Duck Chess is an exhilarating new variant of the classic game of chess.
Invented in early 2016 by Dr. Tim Paulden, the president of Exeter Chess Club in Devon, England, Duck Chess introduces a unique and playful element to the game – a small rubber duck.
This duck acts as a “blocker,” adding a fresh layer of strategy and complexity to the traditional chess match.
What Is Duck Chess?
Duck Chess is a novel chess variant created in 2016 by Dr. Tim Paulden, adding a jointly controlled rubber duck as a “blocker” on the board, which must be moved to a new square after every turn.
Players cannot move their pieces onto or through the duck’s square, adding a unique layer of strategy and complexity to the traditional game.
The objective remains to capture the opponent’s king, with additional rules including no concept of check or stalemate, and a special “fowling” rule where a player with no possible moves wins the game immediately.
In Duck Chess, two players navigate the standard chess pieces along with a jointly controlled rubber duck.
The duck, which must be moved to a new square after every turn, acts as a blocker, preventing any piece from moving onto or through its occupied square.
The ultimate objective remains the same: capture the opponent’s king to claim victory.
To embark on a game of Duck Chess, players need a standard chess set and a small rubber duck, in addition to themselves.
The duck should be small enough to fit within a single square of the chessboard.
Each turn in Duck Chess comprises two actions:
- Making a standard chess move.
- Moving the duck to any empty square on the board.
It’s imperative to move the duck each turn; leaving it in place is not an option.
The Role of the Duck
The duck serves as a blocker on the board. Players cannot move their pieces onto or through the duck’s square, although knights retain their ability to jump over it.
The duck itself cannot be captured.
Winning the Game
Victory is achieved by capturing the opponent’s king.
Unlike traditional chess, there is no concept of check, allowing moves that do not remove an existing attack on the king or placing the king on an attacked square.
Players can use the duck to block such attacks, although it’s not mandatory.
- Players can castle as in standard chess, provided the king and rook have not moved, and the squares between them are empty.
- There is no stalemate in Duck Chess. Instead, a special “fowling” rule is in place: a player with no possible moves wins the game immediately.
Example of Notation in Duck Chess
In Duck Chess, standard notation is used to record a turn, followed by an “@” symbol and the square where the duck is placed.
For example, “Qxh5@g4” indicates the chess move Qxh5, followed by placing the duck at g4.
FAQs – Duck Chess
What is Duck Chess?
Duck Chess is an innovative chess variant where players not only move their standard chess pieces but also a small rubber duck that acts as a blocker on the board.
The duck must be moved to a new square after every turn, and no pieces can move onto or through the square it occupies.
The goal of the game is to capture the opponent’s king while navigating the additional challenge posed by the duck.
Who invented Duck Chess and when?
Duck Chess was invented in early 2016 by Dr. Tim Paulden, the president of Exeter Chess Club in Devon, England.
Dr. Paulden introduced the rubber duck as a unique element to add more complexity and fun to the traditional game of chess.
How is the rubber duck used in Duck Chess?
In Duck Chess, the rubber duck serves a crucial role as a “blocker.”
Both players have joint control over the duck, moving it to an empty square on the board after making their standard chess move.
The duck blocks any piece from moving onto or through its square, although knights can jump over it.
The duck itself cannot be captured, adding a strategic layer to the game as players must plan their moves considering the duck’s position.
How does a player win in Duck Chess?
A player wins in Duck Chess by capturing the opponent’s king.
Unlike traditional chess, there is no concept of check in Duck Chess, meaning players can make moves that do not remove an existing attack on their king or place their king on an attacked square.
Despite this, players are advised to use the duck to block attacks and prevent their opponent from capturing their king.
Are there any special rules in Duck Chess compared to traditional chess?
Yes, Duck Chess has several special rules that set it apart from traditional chess.
There is no concept of check or stalemate in Duck Chess. Additionally, a unique “fowling” rule is in place: if a player has no possible moves, they win the game immediately.
This rule is mainly relevant to composed Duck Chess problems and has little impact on practical play.
Players must also move the duck to a new square after every turn, and the duck cannot be left in its current position.
Can the duck be captured or moved through?
No, the duck in Duck Chess cannot be captured or moved through.
It acts as a solid blocker on the board, preventing any piece (except the knight, which can jump over it) from occupying or passing through its square.
This rule adds a unique strategic element to the game, as players must constantly adapt their plans based on the duck’s position.
How is the duck moved during the game?
During each turn in Duck Chess, after making a standard chess move, a player must move the duck to any empty square on the board.
This action is mandatory, and the duck cannot remain in its current position from turn to turn.
The movement of the duck adds an additional layer of strategy to the game, as players must consider not only their own plans but also how the duck’s position affects their opponent’s options.
Is castling allowed in Duck Chess?
Yes, castling is allowed in Duck Chess, provided that the king and rook involved have not yet moved, and all the squares between them are empty.
All check-related restrictions on castling are lifted in Duck Chess, as there is no concept of check in the game.
What is the “fowling” rule in Duck Chess?
The “fowling” rule in Duck Chess is a special rule where a player with no possible moves wins the game immediately.
This rule is quite rare in practical play and is mainly relevant to composed Duck Chess problems.
It replaces the concept of stalemate in traditional chess, offering a unique twist to the endgame scenarios in Duck Chess.
How is a turn notated in Duck Chess?
In Duck Chess, a turn is notated by writing down the chess move portion of the turn in the usual way, followed by an “@” symbol and the square on which the duck was placed.
For example, the notation “Qxh3@g2” denotes the chess move Qxh3, followed by the duck being placed at g2.
There is no symbol for check or checkmate in Duck Chess notation.
Duck Chess, with its unique addition of a rubber duck as a blocker, offers a refreshing and enjoyable twist to the conventional game of chess.
It encourages players to think creatively and strategically to navigate around the duck and capture the opponent’s king.
Whether you’re a seasoned chess player or a beginner, Duck Chess promises fun and challenging gameplay for everyone.