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Giveaway Chess. Taking is obligatory; the first player that loses all his pieces wins. (8x8, Cells: 64) (Recognized!)[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
H. G. Muller wrote on Sun, Dec 3 07:59 PM UTC in reply to Kevin Pacey from 07:19 PM:

On FICS (and in XBoard) this is the difference between the variants Giveaway and Suicide Chess. The first case you quote would not be for Giveaway but for Suicide. FICS also supports a third variant of this type: Losers Chess. There the checking rule applies, you win by being checkmated or bared, and stalemate is a draw.

I think the confusion in this article comes from the misconception that Losing Chess is a single variant. But it is not; it is a family, while Giveaway is a specific member of that family.

Note that being annihilated is a special case of stalemate: when you have no pieces you have no moves. Even in the case of Giveaway (your 3rd case) this means you have won, as no pieces will always be the lowest number of pieces. Rule options 1 and 3 are thus consistent; 2 is a strange exception, distinguishing some stalemates from others. In Losers Chess the primary goal is not stalemate but getting bared. Being checkmated is rare, and can usually not be forced.

Kevin Pacey wrote on Sun, Dec 3 07:19 PM UTC:

Not sure if this CV ought to be tagged for stalemating being a loss for player who delivers it - here's a section of the Rules Section of this Rules Page:

"There is some controversy about stalemate. It is an important question because the richness of Losing Chess stems from the possible endgames. The following three rules are the most popular.

1.Stalemate is a win for the stalemated player. (International rules) 2.Stalemate is a draw. (AISE rules) 3.Stalemate is a win for the player who has fewer pieces left. If both have the same number, the game is drawn. The type of pieces makes no difference. (FICS rules)"

Perhaps International rules on stalemate should be given precedence all the same, though!?

Greg Strong wrote on Wed, Nov 16, 2022 02:36 PM UTC in reply to H. G. Muller from 06:37 AM:

Ok, thanks. I was not aware of Sjeng. Open source too!

H. G. Muller wrote on Wed, Nov 16, 2022 06:37 AM UTC in reply to Greg Strong from Tue Nov 15 11:51 PM:

I have never built an engine for such variants, and hardly ever played them myself. But strategy is much more subtle than you might think. From other engines (like Sjeng) I know that piece values are different from Chess, but positive. E.g. a Queen is worth about 6 Pawns. To win you must get a controlling advantage, so that you can force the opponent to take your weak pieces, which otherwise are difficult to get rid of. E.g. when white has all pieces in the FIDE start position, and black only his King and Pawns, white very easily wins.

Greg Strong wrote on Tue, Nov 15, 2022 11:51 PM UTC in reply to H. G. Muller from 04:30 PM:

I just wanted to point out that a variant having both mandatory capture and the checking rule does exist.

Indeed it does.  So this is another use for IllegalUnlessOnly (I'd like to think of a better name for that. IllegalUnlessExclusive maybe?)

For positional evaluation in this game, is everything basically negative?  My frist thought was to make the material values of the pieces negative.  But it's also bad to have one's pieces in the center, so the PSTs are basically negative also.  And maybe everything ... having your rook on an open file is bad.  A knight outpost is bad.  Is "good" pawn structure also bad?  On that, I'm not sure.

And if everything is reversed, maybe just invert the eval after everything? (assuming it's not a mate score, -INFINITY is still -INFINITY).  Just thinking out loud.  And I don't currently have a "hook" in place for adjusting the whole eval after calculation but I could easily add one.  The whole "losing genre" jenre is one I would like to support...

H. G. Muller wrote on Tue, Nov 15, 2022 04:30 PM UTC in reply to Greg Strong from 03:29 PM:

OK, I was not entirely correct. The variant that I referred to was called Losers Chess, not Losing Chess. Losers Chess is a variant played on ICC (, and perhaps also FICS (, and supported by WinBoard, which acts as a client to these Internet Chess Servers. Rumor has it that it started as a failed attempt to implement Suicide, which would explain why there are no references to it outside these ICS. Some ofther variants on FICS/ICC seem not so much designed as well having accidentally occurred when someone did something strange on the server, e.g. TwoKings.

So there isn't really any contradiction. I just wanted to point out that a variant having both mandatory capture and the checking rule does exist.

BTW, I nowadays also often encounter the term Anti-Chess. Perhasp Suicide is called that way on LiChess or

Greg Strong wrote on Tue, Nov 15, 2022 03:29 PM UTC:


In another comment you said "Actually it is Suicide/Giveaway that has no checking. In Losing Chess the checking rule does apply, and you lose by checkmating or baring the opponent."  This page is titled Losing Chess but says that other names are equivalent: Suicide Chess, Giveaway Chess, Killer Chess or Take-all Chess.  (The filename of the HTML page is giveaway.html)

According to this page, there is no check/checkmate but the rules for stalemate vary.  According to the Wikipedia page for Losing Chess, the "main variant" also has no royal king and a pawn may be promoted to a king.  But it also lists variant #3 with a royal king, which is also mentioned as a variant in Pritchard.

The page for the XBoard chess engine communication protocol lists:

losers Win by losing all pieces or getting mated (ICC)
suicide Win by losing all pieces including king, or by having fewer pieces when one player has no legal moves (FICS)
giveaway Win by losing all pieces including king, or by having no legal moves (ICC)

So, I guess we had a number of variants that were collectively known under a variety of names, and someone gave specific names to the specific variants?  Which is a logical thing to do.  This page should probably be updated, but it would be good to know more about how this happened.

