AH Chess. The sport of geniuses, game for nerds, or that thing a lot of people think is stupid or too hard to learn. Or boring. So how can you improve on the game? Play “Less Chess”!
Here’s how to play:
Set up a chessboard and all the pieces. Then, remove any one type of piece from play (except for the King). You can either pick a piece from a hat or choose a specific one, like say, removing all four Knights, that dang horse headed beast that moves in crazy shapes.
Then play chess.
Why this is fun:
Removing a piece throws off the strategy of experienced players. Someone is used to planning some grand secretive operation of tactical moves, or setting up strategic strikes like the Knight Fork or the Pin and Skewer. So you take a Chess nut (ha! get it?) and knock them off guard, potentially leveling the field instead of watching them annihilate you.
Less pieces also means a potentially faster game. Less moves, less options, you’ll find that maybe removing all four Rooks means the King is more susceptible to attack. But that’s also part of the challenge for someone who plays a lot.
Learning is easier too. I had a psychology teacher who claimed the average person retains information in seven units at a time. But the range averages from four to ten units of memory “bits”. How many pieces in Chess? Six: Pawn, Rook, Knight, Bishop, King, Queen. Removing one piece or two can make it easier to teach. Taking away the Bishops and Queen removes a lot of big moves, and makes it easier to keep track of pieces. This is GREAT for teaching kids. Set up a board with just pawns, Bishops, and Kings and teach a fast playing action filled game.
For Chess fanatics of Lord Dunsany, this is just another variation. I sure as heck didn’t invent it, but it’s a way to think outside the box. That’s perhaps the greatest benefit from playing Less Chess. Taking a scenario and removing an element is great for developing problem solving skills, like, say, if your dryer decides to die on you.
Here’s the disputed “which is the original version” variation of the song “One Night in Bangkok” from the musical Chess to get you in the mood. Or freak you out.
And yes, this is Louise Robey from the Friday the 13th Television Series….