Wednesday, September 14, 2011

How to Make Chess More Awesome for Kids

Kids don't play enough chess. Too many games involving a joystick, D-pad and about eight trigger keys. Not enough games about planning dozens of moves ahead of your opponent, at least not outside a Dungeon Master's (mom's) basement.

That said, here are my suggestions for "rebooting" chess as a game kids might obsess over long enough to pick up some patience and critical thinking skills.

1. Update the names: King is fine. "Emperor" might work for older kids, but we need to keep this simple to hook the younger crowd first, then age the game with expansion packs as the target demo grows up. After King should be "King's Girlfriend," "Wizards," "Battle Horses (Steeds/Mounts)," Fortresses," and "Warriors."

2. Twice per game, the King is allowed to move to any unoccupied space on the board (that would not place him in check) because he's the fricking king and he can do what he wants.

3. Since it would likely happen anyway, if the game goes over 80 moves, whoever knows the exact turn number gets to win by slapping and overturning the game board.

4. Speaking of "game board," another revamp. One word: "murderboard."

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