# How much would chess change if Black always had the last move?

In a hypothetical minor variant, could White's first-move advantage be compensated for by Black's right to last move?

Normally, White wins have White play N+1 plies to Black's N. How would the game change if Black had a N+1st "revenge move", that bypasses check rules, and draws the game if it immediately checkmates White?

To be specific, in this variant:

• Rule 5.1a would be amended to "The game is won by the player who has checkmated his opponent’s king, unless their own king is checkmated at any time during the same game. If the white king is checkmated, this immediately ends the game. If the black king is checkmated, black is permitted, but not required, to make one additional revenge move."
• Rule 5.2f would be added, as "The game is drawn if both kings have been checkmated at any point in the game. This immediately ends the game."
• Rule 3.9 would be amended to "No piece can be moved that will expose the king of the same colour to check. No piece can be moved that will leave that king in check, except during the revenge move."

The reason it's a draw is that in 5.2f both players have reached a mating position in an equal number of moves. "At any point" is added in case black's revenge move gets them out of checkmate. That's still only a draw.

There are good reasons these aren't the rules (who wants more draws?), but what I'm wondering is:

1. Does it balance the game, or does it make Black even stronger than White?
2. Would it only affect scoring, or also lead to different optimal play?
3. In existing GM games, how often would this even be applicable? Would any well-known matches end differently?

The third part could probably be answered with analyzing a few games.

Own research:

• I've checked chessvariants to look if this has already been tried, but it's too minor for a variant. There have been other balance attempts that work through move order, but they affect the openings.

• This rule breaks some puzzles, which use a mate-in-one threat to enforce forcing moves. Under new rules, removing the M1 threat before checkmating is more valuable than checkmating ASAP. All win puzzles still work the same if the player is black, and all draw puzzles if white. Some draw puzzles might get alternate solutions.

• The wording of the check rule) has implications. Can the player expose a double-checked king to a triple check, or even replace one check with another? Under this ultra-conservative wording, they can't. If designing this rule into a variant, I'd certainly prefer "go wild" for the revenge move.

• How would you rule a situation like this, where Black has just been checkmated by White? Is a draw with 1...Kg2# allowed? (since Black uses a King sacrificing move to checkmate White) If yes, would this also be a draw without the black pawn on f3? (since under normal chess rules Kings are not captured, so there might technically be no necessity for the Black King being guarded on g2) Jul 24, 2023 at 9:13
• Also, it is possible that the checkmated Black player cannot make any moves, not even self-mating ones, like this. Would this be checkmate or a stalemate? Jul 24, 2023 at 9:30
• @AndreasTsevas I suppose not, the king definitely can't check the other king. The question is regarding moves that are normally legal. I guess one point of contention is whether moving a pinned piece should be legal. As for not being able to make any moves, that's a draw either way (per current rules). Jul 24, 2023 at 12:39
• It's not a "draw either way". The "stalemate" I posted in my second comment would be a checkmate under normal rules, but it becomes ambiguous under the requirement of a post-mate move. To your first point, yes, there would need to be a formal definition of which "illegal moves" are allowed and which ones are not. But I feel like not being able to move the king into check or not being able to move a pinned piece would defeat the entire purpose of "post-mate moves" (since you are already ignoring a checkmate to your king either way.) Jul 24, 2023 at 13:12
• @AndreasTsevas The concept of post-mate move for Black is that the position is only evaluated after both sides made an equal number of moves (stalemate excepted; I suppose it would be more consistent to make it a loss under this rule). As if the moves were almost simultaneous. I'm wondering if it would balance the game, or make Black overpowered similar to the last-move advantage in poker instead. Jul 24, 2023 at 13:58