Mob Chess

Invented by Lord Dunsany in the 1940s, this variant is popular due to its striking asymmetry. It is like a boardgame version of Space Invaders. Black has 32 pawns.


The orderly white army has to face the onslaught of the mob of advancing pawns. The objective for White is to capture all the enemy pawns. Black wins by checkmating White (or – for beginners – by capturing the White king). White goes first. The black pawns on the first rank can move two squares on their first move. There is no en passant. The black pawns can promote to a piece. Stalemate arises if either side cannot move – which means that the result is a draw.

The preponderance of pawns seems overwhelming. However if the white queen can infiltrate behind enemy lines, it can cause a great deal of havoc. The queen can pick off the pawns when they try to advance. To make this plan work, a number of black pawns will need to be exchanged, and pieces sacrificed, to create room for the queen to manoeuvre into the enemy half.

The white queen has broken through

Note that you need four sets of pieces to set this game up.