A friend of mine got me Solitaire Chess for Christmas years ago. I set up the board below. Is it possible to solve it? If so, what is the solution? (No programs allowed- Use only your brain.)


  1. Pieces move as in regular chess
  2. Every move must be a capture
  3. When there is only 1 piece left, you win.

enter image description here

  • 8
    $\begingroup$ which way are the pawns moving ? do they "promote" if they hit the far side ? $\endgroup$
    – Ditto
    Commented Mar 30, 2015 at 18:40
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ they are moving up, and they do not promote $\endgroup$
    – JLee
    Commented Mar 30, 2015 at 18:47
  • $\begingroup$ It'd be a lot harder if rule 3 required a pawn to be the sole survivor. (Not possible?)Looks like many solutions exist and almost any of the "pieces" can be the last one. Haven't found B2 being last yet. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 30, 2015 at 20:47
  • $\begingroup$ @user2338816 ending with a pawn is not possible. d4 must be taken (as cannot take anything) and b2 must be taken by Ba3 (otherwise there will be a piece on a3 that cannot take or be taken) $\endgroup$
    – Joffan
    Commented Mar 30, 2015 at 21:21
  • $\begingroup$ One of the puzzles I had encountered in the book had 1 non-capturing move. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 21, 2016 at 19:12

9 Answers 9


Let's go with:

Nxa1, Bxc4, Rxc4, Rxd4, Bxb2, Bxd4, Bxa1


Here are my thoughts on the matter:

Want to end with a knight?

Bb3, Bb2, Bc3, Bd4, Rd4, Nb3, Nd4

Want to end with a rook?

Bb3, Bb2, Bc3, Bd4, Nb3, Nd4, Rd4

Want to end with a bishop?

Bb3, Nb3, Nd4, Bb2, Bc3, Rd4, Bd4

Want to keep from having to move your horses from the stables?

Bb3, Bb2, Bc4, Rc4, Rd4, Ba1, Bd4

Do you want to end on a square other than D4?

Bb3, Bc4, Rc4, Rd4, Bb2, Bd4, Ba1

Yeah.... I think there might be a few solutions...


I got

Bb2, Bb3, Rc4, Rd4, Bd4, Nb3, Nd4


Different from the other two

Nxb3, Nxd4, Bxb2, Bxc4, Rxc4, Rxd4, Bxd4


What an interesting game. Thanks for sharing this.

Here's the first solution I found:

Bxb3, Nxb3, Bxb2, Bxc3, Bxd4, Rxd4, Nxd4

Note: for those who haven't seen the move notation before, "Bd1" or "Bxd1" means "move the bishop to square 'd1.'"
B=bishop, N=knight, R=rook, P=pawn, K=king, Q=queen


If pawns moving "down"

Pxc3 Pxa1 (promote to anything you want) Rxc3 Rxb3 Rxa3 Rxa2 Rxa1

If pawns moving "up"

Rxd4 Bxb2 Bxb3 Rxb3 Nxb3 Bxd4 Nxd4

  • $\begingroup$ As far as I know, the Pawn can't move down, but I like the idea of promotion! $\endgroup$
    – leoll2
    Commented Mar 30, 2015 at 18:55
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Convention implies white starts at bottom and moves up, however, with this odd "unconventional" board .. it warranted asking ;) $\endgroup$
    – Ditto
    Commented Mar 30, 2015 at 18:58

Power to the church! (Bishops)

Bb2, Ba1, Bb3, Bc4, Rc4, Rd4, Bd4


I got:

Bb2 Bc3 Bd4 Bb3 Nb3 Nd4 Rd4

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Puzzling Stack Exchange! Would it be possible for you to edit this answer to explain how you reached this conclusion given the information in the question? $\endgroup$
    – user20
    Commented Mar 30, 2015 at 20:18
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Sure, I did it in my head and I couldn't find my solution in the given answers. But that's probably not the explanation you're looking for - I'm not sure what you'd like to hear.. So: B on a3 can only go to P on b2, so it was a logical first move (same goes for N on a1 but then we still need B on a2 to be taken), as I was already moving B from a3 I continued to d4, then with most pieces gone it was trivial PS: if that's what you're looking for I'll edit the question :) $\endgroup$
    – brechtb
    Commented Mar 30, 2015 at 20:37

Here is the answer I found in about 5 min (I m pretty proud of myself considering that I'm not so good at chess)



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