Why do we have an extra rank (marked with the red lines) on each side in 4 player chess? What could be the possible logic?

enter image description here
(screenshot is taken from chess.com)

  • 9
    It's probably good to mention that this is chess.com's 4x4 chess, there are no standardized rules for such a thing at all. The answer is probably that otherwise pawns could immediately capture each other. Jun 9, 2020 at 8:31
  • @RemcoGerlich I skimmed through on image section of Goolge and found that it is not specific only to chess.com. It is widely accepted 4 player set up.
    – Ubi.B
    Jun 9, 2020 at 8:42
  • 5
    It has to be this way otherwise the pawns can capture on the first move.
    – SmallChess
    Jun 9, 2020 at 8:43

1 Answer 1


As SmallChess notes, the rook pawns would be able to capture on the first move. That in itself wouldn't be a problem, since the player can just capture back, but then we have a situation with two half-open lines where the pawns are pinned against the rooks behind them. That's a lot of tension already after the first move, and on the flanks, which is quite rare in normal 1v1 chess.

I'm not sure how to visualize this, but if red takes the blue pawn, and blue responds by capturing with their rook, yellow's king's rook pawn is pinned by the red rook (and attacked by the blue pawn) and green's king's rook pawn is pinned by the blue rook (and attacked by the red pawn).

@RemcoGerlich notes another very early possibility for two players to gang up on the last player, by capturing two of their pawns on the first move. Perhaps this is part of a general problem with 4 player chess...

  • It is sort of a problem already because player 1 (bottom) could capture player 4's (right) a-pawn, player 3 (top) could capture player 4's h-pawn, and player 4 can only capture one of them back. But maybe that sort of thing just comes with the territory. Jun 9, 2020 at 9:00
  • Thanks for the answer, but I figured it out why we have such a set-up in 4 player game. Thank you for your time :)
    – Ubi.B
    Jun 9, 2020 at 9:35

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