Handicaps, also known as odds, serve the purpose of compensating for the difference in skill between two chess players. The types of handicaps include material odds, extra moves, time odds, special restrictions such as pion coiffé, weighting of results such as “draw odds,” which counts a draw as a loss for the odds-giver, differential stakes, and physical restrictions such as blindfold chess. Various combinations of handicaps, such as a material handicap with time odds, are possible, as well as counterbalancing handicaps where a player may give up a piece but receive one of the opponent’s pieces or pawns and/or extra moves in return.
Let’s focus, one more time, on special restrictions. The stronger player puts a ring on a selected piece (a queen-side knight in this case), and is obliged to deliver a checkmate only with this piece and nothing else. Checkmating with another piece would lose the game. See a sample game from the past. Max Lange, the hero of the following game (not to be confused with Dr. Max Lange, a lesser-known chess player), was a German chess player and problem composer.
The ringed piece handicap is a unique and exciting way to level the playing field in chess. It provides an excellent opportunity for beginners to compete with more experienced players and encourages creative thinking and unconventional strategies. While it may not be for everyone, it is an excellent addition to any chess game or tournament looking to add some extra excitement and challenge.