I recently came across this formation at random. I vaguely remember reading about it around a decade ago. I want to know if this is a known play.

[FEN "8/8/8/8/8/2NPPN2/PPPBBPPP/2RQKR2 w - - 0 1"]

Even though pieces are White, I'm not claiming that it's a White/Black only formation. It's just to give you an idea.

I had a chat with a friend. It certainly had a slow play, the b and g are, pawns at risk, and there is no clear indication as to how to move forward once this is achieved. However, for the sake of knowing what it is, it'd be great if you could help.

  • 3
    Probably has no "official" name, since probably no master has ever used it in a serious way, since it's not a very efficient formation (obviously not good on the offense, but also with weaknesses in the defense. Plus it takes two to tango and the opponent can already disrupt it before it's completed). Then again, we have a name for 1 e4 2 Ke2.
    – Annatar
    Apr 20, 2020 at 6:14
  • 2
    Seems like an arbitrary symmetric play. I also don't see a way to take advantage of it somehow, and black will probably be better if white focuses on getting to this formation.
    – Roy Levy
    Apr 20, 2020 at 17:12
  • Well, if you change the silly rook positions and tweak the pawn structure a bit, it's more or less a Sicilian Scheveningen, a very common opening. Mar 8, 2021 at 21:20

1 Answer 1


In this question the formation is referred to as a "turtle formation", although that's in the context of Bughouse. I've also personally heard it referred to that way in the context of Bughouse when playing over the board (although not with the rooks moved to those squares.)

Bughouse aside, there's a lot wrong with doing things this way. The bishops are blocked in. The queen is blocked in. The rooks are not connected and are stuck behind pawns that can't even move because the knights are there. The king is stuck in the middle; he can't ever castle because both rooks moved. Almost no space has been gained. It takes 8 moves to obtain this position, giving the opponent lots of time to complete their development while putting no pressure at all on them. On the plus side, your opponent might not know how to deal with such an unfamiliar formation.

  • I get that it's not exact - but the closest one. As other comments suggest this is probably something random. Thanks!
    – Omie
    Apr 23, 2020 at 9:27

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