Strategy and Theory.
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Yes, Losing chess does involve theory and strategy. Moreover, it seems to be very complicated and profound one. Once basic tactical blunders can be avoided, the strategic depth becomes apparent - mobility, space, development, weak squares, king safety, pawn structure. Indeed, it is even possible that the game may rival regular chess in profundity. For most players Losing Chess is still in its "romantic" period, when tactical battles usually rage, but many have already discovered its deep strategic side, things we could only dimly see before.

Basic Principles

Surprisingly, Losing Chess strategy has much more in common with chess strategy, than one could believe considering their totally opposing goals. For example, contrary to common belief, the strategy of Losing Chess is not giving away your pieces. Instead, illogical as it may seem at first sight, achieving significant material advantage is one of the important strategic steps. Having more material gives you the possibility to 'surround' the opponent with your pieces, gradually restricting him until he runs out of safe moves (zugzwang) , and then - 'ditch' the pieces one by one. To restrict your opponent, you will not only need material advantage, but also advantage in mobility and space. Understanding and skilful application of these principles always sign the best Losing Chess play.
One of the most wonderful Losing Chess features, which also makes the game so profound, is the fact that piece values are highly position- and phase-dependent. Unlike in chess, where the scale Q>R>B=N>P seem to work in 99% of cases, in Losing Chess almost no such 'scaling' is possible. Instead of having values, each piece rather has some advantages and some disadvantages. The table bellow should give you only a basic overview:
Pieces in Losing Chess
The most important piece. Its safe moves are often needed to avoid zugzwang.
Too slow for other tasks.
Very useful for middle-game tactics, for attacking the king, weak squares, etc.
Dangerous in open positions, in the endgame.
Best endgame piece, quick and powerful.
Can easily turn into a 'loose cannon'.
Good for endgame. Also for draws (due to 'oppi-colored' bishops).
See for Rook. Much worse even.
Very good for destroying pawn formations, for 
'forking' weak squares.
Too immobile, very bad in the endgame.
Very useful for restriction of the opponent's pieces, and also destroying pawn formations.
Slow, immobile. Often dangerous when it comes to promotion.

Game Phases


Just like in chess, the main goal in the Losing Chess opening is development of the pieces. One has to be careful, as the starting position is quite volatile, and some first moves even lose directly (1.e4, 1.d4, and 1.d3). However, one should not be too passive, guided by the motto 'just not capture anything'. Remember that material advantage is important to win, not the opposite! So, always be open to try those novelties which allow the opponent to give-away some of his pieces, just carefully check if you cannot be forced to capture them all. Only bishops seem to be an exception here, they are often too dangerous for the opening and middle-game, so in most cases you should try to get rid of your bishops in the opening and avoid capturing those of the opponent. (However, see this game for an example of how strong a bishop can sometimes be!) Regarding this, the most preferable first moves might be 1.e3 e6 - allowing both sides to 'ditch' the bishops directly. Indeed, these moves have become by far most popular among the strongest Losing Chess players. The following pgn-file (regularly updated!), with more than 1200 games mostly by strong players from FICS under slow time controls, probably contains most of the current opening repertoire. The chess database program cdb by Peter Klausler allows you to view this file as a variation tree, with win/loss statistics for every opening move! ('cdb' is the only program I know which works with Losing Chess game collections, please inform me if you know other.)


The middle-game strategy is primarily based on the following concepts: These concepts are of course not independent, e.g. the side with material advantage(provided the pieces are mobile) can easier restrict the opponent's position, while a good pawn structure makes the restriction much harder.

Mobility & Space

Mobility is, no doubt, one of the most improtant factors in the Losing Chess. Immobile pieces can be easier restricted and surrounded by the mobile opponent, and then forced into capturing of all his pieces.

To be continued...



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