This game was dubbed "White Key Symphony" by chessgames.com for the fact that Karpov made moves on only light squares for 18 moves in a row.

Is this still the record for the light squares, and what of the dark squares?

[Title "Anatoly Karpov-Garry Kasparov, World Championship Match, Moscow, 9/12/1985, 1-0"]
[FEN ""]
[startply "40"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Be7 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bxf6 Bxf6 7. e3 O-O 8. Qc2 Na6 9. Rd1 c5 10. dxc5 Qa5 11. cxd5 Nxc5 12. Qd2 Rd8 13. Nd4 exd5 14. Be2 Qb6 15. O-O Ne4 16. Qc2 Nxc3 17. Qxc3 Be6 18. Qc2 Rac8 19. Qb1 Rc7 20. Rd2 Rdc8 21. Nxe6 fxe6 22. Bg4 Rc4 23. h3 Qc6 24. Qd3 Kh8 25. Rfd1 a5 26. b3 Rc3 27. Qe2 Rf8 28. Bh5 b5 29. Bg6 Bd8 30. Bd3 b4 31. Qg4 Qe8 32. e4 Bg5 33. Rc2 Rxc2 34. Bxc2 Qc6 35. Qe2 Qc5 36. Rf1 Qc3 37. exd5 exd5 38. Bb1 Qd2 39. Qe5 Rd8 40. Qf5 Kg8 41. Qe6+ Kh8 42. Qg6 Kg8 43. Qe6+ Kh8 44. Bf5 Qc3 45. Qg6 Kg8 46. Be6+ Kh8 47. Bf5 Kg8 48. g3 Kf8 49. Kg2 Qf6 50. Qh7 Qf7 51. h4 Bd2 52. Rd1 Bc3 53. Rd3 Rd6 54. Rf3 Ke7 55. Qh8 d4 56. Qc8 Rf6 57. Qc5+ Ke8 58. Rf4 Qb7+ 59. Re4+ Kf7 60. Qc4+ Kf8 61. Bh7 Rf7 62. Qe6 Qd7 63. Qe5 1-0
  • That's a good one for Chess Query Language... My guess : the defensive side in some opposite colored bishops endgame !
    – Evargalo
    Apr 11, 2023 at 14:38
  • Are you interested about the games with the longest sequence (usually opposite-coloured bishops endgames) or just about interesting games with >18 consecutive moves on one color (e.g. where no bishop moved)? Sep 16, 2023 at 17:39
  • @double-beep Longest sequence of consecutive moves by a side on one color. Though bonus points for interesting games, I suppose. Sep 16, 2023 at 22:10

1 Answer 1


Thanks to this CQLi query:

cql(input Mega_Database_2023.pgn)

flipcolor {
    sort "Consecutive"
    line singlecolor 18 1000 nestban --> move to light . *

// check 3-fold repetition:
dictionary (min) $D
if initial then unbind $D

$appearances = 1
$key = zobristkey

if $D[$key] {
    $appearances = int($D[$key]) + 1

$D[$key] = str($appearances)

$appearances <= 2

which I ran against Mega Database 2023, I found some interesting stuff.

The record for the most consecutive moves (179) made by one side on light squares is held by this game:

