Sometimes a chess player concentrates many attacks on a single enemy piece (including pawns). enter image description here

For example, on the diagram provided above the black pawn on d5 is attacked by ten white pieces. One of the two white bishops is obviously promoted from a pawn. So if it's white turn, they can capture the black pawn in 10 different ways.

But does anybody know what is the maximum number of chess pieces of the same color which can attack/threaten the same enemy piece simultaneously?

1 Answer 1


There are 16 ways a piece can be attacked in chess, 8 positions where a knight can attack from and 8 directions which all other pieces use to attack. However there is no way in chess to fill all of these spots, as the bishops are on opposite colors. The most I have been able to find to answer this is 15, using pawn promotion to get more knights:

enter image description here

UPDATE as corsiKa pointed out, En Passant does exist as a 17th way a piece can be attacked, though it is limited to pawns attacking pawns, when the pawn being attacked has made it's fist move two spaces to come beside the attacking pawn. This can be done here, however it still leaves a maximum of 15 attacks. That would look like this:

enter image description here

  • 1
    That last diagonal could be filled by a bishop or queen, but that would require removing one of the nights, since you only have 8 pawns, need to promote 6 to get 8 knights. Also those other two pawns could be bishops or queens to attack the same diagonals.
    – Andrew
    Jan 29, 2018 at 18:29
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    You could move the king over and replace one of the knights with a pawn on C5 with an en passant attack. Doesn't change the total, but does make it cooler!
    – corsiKa
    Jan 29, 2018 at 21:18
  • @corsiKa En Passant can only happen between two pawns when the first pawn has made it's first move as 2 spaces, this could be possible in this set up but would actually reduce the number of attacks possible, as the pawn in position to en passant would block a rook's attack, not to mention the black pawn would have had the white king in check before the move was made if the king is moved over one square. The king could be where one of the white pawns is, a rook where the queen is, and the queen covering the 4th diagonal though to allow for en passant and still 15 attacks.
    – Andrew
    Jan 29, 2018 at 21:21
  • I only count 15 white pieces on the top board, not 16. 8 pawns to start minus two left on board makes 6 to promote. So you can either have 8 knights, or 7 knights and two light bishops.
    – MaxW
    Jan 30, 2018 at 4:03
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    @MaxW I did not include any pieces not involved in the attack, there is the possibility of another bishop, but that would be on the black spaces, useless for attacking a white space. As stated there are other ways to do this "That last diagonal could be filled by a bishop or queen, but that would require removing one of the knights"
    – Andrew
    Jan 30, 2018 at 4:35

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