What is the longest period in a real game with a position in which all pieces were "hanging"? The game can also be rapid, blitz or blindfold, but both players should have at least a 2000 ELO.

To clarify, all of the pieces, except the pawns, must be still on the board and be takeable by the opponent, if the opponent has the move. Of course, the kings are not considered. A check is allowed but not necessary. It is not necessary that this capture would make sense (it is enough that a covered knight is "attacked" by a queen).

I do not think that such a position, if existent, "survives" very long, but perhaps someone will find a nice example.


2 Answers 2


Since a game with all 14 pieces, as kings are excluded, hanging has probably not happened yet, and will not for a long time, I will answer as best as I can. Under these circumstances, I think that the best that can be done is to locate the highest number possible.

The highest that I have found so far is 6 hanging pieces. I found the full score on chessgames.com. In the board position on move 23, Black can capture three White pieces, and likewise White can also capture three Black pieces.

[Title "Loal W Davis-Magesh Chandran Panchanathan, HB Global Chess Challenge, Minneapolis Minnesota USA, 5/19/2005"]
[FEN ""]
[startply "45"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. Ng5 d5 5. exd5 Na5 6. Bb5+ c6 7. dxc6 bxc6 8. Be2 h6 9. Nf3 e4 10. Ne5 Bd6 11. f4 exf3 12. Nxf3 O-O 13. d4 Rb8 14. a3 Re8 15. O-O c5 16. Nc3 cxd4 17. Qxd4 Nc6 18. Qh4 Bf5 19. Bd3 Bc5+ 20. Kh1 Bxd3 21. cxd3 Qxd3 22. Bxh6 Rxb2 23. Na4 Rc2 24. Nxc5 Rxc5 25. Bg5 Ne4 26. Bf4 Rc2 27. Ng5 Nxg5 28. Qxg5 Nd4 29. Rfe1 Rce2 30. Rxe2 Qxe2 31. h3 Nc2 32. Rc1 Qe4 33. Bg3 Ne3 34. Bf2 f6 35. Qxe3 Qxe3 36. Bxe3 Rxe3 37. Ra1 a5 38. Ra2 a4 39. Kg1 Kf7 40. Kf2 Rc3 41. Rb2 Rxa3 42. Rb7+ Kg6 43. Ra7 Ra1 44. Kg3 a3 45. Kf2 Kh6 46. Ra5 g6 47. Kg3 Ra2 48. Kf3 f5 49. Ra7 Ra1 50. Kf2 f4 51. Ra8 a2 52. Ra5 f3 53. Kg3 Kg7 54. Ra6 Kf7 55. Kf2 Ke7 56. Kg3 Kd7 57. Kf2 Kc7 58. Ra3 Kb6 59. Ra8 Kc5 60. Rc8+ Kb6

However, if you wish for "pure" position with all pieces hanging, I discovered a beauty on chessgames.com. It holds yet another 6 hanging pieces in the final position after the climactic 33. Be4!

[Title "Veselin Topalov-Alexander Morozevich, NAO Masters, Cannes France, 2/22/2002"]
[FEN ""]
[startply "64"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O b5 6. Bb3 Bc5 7. a4 Rb8 8. c3 d6 9. d4 Bb6 10. axb5 axb5 11. Na3 O-O 12. Nxb5 Bg4 13. Bc2 h6 14. dxe5 Nxe5 15. Nbd4 d5 16. exd5 Qxd5 17. h3 Bh5 18. g4 Nfxg4 19. Nxe5 Nxe5 20. Qxh5 Bxd4 21. Qf5 Nf3+ 22. Kh1 Qxf5 23. Bxf5 Bf6 24. Ra7 c5 25. Be4 Ne5 26. Rd1 Nc4 27. Bb7 Bg5 28. Bxg5 hxg5 29. b3 Ne5 30. Rd5 Rfe8 31. Rxc5 Re7 32. Rb5 Nd3 33. Be4

Lastly, just for giggles, the fastest way reach to such a position is a mere 6 moves.

[title "me, chess.stackexchange.com 10/16/2020 Non-Unique Proof Game In 6.0"]
[FEN ""]

1. e3 e6 2. Qh5 Qh4 3. Qxh7 Qxh2 4. Ba6 Ba3 5. Bxb7 Bxb2 6. Nc3 Nc6

Addendum: See @Robert Gamble's answer for the record.

