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Fuel Chess

This is a draw-free chess variant based on piece attrition. The idea is that a piece has to pay for the distance it travels, just as a car uses up fuel. Eventually the fuel is out and the piece cannot move any more. A player who cannot make a move loses the game.


The standard board and setup is used. Moreover one has to keep track of the amount of fuel each piece has left. Initially each piece has n units of fuel, where n is a parameter of the game. A good value for n might be around 50.


All rules of orthodox Chess apply, except for the following differences:

There is no draw by repetition, the 50-moves-rule or insufficient material.

Each piece has a fuel supply of initially n units (game parameter, positive integer). With every move a piece makes, it uses up an amount of fuel equal to the distance of the move: moving to the orthogonally or diagonally next square costs one unit, moving a distance of two costs two units and so on. A knight's move costs two units. Castling costs 2 for the king and 2 or 3 for the rook, equal to the distance it moves. Promoting a pawn does not change its fuel amount (except for the subtraction of 1 unit for the move to the last row).

The fuel supply must never become negative. A piece out of fuel cannot move any more, but stays on the board until it may be captured eventually. If a king is out of fuel, this does not end the game, but the king cannot move away from check any more.

A piece does not give check if the distance to the opposing King exceeds the number of fuel units it has left. This means that a king out of fuel may be checked by the other king, what would be checkmate.

If the player to move cannot make a legal move, that player loses the game. This can happen by checkmate, stalemate or being out of fuel.

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By Thomas .

Last revised by Thomas .

Web page created: 2023-01-21. Web page last updated: 2023-02-26