Progressive chess is a nice variant for those who like to solve tough problems! It also suits well for two players who differ in their knowledge in the openings of traditional chess. There are good and not so good openings in progressive chess, of course, but you or your opponent are less likely to know them thoroughly. Below you can find the basic rules.

The game has also the advantage of requiring less communication between the players while the number of moves is lower. The longest game I've ever played lasted for about 20 moves but most of the good games are over in 7 to 10 moves.


In the beginning white moves normally, then black moves twice, white moves three times etc., i.e. you always have one move more than your opponent had on his previous turn.

Your turn ends when you check the opponent's king. So, you can't take your opponent's king.

If you're in check your first move must get you out of check.

Otherwise, normal chess rules apply. (A couple of very rarely needed rules may still be mentioned. If you have no legal moves or you run out of legal moves during your turn you are stalemated and the game is drawn. If you move your pawn two steps from the original square and not after that during your turn, your opponent may capture that pawn en passant with his first move in the next turn if the target square is free.) These rules have been updated on Sunday, 7th of January, 1996, to make them consistent with the 'Scottish' progressive chess rules. There are also 'Italian' and 'English' rules that are described in the page by Hans Bodlaender where you can also find information on the very active organisation in this area, namely AISE (Associazione Italiana Scacchi Eterodossi, the Italian Association of Chess Variants).


World Internet Progressive Chess Championship is organized by Norbert Fogarasi, William Taylor, and myself.

Now, the final results of the WIPCC are available (commented by Bill, i.e. William Taylor).

There were 60 participants in the tournament. The first round results, gathered by Norbert, and edited and commented by Bill, were originally published by Bill in the newsgroup Bill has also written a more comprehensive set of comments on strategical issues.


Solving these problems may be a nice pastime, or serve as a preparation for the tournament!"


The following games were played during an international e-mail tournament organised by Timo Honkela (that's me :-) in 1992-1993. I would like to specially thank Noam D. Elkies, Norbert Fogarasi, William Taylor, and Jouni Tolonen for their contributions. The comments are mine unless otherwise stated. In addition to the specific comments, I try to outline some strategic issues. For instance, you may wish to bring your King into an open area!

The games are not in any particular order. If you find some of the games to be particularly aesthetic or delighting, please inform me. Any other comments are also welcome. I hope you don't copy this page to publish it elsewhere but you are, of course, free to visit here and link the page.

Dana Carroll (white) - James Davies (black)

1. Nf3
2. Nh6 e6
   Knight's move protects weak f7.
3. d4 Bxh6 Be3
4. f5 f4 fxe3 Bb4+
   In general, it is a good idea to end the series with a check.
   Here it wasn't enough. Black forgot to protect f7 again after
   having lost his knight. Other possibility would have been
   to give more space for his king by moving Ke7 or Kf7 rather
   than Bb4+.
5. c3 Ne5 Qd3 Qf5 Qf7#

Olli Yli-Harja (white) - Noam D. Elkies (black)

1. e3
2. d5 e5
3. Qg4 Qxc8 Qxd8+
4. Kxd8 Na6 Nb4 Nxc2+
5. Kd1 Kxc2 Nf3 Nxe5 Nxf7+
6. Ke8 Kxf7 g5 Ne7 Nc6 Nb4+
7. Kd1 Nc3 Nxd5 Nxc7 Nxa8 Be2 Bh5+
   Another possibility would have been to move King towards
   the center (Kb3, or Kc3) rather than Kd1. Having seven
   moves, a player has a vast amount of alternatives.
   First one usually tries to find the mating possibilities.
   If there are none, one needs to balance the material
   and positional concerns. Materialistic play include
   preventing unwanted captures as well as active destruction
   of opponent's material. In this game, White could have
   tried, for instance, to open his h line for the Rook
   by h4, hxg5, and then Rxh7, etc.
8. Ke6 Bg7 Rc8 Nd3 Bxb2 Bxc1 Rc2 Rxd2#

A comment by N.D.E.: A game somewhat reminiscent of the one
given by the Oxford Companion under "Progressive Chess":
after an early queen trade White stops Black from promoting
only to be mated at the 8th turn by Black's R,B,N already
on the board.

