A position is described as a “beast” when it is particularly challenging to

  • somebody (or some algorithm) trying to analyse it, e.g. to find the best line of play or to evaluate it as a combinatorial game or
  • the (makers of) rules (in which case it is a rule(s) beast), in the sense that one or more rule sets imply results that players find dissatisfying or counter-intuitive.

But sometimes “beast” is just a slangy way of referring to any (moderately interesting) group or position.

A collection of beasts is often referred to as a “bestiary”.

Most rules beasts have been specially constructed, but some have occurred in real games; they are in any case rare, and so barely affect most players. In either case, they are sometimes used in rules disputes to demonstrate a point.

A nasty, mean spirited opponent can be described as a beast.

Further reading

Analysis beasts

Rules beasts (or suggested to be such)

Miscellaneous bestiaries

Beast last edited by Dieter on May 15, 2023 - 15:33
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