Behemoth Chess, an innovative chess variant devised by Donald Seagraves, introduces an exciting twist to the traditional chess rules. This variant incorporates a powerful game element called the Behemoth, which possesses the ability to annihilate any piece it encounters. Below, you’ll find a visual representation of the starting configuration in Behemoth Chess (the red circle marks the Behemoth):
In the depicted game arrangement, the Behemoth occupies a prominent position on square d4, located centrally on the board. This placement was strategically chosen for two primary reasons:
- Ensuring the initial safety of both kings: By commencing the game with the Behemoth on D4, no king is immediately exposed to potential threats or attacks. This promotes a fair and balanced start for both players.
- Favoring proximity to the white king: Considering that the white player takes the first turn, positioning the Behemoth closer to the white king enhances the element of challenge and encourages strategic decision-making right from the outset.
In Behemoth Chess, following every move made by any player, the Behemoth itself also makes a move. The Behemoth’s movement is determined randomly, allowing it to advance a distance of 1 to 4 squares in any direction, which is also randomly chosen. If the Behemoth’s movement would take it off the board, it reemerges on the opposite side.
Notably, the Behemoth possesses the remarkable power to obliterate all pieces that fall within its movement path, regardless of their color affiliation. This destructive capability adds an element of surprise and forces players to be cautious about their piece placement and potential encounters with the Behemoth.
The accompanying image displays a hypothetical game scenario following the initial move made by the white player in Behemoth Chess:
In addition to the previously mentioned rules, there are several other crucial aspects to consider in Behemoth Chess:
- Invincibility of the Behemoth: The Behemoth is an unstoppable force on the board and cannot be captured or removed by any player. It remains impervious to all attempts at elimination throughout the game.
- Absence of check and checkmate: In Behemoth Chess, the traditional concepts of check and checkmate do not apply. Instead, any piece, including the kings, can be captured by opposing pieces or destroyed by the Behemoth. The loss of a player’s king, either through capture or destruction, results in an immediate loss for that player.
- Simultaneous destruction of both kings: If, at any point in the game, the Behemoth manages to destroy both kings in a single move, the game ends in a draw. This unique scenario acknowledges the exceptional circumstances where neither player emerges victorious due to the simultaneous elimination of their kings.
These additional rules contribute to the dynamic and unpredictable nature of Behemoth Chess, where players must adapt their strategies to navigate the threats posed by the Behemoth and protect their kings from capture or destruction.
To play Behemoth Chess over-the-board, you will need either a random number generator or to roll the dice to determine the Behemoth’s destination square after every move.
Given the unique dynamics of Behemoth Chess, the most effective strategy revolves around prioritizing the safety of one’s own king rather than aggressively targeting the opponent’s king. With the Behemoth’s destructive capabilities posing a significant threat, adopting a “run for your life” approach can prove to be the key to victory, contrary to conventional chess thinking.