Four Player Chess Strategies

VAOhlman

I've just started at four player chess, but having watched a few grand masters flounder around and say 'I don't know what I'm doing', I figured that the field was pretty open. I've written up a few four player strategies, and would love to get feedback:

Four player chess Strategic Elements


-Don't trade

Trading weakens you and the opponent you just took, leaving the other two players stronger. Even 'trading up' will weaken you. Example:

You take a bishop for a knight. Great trade, right?? Let's do the math:

Before your trade:

(You) Red: 30 points in pieces
Blue: 30 points in pieces
Green: 30 points in pieces
Yellow: 30 points in pieces

After the trade:

(You) Red: 27 points in pieces
Blue: 25 points in pieces
Green: 30 points in pieces
Yellow: 30 points in pieces

You see? While you gained two points *against Blue*, you lost three points against Green AND Yellow!! You also gained five points toward your final score, but few games are decided by so small a margin.


-Don't leave your pieces en prise

In ordinary chess you can say, "Hey, if he takes me here I can just take him back." Two problems with that in four player chess:
1) It is a trade, thus bad for you and
2) In the meantime, after he 'takes me here', someone else might do something I need to respond to! So I might not be able to, or willing to, 'just take him back'.

 

- Don't focus on one player

You have this great attack going against red. Two moves from now, he is toast, checkmate...

Except while you were looking that way, Blue snuck in and started attacking you!!

- Gang up

When you see a player being attacked, check to see if you can use the tempo he needs to defend himself in order for you to take a piece. This is particularly true when he is checked, and when you move before him. You might just be able to gobble a piece for free.
It is less dramatic but also true that when a player is busy fighting off an attack by one player they are simply more vulnerable to attacks elsewhere.

-Balance the power
The opposite of 'ganging up': when a player is attacking another player the attacking player might be 'vulnerable' to your attack... he might be willing to sacrifice the bishop you are attacking in order to gain a checkmate, for example.
And, hopefully obviously, you don't want that other player to do well


-Don't forget turn order, the player that moves right after you is much 'stronger' than the player that plays three later

The player that moves right after you can respond right away to your attacks. The player that moves three after you has two other opponents who might do things that they have to respond to.
-Defense, defense, defense
An attack is an attack against one, a good defense protects against all.
-Diagonals are fantastically important

Bishops are arguably more important than rooks, as a well placed bishop attacks two opponents at once, from the safety of the home squares, whereas your rooks have to move out into the board to do the same thing.

-Get in on the mate!

When you see one player start to line another player up for a mate, get your pieces lined up to cover the area where the mate will be takign place. It might very well happen that what is one move away from mate for Red, might be a mate you can do *right now*!

One really important strategy is to cover the 'mating square'. Often an opponent will chose to move there, and get the mate, even with a queen, even if it means giving the queent to you! They get twenty points, after all! So why not you get nine at the same time!

-Don't let others in on your mate!

Don't set up a mating situation that someone else can take advantage of! You get Red's king backed up to one file... and yellow swoops in with his castle and gets the mate! You might even need to back off to prevent a different opponent from mating.

 

 

-Knights are best at home.

Knights move really slowly compared to bishops, queens, and rooks. So use them mostly for home defense duties, or to wrap around the corner and go after a castled king.

AntonioVivaldiJr

Pushing pawns early is something I've begun to do quite a bit, in the hopes of promoting to a queen. A pawn-queen is an excellent piece to have because it does the same damage as a queen but while only giving up one point to whoever might take it.

One time, I was racking up points and having a grand time with one double check after another. I took such a big lead that I got complacent, trying to see if I could get 100 points rather than closing out the game. I wound up losing as my opponent got into his own run of double checks after picking off my queen and a resigned opponent's twenty point king. As I look back now, there was no reason for me not to resign or run my clock down, giving up twenty points but taking the win. I just had a bad feeling that it would be unsportsmanlike, which is a silly notion to have since it's within the rules and no different than a quarterback taking a knee on a team with no timeouts who is down by a field goal.

A player put into a check is extremely vulnerable because there are (at most) three players who can pick off his/her pieces before he/she can move again. 

