RES.LL-004 | Spring 2022 | Non-Credit

LL EduCATE: Introduction to Engineering Concepts

Clausewitzian Chess | Chess Basics

You are not required to know how to play chess for this exercise. However, there are two concepts that will be useful before we proceed: 1) what are the conditions for winning and 2) what moves that each type of pieces can make.

Winning Conditions

There are four possible winning conditions, two of which we will be focusing on here. We will be asking you to work with the “Three Check” winning condition, but you can change this setting for Scenario three if you choose.

The two common winning conditions rely on the concept of the king being threatened or “checked.” To “check” the king is to put it in harm’s way, such that an enemy piece could move onto its square and capture it on its next turn. The king has a strong sense of self-preservation and in traditional chess must move to escape when this happens.

With that in mind, let’s look at the possible winning conditions for the game: 

Winning Condition Description
King Capture Usually defined by “checkmate,” when the king is threatened and has no valid moves/squares that would be safe to escape to. For this version of chess, a king capture is the literal capture of the king, what can happen on the next turn after check if the king doesn’t move to escape. 
Three Check Check the king three times without capturing it. (A check lasts until the king moves to safety.) 
Most Pieces Capture more pieces than your opponent by the end of the game. 
Most Material        
Capture the most points worth of pieces by the end of the game. (See value for each piece under Piece Configuration settings, described below.) 

Piece Movement Ability

For the second concept, there are two color of pieces, black and white, in the game that corresponds to each side in the game. You can reference the following table: 

Piece Piece Icon Movement Ability
Pawn Symbol for a black chess pawn.


Symbol for a white chess pawn.

One square forward at a time with diagonal attack, with two movement exceptions: 

The first time a pawn moves, it can move two squares. 

If the pawn reaches the fifth row (near enemy lines) and the opponent moves their pawn two squares, starting from the front line, then the pawn can move diagonally and overtake it, capturing it in the process.  

See this example GIF.

Pawns are the only piece that cannot move backwards. 

Pawns have a superpower. If they reach the other side of the board without being captured, then they can be swapped out for any other piece. For ease of this experiment, you can upgrade to a queen. 

These special abilities and movement options only apply to front row pawns since chess traditionally has pawns only in that row. 

Knight Symbol for a black chess knight. Symbol for a white chess knight. The knight moves four squares at a time in an ‘L’ pattern. This means that it can take three steps forward in any cardinal direction and then one step to the left or right. 
Bishop Symbol for a black chess bishop.


Symbol for a white chess bishop.

The bishop moves diagonally. Notice that this means that a bishop that starts on a light or dark square can only move on that color of square. 


Symbol for a black chess rook. Symbol for a white chess rook.

The rook moves in a straight line in one of the four cardinal directions, with no limit on number of squares barring obstacles. 
Queen Symbol for a black chess queen.


Symbol for a white chess queen.

The queen can move any number of squares in any direction (straight or diagonal), barring obstacles. 
King Symbol for a black chess king.


Symbol for a white chess king.

One square in any direction as long as the new location is not under attack. The king can do a special move called castling but you don’t have to worry about that here as that feature is not supported.        

Clausewitzian Chess Setup and Mechanics

The Clausewitzian Chess document provides a lot of details on all the buttons and options so your first step is to review the Game Element and Design section of the Clausewitzian Chess document (PDF). 

For each scenario below, you will be setting up your own versions of chess at Clausewitzian Chess that matches that description. Try to solve the game. When you finish each game, return here for questions to reflect on and to continue to the next scenario.

Learning Resource Types