On a semi-related note, the record for the longest time a piece was “hanging” is snipped.


Improving on the answers provided by Rewan, here is a game from TWIC which, after move 34, all 10 pieces on the board are hanging (using the provided definition):

[FEN ""]
[Event "ch-Euro Blitz"]
[Site "Ajaccio FRA"]
[Date "2007.10.25"]
[Round "19"]
[White "Fressinet,L"]
[Black "Fridman,D2"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[WhiteElo "2654"]
[BlackElo "2621"]
[EventDate "2007.10.25"]
[ECO "B12"]
[startply "68"]

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.Nf3 e6 5.Be2
Nd7 6.O-O Bg6 7.Nbd2 Nh6 8.c3 c5 9.Ne1 cxd4 10.cxd4 Nf5 11.Ndf3 h5 12.Nd3 h4
13.h3 Be7 14.Nf4 Bh7 15.Bd3 Qb6 16.Be3 Nb8 17.Bxf5 Bxf5 18.Nd3 Nc6 19.Nc5 Rc8
20.b4 a5 21.bxa5 Nxa5 22.Qa4+ Nc6 23.Rac1 Rc7 24.Bg5 Bxg5 25.Nxg5 O-O 26.Nf3
Bh7 27.Rc3 Rfc8 28.Rb3 Na5 29.Rb5 Ra8 30.Nxh4 Nc6 31.Nf3 Be4 32.Nxb7 Ra6 33.Rc1
f6 34.Ng5 Nb4 35.Rxb6 35...Rxb6 36.exf6 gxf6 37.Nxe6 Rd6 38.Nf4 Nd3
39.Rc4 Re6 40.Kf1 Rd7 41.f3 Ree7 1/2-1/2

Here is another game from TWIC in which 11 of the 12 pieces on the board are "hanging" after move 27 by white:

[FEN ""]
[Event "TCh-SVK 2014-15"]
[Site "Slovakia SVK"]
[Date "2014.10.26"]
[Round "2.5"]
[White "Macko,M"]
[Black "Lisko,F"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[BlackTitle "FM"]
[WhiteElo "2167"]
[BlackElo "2234"]
[ECO "D31"]
[Opening "QGD"]
[Variation "semi-Slav"]
[WhiteTeam "Liptovska sachova skola"]
[BlackTeam "TJ INBEST Dunajov"]
[WhiteFideId "14906490"]
[BlackFideId "14900157"]
[EventDate "2014.10.25"]
[startply "53"]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c6 4.cxd5 exd5 5.
Bf4 Qb6 6.Qd2 Nf6 7.f3 Bf5 8.g4 Bg6 9.h4 h6 10.h5 Bh7 11.g5 hxg5 12.Bxg5 Nbd7
13.Qe3+ Kd8 14.Qd2 Bg6 15.e4 Be7 16.e5 Nxh5 17.Bxe7+ Kxe7 18.Qg5+ Kf8 19.O-O-O
Qd8 20.Qg4 Rh6 21.Bh3 f5 22.exf6 Ndxf6 23.Qg5 Qe7 24.Nge2 Re8 25.Rhg1 b5 26.Rd2
Qe3 27.Bf5 27...Qxg5 28.Rxg5 Kf7 29.Bxg6+ Rxg6 30.Re5 Rh8 31.Rc2 Nd7 32. 
Re3 Nb6 33.b3 Nc8 34.Nd1 Ne7 35.Nf2 Re6 36.Re5 Rxe5 37.dxe5 Ke6 38.Nd3 Rh6 39. 
Nd4+ Kf7 40.e6+ Ke8 41.Ne5 Nf4 42.Nexc6 Nxe6 43.Nxe6 Rxe6 44.Nxa7 b4 45.Nb5 Re3 
46.Nd4 Rd3 47.Rd2 Rxd2 48.Kxd2 Kd7 49.Nc2 Nc6 50.Ke3 Ke6 51.a3 bxa3 52.Nxa3 Ke5 
53.f4+ Kd6 54.Nb5+ Kc5 55.Nc7 g6 56.Ne6+ Kb4 57.Kd3 Kxb3 1/2-1/2

