Los Alamos Chess is a variant of the traditional game of chess that was developed in the 1940s at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. This variant is played on a smaller board than traditional chess, with fewer pieces and some unique rules that make for an exciting and challenging game.
The game is played on a 6×6 board with all traditional pieces except bishops, which is why this variant is sometimes called The Anti-Clerical Chess. All standard rules apply, and there are several additional points:
- Pawns cannot make a double-step initial move.
- There is no castling.
- There is no en-passant capture.
A historical note: The program to play Los Alamos Chess was written for the MANIAC I computer in 1956. To test it, three games were played. The initial one the computer played against itself. The second game involved a strong human player who played without a queen, resulting in the human player’s victory. In the third game, MANIAC I faced a laboratory assistant who had recently learned the rules of chess specifically for this game. The computer emerged as the winner, marking the first occasion where a computer had defeated a human player in a game resembling chess.
To learn the start position and observe a sample game played on BrainKing com in 2006, please have a look at this short video:
Los Alamos Chess is a unique and challenging variant of traditional chess that is well worth trying for anyone who enjoys the game. The smaller board and missing pieces require players to think creatively and adapt their strategy, making for a more dynamic and exciting game. If you’re looking for a new chess variant to try, Los Alamos Chess is definitely worth checking out.