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Duck Chess

Duck Chess was invented by Dr. Tim Paulden in 2016, and has become quite popular since then. It belongs in the same class as Refusal Chess and Blue Chip Chess. But rather than forbidding opponent moves outright or by declaring a destination square 'out of bounds', moves are blocked by placing an uncapturable and unpassable obstacle ('the Duck'), similar to the Stones in Eight-Stone Chess.


The start position is that of orthodox Chess.

Officially the Duck does not start on the board, but is placed by the white player after the first white move. This makes no difference with starting the Duck in a location where it doesn't block any white move, though.


All white and black pieces move as in orthodox Chess, with the limitation that they should move as if the Duck is a friendly piece: they cannot move to its location, and sliders cannot move beyond it.

After each such move the Duck must be moved to another empty square. It can move to any such square, but it cannot stay on the square it already was.


There is no check in this variant; you win by capturing the enemy King.

This also means that you can castle even when your King is under attack, or must pass through a square that is under attack.

A stalemated player wins. (But since it is legal to move your King into check it is almost impossible to get stalemated.)

Otherwise all FIDE rules apply


In general the Duck would be placed to prevent the opponent's best move. Sometimes this is not possible (e.g. if that best move would be a contact capture, or there are several equivalent moves). An alternative strategy is to place the Duck on a square in order to 'reserve' your own move over that square for the next turn: the opponent must then move the Duck elsewhere, so you can be sure the square will be empty. This can be useful if the move you want to play next can only be blocked on a single square. (Otherwise the opponent would simply move the Duck to another square where it can be blocked, and you still cannot play it.) Even if moving the Duck away would expose his King to capture, The opponent would still have to do it!


Home page:

At and you can play Duck Chess on line.

This 'user submitted' page is a collaboration between the posting user and the Chess Variant Pages. Registered contributors to the Chess Variant Pages have the ability to post their own works, subject to review and editing by the Chess Variant Pages Editorial Staff.

Author: H. G. Muller. Inventor: Tim Paulden.

Last revised by H. G. Muller.

Web page created: 2023-01-02. Web page last updated: 2023-01-02