[Event "World op 48th"]
[Site "ICC INT"]
[Date "2020.08.09"]
[Round "7"]
[White "Nair, Ajitesh"]
[Black "Li, Linden"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "B33"]
[WhiteElo "1392"]
[BlackElo "1825"]
[PlyCount "600"]
[FEN ""]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.
d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Nd5 Nxd5 8.exd5 Nb8 9.Bd3 Be7 10.O-O
O-O 11.c4 Nd7 12.Qc2 g6 13.f4 a6 14.Nc3 f5 15.fxe5 Nxe5 16.Be2 Qb6+ 17.Kh1 Bd7
18.a4 a5 19.Bf4 Bf6 20.Rae1 Rac8 21.Bh6 Rf7 22.Nb5 Bxb5 23.axb5 Qc5 24.Qa4 b6
25.Qb3 Re8 26.Bf4 Rfe7 27.Be3 Qc7 28.Bd2 Nd7 29.Bf3 Nc5 30.Rxe7 Qxe7 31.Qc2 Be5
32.Re1 Ne4 33.g3 Nc5 34.b3 Qf6 35.Bd1 Rf8 36.Rf1 Bd4 37.b4 axb4 38.Bxb4 Ra8 39.
Be2 Qe5 40.Bxc5 Bxc5 41.Kg2 Re8 42.Bd3 h5 43.Qd2 Kg7 44.Rd1 h4 45.gxh4 Qd4 46.
Kh1 Re3 47.h5 Qg4 48.Rf1 Rf3 49.h6+ Kh7 50.Qe2 Rxf1+ 51.Qxf1 Kxh6 52.Qc1+ f4
53.Be4 Be3 54.Qf1 Qh4 55.Qe2 Qf6 56.Qg4 Bc5 57.Qh3+ Kg5 58.Qg2+ Kh4 59.h3 Kh5
60.Qg4+ 60...Kh6 61.Kh2 Bf2 62.Qe2 Bg3+ 63.Kg2 Qd4 64.Bd3 Bh4 65.Bb1 Qf6
66.Be4 Qc3 67.Bf3 Bf6 68.Qe4 Be5 69.Bg4 Qg3+ 70.Kf1 Qc3 71.Kg2 Qd2+ 72.Qe2 Qc1
73.Qd3 Bc3 74.Qd1 Qe3 75.Qf3 Qe5 76.Qd3 Bd4 77.h4 Bc5 78.Qe2 Qd4 79.Kf3 Qf6 80.
Qe4 Be3 81.Qe8 Bg1 82.Qe2 Qxh4 83.Kxf4 Bd4 84.Kf3 Be5 85.Qe3+ Kh7 86.Qg1
86...Qf6+ 87.Ke2 Bd4 88.Qf1 Qe5+ 89.Kf3 Be3 90.Be6 Qf4+ 91.Kg2 Qg5+ 92.Kh3 Bf4
93.Qf2 Kg7 94.Qh4 Qxh4+ 95.Kxh4 Kf6 96.Kg4 Ke5 97.Kf3 g5 98.Bh3 Kd4 99.
Bf1 Bc1 100.Be2 Kc3 101.Bf1 Bf4 102.Be2 Kd4 103.Bf1 Bd2 104.Be2 Ke5 105.Bf1 Kf5
106.Bd3+ Ke5 107.Bf1 Bf4 108.Bd3 Bc1 109.Bf1 Kd4 110.Be2 Kc3 111.Bf1 Kd2 112.
Kg4 Ke1 113.Bd3 Kf2 114.Kh3 Kf3 115.Bf1 g4+ 116.Kh2 g3+ 117.Kh1 Kf2 118.Bg2 Bf4
119.Be4 Be5 120.Bg2 Ke2 121.Kg1 Bd4+ 122.Kh1 Bf2 123.Bh3 Kf3 124.Bg2+ Ke2 125.Bh3 Bc5 126.Kg2 Bf2 127.Bd7
Kd3 128.Bc6 Kxc4 129.Kf1 Kd4 130.Kg2 Ke4 131.Bb7 Be1 132.Bc6 Bf2 133.Bb7 Kd4
134.Bc6 Kc4 135.Kf3 Be1 136.Kg2 Kc5 137.Kf3 Bf2 138.Kg2 Kd4 139.Bb7 Ke5 140.Bc6
