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The Chess Variant Pages

This page is written by the game's inventor, Keith Douglas.

Chess with an Infinite Board

Keith Douglas wrote me about the following variant:

Imagine the board is an infinite grid. Other rules are the same as conventional chess.

Note that this would have two alternatives with regards to pawn promotion: either they can't be, and just continue indefinitely in their direction, or you allow them to promote at the 8th (or some other) rank as normal.

It might be hard to mate in this variant: most endgames will be a draw. For instance, an endgame with a queen and a king against a lone king is a draw.

Possible additional rules

John Williams suggested the following additional rules, in order to overcome some problems with this variant. He wrote:

I thought of a rule to prevent a lot of the problems which occur with an infinite board.

It is the rule of "withdrawal from battle". If a piece moves, or if other pieces move away from it, so that there are eight or more empty spaces between that piece and any other piece, it is considered to have withdrawn from battle and is removed from the board.

Using this rule, a Q+K vs K is a win. Use the Queen to hold off the other king while your king moves eight spaces away (so there are seven intervening empty spaces), then move the queen to the other side of your king. The opponent's king is then vanquished by having eight empty spaces between it and any other piece.

Concerning pawn promotion, I would allow them to promote if they succeeded in getting past all of the opponent's pieces.

Written by Keith Douglas, John Williams and Hans Bodlaender.
WWW page created: February 4, 1997. Last modified: October 10, 1997.