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OTHER ITA SITES:
Chess Boards – The Ever-Evolving Chess Game Component
According to an online independent voluntary judiciary committee, there are approximately 43 recognized chess variants, and the number is growing. The increased variety of game play has not only attracted whole new leagues of chess players, but it has also created new chess board designs far different than the original 8 X 8 chess boards.
This adventurous exploration of the game’s various geometrical and multi-plane possibilities has helped to put forward many new and interesting design concepts. Most new chess board designs, however, fail the test of time. This is usually due to the inventor’s flawed understanding of entertainment value and the necessary math that made chess the game that it is in the first place. However, others did, and do, survive. The following are examples of just some of the successful chess board designs:
• Changgi – Also know as Korean Chess, it is played on chessboards that are 9 X 10 with the first two ranks on the 10 square side including 2 X 2 centre sections made up of 8 equilateral triangles. Linear game play on these chessboards takes place on the lines that make up the grid while diagonal play goes corner to corner. This modified system, said to be the descendant of the Chinese chess variant, Xiang-Qi, has maintained a strong following and it, along with its design modification of chess boards, is here to stay.
• Courier Chess – In the Middle Ages, a German variant came to life and increased game complexity by turning the playing field into 8X12 chess boards. Each opponent has 12 pieces to pit against their foe. Some chess pieces move either exactly like or differ very slightly from the older game of Chaturanga, the progenitor of chess. Courier chess adds three new chess piece classes, making game play such that stalemate wasn’t an issue. Courier chess boards and the game itself died out for a long period after the Middle Ages ended, but now the game has experienced an online revival.
• Dragonchess – Gary Gygax, famed creator of Dungeons & Dragons, turned his eye to chess and chess board design. What resulted was three 8 X 8 boards stacked one on top of the other. The upper board is meant to represent the sky, while the middle level is treated as earth and the lowest board is treated as the underworld. As with Gary’s much-played and much praised RPG gaming invention, Dragonchess has a new set of chess piece types based on D&D character classes. With such classes as Griffins, Oliphants, Paladins and Basilisks, players are expected to maneuver their chess pieces in concert according to a complicated mathematical notation. This game and its unique use of multiple chess boards survives due to the legions of cape-wearing, potion-making, spell-casting super-geeks that everyone else cheated off of in high school. A narrow, but dedicated demographic. Speaking of which…
• Tri-dimensional Chess – Ever since sci-fi fans saw Spock playing the mysterious alien game of Tri-Dimensional chess, they have been intrigued with attributing a real and playable set of rules for the fictional game. In the early 90’s, a formal rule set of game play was established. Every Starfleet officer in cyber-distance of this wonderful breakthrough in chess and chess board design began assembling their Tri-dimensional chess boards with fevered anticipation. Star Trek 3-Dimensional Chess, as it is also known, is made up from one 64-space board split into seven different levels. This configuration consists of three 4 X 4 and four 2X 2 chess boards arranged both vertically and horizontally. Seems easy, but the trick is that pieces from different levels interact with each other and pieces can also be transported from one level to another, not to mention that the players can move the 2 X 2 chess boards to suit their strategic needs. Game complexity here can make your head spin and may be better left to the slide rule army.
Now that you’ve had just a taste of what we can come up with when we attempt to reinvent chess and the design of chess boards, you can appreciate the unending evolution of the game. However, that doesn’t mean you have to play these variants.
Traditional chess boards conforming to those familiar age-old rules can be purchased in many designs and beautiful materials. There are many online suppliers ready to cater to your chess board needs.
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