Benedict Chess


No captures, no checks or mates. Attacked piece flips (changes the color). Unique game with very specific tactical patterns.

1. Game Rules

The game uses Standard Chess pieces, and standard chess initial position. Pieces move as in Standard Chess, except that captures are not allowed.

When a moved piece attacks (threatens it with what would be a legal capture in Standard Chess) the attacked piece changes color - it defects. A piece that changes color - a traitor - has full function for the new side and can be moved on the very next move; but it does not attack an opposing piece to change its color until it is moved on a subsequent move.



Black just played Qd3 (rnb1kbnr/pp1ppppp/8/2p5/8/3qpN2/pPppqPPP/RNBK1B1R)

Black just played Qd3

Discovered or uncovered threats have no effect. Nor do “chain reactions” occur. Only the piece that is moved can attack an opposing piece to cause it to defect.

When pawns promote, the promotion piece (for example, the queen) attacks as a moved piece would; that is, upon “queening”, opposing pieces and pawns that are attacked by the new queen defect.

The object of Benedict Chess is to change the color of the opposing player’s king. This is done by attacking it with a moved piece.

There is neither "check" nor checkmate. If the player with the turn has no legal moves available, but still has an unflipped king, then it is considered stalemate and the game is drawn.

When castling, only the King is considered to have moved and hence to attack adjacent squares. The Rook does not attack as a result of a castle.

Castling is allowed on the following conditions:

  • neither king, nor the rook has moved,
  • rook has not been flipped (if opp flips the rook, then you re-flip it, castling is no longer allowed)

Note: it is possible to castle through the check (or rather something what would be a check in normal chess) - there is no concept of check in Benedict.


2. Tips and tricks

Benedict tactics are quite different from standard chess. You will have to play a few games, or review other player's games, to get a "feel" for this variant. Games are usually quite short, often ten moves or fewer. Most games are won by mounting a series of threats directly against the king, although sometimes it is possible to gain control over the game by flipping most of the opponent's pieces, and only then go after the king.

The most useful attacking pieces are the queen and the knight. The queen is by far the most powerful piece, and generally the first player to safely bring out the queen has a decisive advantage. Because of the lack of capturing, the defender's king can sometimes hide behind a wall of pieces, and this can be difficult to break through. Sometimes the defender has no choice but to shuffle the king back and forth, turning surrounding pieces to the friendly color with each move. In these sorts of positions, a knight is usually quite effective at finishing the king off. See this game for simple example.

Another important tactic is to flip opponent's pawns on their starting squares. This often creates a threat of promotion, or ties down the opponent's pieces blocking the pawns from promoting. In this regard, the pawns on d2 and d7 are especially important, since if they are flipped to the opposing color, the queen is often effectively paralyzed (if the queen moves out too far, the pawn can move to d1 or d8, promoting and flipping the king). When promoting a pawn, keep in mind the option to promote to a knight, sometimes that is the strongest play.

Sometimes a key play is to place a piece on a square preventing the opponents piece from being able to occupy that square. This is a useful tactic to prevent knight forks. The queen placed where the knight would play (c3,c6:f3,f6) prevents the attack.


3. Example games

Benedict fool mate - how to be mated on the 2nd move.

Behind the enemy wall - characteristical set of flipped pawns.

The board is white - white win by converting most of the opponent pieces.

Benedict stalemate - yes, it happened (only once so far).


4. Additional info

Some opening statistics

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