Kf4 141.Bb7 Kg4 142.Bc6 Bd4 143.Bd7+ Kf4 144.Bc6 Be5 145.Bb7 Ke3 146.Bc6 Kd3
147.Bb7 Kc3 148.Bc6 Kc4 149.Kf3 Kc5 150.Kg2 Kc4 151.Kf3 Kc5 152.Kg2 Kd4 153.Kf3
Kd3 154.Kg2 Ke4 155.Bb7 Bf4 156.Bc6 Ke5 157.Bb7 Kf5 158.Bc6 Kf6 159.Kf3 Be5
160.Kg2 Kg6 161.Kf3 Kh6 162.Kg2 Kg6 163.Kf3 Kf5 164.Kg2 Kg4 165.Bb7 Bd4 166.Bc6
Be3 167.Bd7+ Kf4 168.Bc6 Bf2 169.Bb7 Ke3 170.Bc6 Ke2 171.Bb7 Kd2 172.Bc6 Kc2
173.Bb7 Kc3 174.Bc6 Kb3 175.Bb7 Kb2 176.Bc6 Kc2 177.Bb7 Kc3 178.Bc6 Kb3 179.Kf3
Kc4 180.Kg2 Kc5 181.Kf3 Kb4 182.Kg2 Kc3 183.Kf3 Kd4 184.Kg2 Ke3 185.Bb7 Be1
186.Bc6 Kf4 187.Bb7 Ke4 188.Bc6 Kd4 189.Bb7 Kd3 190.Bc6 Kc3 191.Kf3 Kd3 192.Kg2
Ke2 193.Bb7 Bf2 194.Bc6 Ke3 195.Bb7 Kf4 196.Bc6 Kg4 197.Bb7 Be3 198.Bc6 Bf4
199.Bb7 Kf5 200.Bc6 Ke5 201.Bb7 Kd4 202.Bc6 Be5 203.Kf3 Kc5 204.Kg2 Kc4 205.Kf3
Kc3 206.Kg2 Kb3 207.Kf3 Kc4 208.Kg2 Kb4 209.Kf3 Kc3 210.Kg2 Kd3 211.Kf3 Kc2
212.Kg2 Kd2 213.Kf3 Kd3 214.Kg2 Kd2 215.Bb7 Kc3 216.Bc6 Kc4 217.Kf3 Kc5 218.Kg2
Kd4 219.Kf3 Kd3 220.Kg2 Kc4 221.Kf3 Kc5 222.Kg2 Kb4 223.Kf3 Kc3 224.Kg2 Kd2
225.Kf3 Ke1 226.Kg2 Ke2 227.Bb7 Ke3 228.Bc6 Ke4 229.Bb7 Kf5 230.Bc6 Kf6 231.Bb7
Kg6 232.Bc6 Kg7 233.Bb7 Kf8 234.Bc6 Ke7 235.Bb7 Kd8 236.Bc6 Kc7 237.Ba8 Kc8
238.Bc6 Kd8 239.Kf3 Ke7 240.Kg2 Kf6 241.Kf3 Kg5 242.Kg2 Kf5 243.Kf3 Kf6 244.Kg2
Kg5 245.Kf3 Kf5 246.Kg2 Bf4 247.Kf3 Ke5 248.Kg2 Kd4 249.Kf3 Be5 250.Kg2 Kc5
251.Kf3 Kc4 252.Kg2 Kc3 253.Kf3 Kd2 254.Kg2 Ke1 255.Bb7 Ke2 256.Bc6 Ke3 257.Bb7
Kd4 258.Bc6 Kc5 259.Kf3 Kc4 260.Kg2 Kb4 261.Kf3 Kc3 262.Kg2 Kb3 263.Kf3 Kc2
264.Kg2 Kb2 265.Kf3 Kc1 266.Kg2 Kc2 267.Kf3 Kd1 268.Kg2 Kd2 269.Kf3 Kd1 270.Kg2
Ke1 271.Bb7 Ke2 272.Bc6 Ke3 273.Bb7 Ke4 274.Bc6 Kd3 275.Kf3 Kc3 276.Kg2 Kc2
277.Kf3 Kc3 278.Kg2 Kd2 279.Kf3 Kd3 280.Kg2 Kd2 281.Kf3 Ke1 282.Kg2 Ke2 283.Bb7
Ke3 284.Bc6 Ke4 285.Bb7 Kf5 286.Bc6 Kg4 287.Bb7 Kf4 288.Bc6 Ke4 289.Bb7 Kd4
290.Bc6 Kc4 291.Kf3 Kc5 292.Kg2 Kb4 293.Kf3 Kc4 294.Kg2 Kb3 295.Kf3 Kc3 296.Kg2
Kb2 297.Kf3 Kc2 298.Kg2 Kb1 299.Kf3 Kc1 300.Kg2 Kd1 1/2-1/2

