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From the orthodox starting position, how many moves will you need to have the 32 pieces protected exactly once? (The answer is astonishingly low.)

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A friend of mine says... 8 moves are enough. He doesn’t want to spoil the solution. I have 10. Back to the blackboard!

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I think four moves will suffice: 1 b3 ... 2 Bb2 3 g3 ... 4 Bg2. This way, the rooks will also be protected. The need to protect bishops will happen deeper in the game.

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  • > « deeper in the game » ... well, good luck! My friend has published (France-Échecs) his 9-move solution (not 8 as I misprinted it in an earlier post) and this solution is a beauty! Sep 26 '20 at 9:34
  • Bishops are not under attack at all. Even in the start position, rooks also are not under any possible attack. Therefore what I have proposed is what could be done in a real game to develop and protect all the pieces.
    – djnavas
    Sep 27 '20 at 7:31
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    Pawns have to be protected only once as well. Pawns in d2, e2, d7, e7 are protected 3 times. And Pawns in b3, g3, b6, g6 are protected 2 times.
    – AlexisG
    Sep 28 '20 at 15:55
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« deeper in the game » ... well, good luck! My friend has published (France-Échecs) his 9-move solution (not 8 as I misprinted it in an earlier post) and this solution is a beauty! Here is the end FEN: 8/8/8/1N6/3PP1P1/5Q2/PPPB1P1P/1K1R1BNR

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