An old self-stalemate puzzle has been popping up in my feed lately. I was unable to do better than the existing answers, so I created a different puzzle from it. For reference: One-sided chess: Can you stalemate yourself?
Goal: Set up all the white pieces so that no piece has a legal move, as close as possible to a reachable position.
- Start with both white and black in their normal positions.
- End with 16 white pieces on the board.
- No piece has a legal move.
The only purpose of the black pieces being on the board is to give white pawns a chance to legally capture. Once you have all the white pawns where you want them, feel free to remove all the black pieces and get to the end game. Or more realistically, find the end position you want, and determine how many pawn captures you need, and never bother with actually having the black pieces on the board.
A perfect score is 0, which is achieved if white has no moves and all 16 pieces are in reachable positions without any captures or promotions. Since captures and promotions are part of a regular game of chess, there is a minimal penalty for each: 1 point per promotion or capture.
The following illegal moves cost more points:
3 points - Major piece out of position:
- Pawn in 8th row
- Bishop on wrong color
- Pawn in location unreachable via capture
5 points - Replace any white piece on the board with another white piece
The lowest score for an answer reachable in a real game is the winner. If no such answer is posted, the winner will be the answer with the lowest score that also contains illegal moves.