Club of the Month: 4 Player Chess | So Good News


This edition of Club of the Month celebrates one of the most unique clubs on 4-Player Chess. Dedicated to one of the most exciting chess variants, the 4 Player Chess Club has an active community of nearly 25,000 members who love the four player version of the game.

We spoke with one of the club’s administrators, Luke Romanko (known as FourPlayerChess on and Twitch) to find out what makes 4 Player Chess so special. What inspired you to become a leader in your chess club?

Romanko: I have been a very active player since October 20, 2017. I saw how great it is to observe the tactics of such a game, and how even the greatest chess players in the world can fail and/or fail at this game. type of tactics, I could see it could be anyone’s game to be a winner!

Soon after I joined the club, I became active on the forums, posting the first ever 4PC puzzles and discussing 4PC theory. I have been a volunteer admin of this club and server since August 29, 2018. I wanted to play the best of the best against each other and have the highest quality games, so I organized the 4-player World Chess Championship.

Dispelling some common misconceptions: I’m not a creator! I’m just a volunteer admin, as are many 4PC/options club and server admins, and I’m not a developer/employee.

What makes 4-game chess interesting?

In 4-player chess (also called 4PC), the tactical ideas of regular chess are common and when it comes to certain aspects of the game, for example, the two-player chess principles are preserved in the end games, making the game interesting.

4PC has an increased element of luck compared to “regular” chess, which also makes it more accessible/appealing to low-scoring players.

For casual chess lovers, 4PC can be TWICE the fun!

Apart from the obvious addition of two extra players, what are the main differences between regular chess and 4-player chess?

The most significant change in the 4PC is that the board has been expanded from 64 to 160 squares. If you love bishop pairs in regular chess, this will make your 4PC experience a lot of fun! This change causes your queens and bishops to have more room to maneuver around, while knights are usually used to defend your position or attack your opponents on the edge of the board.

Rooks are very similar to regular chess in that they are great for late games, but often fall behind in the early stages of the game.

Tactics play a big role in 4PC. 4PC is all about finding complex attacks and exploiting weaknesses in your opponent’s position. All the tactics you know and love from traditional chess and puzzles work on 4PC, with some new tactical ideas added.

What makes the strategy different? Have a particularly useful chess skill or tactic?

With the addition of two more players, you can also calculate movement orders. In one move, all four players move clockwise around the board one after the other. This allows detected attacks to be created or executed without the player being attacked being able to immediately respond to it.

This allows for a new tactical idea: capturing the king. While chess is still something that ends the game in Teams (two opposing players are in Teams) or takes a player out of a Free-For-All (every man plays for himself, also known as FFA), king captures can occur at any time. one player opens another player’s piece to attack the third player’s king. As complicated as it sounds at first, it’s really simple once you get used to it.

Also, with two additional players, the game provides an imbalance between offensive and defensive players. While normal chess is always a 1vs1 situation, in 4PC you face possible attacks that boil down to 2v1 or sometimes 3v1 in FFA! Defense in such situations is very difficult and sometimes impossible, so you need to be careful and calculate them in advance.

A screenshot of the 4-player chess lobby on
Joining a 4-player chess game is easy, with many active players looking for someone to finish their game in the lobby.

As for general strategies, normal chess and 4PC are very different, and even within 4PC you have to distinguish between Teams and FFA strategies.


New players who play casual chess usually say “don’t move your queen too soon!” receive such advice. or “Bring your king safely!”. In 4PC it’s usually the other way around. Queens are incredibly good attacking pieces and there is enough space in the center of the board that they are not bullied by smaller pieces like in regular chess.

As for casting, it is usually recommended to avoid it. This is because your opponents are on your side, and every time you castle, you move your king closer to one player (making it easier for them to attack you) and away from your own piece (making it harder to defend).

Free for All (FFA):

In this format, you can play the way you want and win from almost ANY position! In this game, an additional element is added: the scoreboard. Each captured enemy unit/situation captured has an assigned point value. If you are more than 20 points higher than another active player, you can immediately press the “Win” button!

