Losing chess

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P. H. Törngren
Tidskrift för Schack, 1929
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a6 black pawn
h2 white pawn
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Antichess (also known as Losing chess, the Losing Game, Giveaway chess, Suicide chess, Killer chess, or Take-all chess) is a chess variant in which the objective of each player is to lose all of his pieces or be stalemated, that is, a misère version. In some variations, a player may also win by checkmating or by being checkmated. Antichess is one of the most popular of all chess variants.[1]

The origin of the game is unknown, but believed to significantly predate an early version, named Take Me, played in the 1870s. Because of the popularity of Antichess, several variations have spawned. The most widely played variation is described by D. B. Pritchard in Popular Chess Variants.


Rules (main variant)[edit]

The rules are the same as those for standard chess, except for the following special rules:

  • Capturing is compulsory.
  • When more than one capture is available, the player may choose.
  • The king has no royal power and accordingly:
  • In addition to its normal promotion options, a pawn may promote to a king.
  • Stalemate is a win for the stalemated player.

A player wins by losing all his pieces, or being stalemated. Apart from move repetition, draw by agreement, and the fifty-move rule, the game is also drawn when a win is impossible (such as if a dark-squared bishop and a light-squared bishop are the only pieces remaining).

Analysis[edit]

Because of the forced capture rule, antichess games often involve long sequences of forced captures by one player. This means that a minor mistake can ruin the game. Losing openings include 1.e4, 1.d4, 1.d3, 1.Nf3, 1.Nc3, 1.f4, 1.h4, 1.b4 and 1.h3. Some of these openings took months of computer time to solve, but the wins against 1.e4, 1.d4, and 1.d3 consist of a single series of forced captures and can be played from memory by most experienced players.[a]

Variations[edit]

Variant 2[edit]

Rules are the same as the main rules, except:[2]

  • Pawns promote only to queens.
  • Stalemate is a draw.

Variant 3[edit]

Rules are the same as the main rules, except:[2]

  • The king has royal powers, and removing the king from check takes precedence over capturing another piece.
  • A player wins by reducing his pieces to just a king, or by checkmating the opponent.
  • Stalemate is a draw.

Variant 4[edit]

Rules are the same as variant 3, except:[2]

  • A player wins by reducing his pieces to just a king, or by getting checkmated.

Variant 5[edit]

Rules are the same as the main rules, except:

  • Stalemate is a win for the player with the fewer number of pieces remaining; if both have the same number, it is a draw. The piece types are irrelevant (FICS rules).

Losers Chess (ICC)[edit]

There are two major variants, Losers Chess (aka w17) played on ICC, and Suicide Chess on free ICSs. The goal in both games is to lose all of one's pieces, although in Losers Chess, a player can also win by getting checkmated.

Kamikaze chess[edit]

  • A player wins by losing all his pieces, or by checkmating the opponent.
  • The king has royal powers, and removing the king from check takes precedence over capturing another piece.
  • Players must lose their king last. Players must not move into check until they have only the king left.
  • Pawns promote only to queens.

Variant 6 (Kamikaze Chess II)[edit]

  • Black moves first
  • Castling is permitted
  • Pawns may promote to kings
  • When one player has only a pawn on the board, and the pawn is blocked from advancing by another piece, the other player gets unlimited moves until the pawn is freed.