William Taylor (white) - Jyrki Heikkinen (black)

1. e4
2. e6 Bb4
   Bb4 seems to be ineffective.
3. a3 axb4 Nh3
   Nh3 protects f2.
4. b5 c5 d6 Kd7
   At first sight Black's moves seem valid but
   they leave too much room for White to operate.
5. d4 dxc5 Bg5 Bxd8 Qxd6+
   White has a strong position. First, Black must move the
   King, and then he needs a least three moves to eliminate
   White's Queen.
6. Ke8 Nf6 Nxe4 Nxd6 Kxd8 Kc7
   There were not too many possibilities left. 
7. Ra6 Rxd6 Bxb5 Ba6 Na3 Nb5++
   A nice mate.

Noam D. Elkies (white) - Ville Leppänen (black)

1. d3
2. Nf6 Na6
3. Bg5 Kd2 g3
   Kd2 is a strong move to make mating difficult for
   the opponent.
4. h6 Nh7 Nxg5 Ne4+
   This series of moves leaves the King totally
   unprotected. Protection in progressive chess
   does not, mainly, mean strong pieces surrounding
   the King, on the contrary, space is needed so
   that chances for an escape are maximised.
   Here unprotected f7 is, of course, the final
   weakness in Black's position.
5. dxe4 e3 Bc4 Qf3 Qxf7#

Jyrki Heikkinen (white) - Timo Honkela (black)

1. e3
2. e5 Nh6
   Protects f7.
3. Bc4 Qe2 Bxf7+
   Ke2 might have been stronger than Qe2.
4. Kxf7 d5 Bg4 Bxe2
5. Nxe2 Kd1 Nd4 Ne6 Nxd8+
   The material is about equal and Black has six moves to use.
6. Ke8 Kxd8 Ba3 Bxb2 Bxa1 Rg8
   Black moved Rg8 for two reasons: it elimininates to some extent
   bishops potential to "destroy" material (Bb2 Bxa1 Bxe5 Bxg2 Bxg7 Bxh8),
   and g-pawn cannot take both the knight (h6) and the rook (h8).
7. Ba3 d3 g4 g5 g6 gxh7 hxg8Q+
   The move d3 opens up a bit space for the King but that was not
   enough. As can be seen, only one move was left for the Black!
8. Kd7 Bc3 Bd2 Na6 Rf8 Rxf2 Ng4 Nxe3X

Jim Davies (white) - Stan Dunn (black)

1. e3
2. d6 f6
3. Qg4 Qxg7 Qxh8
4. e5 Bg7 Bxh8 Ne7
5. d4 dxe5 exf6 fxe7 exd8/Q+
   Very effective pawn: five moves, four captures! 4. e6 would
   have avoided at least this inconvenient situation. It was
   important that White moved exf6 (and not exd6) because
   Black would have had a nice chance to win the game:
   6. Kf7 Bg4 Na6 Rxd8 Rd1X! As you can see, small details
   can be extremely important in progressive chess.
6. Kxd8 Bxb2 Bxa1 Bh3 Bxg2 Bxh1
7. Bh3 f4 f5 f6 f7 f8/Q#

James Davies (white) - William Taylor (black)

1. e3
2. e6 Bb4
3. a3 axb4 Nh3
   Knight protects f2. Otherwise it would be easy
   for Black to attack f2 successfully with Knight and Queen.
4. Qf6 Qxb2 Qxc1 Qxd1+
   Rather common manoeuvre: Bishop and Queen captured with
   Queen ending with check.
5. Kxd1 Rxa7 Rxa8 Rxb8 Rxc8+
   Line was open for the Rook.
6. Ke7 Nf6 Rxc8 Ra8 Ra1 Rxb1+
   As so often in progressive chess, one would be able
   to mate if there were one move more available:
   6. Ke7 f5 f4 f3 fxg2 gxh1Q (Qxf1X).
7. Ke2 b5 b6 bxc7 c8/Q Qxb7 Qxb1
8. g5 g4 gxh3 hxg2 gxf1/R Rxb1 Rxh1 Rxh2
   Move gxf1/Q would have been check.
9. d4 d5 dxe6 exf7 f8/R Rxf6 Rh6 Rxh2 Kd2
10. d5 d4 d3 dxc2 c1/R Rh1 Rxh2 Rh5 Kf6 Kf5
11. white resigns

Comment by N.D.Elkies:  In this amusing game, it seems
White could have forced a draw by ending his ninth move
with Rxh7+ (instead of Kd2) when Black can do no better
than reach a K+R vs. K ending, which cannot be won unless
the lone King is already on an edge of the board.