Kevin Pacey wrote on Sun, Nov 26, 2017 06:33 PM UTC:Good ★★★★

This was the first chess variant I'd ever heard of, way back in elementary school around 1970. After trying it a few times I disliked a game that would rely heavily on giving away stuff to the opponent in order to win. Looking at the variant's webpage nowadays, I can see this variant has depth, in spite of my still not liking it much as far as the thought of playing it myself. The extensive opening theory that apparently one needs to know to survive (in any sense) against strong losing chess players looks daunting, and I'm a bit disappointed that the traditional and obvious chess centre pawn moves 1.e4 and 1.d4 are thought to lose for White in this variant. So, not my cup of tea (at least at present) but I can see how this variant and its basic concept might attract many other people to it.

mortgaga aiLinngs wrote on Wed, May 1, 2013 03:00 PM UTC:
Free Giveaway Chess ("Suicide chess") Windows Pnone App at:
I will be very happy if you like it !!!

Peter N K wrote on Sun, Mar 24, 2013 01:27 PM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
I would like to invite everyone to try my free "Suicide Chess" aplication

Please if you have comments or recommendations share them.

Thank you for your time

pnk_at_abv_dot_bg wrote on Thu, Feb 21, 2013 07:43 PM UTC:
Suicide Chess Solution for E2E4 open move is incomplete!

If knight does not move B1C3, but white player makes move with other piece
there is a big chance White wins : ) (G2-G3 Pawn for example seems like
move which ruins the whole solution)

Please if someone knows where I can find the whole solution write to pnk at
abv dot bg. Thank U

(zzo38) A. Black wrote on Wed, Mar 30, 2011 05:40 PM UTC:
For the four kinds of stalemate rules to implement in Zillions:
  • International rules: Specify that stalemated player wins. (Condition of no pieces remaining is not necessary because having 0 pieces already means no moves available)
  • AISE rules: Specify player with 0 pieces remaining wins (stalemate is draw by default).
  • FICS rules: The count-condition in Zillions can only specify whoever has more pieces wins, not loses. So, what you can do, is specify that each player moves his opponent's pieces: (turn-order (White Black) (Black White))
  • Ebenfelt's variant: Turn off stalemate checking. Set option 'pass turn' forced.

(zzo38) A. Black wrote on Sun, Oct 12, 2008 02:24 AM UTC:
In the HAKMEM variant of Giveaway chess, pawns must promote to queens, while in standard Giveaway chess, pawns can promote to anything (except pawns). Another way you could do, is pawns are even allowed to stay as pawns and be stuck!

Tony Quintanilla wrote on Mon, Oct 30, 2006 02:44 AM UTC:
The editors received the following correspondence from Doron Singer:

Your example claims Bxc1 wins. It, in fact, loses, which goes to show
suicide chess is deeper than what most people give it credit for.
Black's win is as follows:
1. Bxc1 g5
2. Bxg5 a6
3. Bxe7 axb5
4. Bxf8 Nc6
5. Bxb5 Nd7
6. Bxd7 Ra3
7. Bxa3 b4
8. Bxb4

5. Bxc5 Ra3

6. Bxf8 Nd7 and so on
and if:
6. Bxa3 Nc6 and so on.


Neca wrote on Sat, Jul 29, 2006 08:06 PM UTC:
Castling in normal chess is meant to move the important but vulnerable king to a safe place. But in losing chess the king has no special role, and therefore, I think, it would not be logical to allow castling.

Anonymous wrote on Mon, Apr 10, 2006 08:36 PM UTC:
To the user who asked why castling is not allowed:
Castling is allowed on ICC (, but I don't know about
anywhere else.  This page should at least say that castling is sometimes

Adrian Alvarez de la Campa wrote on Sun, Apr 9, 2006 03:30 AM UTC:
has anyone experimented with different opening arrays for Losing Chess? The first thing I would try is moving the Bishops to the center to prevent the immediate giving away of the Bishops.

Anonymous wrote on Wed, Apr 5, 2006 05:00 PM UTC:Good ★★★★
why is castling not allowed?

Dr Dave wrote on Fri, Mar 24, 2006 08:54 AM UTC:Good ★★★★
Grandmaster David Bronstein's 'solution' is nothing of the sort: it was an off-hand game played against IM Gik, where he was relying on Gik playing 'normal' chess moves -- and he duly obliged. 3.Nc3 is very helpful...

Anonymous wrote on Tue, Feb 21, 2006 09:40 PM UTC:Good ★★★★
A good outline. You haven't mentioned the name 'loser's chess', which is the name used by the largest online chess club in the world (

Roberto Lavieri wrote on Tue, Dec 13, 2005 01:37 PM UTC:Good ★★★★
I don´t know whether some extensive computer analysis has been done for this game, the branching factor is by far much less than in chess. With the aid of actual technology, it seems to be a good project, perhaps factible, to determine if it its true of false the empirical suspect that the game is a forced win for White.

Tony Quintanilla wrote on Mon, Dec 12, 2005 06:10 PM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
Very nice use of Game Courier sample games!

[email protected] wrote on Wed, Nov 30, 2005 06:50 AM UTC:
Note that my last comment was in light of the fact that 'Take-All' was linked to this variant.

[email protected] wrote on Wed, Nov 30, 2005 06:46 AM UTC:
Unfortunately, you don't mean the variant in which the whoever takes all pieces of the opponent wins, and capturing is obligatory. That would be interesting. You mean nothing more than Give-Away.

S wrote on Tue, Mar 8, 2005 06:38 AM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
Fics top 1000 suiciders can be found at

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