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ Solutions by David Bronstein were published in Popular Chess Variants (2000), pp. 33–34:
    • 1.d4?? e5 2.dxe5 Qg5 3.Qxd7 Bxd7 4.Bxg5 Kd8 5.Bxd8 a6 6.Bxc7 Ra7 7.Bxb8 b6 8.Bxa7 a5 9.Bxb6 g6 10.Bxa5 Bb4 11.Bxb4 Ne7 12.Bxe7 Rf8 13.Bxf8 h6 14.Bxh6 g5 15.Bxg5 f6 16.Bxf6 Bh3 17.Nxh3 0–1
    • 1.d3?? g5 2.Bxg5 Bg7 3.Bxe7 Bxb2 4.Bxd8 Bxa1 5.Bxc7 Bc3 and white loses no matter which capture he chooses:
    6.Bxb8 Rxb8 7.Nxc3 d5 8.Nxd5 Nf6 9.Nxf6 Rg8 (if 10.Nxg8 Ke7 11.Nxe7 Bf5 12.Nxf5 h6 13.Nxh6 R moves 14.Nxf7 Rd8 15.Nxd8 a6 16.Nxb7 a5 17.Nxa5 0-1 and if 10.Nxh7 Rxg2 11.Bxg2 Bh3 12.Bxb7 Rxb7 13.Nxh3 f6 14. Nxf6 Rg7 15.Nxe8 Rc7 16.Nxc7 a6 17.Nxa6 0-1) 10.Nxe8 Rxg2 11.Bxg2 f6 12.Bxb7 (if 12.Nxf6 b6 13.Nxh7 Ra8 14.Bxa8 Bb7 15.Bxb7 a6 16.Bxa6 b5 17.Bxb5 0-1) Rxb7 13.Nxf6 Rb8 14.Nxh7 Rb1 15.Qxb1 Bb7 16.Qxb7 a6 17.Qxa6 0–1 Or 6.Nxc3 d5 7.Nxd5 Nf6 8.Nxf6 Rg8 (if 9.Nxg8 Ke7 10.Nxe7 Bf5 11.Nxf5 h6 12.Nxh6 Nc6 13. Nxf7 Rh8 14.Nxh8 Na5 15.Bxa5 b6 16.Bxb6 a5 17.Bxa5 0-1 and if 9.Nxh7 Rxg2 10.Bxg2 Bh3 11.Bxh3 f6 12.Nxf6 Kd7 13.B/Nxd7 Nxd7 14. N/Bxd7 Rd8 15.Bxd8 a5 16.Bxa5 b6 17.Bxb6 0-1) 9.Nxe8 Rxg2 10.Bxg2 f6 (if 11.Bxb7 Bxb7 12. Nxf6 Bxh1 13.Nxh7 Be4 14.dxe4 (if 14.Bxb8 Rxb8 15.dxe4 Rd8 16.Qxd8 a5 17.Qxa5 0-1) Nd7 15.Qxd7 Rc8 16.Qxc8 a6 17.Qxa6 0-1) 11. Nxf6 Nc6 12.Nxh7 (if 12.Bxc6 bxc6 13.Nxh7 Rb8 14.Bxb8 c5 15.Bxa7 Bd7 16.Bxc5 Bh3 17.Nxh3 0-1) b5 13.Bxc6 Bb7 14.Bxb7 (or 14.Bxb5 Ba6 15.Bxa6 Rc8 16.Bxc8 a6 17.Bxa6 0-1) Rc8 15.Bxc8 a5 16.Bxa5 b4 17.Bxb4 0-1
    • 1.e4?? b5 2.Bxb5 Nf6 3.Bxd7 Nxe4 and white loses no matter which capture he chooses:
      • 4.Bxe8 Qxd2 5.Qxd2 (if 5.Bxf7 Qxc1 6.Qxc1 Nxf2 7.Kxf2 Rg8 8.Bxg8 g6 9.Bxh7 e5 10.Bxg6 e4 11.Bxe4 Nc6 12.Bxc6 Bb7 13.Bxb7 Rc8 14.Bxc8 a6 15.Bxa6 c4 16.Bxc4 Ba3 17.Nxa3 0–1) 5...Nxd2 6.Kxd2 Rg8 7.Bxf7 c5 8.Bxg8 g6 9.Bxh7 e5 10.Bxg6 e4 11.Bxe4 Nc6 12.Bxc6 Bb7 13.Bxb7 Rc8 14.Bxc8 a6 15.Bxa6 c4 16.Bxc4 Ba3 17.Nxa3 0–1
      • Or 4.Bxc8 Nxd2 5.Bxd2 Qxd2 6.Qxd2 Na6 7.Bxa6 Rc8 8.Bxc8 f5 9.Bxf5 Rg8 10.Bxh7 c5 11.Bxg8 e6 12.Bxe6 c4 13.Bxc4 a6 14.Bxa6 g5 15.Qxg5 Kd8 16.Qxd8 Be7 17.Qxe7 0–1

Citations

  1. ^ Pritchard (2007), p. 86
  2. ^ a b c Pritchard (1994), p. 176

Bibliography

External links[edit]