I recently came across an interesting article that proves Gardner's Minichess is solved (2013) and the theoretical result is a draw.

Might studying why Minichess is a theoretical draw help me better understand the concepts behind long term strategy in standard chess?

Here is the starting position of Minichess: Garner's Minichess Starting position

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    Welcome to Chess.SE! Perhaps you could refine your question a bit to refine exactly what you are asking. It appears that you have put several separate questions into this post. Thanks, and have a great day!
    – Brandon_J
    Mar 26, 2019 at 16:45
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    Thanks, I have enhanced the question formulation.
    – MrMaxPayne
    Mar 26, 2019 at 17:09
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    This link apronus.com/chess/pgnviewer/… may help with the discussion because it shows an interactive 5x5 chessboard with the starting position for this chess variant. You can make moves and encode them in links to post here. Mar 27, 2019 at 10:29

2 Answers 2


This variant is definitely very interesting, and could prove somewhat beneficial in learning standard chess.


  • Standard Chess(SC)'s castling operation is not reflected in this variant. Your king is already tucked away.

  • This variant does not reflect SC pawn structures. Space is too limited.

  • The value of pieces changes. Knights are going to be worth more than in SC, since they can now traverse half the diagonal of the board in two moves.

  • No opening knowledge whatsoever will be attained in this variant. Also, common opening motifs from SC (control the center, develop your pieces) will not be used.

  • Standard tactics from SC will not be used as much in this variant. Skewers and pins, for example, would be quite rare.

That leaves endgame practice, which could be a little helpful, but there's also endgame puzzles in SC - and actual SC endgames in SC.


If your goal is to further your understanding of standard chess, you are better off studying standard chess. This variant looks like a lot of fun, but it does not do a good job of teaching typical chess lessons, for reasons outlined above.


In my experience, small variants emphasize tactics and not so much strategy. This is due to:

  1. the closer proximity of all the pieces
  2. the reduced board-size cramping pieces and exacerbating their deficiencies.

My conclusion is thus that studying small variants does not help with strategy, but can help with tactics.

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