No Capture Chess

This is a misère version of chess whereby the main objective is not to lose rather than to win. The pieces move as in chess except that they are not allowed to make any captures. The game’s special character arises from the rule that every move must be forwards, whether vertically or diagonally; pieces are not allowed to move sideways or backwards. Capturing must also be forwards. A capture is eventually inevitable resulting in a loss for the player who makes the capture. Checkmate also wins – bearing in mind that the king cannot move backwards.

White is in zugzwang


There are no legal moves for White because captures are forbidden. The condition of being forced to make a losing move is known as zugzwang. Note that neither the Black king at d7 nor the White king at e3 are in check (from Nf8 and Qf2 respectively) because the apparently checking pieces cannot move or attack backwards.

The other losing condition is checkmate shown below.

Black is in checkmate


Black is in checkmate because the king is in check from the knight at e5 and it is not allowed to move backwards or sideways. Its only moves forwards are to squares controlled by the White knights.

This game is challenging because you have to find enough spare moves to avoid having to make a capture. One strategy is to move forwards as slowly as possible i.e. instead of moving the queen as far as possible, try moving it one square at a time.

Credit: Kaj Engstrom, Sweden