while the record for the most consecutive moves (154) made by one side on dark squares is held by this game:

[Event "New York State-ch 120th"]
[Site "New York"]
[Date "1998.??.??"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Felber, Joseph J"]
[Black "Lapshun, Yury"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C56"]
[WhiteElo "2150"]
[BlackElo "2355"]
[PlyCount "360"]
[FEN ""]

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nc6 3.
Nf3 Nf6 4.d4 exd4 5.O-O Nxe4 6.Re1 d5 7.Bxd5 Qxd5 8.Nc3 Qh5 9.Nxe4 Be6 10.Bg5
Bb4 11.Nxd4 Qxd1 12.Rexd1 Nxd4 13.Rxd4 Be7 14.Re1 Rd8 15.Red1 Rxd4 16.Rxd4 f6
17.Bf4 Kf7 18.h3 g5 19.Bxc7 Rc8 20.Nd6+ Bxd6 21.Bxd6 Rxc2 22.Ba3 a5 23.Rd3 b5
24.Rc3 Rxc3 25.bxc3 Bxa2 26.Kf1 Bc4+ 27.Ke1 Ke6 28.g3 Ke5 29.Kd2 Bf1 30.h4 gxh4 31.gxh4 Kf5 32.Be7 Ke6 33.
Bd8 a4 34.Ba5 Bh3 35.Bb4 Bf5 36.Kc1 Kd5 37.Kb2 Bd3 38.Be7 Ke6 39.Bb4 Bc4 40.Ba3
f5 41.Bb4 Kd5 42.Be7 Ke4 43.Bb4 Kd5 44.Be7 Ke4 45.Bb4 Kf3 46.Bc5 Ke2 47.Bd4 Ke1
48.Ka3 Kd1 49.Kb2 Kd2 50.Be3+ Kd3 51.Bc5 Bf7 52.Ba3 Kc4 53.Bb4 Bh5 54.Be7 Bf3
55.Bb4 Be4 56.Be7 Kd3 57.Bb4 Ke2 58.Bc5 Bd5 59.Ka3 Kf3 60.Kb2 Kg2 61.Ka3 Kg1
62.Kb2 Kh1 63.Ka3 Kh2 64.Kb2 Kg2 65.Ka3 Kh3 66.Be7 Bc4 67.Kb2 Kg4 68.Ka3 Kf4
69.Bd6+ Ke4 70.Kb2 Be2 71.Bb4 Ke5 72.Bc5 Ke6 73.Bb4 Kd7 74.Ka3 Kc6 75.Kb2 Bf1
76.Ba3 Kb7 77.Be7 Kb6 78.Bb4 Ka6 79.Ka3 Kb6 80.Kb2 Kc6 81.Be7 Kd7 82.Bb4 Ke8
83.Bc5 Kf7 84.Bb4 Kg6 85.Ka3 Kh5 86.Be7 Kg4 87.Kb4 Kf3 88.Bc5 Kg4 89.Be7 h6 90.
Ka3 Kh5 91.Kb4 Kg6 92.Ka3 Kf7 93.Bb4 Kg8 94.Kb2 Kh7 95.Ba3 Bc4 96.Bc5 Kg6 97.
Ka3 Kh5 98.Be7 Kg4 99.Kb2 Kf3 100.Bc5 Ke2 101.Bd4 Ke1 102.Be3 Kf1 103.Bd4 Kg2
104.Bc5 Bg8 105.Ka3 Bf7 106.Kb2 Be6 107.Ka3 Bd5 108.Kb2 Kf3 109.Ka3 Ke4 110.Kb2
Kd3 111.Ba3 Bc4 112.Bc5 Kd2 113.Ba3 Ke1 114.Bc5 Kf1 115.Ka3 Kg2 116.Kb2 Kh3
117.Be7 Kh2 118.Bd6+ Kh1 119.Ka3 Kg2 120.Bc5 Kf1 121.Kb2 Bg8 122.Ka3 Bf7 123.
Kb2 Ke1 124.Ka3 Kd1 125.Kb2 Kd2 126.Bb4 Kd3 127.Ba3 Kd2 128.Bb4 Bc4 129.Ba3 Kd1
130.Bb4 Ke1 131.Bc5 Be2 132.Ka3 Bd3 133.Kb2 Kd2 134.Bb4 Be4 135.Bc5 Bd5 136.Bb4
Kd1 137.Ba3 Ke2 138.Bc5 h5 139.Ka3 Kd3 140.Kb2 Kc4 141.Bb4 Be4 142.Ba3 Kd5 143.
Bb4 Ke5 144.Be7 Bd5 145.Bb4 Bc4 146.Ba3 Ke4 147.Bb4 Kf4 148.Bd6+ Kg4 149.Be7
Kh3 150.Ka3 Kh2 151.Bd6+ Kh1 152.Kb2 Kg1 153.Bc5 Kf1 154.Ka3 Ke1 155.Kb2 Kd1
156.Ba3 Kd2 157.Bb4 Kd3 158.Ba3 Ke4 159.Bb4 Kf4 160.Bd6+ Kg4 161.Be7 Bd5 162.
Ka3 Kh3 163.Kb2 Kh2 164.Ka3 Kg1 165.Bc5 Bc4 166.Kb2 Kf1 167.Ka3 Ke1 168.Kb2 Be2
169.Ka3 Kf1 170.Kb2 Kg1 171.Ka3 Kh1 172.Kb2 Kh2 173.Ka3 Kh3 174.Be7 Kg4 175.Kb2
Kf4 176.Bd6+ Ke4 177.Ka3 Kd3 178.Kb2 Ke4 179.Bb8 Bf1 180.Bd6 Bd3 1/2-1/2

