Horde Chess Strategy Guide – Horde Chess Concepts, Strategies, and how to win with pawns or pieces 😀

The ultimate guide to Horde Chess. #3 ranked player on chess.com explains Horde chess concepts, strategies and ideas to win with both white and black. These are crucial principles and ideas you need to understand to play horde chess well. After watching this video you will be close to becoming an expert at horde chess!

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46 Comments

  1. I captured all but 3 pawns and the other dude resigned. 💀

  2. start watching from 10 minutes.. nothing but same point of repetition till then

  3. the game is poorly done black always wins

  4. Ich finde: SO müssen Tutorials sein; ruhig, unaufgeregt, in angemessenem Tempo die Grundzüge erklären, RICHTIG gut gemacht! – Ich spiele seit vielen Jahren auf einem Wind.-PC Horde Chess offline mit Hilfe der wunderbaren Spiel-Engine "Zillions Of Games" und kann das nur empfehlen (dort gibt es auch andere Sonderformen, sie nennen sich dort Monotype-Varianten: Spiel gegen 8 Damen, 12 Springer, etc. – Überraschend anders.

  5. Well made. Maybe try 4PC, 3 check or King of the Hill

  6. Good video thanks – note Doooovid is the 3rd ranked player on chess.com – I like to explain Horde not as a chess variant but an alternative game that uses chess pieces, I call it 'peasant's revolt'.
    The reason opening the a file is easier is for Black because the Q does not have to move around K to get behind Rook, so always 2 moves quicker on a file than h file.

  7. Hi,

    Thank you so much for producing this video, I am exceptionally passionate about horde and love strategic discussions in general, so even though I am an experienced horde player, it is always fun to see strategic horde content like this.

    I am rune_raider, and I just thought I should give my input based on personal opinion regarding the moments where I disagreed in this video.

    I understand that your target audience is novices, but you talk about the possibility of publishing a horde opening theory video in the future, which is a horde topic I am very well-versed in. I would gladly help you with making that video.

    1. Trading two pawns for a piece does not necessarily favor black. In order for it to favor black, it must do one or more of the following: permanently reduce white's space, favorably infiltrate the back-rank, or divide white's army in half (by greatly reducing the number of white pawns on one file)

    For example, after 1 a5, I would consider black's move 1…b6 to be inaccurate already on account of 2 a6! After black trades 2…Nxa6 3 bxa6 Bxa6, white should be better than he was in the start position. The reason for this is that black has no way to open the a-file anymore should white play correctly. Black's trade of two pawns for a piece on a6 doesn't help black. Okay, the trade itself is not bad, because at least black permanently reduces white's space on the sixth rank. Though, being on the edge, it is not so special.

    Another example where trading two pawns for a piece is not useful for black is after 1 a5 a6 2 b6 cxb6 3 cxb6 d6 4 d5 Nd7 5 d4 Nxb6 6 axb6 Qxb6. Black can't open the a-file so it didn't mean anything that he traded twice on b6. Okay, again he permanently reduced white's space by removing the b6 pawn, but this space is not so relevant. Because this trade allows white to transfer to a different flavor of position where he can liquidate the black pawns in the center with moves like c5, and then deprive black the ability to infiltrate or build a fortress.

    2. I think it is important to emphasize that white's counterattack in principle should be on the opposite wing of black's attack. Maybe part of your attack comes from the center, but really the base of the attack should be on the opposite side since that is the most inaccessible area for black's queen when placed behind all of white's pawns.

    Edit: Often times, we actually want to follow a multi-step plan. First, we attack black's weakest side, which is the part where he is not well defended. After he defends that side, we then want to attack the opposite side. This plan is similar to the concept of creating and exploiting two weaknesses in regular chess. We overload the defense of his pieces by attacking both sides of the board.

    3. One popular question often asked in horde is "should white recapture towards the center or recapture away the center?" and I thought it would've been cool to see you give your take on this. Actually, I still don't understand the answer to this question in complete form, but it seems like its better to recapture away from the center in general unless you are recapturing a b pawn or a g pawn, in which case you should recapture towards the center since it is ok to have only two pawns on each of your rook files. I suppose the basic priority is to make sure you have at least 2 (or preferably 3+) pawns on every one of your files. Or more on the b and g files.

