by Peter Wood
From Variant Chess, Volume 3, Issue 23, Spring 1997, pages 46-47 and Issue 28, Summer 1998, page 167 .
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Last issue I discussed English Progressive Chess; this time I turn to the less heavy Extinction Chess, a variant invented by Wayne Schmittberger of the USA. The former name of this was Extinction of the Species, which is a fine description of the variant.

The rules are simple:

  1. The chess pieces for each side are divided into six separate species. These are of course King, Queen, Rook, Bishop, Knight and Pawn. The game ends when one of the species becomes extinct (i.e. one player has no piece of that species left), and the player to whom that happens loses.
  2. Check and checkmate of Kings are abolished
  3. Castling is still possible, but because of rule 2 the restrictions regarding the King being attacked, or passing over a square that is attacked, do not apply.
  4. Pawn promotion may extend the life of a species, but a player promoting his last pawn loses the game (since Pawns are then extinct). Promotion to King is possible.
  5. All other rules are the same as in orthodox chess.

AISE have organised postal tournaments since 1990. Any reader interested in playing in the next AISE postal tournament should contact A.Castelli, 62010 Villa Potenza (MC) Italy. But the game is also ideal for over-the-board play. Played as light entertainment, in a pub say, or with a fairly rapid time limit, it makes a welcome and enjoyable break from orthodox chess or more serious variants. Games tend to be on the short side, but there can be interesting and unusual tactics involved. It is a game that is easy to learn, and I recommend it to readers.
Let us look at a few simple tactics:

Aldo Kustrin - Piero Pugnali
AISE Grand Prix 1992

1. e4 b6 2. Bc4 a6 3. Qf3 b5?? 4.?B:f7 Resigns. (Note here that 4.?Q:f7 loses - Black just plays 4....?K:f7, winning.)

Patrizio Fontana - Gianluca Scovero
AISE Grand Prix 1992

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4.?Nf3 Nc6

(White now threatens to pin both the Black Knights against the major pieces. This is a popular tactic.) 5.?Bb5 g6?? (Loses immediately.) 6.?Bg5 Be7 7. B:f6 Resigns.

Roberto Cassano - A. Castelli
AISE Grand Prix 1993

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. Bb5 Bd7 5.?a4 Nc6 6. d:c5 B:c5 7. Qg4 g6 8.?B:c6 b:c6 9. h4 Rb8 10. Nf3 (By his exchanges White has left himself open to a Black attack on the Queenside; he has three vulnerable pieces.) 10.... Rb4 11. Qg3

11.... R:b2! White resigns. (If 12.?B:b2 Qb6 with a double attack against b2 and f2. If 12. Bd2 Bb4. If?12.?a5 R:c2 13. Bf4 B:f2)

The following game was played over-the-board at Hastings last autumn; it was one of a series of games. Neither player had played the game before.

Peter Wood - Ray Kearsley
Friendly 1996

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. Bc4 g6 4. d3 Bg7 5. a3 d6 6. Bb5 Nf6 7. Bg5 Nd7 8. Nd5 Qa5 9. b4! (Forcing the Queen to retreat.) 9.... Qd8
10. B:c6? (10. B:e7 would have won outright: 10.... N:e7 11. N:e7) 10... b:c6 11. c4 f6 (Not 11... c:d5, because of 12. Qa4!) 12. Bc1 0-0 13.?f4 Bh6 14. Nc3 e5 15. g3 f5 16.?Bb2 e:f4 17. b:c5 d:c5 18. Qa4 Rb8 19. Bc1 Bb7 (If 19... Qg5, then 20.?Q:c6 Ne5 21. Qd5 wins.) 20. Nd5 f:e4 21. d:e4 Ne5 (Decisive.) 22.?Qc2 c:d5 23. c:d5 Qa5 (If 23... f3, then 24. Bb2) 24. Kd1 Ba6 25. Nh3 Bd3 26. Qa2 Qa4 27. Ke1 Q:e4 28. Kd1 Q:h1 29. Kd2 Q:c1 and wins.

Now a couple of postal games by Alessandro Castelli. They are good examples of the kind of strategy that one would do well to adopt. A solid defensive structure should be formed. Any exchange of minor pieces and Rooks should be made with caution. Excluding the question of pawn promotion, which in this game would be extremely rare, only three such exchanges can take place; the safety of both sides` remaining Bishop / Knight / Rook is of prime consideration when allowing an exchange. Obtaining and keeping the initiative is important, and to that end the Queen is an ideal piece to probe the enemy position and attack any weaknesses, especially when piece exchanges have taken place.