 

Good point about the knights. Using them is so frustrating as the board is so huge. the bishops have very strong range, even more so than the rooks since they can cut diagonally across the entire board.

 

 

VAOhlman

I don't usually push a pawn early, as it leaves me too vulnerable. Most players do, though, so I suppose it works for them. I don't think my overall awareness is good enough.

AntonioVivaldiJr

Remember, the point of four player chess is points, literally. I have seen players resign immediately upon blundering away a queen. But you can promote a pawn to a queen and get points, so the game is not lost because you've lost a queen early. 

I used to be very careless about opening up diagonals that gave away queens early in the game but now I am more careful about that. Until a strong strategy is devised to punish me for pushing pawns early, it seems like a good idea to do so, to get that queen and to use that to score points without giving too much away if it's caught.

 

JeffGreen333

Ok, I just played my very first game of 4-player chess.   I had a winning position against the last remaining player and I had a slightly better position.  However, I lost somehow.  He didn't checkmate me, so I'm assuming I lost on time.  I have issues with this game   A. The clock stays frozen until you move, so there's no way to know how much time you really have left (when it's your move)   B.  It never said whether I finished in 2nd or 3rd place.  If it was only me and one other player left, does that automatically place me 2nd or could someone who was eliminated before me be 2nd if they had more points than I did?   C.  It didn't tell me how many ratings points I won or lost and I can't find my 4-player rating anywhere on chess.com.  So, even though the game was entertaining, I probably won't play again unless they fix these "bugs".  

AntonioVivaldiJr

Jeff,

I haven't played for a while, but I do remember that the final placement is determined by total points gained. After a while, you will know when it's best to resign to clinch a win. For example, if you resign or get mated, the player who mates you gets twenty points. If your lead is greater than twenty points, you might as well resign. The important thing is not mating so much as getting as many points as possible. When you can double check your opponents, and find a way to do so move after move, you really begin to rack up the points.

__-__

I have a question.

Do the dead(grey) pieces also put a live King in check? It kinda happened with my game when I delivered a simple check, I won, and it was not a mate- not if dead pieces are kinda like grounded zombies. Enlighten please...

AntonioVivaldiJr

I'm curious how a dead piece can deliver a check. Do you mean is it impossible to place a piece in a square that is attacked by the dead piece? Then the answer is no as those pieces are inactive. I haven't played for a while but I believe that the only significance the dead army has (because blocking the squares that they occupy) is that whoever captures the king will gain twenty points.

JeffGreen333

Thanks, Antonio.  I think I'll stick to regular chess.  

AntonioVivaldiJr

Me too, Jeff. It is a nice diversion but I prefer the original. 

eryxc

Thanks for the great views of four player chess but I will stick to regular chess because it is a little complicated for now.

Mark_Zambelli

Ive been playing alot recently too and got my rating at 1650 at the moment.  One thing I find to be essential is making sure the player across from you doesn't lose. Once hes out, your most likely going to lose because youre very prone to be attacked being in the center.  You also dont want the players to your sides to be the ones who get early queens as they cover the squares for your potential new queen and makes the side opponents stronger.  So recently Ive at least tried to push my pawn far enough to stop easy queen promotions out of the opening.  You also dont want anything to do with the player to your left as you stated, as those in between moves are deadly if the other players catch on. Usually I castle to my right and form a pawn chain to block lanes for the player to my left.

Really the number one thing is not be checked, even an unwarranted sacrifice could end the game right there. You also dont want to become a target so laying low is important and if you queen, bring it back to your base immediately as leaving it in the center is prone to attacks.

Infinite_Bishop

I've been playing a little and noticed a couple things.

Gain up on an attack:

The attacker is often vulnerable because the pieces are too far from their own king to defend. This opportunity helps the other two players checkmate the attacker.

Save the bishops:

Bishops covers 10 squares when its weakest, in a corner, while a knight covers 8 squares at its strongest. A knight is useful for defending, not attacking.

Attack to your right:

Like vaohlman said, whoever is to your left may immediately respond to your attack. Attacking to your right increases the possibility for others to gain up on them. No one can defend against two opponents at once.

