Loser chess has a benefit of sorts. There are many turns where moves are forced. So my question is, has it been solved? I'd say that the move tree is much smaller than chess. If not:

  • How much would it weight? Have there been any studies on the number of moves?
  • How much time would it take? The number of positions will probably be much less than normal, so the time should be much less.
  • Are there any ongoing projects?
  • It looks like too many questions and I highly doubt that the answers exist. "There are many turns where moves are forced" and there are many where they are not :-) Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 22:49
  • If you can just formulate that into an answer, everything would be fine.
    – MikhailTal
    Commented Oct 3, 2014 at 4:54
  • 1
    There are several variants of losing chess, it's important to make it clear which you mean. For instance there has been lots of work on the variant that is called "suicide" on FICS, which allows capturing of kings, and stalemate is a win for the side with least material. Commented Oct 3, 2014 at 8:21

3 Answers 3


Professor Mark Watkins announced he had found the solution to Losing Chess in October 2016. Regardless of what Black plays, White can force a win beginning with 1. e3.

  • 2
    This is very interesting. However, seeing as there are several variants of losing chess, it would be more interesting if you could tell us the exact set of rules for the game which Prof. Watkins has solved.
    – bof
    Commented Oct 11, 2016 at 12:36
  • He states, "The move 1. e3 has been solved as a win for White under both FICS and International Rules." at magma.maths.usyd.edu.au/~watkins/LOSING_CHESS
    – Eiko
    Commented Oct 12, 2016 at 10:17

To the third question: yes, there are. I found one, at least. This page should interest you. It has some articles, proof trees and is updated regularly, it seems. The articles and files on the page also give some indication as to the first two questions, for example the number of nodes and size of the proof tree files.

It appears that game as a whole is not solved, but some of the more common variations are. There are also some endgame tablebases available.

Remember, as one comment stated - many moves in the game are not forced, thus vastly increasing the number of possibilities.


For question 3, just as GloriaVictis said, losing chess is almost solved. Only 1.e3 b6 is still being solved now. All others have already been proven to be a black loss. Based on how fast each response to 1.e3 (generally at most several months) is solved I believe we will see the solution of losing chess this year.

Also the solution is likely to be a white victory. For your first two questions they will be known after losing chess is actually solved.

P.S.: I'm following Prof. Watkins' research almost daily so when losing chess is finally solved I will post an answer here.

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