Atomic Chess

(Under Construction)

The most explosive chess game.

1. Game Rules

The game is played using standard chess pieces and board, starting from the standard chess setup. All pieces move and capture as in standard chess (including pawn promotion, en-passant etc). Castling is allowed (although rarely useful).

Pieces explode while capturing, knocking out any adjacent pieces of both colours (including the taken piece and the piece which tried to capture it). Pawns are only destroyed when capturing or being captured, otherwise remain intact. For example, after white plays Nxc7 on the left diagram below, the position from the right diagram results (note that the pawns on d6 and b7 survived the explosion):


Before... (r1bqkb1r/ppp1pppp/n11p1111/1N111111/1111PPn1/11111111/PPPP11PP/R1BQKBNR)



... and after Nxc7 (r111kb1r/pp11pppp/n11p1111/11111111/1111PPn1/11111111/PPPP11PP/R1BQKBNR)

... and after Nxc7

The game can be won either by exploding the enemy king, or by checkmating him (see below for checkmate definition), or by opponent resignation. There are draws: by agreement, three-fold repetition, 50-move rule, and stalemate (stalemate is when the player to move has no legal move).

Any move that causes the explosion of one's own king is illegal. In particular, kings cannot capture because they would explode in the process. In contrast to standard chess, the two kings can stay on neighboring squares.

Check is defined as in standard chess, with one exception: if the two kings are on adjacent squares, neither king is considered to be in check, even if threatened by another piece (as the capture of one king would cause the explosion of the other). Moves which would open the king to check, or leave it in check, are normally forbidden - but this restriction does not apply if the executed move causes the explosion of the opponent's king. King explosion takes precedence over check.

Checkmate takes place if the player is in check, and is neither able to remove the check, nor to immediately explode the opponent's king.


2. Hints, Tips, and Tricks

If any piece adjacent to the king is taken, the king explodes and the game is lost, so watch for any threat to the pieces adjacent to your king. It is usually a good idea to keep your king mobile, and avoid having pieces on adjacent squares. As the king in the corner has limited mobility, castling is usually not recommended.

A lone Queen can checkmate the king, but K vs K+Q endgame is not always lost. The saving idea is to keep the king adjacent to the enemy king. This applies to many situations with material advantage, the losing side should try to connect the kings, while the winning one should cut off the enemy king from their own one.


Checkmate (4k3/4Q3/8/8/8/8/8/K)



Draw (3k4/4K3/8/8/2Q5/8/8/8)


There are a lot of opening traps, in particular double attacks on the pawns adjacent to the king. The most frequent trick of this kind is 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.Ne5 and black can not defend the king from explosion on f7 or d7. Possible defences against 1.Nf3 are 1...f6 or 1...e5 (and if 2.Ng5, then 2...f5).


3. Example Games

Black falls to explosion on f7 at move 3

The problems of missing the explosions

White sacrifices to win material or the game

White makes a good tradeoff in the opening and goes through to a winning endgame

White takes advantage of a weak opening to win

Black wins because of a early blunder by white

Nice mate by double-check


4. Additional source of info on the wiki

The Atomic Chess Handbook by sevillafc
#missingLink 1#


5. Additional info

The following sites offer a lot of atomic information (commented games, strategical and tactical hints, detailed rules explanation):,


Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy | Copyright © 2002 - 2024 | Westhoughton | Bolton | England