A CQL query that can be used to find these games is:

not check
pinned_pieces = pin 

// Collect pieces that can be captured by non-pinned pieces
possible_captures_by_black = [BNRQ] attackedby (a & ~ pinned_pieces)
possible_captures_by_white = [bnrq] attackedby (A & ~ pinned_pieces)
capturable_pieces = possible_captures_by_black | possible_captures_by_white

// Add pieces that can be captured by pinned pieces
pinned_piece_captures = ~.
if piece pinned in pinned_pieces {
    pinning_piece = pin from [Aa] through pinned
    pinned_piece_captures = pinned_piece_captures | (pinning_piece attackedby pinned)
} then capturable_pieces = capturable_pieces | pinned_piece_captures

capturable_pieces > 10
sort capturable_pieces

Finally, since it was mentioned in Rewan's answer, here is a game in which a piece is hanging (using the same definition that Tim Krabbe provides on his chess records page for "Longest en prise") for 30 moves (again, from TWIC):

[FEN ""]
[Event "Petr Izmailov Mem"]
[Site "Tomsk RUS"]
[Date "2009.06.28"]
[Round "5"] 
[White "Ibrayev,N"]
[Black "Slugin,A"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[WhiteElo "2406"]
[BlackElo "2100"]
[EventDate "2009.06.24"]
[ECO "B81"]
[startply "14"]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6
5.Nc3 d6 6.g4 Nbd7 7.g5 Nd5 8.Be3
a6 9.Qd2 Qc7 10.O-O-O b5 11.f4 b4 12.Nce2 Rb8 13.Nc6 Qxc6 14.Nd4 Qc7 15.f5 e5
16.Ne2 Nc5 17.Bxc5 Qxc5 18.Kb1 h6 19.Ng3 Be7 20.f6 gxf6 21.gxh6 Rb6 22.Nh5 Bg4
23.Ng7+ Kd7 24.Be2 Be6 25.h3 Qc6 26.Rhe1 Qc3 27.Qc1 Qxh3 28.Rh1 Qg3 29.Rdg1 Qf2
30.Bg4 Rc6 31.Rd1 Rg8 32.Rhf1 Qg2 33.Bf3 Qg5 34.Rg1 Qe3 35.h7 Rxc2 36.Nxe6 b3 
37.h8=Q Rxb2+ 38.Kxb2 Qc3+ 
39.Kb1 bxa2+ 40.Kxa2 Qa5+ 41.Kb2 Qc3+ 42.Ka2 Qa5+ 1/2-1/2

Starting at move 8, white can legally capture the black knight on d5 with the pawn on e4 every single move up to move 38 where white is in check.

This game was found with the CQL query:

flipcolor {
    piece Attacked in [RNBQ] attackedby p { 
        sort line singlecolor nestban --> (move legal from p to Attacked +) > 24
  • Nice answer. The last game Ibrayev-Slugin, however, doesn't make any sense, I believe the moves were not recorded correctly or the file was corrupted afterwards. Maybe 6...Nc6 and 7...Nd7 were actually played. Anyway, it should not be presented as a record, because the game as it is shown cannot be genuine.
    – Evargalo
    Commented Nov 9, 2020 at 9:16
  • @Evargalo: I'd exclude corruption - I'd already encountered tons of notations where an error was hiding, and it always demasked itself by a further move being illegal, after only a few moves. It's near impossible this could last for 30 moves. I rather suspect a "Hübner". (chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1543378 - not the only example...Hübner had a penchant for being principle when feeling being wronged...) Commented Mar 21, 2021 at 7:46
  • 1
    @HaukeReddmann : just replace the senseless 6...Nbd7? and 7...Nd5?? by 6...Nc6 and 7...Nd7 and the whole game makes sense at once (even 13.Nc6). Obviously the operator misplayed 6...Nd7 instead of 6...Nc6 when entering the moves, "adjusted" 7...Nd5 instead of the then impossible 7...Nd7, and met no impossibility afterwards.
    – Evargalo
    Commented Mar 22, 2021 at 19:44
  • @Evergalo - sensible assumption - well, much of the game but not the whole. I just say h8Q. Or Qe3. So there must be further errors, e,g, a missed move pair in time trouble. (Rg8-c8 looks like a likely culprit. Fun question for CSE: reconstruct the whole game.) Commented Mar 23, 2021 at 7:46

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