Never resign because of this element! Since the goal is to score as many points as possible (and at a high level to avoid playing second), players are perfectly willing to prevent others from winning, and this allows you to advance your last two pawns or steal a game-winning checkmate. one of your opponents!

Screenshot of 4 game chess rules.
Although some rules take some getting used to, 4-player chess is simpler than it seems at first.

However, in general, it is recommended to play defensive and development moves in the opening against most players. If the opponent misses a piece or hangs checkmate and taking it doesn’t ruin your position, go for it!

Even winning an extra piece or pawn against one player does not encourage trading because there are two other players at the table who will have more material than you. It’s important to find the right opportunities to get points and checkmates in the elimination phase — in some cases, you won’t get a free checkmate or checkmate if you give one or more of your opponents too many chances to win. the game.

Only in elite FFA games (2000+) will you see the need to incorporate Team Theory into your discoveries. This is because the player opposite you is geometrically your “best friend” until one player is eliminated in the four-player phase. Team building is allowed as long as it is not negotiated or agreed upon in advance and is a natural part of the game.

Standard FFA is the most popular variant on the variant server and anyone can become a world champion in this variant!

What are some of the craziest or funniest games you’ve ever played in club/4 player chess in general?

Many interesting games are played on 4PC. From a one-sided perspective, I’d say FM/WIM was the craziest game I’ve ever played when partnered with Anna-Maja Kazarian against the GM & FM duo.

I played a dubious opening on the first move and confused the opponents, playing the whole game in front of the bishop with the work as compensation. It was one of the most talked about 4PC games of all time and seemed to decide who would qualify for the third qualifying arena of the 2020 4-player World Chess Championship.

The game received the most votes in a poll for “Best Game of 2020” on a Twitch stream hosted by 5-time 4PC World Champion Lars Johan Brodtkorb.

What makes your chess club different from other clubs?

The vast majority of our active members love 4PC and variants as much or more than regular chess. Our club now has over 24,500 members, specifically 4PC enthusiasts! This club is actively run by volunteers who enjoy organizing events for the community.

Several times a year, these volunteers host or assist with major 4PC collaborations, 4PC World Championships and League events. Arenas are a regular feature, we’re happy to host 4PC arenas and host 4PC games upon request!

We also appreciate it when women come to try this game. Recently, IM Anna Rudolph, FM Nemo Qiu Zhou, WFM Anna Kramling and WGM Dina Belenkaya enjoyed working together in some great games with and against each other!

Does your club support scholastic chess?

Historically, we have not specifically supported scholastic chess, but we would like to. In the future, 4PC arenas may be created for students only, and the 4PC community would like to see only student tournaments on the 4PC server.

Currently, 4PC arenas can be created upon request and can feature and highlight specific scholastic chess clubs. We’d also like to hear if Scholastic Chess will host 4PC tournaments!

Which tools do your members use the most?

First of all, almost all of them have been on a 4PC/variants server at least once. This is an obvious answer, but outside of 4PC, many of our members benefit the most from Puzzle.

What advice would you give to clubs starting out and looking to grow on

Make sure your club has a unique element! Find respectful ways to share the club and connect with others. Many people are desperate to get members and spam links for their club and no one wants that. What helps people create their own clubs on and adds credibility is the associated Twitch stream!

How can members join your club? members can join the club immediately by contributing positively to the forums with unique opinions on 4PC. They can share 4PC content and 4PC stories with admins permission.

Finally, do you have any advice for those wanting to try 4-player chess for the first time? Any tips/resources you can recommend?

Check out some of the best active games. Check out our archive of the best 4PC engines! YouTube/Twitch VODs are your friend. Catch the LIVE streams when you see them! 4PC discoveries are very different from 2PC, so watch a tutorial or two to get used to things. Check out this guide which will give you a brief overview of the game.

New to Teams? Look for an educated teammate! Top players can enjoy the benefits of increasing their rating by playing with a new player who is available and even willing to learn! Within days or months, you can achieve rankings you never thought possible!

Thanks to the 4 player chess team who responded to this month’s article.

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