Chess Variants/Atomic Chess

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When the knight captures the pawn on g7, it results in an "explosion" that destroys the knight and the nearby bishop and rook.

Introduction[edit | edit source]

Atomic Chess is an explosive variant that changes how captures work - all captures result in an explosion that removes nearby pieces from play.

History[edit | edit source]

Atomic chess was introduced in 1995 by the German Internet Chess Server (GICS), based on rules a GICS member collected from friends. From there it spread to other smaller chess servers before being added to Lichess.com in 2015 and Chess.com in late 2020.

Rules[edit | edit source]

In normal chess, when a piece makes a capture it moves to the square the enemy piece was on, and the enemy piece is removed from the board. However, in atomic chess when a piece makes a capture, an explosion occurs which covers a three-by-three radius of squares around the square where the capturing piece lands. Any non-pawn pieces caught in the radius of the explosion are removed from the board. The capturing piece is also removed.

Pawns are only removed if they are involved directly in a capture.

If an en passant capture takes place, the centre of the explosion is on the square where the capturing pawn would have otherwise landed.

A player may never make a capture that would result in their own king being blown up in the resulting explosion. As a result, kings are not allowed to make captures in atomic chess, and kings may position themselves on adjacent squares. Also, a player may not make a capture if the resulting explosion would expose their king to check.

If a player's king is blown up, they automatically lose the game.

A player may respond to check by making a capture that blows up the enemy king, if such a capture is available.

Sub-variants[edit | edit source]

This chess variant does not not have any notable sub-variants.