A comment by W.T.: It was a game of massive underpromotion.
In fact, James could have won by underpromoting to a knight
on move 9, but missed this in favour of a different (losing)
underpromotion. No doubt there were lots of other mistakes too,
by both of us; but it is a fascinating game, with so many

A comment but T.H.: by underpromoting to a knight, W.T.
presumably means something like: 9. ... f8/N Nxd7 Nxf6
Ng4 Nxh2 f4. Now Black does not have the time to take White's
Knight from h2 and to promote h-pawn. Better strategy might be
to take c2 and then come back to f6 with K. Anyway, White
is able to take Black's last pawn and then slowly proceed
with his pawns.

Jouni Tolonen (white) - Olli Yli-Harja (black)

1. d3
2. a5 Nf6
3. Nc3 Nd5 Nxf6+
4. exf6 d5 Ke7 f5
   Black succeeded in creating a lot of free space around his King.
5. b4 b5 e3 Nf3 Kd2
   White did not succeed in his similar aim. Instead of b4 b5
   White could have moved a4 and then used the extra move
   to prevent the mate.
6. c5 c4 cxd3 d4 Qc7 Qc3++
   Very nice mate!

Joel Yang (white) - Hugh Brodie (black)

1. e4
2. d5 e5
3. f3 exd5 Bb5+
4. c6 cxb5 Nh6 Na6
5. d4 Bg5 Bxd8 d6 d7+
6. Bxd7 exd4 d3 dxc2 Kxd8 cxd1(Q)+
7. Kxd1 a4 axb5 bxa6 axb7 Rxa7? (Ke2! or Kd2!) bxa8(Q)+
8. Bc8 Bb4 Re8 Nf5 Nd4 Re1++

Frank Gomez (white) - Joel Yang (black)

1. e4
2. e6 Nf6
3. e5 ef Nh3
4. Qxf6 Qxb2 Qxc1 Qxd1+
5. Kxd1 Bc4 Re1 Bxe6 Bb3+
6. Kd8 Bb4 Bxd2 Bb4 Re8 Rxe1#

Jyrki Heikkinen (white) - James Davies (black)

1. Nf3
2. e6 Nh6
3. d4 Bg5 Bxd8
4. Kxd8 Ng4 Nxf2 Nxd1
5. Nc3 Rxd1 d5 dxe6 e4
6. fxe6 Bb4 Rf8 Rxf3 Rxc3 Rxc2+
7. Rd2 Be2 Bh5 Rf1 Rf7 Re7 Re8X

Norbert Fogarasi (white) - Joel Yang (black)

1. e4
2. e6 Nf6
3. Qf3 Qxf6 Qxd8+
4. Kxd8 f5 fxe a5
5. Nc3 Nxe4 a4 Rb1 Be2
6. Ke7 Ra6 Rb6 Rxb2 Rxb1 Rxc1+
7. Bd1 Ne2 Nxc1 Nd6 Be2 d3 Nxc8+
8. Kf7 Nc6 Nb4 Nd5 Ne3 Ba3 Bb2 Bc3++

Olli Yli-Harja (white) - Dennis Breuker (black)

1. e3
2. c5 Nh6
3. g4 g5 gxh6
4. d5 Be6 gxh6 Bg7
5. Bc4 Bxd5 Bxe6 Qf3 Qxf7++

Olli Yli-Harja (white) - Ville Leppänen (black)

