by Daryl Lyn
(Denver, CO, USA)
As an experienced chess player, I hated Anti-Chess at first. It felt like those beginning days of chess when the school's 4th grade savant cleared the entire board of my pieces in 5 minutes. If you yearn for those days, this is the game to try!
In my opinion, the game should be played on a computer, because it is impossible for 2 human players to perfectly see what moves might be “forced” by the “must take a piece if you can” rule. For me, chess is more than just a mathematical and logical game. I usually can tell much about a person by the way that they play, and often I have won games against opponents just by “psyching them out”, and had they studied the board more thoroughly, they would have noticed my unprotected queen but for that they were focused on their knight which I had just moved to threaten. My observation about anti-Chess is that this phenomena is greatly decreased if not totally eliminated.
Strategically, anti-Chess is very different from the regular game. In regular chess, there is wisdom in arranging your pieces so that you threaten more spaces. This is called “controlling more of the board”. In anti-Chess, this is one of the worst things that you can do. This leads to having spaces that if the opposing player moves into, you are forced to take their piece. If they have “unprotected” pieces in line with this space, this will lead to a long string of moves that you are “forced” to make. The wise move in anti-Chess is to arrange your defensive line so that as few of your offensive pieces threaten other spaces as possible.
Setting up lines:
An opening of 1.h4 followed by 2.Nh3 leaves a line for the opposing rook. You can follow this with a 12 step plan. 1. The opposing rook will be forced to take the pawn. 2. You move the knight. 3. The opposing rook will be forced to take your king's rook. 4. Do something. 5. The opposing rook is forced to take the king's bishop. 6. Do something. 7. The opposing rook is forced to take the king. 8. Do something if your queen is out of the way. 9. The opposing rook is forced to take the queen's bishop. 10. Do something. 11. The opposing rook is forced to take the queen's knight. 12. If your rook is present, you are forced to take the opposing rook.
The previous example is a basic run down to give you an idea about anti-Chess strategy. The faster you can remove your power pieces from the board, the better. Your queen becomes a problem unless you can arrange for it to be taken by an opposing knight. Eliminating your knights is actually rather easy, as they can be marched into harms way very quickly. Give the game a try, and maybe you will find a few strategies that work for you.
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