k____ ____p f = Ferz (2,2)

I,i = Immobilizer

a b c d e f g h

There would be thousands of hard-to-find solutions CVPage-indexed pieces. One explanation: put all 16 standard Pawns in a-file and h-file. How about Immobilizers (Ultima) at b4 White and b5 Black. Black Dragon at b6 is after 'Falcons, Scorpions and Dragon.' E is Elbow Chess Rook in 'Multipath Chess Pieces,' after Pritchard ECV, having to make one 90-degree change of direction each move. Black Crooked Bishop at f7 is Betza's. Black Ibis(or Namel: 2,8) at f8 is Gilman concoction (hey let's find the things some use). Justification: If Wazir at either d4 or d3 moves, Dragon-b6 has a pathway. If Wazir-e4 moves or Wazir-g2 moves, Crooked Bishop at f7 has pathway. If Ferz-f2 moves, Rook checks making it illegal. If Ferz-e1 moves, Elbow-Rook-c6 has its pathway. King cannot move because of Ibis-f8 and the Elbow Chess one again. So, no White piece can move: beyond 'zugzwang,' half-the-board immobilization by all pre-existent pieces. QED. (More elegant may be upgrading one+ W/F to at least N because of relative strengths or some one-piece-type principle of economy. Puzzle Two remains more difficult)

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