    4. You endorse starting e6 d6 for black, but it is completely unfashionable. 1 d5 e6 2 d4 d6?! 3 cxd6 cxd6 4 dxe6 fxe6 5 fxe6 Bxe6 6 f5 Bc8 7 a5 is very healthy for white, and so black should play 1 d5 e6 2 d4 exd5! 3 exd5 a5 followed by d6, with the same plans as you highlighted in your video.

    Edit: 1 d5 e6 2 d4 d6?! is unfashionable, but not because of 3 cxd6 cxd6 4 dxe6 fxe6 5 fxe6 Bxe6 6 f5 Bc8 7 a5. Rather, it is better for white to try 3 cxd6 cxd6 4 fxe6 fxe6 5 a5! As in the future, white will play f5 to threaten the e6 pawn.

    Likewise, 1 e5 d6 2 e4 e6?! is unfashionable for black and quite healthy for white after 3 fxe6 fxe6 4 cxd6 cxd6 5 exd6 Bxd6 6 c5 Be7 7 e3. Funny enough, as per my 1st point, this also serves as an example where black trading two pawns for a piece is not necessarily a good trade, because black will be able to force such a trade after h6 with ideas of hxg5 hxg5 Bxg5 fxg5 Qxg5 etc. In this particular position, white is doing very well!

    Additionally, I should note that starting 1…a5 right away works for black but only if you want to pursue the completely radical and different strategy of holding (ie shuffling the rook with Ra7 Ra8 Ra7 Ra8 etc.). If you play 1…a5 right away then you cannot play those same Nd7 plans as you could after e6 or d6, because white will always be able to close the center. For example, 1 d5 a5 2 e5 e6 just runs into 3 d6 and white cramps black in the center with a very good position. Likewise, 1 d5 a5 2 e5 d6 runs into 3 e6 with a very good position for white. Thereby, if black wants to play 1…a5, then the only acceptable way to do is probably by shuffling the rook Ra7 Ra8 Ra7 Ra8 so as to attempt to put white into zugzwang. If you want to make a video on opening theory, then I think it would be very important to touch on this rook shuffle opening, because it is very influential to horde technique and strategy.

    P.s. You are right, 1 a5 is definitely the best first move for white, (edit: This is not true at all. Nowadays, I think 1 d5 is the best first move for white) no question about it. It stops black from playing …a5 later, which is indeed an easier place to infiltrate the back-rank than the kingside is with …h5 as you mentioned. However, black is objectively winning in the start position so I believe white should learn multiple openings, otherwise black can just master a refutation to your system if it is all that you play. This could mean learning multiple subsystems of one system, or it could mean learning multiple systems, one subsystem each. Also, 1 a5 is basically a world champion's move, and 1 d5 or 1 e5 would be a more principled choice to start beginners out with (Edit: I think I myself am completely wrong about this once again).

  8. nelsi esta bueno el video pero tengo ke aprender mas para ganarle al rune raider

  9. wow! I really appreciate the tips you gave us with this video! subbed 🙂

  10. Great video! I win 65% with Black and just 39% with White. At Lichess opening explorer I see Black wins about 55%. Do you high ranked players find it easier for Black too?

  11. As White I prefer to move 2 squares (from the two back ranks) then moving just one, if I have the option and Black didn't break in yet, so the push of the army is slightly bigger. Do you agree?

  12. When opposing pawns block each other, is it generally good for White or Black in some specific situation? I like the idea to block pawns as White in the beginning, so Black doesn't know what to do and I can slowly push all the army forward.

  13. you are very good at delaying getting to the point

  14. when I play with the pawns I often wait to develop the two back rows until they have room to move forward two spaces
    And thank you for this video my friend. Very helpfull.

  15. This was a great video. I can now look forward to playing this game. Thanks!

    One suggestion for any future videos you might make: Try not to be so repetitive. Make each point once, and make it effectively. You can do this in about half the time, and lose far fewer viewers before the end. Remember that if people don't fully grasp your points the first time, they can always back up and watch again. This is different from giving a live presentation or lecture, where viewers can't replay.

