Introduction to Square Rule Chess

Square Rule Chess is a variant of the traditional game of chess that introduces new rules and concepts, making it a more challenging and complex game. It was developed by Arto Järvelä and Mikko Nummelin in the early 2000s, and since then has gained a small but dedicated following in the chess community.

In this article, we will dive deeper into the concept of pawn promotion in Square Rule

Chess, specifically focusing on navigating pawn races to reach promotion.

The Importance of Pawn Promotion

In traditional chess, pawn promotion is often seen as a crucial goal to strive for. Promoting a pawn to a queen or other powerful piece can completely shift the balance of the game and give a player a significant advantage. However, in Square Rule Chess, pawn promotion becomes even more important.

This new dimension of pawn promotion adds a level of complexity to the game, as players must carefully strategize and plan their pawn movements to ensure they can promote their pawns to the desired color.

The Rule of Square Explained by Magnus Carlsen

Navigating Pawn Races to Promotion

One of the most exciting aspects of Square Rule Chess is the concept of pawn races. In traditional chess, pawn races occur when two pawns from opposite sides of the board are making their way towards promotion. In Square Rule Chess, these pawn races take on a whole new level of complexity.

For example, if you have a pawn on a white square, and your opponent has a pawn on a black square, and both pawns are racing to promotion, you must find a way to block your opponent´s pawn from reaching the white square and promote before they do. This adds a layer of strategic thinking and calculation to the game, making it more challenging and exciting for players.

AI and Square Rule Chess

While Square Rule Chess remains a relatively unknown variant of the traditional game, it has recently gained some attention in the AI community. In 2019, researchers from the University of Helsinki created an AI program called “DeepSquare” that could play Square Rule Chess competitively.

Furthermore, AI programs such as DeepSquare can provide valuable insights and strategies for human players to improve their Square Rule Chess gameplay. By analyzing the moves and decisions made by AI during pawn races, players can gain a better understanding of the game´s intricacies and improve their own gameplay.


Square Rule Chess offers a unique and challenging twist to the traditional game of chess, particularly when it comes to the concept of pawn promotion. Navigating pawn races to promotion adds a whole new level of strategy and complexity to the game, making it exciting and engaging for players.

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