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This page is written by the game's inventor, Ilya Yudovski.


"Nostromo" is an educational chess game that was created as a part of the FIDE School Instructors course. One of our homework assignments was to create a small educational game for schoolchildren. Originally, we were asked to make a version of the so-called "chess labyrinth", but I decided to create a full-fledged game for two players, to work out the moves of pieces, basic ending principles, and basics of counting. As the name suggests, the game idea is based on the movie Alien. I'm well aware that this can be an unnecessarily fancy reference for younger children, so the alien and the Nostromo crew with Ripley can easily be turned into sheep, a shepherd, and a wolf. The game is quite simple, played on a regular chessboard with standard pieces.

The game is free to use and intended for fellow chess educators, development instructors, or anyone, who wants to enrich his chess learning routine. 

Ilya Yudovsky, 2023


The initial setup and starting position are shown on the diagram.


In the beginning, white has six pawns and a King vs. black's single knight. All pieces move by the rules of orthodox chess.

King: moves 1 step in eight directions on a not-attacked square. The King is in check if it is attacked by one or several enemy pieces. It is forbidden to play a move letting his King in check. There is no castling.

Knight jumps to the opposite square of a 2x3 rectangle, no matter what the intermediate square contains (identical to standard chess).

The pawn can move one square forward from its starting position on the board, without capturing. It captures one square diagonally forward. There is no initial two-square move nor en passant.


White starts, and their goal is to bring three or more pawns to the last, eighth rank. A pawn on the eighth rank is considered "saved" and immediately removed from the board. Black's goal is to take more than three pawns or White's king. Since a pawn that reaches the eighth rank is immediately removed from the board, it cannot be beaten, but - if the square to which the pawn is to go is under attack - such a move is considered illegal.

An Alien (black knight) - cannot be "killed", i.e. taken. It can only be "driven away", i.e. if the black knight is taken, it returns to the initial square (f6). The action of returning ("flight") is considered a separate move, so White moves immediately after the knight returns to f6.

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By Ilya Yudovski.

Last revised by Ilya Yudovski.

Web page created: 2024-02-02. Web page last updated: 2024-02-02