  16. It's pretty for beginners, but very interesting. You are very clear 🙂 Merci beaucoup!!

  17. Awesome video. You made the principles so simple. Looking forward to the openings video.

  18. I keep thinking his chair is some luxurious hair.

  19. if you lose a whole file you dead as white, if you lose d or e file its resign time

  20. thought you had long hair , then i realized its the back on the chair

  21. Nice video. Hope can have the ultimate guide for another interesting variant called Atomic Chess !! That game is quite fun as well.

  22. 11:46 h5 instead of taking knight? I think it's working, and you are going to play g6 and g7 with checkmate opportunities.
    10:45 black should take on c4 probably, this move was so much better.

  23. Is there a good reason to play this type of game? Would it be helpful to getting better at normal chess?

  24. Shoutout to the person with the Lucca pfp.

  25. I suck at chess, but ai figured these things out on my own. I am only like a 1050 in Chess, but I’m 1600-1700 in horde. I can beat Level 4 on the Lichess computer almost half the time.

  26. Who's here after Nelson lost horde thrice in a row in his current stream lol

  27. ヨーゼフ・アラーベルガー says:

    i knew basically everything from watching some horde games a few years ago lol
    Still a solid advice for someone lost

  28. “Pull up a chair” continues to shit

  29. Black is at an advantage despite being technically down one pawn in strength. Black can force trades that destabilize white's structure allowing for an infiltration, while white must play very strict near-perfect moves to have a chance at winning. One wrong pawn move allows for a rook/queen/knight/bishop infiltration and the structure collapses.

  30. I would love to see a collaboration on this topic with rune_raider. You could team teach this topic. You could create a lesson plan together and go through it. The definitive study guide for horde chess. This could branch out into other variants too! That would be cool. Then we could play tournaments.

  31. Interesting.
    In the starting position white is actually down three pawns plus whatever the King is worth (not to mention that almost three fifths of white's material aren't partaking in the game at the moment, so this material is as good as captured).

  32. Horde chess is amazing. I mean i got the idea very quickly. If you're black. You are bad. But you need to Take 2 pawns with better pieces. And not alow white to block you in the beginning.. Strategy for white. Make black lose a lot to squeeze through to the back. Once they break through. You are fucked. Basically white needs to pay attention. You have 36 pieces to watch 😉

  33. i once tried this with my friend, i thought it was impossible to play against so much pawns

  34. My first experience with horde chess was that if Black focusses enough on pushing his Queen to row1, Black will win. To make the game more even, I allowed the White pawns to move sidewards. (Of course with the constraint that a pawn on row one or two doing that, it can not move 2 forward after that.) With these rules in place, I won and lost with both Black and White.
    What is your taken on this?

  35. I am a beginner as such (only played my school mates for fun). One day I downloaded Lichess and out of usual habit, started exploring it. I had never heard of a chess "variant". So when I saw this weird thing on the app, instantly curiosity got the better of me. I started playing.

    My best result on day 1 was win as White in 41 moves, against the default SFL1. Within a few days now I am regularly (mostly) winning as White between 60-80 moves against SFL3.

    I feel this variant is strangely tilted towards White. I can't see how anyone can win against an army of 36 pawns. Even exchanging 2-3 pieces for one strong piece, still makes it weirdly tilted in favor of White.

    My strategy (as White):

    (1) Exchange pawns with pawns. Now you have 28 pawns for the entire set of strong pieces.
    (2) Form pawn pairs and push them up the board together. Careful not letting the pair unpair.
    (3) Instead of 2, you can also form diagonals (easier to implement), which makes capturing your pawns incredibly hard for Black.
    (4) As Black tries to win pieces, it will keep losing material. Remember, you have 28 pawns. Even if you need to sacrifice 3 pawns each for the Queen and the Rooks, and 2 pawn each for the Bishops and the Knights, you will still 11 pawns on the board, to corner the King (so long as your remaining pawns are not scattered all over the board).

    The most important tip to win as White is – NEVER allow the Black to come down to lower rank on your side, since pawns are defenceless when attacked from behind.

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