Your best friend, backstabber and worst enemy


Do you take into consideration which order your opponents make a move? Well, you should! Positioning matters in this variant.


First off let's talk about the person sitting in front of you. He is your best friend. Since he's pieces are far away from yours they rarely make contact with yours in the opening. In addition you both have the same enemies on the sides and if any combination happens against an enemy on the side, he is the most likely to help you. You also don't want anything bad to happen to your friend since you are unlikely to be able to join the party and get points from him. And you don't want your enemies to get free points.


Next we have the player to the right. He is a backstabber. If any other player checks you or make a move you need to respond to (like trading a piece), he will always be there and try to take advantage of it. However you should not fear him, he should be the one fearing you! If you initiate a trade or create a threat against him, then your best friend are ready to backstab him before he can respond. Whether you want your best friend to get points this way is up to you, but the backstabber should definitely fear you.


Finally we have the player to the left. He is your worst enemy. If he creates any check or threat against you there are 2 players after him that could take advantage of it. If you create a threat or check against him he can respond immediately without any other player taking advantage of it, unless they managed to predict your move. It's true the backstabber are the one most likely to gain from this, but you should fear the cause which is your worst enemy instead of the one dealing the damage. Also keep in mind that you want to be able to backstab your worst enemy.


Any thoughts on this view of positioning? Obviously the player I called best friend is also an enemy at the end of the day and this is a simplification of the players roles.




Nice commentary!  So, all else being equal, who would you suggest attacking first?  Obviously each game will play out differently, but if you're in a position to choose between attacking left and right, do you take out your worst enemy or your backstabber?


I imagine attacking the backstabber is best. Since you can respond to his moves directly while he can not it should be easier for you and harder for him. Just make sure you are solid against your worst enemy. If your worst enemy wants to take a risk against you, like making a move he does not want you to respond he would need to predict both the backstabber move and your response, so hopefully that will be hard for him.


One possible downside with attacking the backstabber though is that it is possible other players gain more from your attack than you do. They can focus on either backstabbing him, attack you or promoting pawns.


Good analysis. So everyone starts by attacking to the right and defending to the left.

I've been experimenting by getting my queen into the centre ... sorry for the English accent ... as early as poss to join in any other attacks and so far it's been disastrous for me but I'm going to persist with it.


Hmm never thought it of it that way!  


If you attack the backstabber, your other enemies profit.  On the other hand, if you weaken the backstabber, you can then let off the pressure and turn your attention to your worst enemy.  Maybe that's the ideal strategy - weaken the backstabber, then attack your worst enemy?  Of course, you would need to be able to be flexible as the game develops.


I was noticing a lot of this too... that the position of each opponent requires each its own strategy. 


Has this game been around before? I can imagine the entire game has an entire laundry list of strategies that don't apply to 2 player chess. There are so many to speak of.


This game is a new invention from  There have been other three- and four-player variants, but not with this precise set of rules.


I did start to notice right away that players were quick to attack me while I was in check and it didn't even need to be what normally is a sound attack either, since I needed to get out of check first and foremost. It is really hard to both defend and counterattack, since you usually have limited options for how to get out of check. I also find that the guy across from you can become the real "backstabber", since you thought he was your friend, until you got put into check. I personally see everyone as my opponent equally and try to make sure all of my moves are sound, so that no one can take advantage of me. It is easier said than done. I find strategy can be dictated by things like players trying to queen early, or if you like fianchettoes, but the guy(s) on each side of you, beat you to it. You may get forced to play defensively, even if you wanted to try being proactive, especially if you go last. It is like playing black in standard chess x 3. I find that you could almost book this games openings by the move order and your opponents' choices of openings before, as to what is best. It seems like If you go first and try to queen early, only the player who goes second has much to say about it, unless it is a cooperative effort to stop you. I find trying to queen early as the 1st and 2nd players give the guys who go 3rd and 4th extra tempos to develop their pieces to both attack and defend. In fact the few games I chose to try queening early, I was beaten early.


@Christopher_Parsons, of course your friend will backstab you if he get the chance. One of my main points here is that checks by the opponent after you should be seen as a major threat, although he is unlikely to sacrifice for checks since he has little to gain for himself. Preventing non-sacrificial checks and other forcing moves by the player after you should be quite high on your priority list since you usually can't prevent all backstabbing moves.

So do not blame your friend for backstabbing you, blame your worst enemy and your inability to prevent a check from him. They are all your enemies, but his threats are the most scary. Of course at the end of the day you probably want to be safe from all your enemies.


One thing I like to do in the opening is the opposite of others. If a lot of people run a pawn in the centre they can stop each other while I fianchetto and get castled. If a lot of people fianchetto I can run a pawn in the centre and if I am the only one I might even get away with a promotion or a player sacrificing a piece for it. Being the last player gives me the most room to adapt, even if it is a disadvantage.



I wasn't blaming anyone. I would have to view one of them as my friend who backstabbed me first. They are all my opponents, as I previously stated.  I was saying that going by your logic, if you chose to call the player across from you, "your friend", you or anyone else for that matter, would realize they are the epitome of backstabber. The guy who chooses to take you out from behind is likely the coward in an actual fight, and though he might stab you from behind, the definition of backstabber is a friend who turns on you when you least expect it, often deceitfully and behind your back. The fact that a guy happens to make moves in an order that he didn't dictate in a chess game, isn't analogous to nature of a real life backstabber, even if he may seem to be helping at first, inadvertantly.


 Maybe calling it a backstabber is wrong, but I was looking for a word to describe the person that take advantage of other players threats against you.


@ Martin0

Please don't get me wrong , I truly appreciate your efforts to make sense of this crazy game and put it into simple English. While I think you could attempt to name everyone, based upon their role(s) against you from your perspective, but since everyone takes turns doing it to each other, to a degree it seems silly to me. The reason for that is, from purely a strategist's point of view, I would label them all something more generic and wouldn't tend to stereotype their roles. I find that could be counterproductive, since you would be trying to anticipate the moves of others, based on a general assumption.


The names are there to make it a more pleasant read and easier to remember. I think it can be really important to remember that there are 2 players that can take advantage of a threat by the player to the left, but threats be the player to the right can be responded to immediately. Therefore you need to be more careful against threats by the player to the left.


I like reading your criticism by the way


Would you think it criticism if I said that I thought I could change that? Lol. Just kidding. I appreciate you being willing to accept some form of constructive criticism. I also applaud any effort to make sense of this game. It is definitely a different animal. One thing I just realized is that some people who might try making sense of your writings, don't even know what a fianchetto is or taken something en prise. I realize you were intending it for the discerning, but as a rule, I personally try to avoid confusing innuendo or ambiguity. That was my main point about the use of your words. It wasn't just to point out something I see as a flaw, as much as I felt I was trying to be helpful in your effort to convey your ideas. 


One interesting thing from three- and four-player games: two enemy pieces that are threatening each other are also protecting each other from other players.

NelsonMoore wrote:

I have noticed a position aspect of whether your king is closer to the king after you or the king before you. I think closer to the king before you is a slight advantage.

I think the kings should all be on the same side to make it fairer. i.e. every player will have the king on their right to start off.


I agree unless it is 2 vs 2. It could still be as if everyone has white, even in a 2 vs 2 version, but also each team could have a player with black and white set ups.