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How to Play Horde Chess

My favorite chess variant is Horde, because unlike all of the other variants (with the exception of 960) it doesn't force you to play chess differently. For example, Three-check forces you to play extremely defensively while king of the hill often forces you to play extremely undefensively. But Horde is a whole different game.

The pieces still move the same, but the goal for white is to capture all of the black pawns. This is most easily acheived by getting to the back of the horde. The weakest files are the a, and h file, as those pawns are only defended once. The easiest way to immediately create pressure on either of those files is 1. a4 (or h4). This forces the b5 (or g5) pawn to choose between capturing or being captured, and thus opening up the file for the rooks.
White will often have to make sacrifices (bishop or knight for 2 pawns). These are best when they can significantly weaken a file or diagonal to access the backrank.

The goal for black is to checkmate. This is most easily achieved after promotion (by which time white will probably resign after all of their sacrifices). As aforementioned, black's weakest files are the a, and h files. Black must guard these files and the backrank. Black must remember that the power is in the horde, and therefore must not spreadout his pawns in an easily permeable, checker like structure. Accept or reject sacrifices as the position calls for. Black must also keep in mind that should white get to the back of the horde, it's not always the end of the game. It takes valuable time for white to capture all of the pawns rank by rank -- time black could be using to promote pawns. And if all else fails, it's often quite possible for black to play for a draw -- stalemate -- when black has no legal moves.

I like hoard because of basically the same reason. I also suck at a lot of the other variants too >.< lol

"This is most easily achieved after promotion (by which time white will probably resign after all of their sacrifices)" << I have faced this before and it's made me play more "defensively" with white. Black, I just advance them steadily.

Nice post.
:)

"it doesn't force you to play chess differently"

It's like you pulled this sentence from a conversation I was just having with another player over a game of horde yesterday.

I appreciate that the dev here takes the time to program variants because I think they are great, but I can't help but be disappointed by the ones he chose to add-- in particular atomic and suicide chess. In my opinion, the reason to play variants is to experience chess with a new flavor of creativity. Playing a variant where ..f6 is practically FORCED on move 1 after Nf3 seems ridiculous to me.

Anyway, horde is nice and I hope to see more variants like it (don't involve memorizing opening lines to survive more than two moves).

first of all, just don't play with black ! after that ,it becomes easy..

What do you mean Horde doesn't force you to play chess differently? (Btw white has the pawns and black the pieces, always at least it's that way here on lichess). If you're white, obviously you play differently in that you have no pieces or even king, and if you're black, you are forced to sac pieces in exchange for fewer pawns in most cases.

Sacrificing pieces for pawns is a very typical strategy when they are becoming too powerful, even in normal chess. The game is more or less played in the same paradigm: take lots of your opponent's pieces and checkmate. Black just ignores the bit about checkmating in horde. This is remarkably different from games like anti-chess where the objective is totally different (in this case, opposite).

PS The pawns were originally black on lichess. The colors were swapped when there was a consensus that the pieces had a large advantage.

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