Here are some interesting games:

28 moves:

[Event "RUS-ch sf"]
[Site "Krasnodar"]
[Date "1999.??.??"]
[Round "9"]
[White "Zamruk, Aleksandar"]
[Black "Kekov, Alexandr"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "A12"]
[WhiteElo "2395"]
[BlackElo "2321"]
[FEN ""]
[StartPly "21"]

1.Nf3 d5 2.b3 Bg4 3.e3 Nd7 4.Bb2 Ngf6 5.h3 Bh5 6.c4 e6 7.Be2 c6 8.Nc3 Bd6 9.O-O
O-O 10.Rc1 Qe7 11.Nh4 Ne4 12.Bxh5
Qxh4 13.cxd5 exd5 14.Nxe4 dxe4 15.Qg4 Qxg4 16.Bxg4 Be5 17.Bxd7 Bxb2 18.Rc2 Ba3
19.Bf5 Rfe8 20.d3 exd3 21.Bxd3 Rad8 22.Be2 Rd6 23.Rd1 Rxd1+ 24.Bxd1 Rd8 25.Bf3
Kf8 26.Kf1 Ke7 27.Ke2 Bb4 28.Be4 h6 29.Bd3 Rd5 30.Rc4 Bd6 31.Re4+ Kd7 32.Rg4 g5
33.Ra4 a6 34.Bc4 Rf5 35.g4 Rf6 36.Bd3 Be5 37.Bf5+ Kd8 38.Be4 Kc7 39.Rc4 b5 40.Rc5 Bb2 41.Rf5 Rxf5 42.Bxf5
Kd6 43.Kd3 Kc5 44.Bd7 f6 45.Be8 Kb6 46.f4 c5 47.fxg5 fxg5 48.Bd7 Bc1 49.Bc8 Bb2
50.Kc2 Ba1 51.Kd3 a5 52.Bd7 Be5 53.Be8 Bf6 54.Bd7 Bb2 55.a4 bxa4 56.Bxa4 Kc7
57.Bb5 Kd6 58.e4 Bc1 59.Bc4 Bb2 60.Bg8 Kc6 61.Bc4 Kb6 1/2-1/2

