Re-inventing Chess

"Really Bad Chess" Changes the Game

When I was in my early teens my fellow nerd best friend David and I would regularly play chess games to the 1812 Overture. I usually won in those early games and it got to the point where I would be declaring check mate as the canons were going off at the end of the piece. Victory was mine! Then David read some chess books and began kicking my butt. Sicilian Defense. King's Gambit. He eventually became a ranked player and it got to the point where the only way I could play him would be if he played without a rook and knight. Eventually that became boring and we stopped playing altogether.

For chess players to enjoy a classic game they need to be at similar skill levels.

An artist named Zach Gage recently introduced a new way of playing chess that enables people with radically different abilities to play against each other. He did it by adding just one element - chance. Players get random pieces at the beginning of the game and can end up with multiples of the same piece in unfamiliar starting positions.

As Gage was developing the game an experienced player told him it sounded like "really bad chess." The name stuck and that's what it is now called. You can buy it for $2.99 on iTunes.

Really Bad Chess is a great example of how a simple improvement can, in the most literal sense, be a game changer.

Cue Tchaikovsky!

- Mike Marks

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