Why you shouldn't bother with chess


Staff member
While chess at first might seem like a game about being smart coming up with traps and smart plan in reality it's very much about memorizing moves for specific situations.

So in addition to the needlessly complicated rules you also have to memorize which moves you that are good to make in order to even stand a chance at the highest level.

But it get's worse, chess is a very drawing game at high level, winning dependa on your opponent screwing up rather than you actually playing well yourself. Rather than an exciting fight to the finish chess games at high level tends to end in draws making the whole thing feel rather pointless.


Engine domination and cheating
It's very easy for computers to play chess as a much higher level than humans can. This opens up the door wide open for cheating at online matches.

The only somewhat reliable way to prevent that is to have very short time-control so people do not have time to cheat via some engine (such as stockfish 15) but theoretically you could still get around even that.

But the short-time format is pretty bad in the sense that it makes the game even more reliant on theory and people will not have the time to figure out great moves and strategies to actually play close to their best.

Of course if you make an accurate move every time the system will see that and you might get banned but if you only sometimes use an engine they will have no way of catching you if you run the engine on a separate computer.


Too many draw conditions
A proper strategy game will always produce a winner if played to conclusion but this is not the case with chess. Chess instead has many draw conditions

Article 5 of the 2018 FIDE Laws of Chess gives the basic ways a game may end in a draw; more complicated ways are detailed in Article 9: (Schiller 2003:26–29).
  • Stalemate – if the player on turn has no legal move but is not in check, this is stalemate and the game is automatically a draw.
  • Threefold repetition rule – if an identical position has occurred at least three times during the course of the game with the same player to move each time, and is the current position on the board or will occur after the player on turn makes their move, the player on move may claim a draw (to the arbiter). In such a case the draw is not automatic – a player must claim it if they want the draw. When the position occurs for the third time after the player's intended next move, they write the move on their score sheet but does not make the move on the board and claims the draw. Article 9.2 states that a position is considered identical to another if the same player is on move, the same types of pieces of the same colors occupy the same squares, and the same moves are available to each player; in particular, each player has the same castling and en passant capturing rights. (A player may lose their right to castle; and an en passant capture is available only at the first opportunity.) If the claim is not made on the move in which the repetition occurs, the player forfeits the right to make the claim. Of course, the opportunity may present itself again.
  • Fifty-move rule – if in the previous 50 moves by each side, no pawn has moved and no capture has been made, a draw may be claimed by either player. Here again, the draw is not automatic and must be claimed if the player wants the draw. If the player whose turn it is to move has made only 49 such moves, they may write their next move on the scoresheet and claim a draw. As with the threefold repetition, the right to claim the draw is forfeited if it is not used on that move, but the opportunity may occur again.
  • Fivefold repetition – If the same position occurs five times during the course of the game, the game is automatically a draw (i.e. a player does not have to claim it).
  • Seventy-five-move rule – If no capture or no pawn move has occurred in the last 75 moves (by both players), the game is automatically a draw (i.e. a player does not have to claim it). If the last move was a checkmate, the checkmate stands.
  • Impossibility of checkmate – if a position arises in which neither player could possibly give checkmate by a series of legal moves, the game is a draw. Such a position is called a dead position. This is usually because there is insufficient material left, but it is possible in other positions too, such as a blocked king and pawn ending where it is impossible for either king to capture the pawns. Combinations with insufficient material to checkmate include:
    • king versus king
    • king and bishop versus king
    • king and knight versus king
    • king and bishop versus king and bishop with the bishops on the same color.
  • Mutual agreement – a player may offer a draw to their opponent at any stage of a game. If the opponent accepts, the game is a draw.


Anti-draw chess
Instead of declaring a draw when a draw condition is met why not give the win to the player with the least material?

Pawn = 1
horse = 3
bishop = 3
rock = 5
queen = 9

Not that this does not depend on the position of the peaces so a passed pawn that could be made into a queen in 1 move still has a value of 1 for this. You just add the sums for the peaces when what is normally a draw-condition and the player with the highest score loses.

Alternative 0
If the material sum is equal the player who did the last capture wins, if no capture has been made black wins.

Alternative 1
If the material sum is equal white loses and black wins (can also be accomplished by adding +1/2 to the white material sum).

Alternative 2
If the material sum is equal the last player to move a pawn loses and the other player wins (black wins if no pawn was moved).

Alternative 3
If the material sum is equal the last player who captured a pawn wins (black wins if no pawn was captured).

Alternative 4
If the material sum is equal the player we look at the latest position with uneavel material sum that wasn't proceeded by a capture, if no such position have existed black wins.

Alternative 5
If the material sum is equal the player with the most time left wins.

Alternative 6
If the material sum is equal the game ends in a draw

How it will be played
Players are also banned for agreeing to a draw. The game always ends up with one winning.

This will be similar to standard chess at low-level but at the highest level this will be a very different game from standard-chess. It opens up the door for new strategies to use the system to your advantage (which is intended). This should not be viewed as "a better version of chess", it's a new game.

If someones time runs out he/she will always lose (even if the opponent only has his/her king left).


Chess 960
This very significantly reduces the theory aspect of the game by randomizing the game to 960 different starting positions

You could still of course study theory by learning it for all 960 different starting positions, it just takes a lot more work for relative to the benefit in terms of improvement of quality of your play relative to standard chess.


About anti-engine positions
While it is true that there are positions where engines are having difficulties pretty much without exception if we just give stockfish enough CPU power it will find the solution, this is especially the case with the beta for stockfish 15


So while stockfish 15 doesn't correctly evaluate the position (not realizing it's a draw) it still found the correct moves to make.

Here stockfish is preferring another move.


The issue of stockfish not regognizing fortresses was actually fixed in another engine "crystal" but for some reason that engine never found how to get there so it and failed for that reason (it's pruning seem inferior to the current version of stockfish 15).