4 player chess is a chess game mode variation I find quite interesting as it gives a fun sense of 4 factions fighting for supremacy. You also need to consider how best to approach attacking the other factions and ensure that you aren’t fighting on too many fronts at once.
Avoid Checks at all costs in 4 player chess
Something to watch out for in higher level play is that you don’t expose yourself to potential checks or sacrifices from the players either on your left or right: these players are the most dangerous, especially the player to your left as if they attack you you have to wait a further two players’ turns until you can defend.
Coordinated attacks from two fronts can lead to swift defeats
Factions can temporarily team up to deliver a checkmate on an unsuspecting player who pushes their pawns forward too early without defending. This typically involves your lefthand opponent sacrificing a queen for a check, and then another player, often the one on your right hand side swooping in to deliver the checkmate. This is a mechanic commonly seen in the teams 4 player chess, but FFA players will still go for this to receive the 20 points, or clean up their accomplices queen for either a 20 point (checkmate), or 10 point (your opponents remaining hanging queen) gain.
Consolidate, and take control of promotion squares
My main strategy involves shutting down any check threats, closing down the potential for wing attacks, and then supporting my pawn pushes forward. Even if I’m unable to promote a pawn, often I’m able to take control of promotion squares, or blockade other pawns.
In a position of power attack/mitigate your strongest opponent
I often make the mistake of fighting on two fronts when I’m in a position of dominance, and all of a sudden there are too many threats to deal with, or I lose concentration. Therefore I would focus on mitigating the next most powerful player first to ensure none of the remaining sides can gain the strength to fight back. And, continue to keep the king safe and avoid checks that can turn the tide.
If you are struggling, try to gain points from a weaker opponent, the opponent to your right, or an opponent who is concurrently under attack.
If something goes wrong, in order to avoid finishing last I would recommend an opportunistic attacking approach to try to farm some much needed points. This would preferably be done against a player who is simultaneously under attack or distracted in order to avoid equal material trades.