Deny is a chess variant that helps you to develop alternatives in your strategy.

Why Is Deny Useful?

Deny will help you to understand more about psychology in chess. This game is all about having two plans at the same time, about learning how to hide your plans to your opponent, and about learning to understand your opponent’s plans.

Deny Rules

Deny is played using the usual chess rules, with a few exceptions:

  • The main exception is that whenever you make a move your opponent doesn’t like, he can say “Deny” and you have to take back your move and make a different move.
  • “Deny” can be used only once per turn. If you make a move and your opponent doesn’t like, he can say “Deny” to this move, but they cannot say “Deny” again to your alternative move. They will be able to say Deny again in the next turn.

This means that to win you should trick your opponent: for example, you can keep your checkmate move hidden, make a different move your opponent doesn’t like, get a Deny from your opponent and then checkmate! If you do so, your opponent cannot deny the checkmate move.

Another way to win is if you have two ways to make checkmate. This is really brilliant because if the deny once, you have another checkmate move ready, and they cannot say “Deny” again in this turn.

You too can say “Deny” to your opponent’s move, once per turn only.

Now let’s see an example.

It’s White’s turn. He moves his pawn to e4:


Black doesn’t like this move, and she says “Deny”, so White has to find a different move. He could move the same pawn to e3, or move another pawn to d4, or move a different piece, for example Knight to g3. Whatever move White chooses, Black cannot say Deny again, as she has already said Deny once in this turn (Black will be able to say Deny again in the next turn if she wants to).

White decides to move its pawn to d4:


Now it’s Black’s turn. She decides to move her pawn to d5:


White doesn’t like this move, so he says “Deny”. Black has to take her move back and find an alternative move. White cannot say Deny again in this turn, so whatever move Black is going to do now, White will have to accept that. Let’s say Black moves the same pawn to d6:


Now it’s the 2nd turn for White. White decides to move its Knight to g3, but Black doesn’t like it and says “Deny”, so White has to take that move back and decides to move its pawn to e4. Black cannot say Deny again in this turn.

Tips To Play Deny

In regular chess there are no take backs. While playing Deny, you will have to think differently from normal!

Try to have two plans for your strategy. If you have a very important move to make, try to hide that and use a different move as first move in your turn, possibily a move that you know your opponent will not like. This way, if they say Deny to this move, they will not be able to say Deny to your very important move. Remember that they can only deny once each move.

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