Monday 17 May 2021

The idiot-proof chessboard

 Today I attended the funeral of Keith Robertson, a long-time member of the ACT chess community. One of the pictures used for the service was of Keith in front of a birthday cake that was in the form of a chessboard. However the baker (or designer) got a bit carried away, as the board was a 9 by 9 board. While this may seem like an obvious blunder by a non chessplayer, it does have one desirable feature. Each corner of the board was a white square, meaning it was impossible to orient the wrong way (the bottom right hand square is always white). 

On the other hand, a board of this type has two other drawbacks. Firstly, if the pieces are arranged from outside in, the all the bishops for both sides are on white squares as well. Secondly, there is the need for an extra piece. My initial thought was the Empress, which moves like a rook and knight, although the presence of two 'queen' like pieces may unbalance the game entirely.


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