Mandatory Participation Chess

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What is this?

The key idea here is "if a piece is inactive for too long, it's removed from the game".


A normal chess board and pieces to play on, and some method to count turns-of-inactivity per piece. A computerised version of this would have that built-in, but a physical game may handle it by having a set of buckets (conceptual buckets. In practice cups?) within which a second of each piece resides. Alongside the cups is a counter, thereby allowing all pieces to have their count changed reasonably quickly


Every piece has a counter of how many turns since it was last moved. If it passes the threshold of inactivity, it is removed from the game.

The game has not been playtested, so the main open question is: what should the threshold be? The main idea is:

  • Some offset to the count of player pieces remaining (ie, n±x)
    • If the offset=0 and no pieces are lost, then a player could keep ALL pieces in play by playing the one about to expire each time. It means after the initial 16 turns then the piece played becomes predictable.
    • Offset to current piece count means that should a low-idle-count piece be taken, the threshold reduces and the highest-idle piece may simultaneously be lost - and lead to a chain reaction!
  • some ratio to the count of pieces (basically a dynamic offset rather than a static one)
  • the threshold could also simply be a static value that does not change throughout the game, in which case it will impact early games far more than endgames.

Additional rule ideas

  • the king is excempt from threshold and may remain motionless forever (I'm not a fan of this idea)
  • the kings movements excempt other pieces from having their idle count increment. (I think this is appropriate)


This game came about from this discussion thread on facebook:

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