# Most Captures Chess

In Most Captures Chess puzzle, you will need to provide a legal game where it is Blacks to play and where they have the most different ways to capture a White piece.

For instance, the next game allows two ways for Blacks to capture a White piece.

1. e4 d5
2. c4

How many ways will you reach?

• Just to clarify: any different black piece can take any different white piece, or something must be fixed? I mean, the roughest estimate would be 16x16 for a possibility of every piece taking every other piece? e4 d5 confused me, since it probably should be other way round. Dec 9, 2020 at 12:55
• @ThomasBlue, yes a quite large bound for the optimal solution is 16x16 where ideally, all blacks could eat all white pieces. It's not a possible solution obviously
– JKHA
Dec 9, 2020 at 12:59
• e4 d5, then c4 is only one solution for the puzzle, you could start with a total other opening. It was only to show a solution of value 2 which is very far from an optimal one :)
– JKHA
Dec 9, 2020 at 13:00
• I'm sorry, I thought you would show possibilities for the black's turn. Dec 9, 2020 at 13:02

As per stolen from this CSE question, the known record, as standing for 53 years so far, is 74 captures for one side. The color is irrelevant, as it can easily be switched.

T. W. Marlow & William Cross, Problem 05/1967

Beat that!

71 48 pawn moves (each has two times four different promotions; 15 knight moves; 5 queen moves; 3 king moves

• Maybe I'm missing something, but is there a reason black gave up its bishops and rooks? Seems like you could squeeze in a few more potential captures if you added them back in... Dec 9, 2020 at 20:54
• @DarrelHoffman It most likely has to do with the fact that the position must be reachable in a game. I'm pretty sure you need to sacrifice pieces to allow white promote their pawns without disturbing black's pawns Dec 9, 2020 at 22:02
• Exactly, I think getting all the pawns past each other costs a minimum of 6 pieces. Dec 9, 2020 at 22:05
• I don't know if it's reachable yet, but if the knight on e3 were a pawn on h2 it would count one more. Dec 10, 2020 at 0:45
• Like Paul said, not enough captures. You need 8 here: 6 to get the pawns in place and 2 for the knight promotions. Dec 10, 2020 at 7:59

I know people would come here soon to make better estimates, but let's say 18.

Moving all pawns to the middle line, then knights one by one (then some placeholder turn by the whites) we have 14 options for eating a pawn with a pawn and 4 more options for eating a pawn with a knight.

I don't attach a picture, for this is rather obvious.

I believe this is possible for 14 times 4 + 13 = 69 captures

after e.g. this intermediate position where white has captured the bishops

• You probably want to replace the d1 Q and the d5 R with pieces that do not pin d2 and d4. Dec 10, 2020 at 1:02
• You are right, and f1 and a8 are also a problem :-( I will move some pieces around to correct Dec 10, 2020 at 7:27