Chess handicaps are a way to level the playing field between players of different skill levels, allowing for fair and enjoyable games between opponents who might otherwise be mismatched. There are many different types of chess handicaps, each with its own rules and nuances. Imagine yourself playing chess with Garry Kasparov or Magnus Carlsen – what kind of handicap would you need to get the “even game” feel?
Pion coiffé, also known as “capped pawn,” is a handicap in chess where one player starts the game with an extra rule – they are obliged to give a checkmate only with a selected pawn. This is not an easy task, as the defending player usually directs all forces on the mentioned pawn to capture it, ergo to render the goal impossible. When played over-the-board, it was a common practice to put a ring or a similar object on such a pawn to mark it “coiffé”.
Pion coiffé is a relatively uncommon handicap in modern tournament play, but it has been used in the past as a way to give weaker players a chance against stronger opponents.