What is the highest number of pawn captures possible in a game?

1 Answer 1


Each side has 15 pieces that can be captured, for a total of 30 captures. But after the last pawn capture, there must be a pawn remaining on the board. Therefore, no more than 29 captures are possible.

29 pawn captures are possible through the following sequence. First, the knights are captured, followed by the rooks, bishops, queens, and lastly the pawns. Finally, Black's passed pawn can then go ahead promote to a queen. Then it can move in to get captured by White's remaining pawn in the 29th pawn capture of the game.

[FEN ""]

1. Nc3 Nc6 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nd5 Nd4 4. Ne5 Ne4 5. Nb6 Nb3 6. Ng6 Ng3 7. axb3 axb6 8. hxg3 hxg6 9. Ra5 Rh4 10. Rc5 Rf4 11. Rc6 Rf3 12. Rh5 Ra4 13. Rf5 Rc4 14. Rff6 Rcc3 15. bxc3 bxc6 16. gxf3 gxf6 17. Ba3 Ba6 18. Bh3 Bh6 19. Bd6 Bd3 20. exd3 exd6 21. Be6 Be3 22. dxe3 dxe6 23. Qa1 Qa8 24. Qa3 Qa6 25. Qc5 Qc4 26. bxc4 bxc5 27. d4 cxd4 28. c5 d3 29. cxd6 cxd6 30. cxd3 c5 31. d4 cxd4 32. cxd4 e5 33. dxe5 dxe5 34. f4 Ke7 35. fxe5 fxe5 36. f4 exf4 37. exf4 g5 38. Ke2 gxf4 39. g4 f5 40. gxf5 f3+ 41. Ke3 f2 42. Ke2 f1=Q+ 43. Ke3 Qe1+ 44. Kd3 Qe6 45. fxe6
  • 2
    You don't have to type it all out. You can play out moves on chess sites. Then you can copy and paste the move list. Personally, I would recommend using Apronus: apronus.com/chess/pgnviewer Jan 15 at 19:52
  • 3
    Now I wonder what the fewest moves are . A friend found 38 move version Jan 15 at 20:33
  • 3
    If the last remaining pawn additionally delivers checkmate, could that be considered a 30th capture?
    – wberry
    Jan 16 at 3:27
  • 3
    @wberry Checkmate is not possible with KP v K (with the P remaining a P).
    – Rosie F
    Jan 16 at 8:25
  • 5
    @wberry : it won't be 30, because at least one other uncaptured piece needs to be on the board for a pawn to give checkmate.
    – vsz
    Jan 16 at 17:07

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