Alessandro Castelli - Paul Yearout
AISE Grand Prix 1992

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. d3 d6 4. h3 h6 5. Be2 Be7 6. 0-0 0-0 7. Nh2 d5 8.?e:d5 Q:d5 9. Ng4 e4 10. Ne3 Qd8 11.?d4 c5 12. d5 Bd6 13. Nc4 Re8 14. Be3 a6 15. a4 b6 16. N:d6 Q:d6 17. c4 Qe5 18. Qb3 Nbd7 19. Rd1 g5 20. g3 Qf5 21. Kg2 h5 22. Nd2 Kg7 23. Qc3 Kg6 24. b4 Rb8 25.?Rab1 g4 26. h4

26... c:b4 (Black should look to blockade the white pawn on d5.) 27.?R:b4 a5 28. Rb5 Re5 29. d6 Nc5 (29... R:b5 30. c:b5 is hopeless too.) 30. B:c5 Resigns.

Roberto Salvadori - A. Castelli
AISE Grand Prix 1993

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 g6 4. Nf3 h6 5. Bd3 c5 6. c3 c4 7. Bc2 g5 8. h3 Bd7 9. Ba4 Qa5 10. B:d7 N:d7 11.?Na3 b5 12. Nc2 Qb6 13. a4 a6 14.?a:b5 Q:b5 15. Na3 Qc6 16. Nc2 Rb8 17. Ne3 Rb3 18. Ra3
18... Qb5 (Threatening 19... R:a3 20.?b:a3 Qb1) 19. R:b3 c:b3 20. Nd2 Nb6 21. N:b3 Qa4 22. Nf1 Nc4 23.?h4 N:b2 24. Qc2 Nd3 25. Q:d3 Q:b3 26. h:g5 Qa2 White resigns.

BCVS Championships
From Variant Chess, Volume 3, Issue 28, Summer 1998, page 167

Here are some games from the recent tournament won by Robert Reynolds.

George Jelliss - Ian Richardson

1.Nf3 e5 2.N:e5 d6 3.Nc4 Nc6 4.c3 Be6 5.e4 B:c4 6.B:c4 Qe7 7.Qf3 Ne5 8.Qe2 N:c4 9.Q:c4 0-0-0 10.h4 d5 11.Qd4 h5 (PW. A good and logical plan to develop the KR.) 12.0-0 Rh6 13.e5 Qe6

14.Q:a7? Qf5 Resigns (0-1). (IR. The knights will soon be extinct.)

Peter Wood: When sending the above result to me as Controller Ian suggested we continue the game from move 14. We did so. The position looked pretty even to me at the time, but I did not appreciate the better Rook development of Black. As the minor pieces are reduced to one apiece, it is the Q and Rs who must be in the vanguard of an attack. In any event Ian soon finished me off as well. - 14.d3 Qa6 15.Rd1 Rb6 16.b3 (PW. White wants to play Qf5 and probe Black's weak kingside, but 16....R:b2 would win outright.) 16....R:b3 17.Nd2 Rb4 18.Qe3 Qa4 White resigns.

Ian Richardson - David Richardson
Annotated by Ian Richardson.

1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.Qf3 e6 4.Bc4 Nb6 5.Bb3 Nc6 (My eyes light up when both Ns are out; and I immediately tempt them to come further.) 6.d4 d5 7.e:d6 B:d6 8.Nd2 N:d4 9.Qd3 Nf5 10.Nc4 N:c4 11.B:c4 Ne7 (I now switch attention to the pin of the B on d6. This proves decisive.) 12.Bf4 0-0 13.0-0-0 Kh8 14.Qg3 Ng8

15.R:d6 (The Rook is dispensable if the other Rook can be kept safe on h1.) 15....c:d6 16.B:d6 b5 17.Bb3 (An interesting position. David and I agree that Black has no safe move here. White has threats B:f8, Be5, and Qf3. Black chooses badly and the game is quickly over.) 17....Bd7 18.Be5 f6 19.Qd3 Resigns. (The B or Q must fall.) (1-0)

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