Kriegspiel

(Under Construction, Diagrams to be added)

The name for this game is German for "War Game". You do not see your opponent's forces.

 

1. Game Rules

The pieces are initially set up according to standard chess rules.

Opponent's pieces and pawns are hidden. The following detailed visibility rules are in place:

  • all your pieces are visible,
  • all pieces belonging to the opponent are invisible (not displayed in any way),
  • you can not see which pieces you have taken
  • you are told after each move only how many pieces your opponent still has,
  • you are told after each move if you have captured a piece (for example, 'Rx?') However, you can not tell which type of piece you have captured.
  • Your opponent's moves are displayed as question marks (however, they are appended with '+' and '#' for check and mate, and '?xR' indicates you have just lost a rook! ).

 

8/8/8/8/2P5/N2PPN1P/PPQBBPP1/R3K2R
Example Kriegspiel board after a few moves. There is no information which black pieces are present on the board and where they are placed.

Piece movement is exactly as in standard chess. However, the first legal move that you attempt to make is final. There is no Submit button! This means that when it is your turn to move, and you pick up a piece and drop it in any (legal!) square, that constitutes your move - no takebacks!

You may try illegal move, in such case the attempt fails and you can try something else.

The game is ended with mate, resignation, stalemate (which is draw), or draw agreement. There is no 50-move rule, or 3-fold repetition (you can't know whether they happened, after all).

Note: if you wish to resign, you must enter a move with your resignation (select Resign and then make any move), since there is no submit button.

 

2. Hints

 

2.1. Elementary tips

Many players test all possible pawn captures before attempting any other moves. Since a pawn move is different from a capture, this allows the player to attempt these pawn captures before committing to a non-capture move.

Just as in standard chess, you must get out of check as your first priority. However, one clever thing to do when in check is to attempt all possible captures that might remove the check situation, before attempting other ways of eliminating check.

It makes sense to keep all your pieces protected, if one of your pieces disappear, you can recapture.

 

2.2. Game strategy

Slightly rephrased text originally posted by epictetus cincinnatus as comment to this page.

It is very important to understand that the mindset for playing chess well is completely different from the mindset for playing kriegspiel well. Chess played well is predominantly about offense. Kriegspiel played well is predominantly about defense. Chess involves reasoning from complete knowledge. Kriegspiel involves reasoning from incomplete knowledge. In fact, a very useful trait for kriegspiel is paranoia.

All rules below should be treated as a rules of thumb. They have a point, but there are always exceptions dictated by extenuating circumstances.

The value of the pieces is a bit different than in standard chess. I would rate the relative strength of the pieces as follows: queen 7; rook 4; bishop 3; knight 2; pawn 2 (because pawn promotion is very common); and king 3. Vulnerability to attack means the spread in strength of pieces is less.

For as long as possible make sure as many of your pieces as possible are supported by as many of your pieces as possible. In other words, always think in terms of defensive structure when making moves, especially early in the game. Defend everything possible because you don't know where an attack will come from.

Hide you stronger pieces in out of the way places or behind weaker pieces.

Always check for possible pawn captures.

During a series of exchanges always capture with the weakest piece available first and stronger pieces later.

Be cautious in attacks. When deciding to attack a square threaten the square with as many pieces as possible and generally push the attack as long as possible. Attack with your weaker pieces first and your stronger pieces later.

Do not put the opposing king in check gratuitously. That can provide information about your position, but when you do put the king in check that can be a very important piece of information to have.

Be aggressive (but not too aggressive) with your king. Discovering where it can't move can provide a wealth of information as to your opponent's position.

Study your opponent's games before you play them. Noticing early opening tendencies can often give you a leg up in constructing your defense or even allow for an early ambush.

Conversely, try to avoid particular tendencies in your own early game.

Be patient. It's rare that you have to rush into anything and you're more likely than not to simply stumble into trouble.

 

2.3. Example Endgame Study

Contrary to common perceptions, it is not that very difficult to create checkmate late in the endgame with only a king and queen against a bare king.

Divide & Conquer. The first task is to setup the queen in the center. The board will then be divided into four quadrants or corrals (the insurmountable fence represented by shades.)

4?3/4?3/4?3/4?3/????Q???/3K?3/4?3/4?3

Now we know the opponent's king is trapped in one of the four quadrants. But where exactly?

Search & Destroy. The second task is to find the opponent's king. The white king has to move and roam from quadrant to quadrant until it meets resistance. When the king can't move into a target square we know the other king is nearby.

Going back to the above diagram, (assuming the lower left quadrant [a1-d3] has already been thoroughly searched and cleared,) now let's say white tried to move 1.Ke2 but was unable to. Resistance, that means the other king is in one of two (2) possible squares (shaded for demonstration.)

 

8/8/8/8/4Q3/3K4/5?2/5?2

Apply the Squeeze. Now tactics comes into play 1.Qe3 [further reducing the quadrant area] ? 2.Ke4 ? 3.Kf4 ? 4.Kg4 ?

 

8/8/8/8/6K1/4Q3/6??/5?1?

Now the other king could be in one of the four (4) different squares (again shaded for demo only).

5.Qd2 [again squeeze!] [not 5.Kg3 right away because there's a real good possibility of stalemate] ?

 

8/8/8/8/6K1/8/3Q4/5???

6.Kg3 ? 7.Qd1# 

Of course there are other ways to skin a cat.

 

3. Example games

Note, that while playing, players did not see opponent pieces.

K+R+B vs. King. - Here's a nice endgame tactics . Once surfnsuds has pinpointed black's whereabouts, there's no escape from his accurate and scheming mind. This game also shows how important it is for the king to support the other pieces in the endgame.

A short longshot. - A lucky miniature. Must see.

Against all odds. (I am still smarting over this one! - suds)

Please, add some


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