1. e3
2. e6 Nf6
3. Nh3 Nc3 b3
4. d6 Ne4 Nxc3 Nxd1
5. Ng5 Nxf7 Nxd8 Kxd1 Bb5+
6. Kxd8 a6 axb5 Rxa2 Rxa1 Be7
7. Ke2 Bb2 Rxa1 Ra8 Rxb8 Bxg7 Bxh8
8. Bf6 Bxh8 Bc3 Bxd2 Bxe3 Bxf2 Ba7 Bxb8
9. c4 c5 cxd6 d7 dxc8N h3 Kd3 Nd6 Ne4
10. Ke7 Kf7 Kg6 Kf5 h6 Ba7 Bc5 Bd6 b6
11. Nc3 Nxb5 Nxc7 Nxe6 Nf4 Kd4 Kd5 Kxd6 Kd5 Kd4 Ke3
12. Ke5 Kd6 Kc5 Kb4 Kxb3 Kc4 Kc5 Kd6 Ke5 b5 b4 Kf5
13. Nd3 Nxb4 Nd5 Nf6 Kf3 Kg3 Kh4 Kh5 Kxh6 Kg7 h4 h5 g4+
14. Black resigns

Timo Honkela (white) - James Davies (black)

1. e4
2. e6 Qe7
3. Nc3 Nd5 Nxe7
4. Nxe7 Nf5 Ne3 Nxd1
5. d4 Bh6 Bxg7 Bxf8 Kxd1
6. f5 fxe4 Rxf8 Nc6 Nxd4 Rxf2
7. Ba6 Ne2 Nf4 Ng6 Rf1 Rxf2 Rf8++

Ville Leppänen (white) - Jouni Tolonen (black)

1. e3
2. e6 Nh6
3. Nh3 d4 Kd2
4. Ng4 Nxf2 Nxd1 d5
5. Be2 Bh5 Rf1 Rxf7 Rxg7X

William Taylor (white) - Dana Carroll (black)

1. e4
2. f6 Nc6
3. Qg4 Qxg7 Qxh8
4. d5 Bg4 Nd4 Nc2#

William Taylor (white) - Timo Honkela (black)

1. e4
2. e5 Nh6
3. Qg4 Qg5 Qxd8+
4. Kxd8 Ng4 Nxf2 Nxh1
5. d4 Bh6 Bxg7 Bxh8 Bf6+
6. Be7 Bxf6 exd4 d5 dxe4 Ke7
7. Ba6 Bxb7 Bxc8 Nc3 Rd1 Rxd4 Rxe4+
8. Kf8 Bg5 a5 Ra6 Rf6 Ng3 Rf1++

Stan Dunn (white) - Jyrki Heikkinen (black)

1. d4 
2. d6 f6 
3. d5 c4 e4 
4. Bg4 Bxd1 Bc2 Bxe4 
5. Bg5 Bxf6 Bxe7 Bxd8 Bh4

Stan Dunn - William Taylor

1. d4
2. d6 f6
3. Bg5 Bxf6 Bxg7
4. Bxg7 Bg4 Bxe2 Bxd1
5. Nf3 Ne5 Nf7 Nxd8 Kxd1
6. h5 h4 h3 hxg2 gxh1(Q) Qxf1+
7. Kd2 Nc3 Rxf1 Nf7 Nxh8 Ng6 Nd1
8. Bxd4 Bxf2 Bh4 Nc6 Kd7 Rf8 Rxf1 Rxd1+
9. Ke3 a4 a5 a6 ab b8=Q Kf4 Kf5 Nf8++

Comment by W.T:
In 6th move I had several mates in 7; so near and yet so far!

Noam D. Elkies (white) - Dennis Breuker (black)
1. Nf3
2. Nh6 e5
3. d4 Bg5 Bxd8
4. Kxd8 Ng4 Nxf2 Nxd1
5. Nxe5 h4 Rh3 Re3 Nxf7++

Timo Honkela (white) - Stan Dunn (black)

1. e4
2. c5 Nc6
3. Bc4 Qf3 Bxf7++

One must remember that many participants of the tournament
were playing progressive chess for the first time in their
life. Here I was the lucky one to get an easy win.

Back to my home page.

Copyright Timo Honkela <>