Monochromatic Chess


Monochromatic chess is a fairy condition in which no piece or pawn may move from a dark square to a light square, or vice versa.

This is a very severe restriction to normal chess: Knights cannot move at all; Pawns can only capture (possibly after an initial double step); and only K-side castling is legal.

Checks are fairy, i.e. a King is only in check by enemy units standing on same-colored square, when capturing the King would be a monochromatic move. So that e.g. the two Kings can be in contact.

The monochromatic constraint has been used several times in the popular Sherlock Holmes book by Smullyan. It lets you construct problems having a rich retro-content without filling the board with many pieces. Certainly that is a sufficient justification for this fairy condition !

Here is an example:

Raymond Smullyan
The Chess Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes, 1979

[8/3p1p2/8/7p/88/k3P1P1/1N1QKB2] (solution)

6+4. Monochromatic chess. White to move.
Prove that a promotion and an en passant capture occurred

Bichromatic chess

In bichromatic chess, only moves that change square color are legal. Hence Pawns cannot capture and Bishops cannot move.

This genre is somewhat less restrictive than monochromatic chess and, perhaps as a consequence, less used in retros.