20 moves:

[Event "Chania op 9th"]
[Site "Chania"]
[Date "1999.08.08"]
[Round "6"]
[White "Tzoumbas, Anastasios"]
[Black "Marjanovic, Slavoljub"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A04"]
[WhiteElo "2347"]
[BlackElo "2508"]
[PlyCount "64"]
[StartPly "19"]
[FEN ""]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d3 Nc6 4.g3 g6 5.Bg2 Bg7 6.O-O Nge7 7.h4 h6 8.Re1 d6 9.Nbd2
e5 10.a4 10...Be6 11.Nc4 Qd7 12.c3
f5 13.Qe2 O-O 14.exf5 gxf5 15.Rb1 Rae8 16.b4 e4 17.b5 Bxc4 18.bxc6 Nxc6 19.Ne5
exd3 20.Nxd7 Rxe2 21.Rxe2 dxe2 22.Bd2 Re8 23.Bxc6 bxc6 24.f3 Be6 25.Nb8 Ba2 26.
Ra1 Bd5 27.Rb1 Bxf3 28.a5 Be4 29.Rb7 Bd3 30.Kf2 e1=Q+ 31.Bxe1 Re2+ 32.Kf3 Rxe1 0-1

19 moves:

[Event "NED-ch"]
[White "Ernst, Sipke"]
[Black "Van Foreest, Jorden"]
[Site "Amsterdam"]
[Round "5"]
[Result "0-1"]
[Date "2016.08.26"]
[WhiteElo "2535"]
[BlackElo "2601"]
[PlyCount "150"]
[StartPly "19"]
[FEN ""]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Be2 O-O 6. Nf3 e5 7. O-O Nc6 8. d5 Ne7 9. Bg5 h6 10. Bd2 Ne8 11. Qc1 Kh7 12. Qc2 f5 13. exf5 gxf5 14. g3 c6 15. Nh4 b5 16. a3 bxc4 17. Bxc4 Bb7 18. dxc6 Bxc6 19. Be6 Bd7 20. Ba2 Rc8 21. Qd3 Bc6 22. Be6 e4 23. Qe2 d5 24. Bxc8 Qxc8 25. Rfc1 Qd7 26. Nd1 Bb5 27. Qe1 Rf7 28. a4 Ba6 29. Bf4 d4 30. Qa5 Bb7 31. Ng2 Qe6 32. Qb5 Nd5 33. a5 a6 34. Qe2 Nd6 35. Rc5 Nb5 36. Qc4 Bf8 37. Rxb5 axb5 38. Qxd4 Bg7 39. Qd2 e3 40. Ndxe3 Nxe3 41. fxe3 Rd7 42. Qe2 b4 43. a6 Ba8 44. a7 b3 45. h3 Qe4 46. Qf2 Qc2 47. e4 Bxb2 48. Re1 Qxf2+ 49. Kxf2 Bd4+ 50. Be3 Bxa7 51. Rb1 Rd2+ 52. Kf1 Bxe4 53. Bxd2 Bxb1 54. Bc3 Bc5 55. Bb2 Bf8 56. Ne3 Bg7 57. Bxg7 Kxg7 58. Kf2 Kf6 59. Nc4 Be4 60. Ke3 Bg2 61. h4 Bd5 62. Nb2 Bf7 63. Nd3 Be6 64. Kd4 f4 65. gxf4 Kf5 66. Kc3 Bf7 67. Kb2 h5 68. Kc3 Bg8 69. Ne5 Kxf4 70. Ng6+ Ke4 71. Kb2 Bf7 72. Nf8 Kf4 73. Nd7 Kg3 74. Ne5 Bd5 75. Ng6 Be4 0-1

... and many more

  • For the 20 moves examples, it is worth noting that your query considers Black's short-castle as a light-squared move. This sounds reasonnable to me, but someone may be surprised when they see the rook reaching f8...
    – Evargalo
    Sep 29, 2023 at 13:54

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