 

Also, I have a youtube video talking about four-player chess here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgPi0aPx40o&t=36s

 

Subscribe: 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrcs75yPaYK6P3nNnyCkBPA

 

eryxc

thanks happy.png

Inspirethefear

I have a quick question. How do I give my partner for 4 player chess suggestions? Many times I can see what their suggestions are but how do I give them my suggestions.

Martin0
Inspirethefear wrote:

I have a quick question. How do I give my partner for 4 player chess suggestions? Many times I can see what their suggestions are but how do I give them my suggestions.

You can draw arrows by holding and dragging right click between the squares. You can also chat with your partner.

HorribleTomato

You have to use Double Bladed Treaty Strategy! That means; Focus on ONE PERSON, showing no aggression, just defense, to the other two. That will give them a sense of security, therefore no longer attacking you, focusing on the pending threats, or the other two players. Also use chat, so they think you're friendly. Your target is: the player to your left (usually). They will be the most dangerous, because if they check you, two people get to mooch rewards as well. But, you get a 1/2 tempo advantage against him/her. It's even better if they try to rush the pawn. As they always say, offense is the best defense.

exanattle

GET YOUR QUEENS OUT IN THE OPEN. Queens are amazingly powerful in 4 player chess, get them out in the open via the queens bishop pawn otherwise you risk your king being exposed, and you can immediately start probing all 3 opponents and "restrict" their movement immediately for example if you are eyeing the pawn in front of the knight this stops the bishop from moving as it can lead to a capture of the pawn the only way to stop it would be to move their pawn forward and have it protected by other pawns which wastes a move exposes the rooks diagonal or bring other pieces to its defense which again wastes time and almost certainly screws up with the opponents plan OR simply keep the bishop in it's placce guarding the knight's pawn which restricts it's movement. The queen being placed on e5 or j5 can attack all 3 opponents knight pawn at once or if you're trying to avoid being in the cross fire of an opponents bishop can move along the rows and diagonals and attack any of them.

 

TEAMS: Getting your queens out in the open almost always means victory you can attack all 3 pawns infront of the king, a team member simply has to be "watching" over the kings bishop pawn and you can simply land a mate, or you can capture the queens pawn, to stop the opponent queen recapturing your queen the second team mate simply takes out the kings pawn, the queens have now delivered double check and are reinforcing each other which leads to mate. Two queens out in the open can put severe mating pressure on the opponent or at least giant structural damage.

HorusTheThird
exanattle wrote:

GET YOUR QUEENS OUT IN THE OPEN. Queens are amazingly powerful in 4 player chess, get them out in the open via the queens bishop pawn otherwise you risk your king being exposed, and you can immediately start probing all 3 opponents and "restrict" their movement immediately for example if you are eyeing the pawn in front of the knight this stops the bishop from moving as it can lead to a capture of the pawn the only way to stop it would be to move their pawn forward and have it protected by other pawns which wastes a move exposes the rooks diagonal or bring other pieces to its defense which again wastes time and almost certainly screws up with the opponents plan OR simply keep the bishop in it's placce guarding the knight's pawn which restricts it's movement. The queen being placed on e5 or j5 can attack all 3 opponents knight pawn at once or if you're trying to avoid being in the cross fire of an opponents bishop can move along the rows and diagonals and attack any of them.

 

True, but remember defense! "Invincibility lies in the defense" is especially true here. You can't mate someone or gain points if you're mated!

 

TEAMS: Getting your queens out in the open almost always means victory you can attack all 3 pawns infront of the king, a team member simply has to be "watching" over the kings bishop pawn and you can simply land a mate, or you can capture the queens pawn, to stop the opponent queen recapturing your queen the second team mate simply takes out the kings pawn, the queens have now delivered double check and are reinforcing each other which leads to mate. Two queens out in the open can put severe mating pressure on the opponent or at least giant structural damage.

 

This one's true, but if they defend perfectly, which will be easier than it sounds, they can survive.

All's good and well, unless your opponent defends exceptionally well. This also almost requires you to have the first turn, unless your opponent play badly.

kevinleechicago

i've been following this advice, i get my queen out early and i've found it makes for a more advantageous game.