[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Author Index][Search Archives]

Re: Live Chess

Kendrick Wayfarer asks:

>I would like to hear all manner of suggestions, though, as to how
>I can best do this.  I have not decided on anything yet, so feel
>free to comment anything you want.  Dafydd, you seem to have the
>strongest feelings about it, how would you change it so that people
>got the most enjoyment out of it?

Well, to be honest, I wouldn't do it at all.

What I suggest is that you examine what you are trying to achieve.
Do you want something aimed primarily at spectators?  Do you want
something primarily for the fighters?  Or what?

Most of the time people want "Live Chess" they are interested in
spectacle.  There is no clear connection between a Live Chess game
and the Storvik Investiture.  Are you sure that some other spectacle
wouldn't reward your effort better than a Live Chess game (whatever
the rules)?

Here are some of the disadvantages of having a Live Chess game, as
I see it.

--You need 32 fighters.  If you have less, you must use placeholders,
	which seriously reduces the spectacle.
--If you get more than 32 fighters, all the overage cannot participate.
--If you have "real" combat (results not determined by occupancy,
	unlike normal chess), then what remains is not chess but an
	odd single-elim tournament where the pairings are determined
	in a rather arbitrary way.  This has a significant number of
	1. Certain pieces get way more activity (Queen, Knight)
	2. Chess strategy goes out the window.
	3. MOST of the pieces will never get to fight, and will spend
	   an awful long time standing around in their armour.
	4. It is basically a very slow single-elim tourney for the
	   fighters, with no guarantee that they will get to fight
	   at all.
--If you have "fake" combat (results determined by occupancy) then
	it is still chess, but you are never going to convince 32
	people to put on their armour and stand in it for an hour.
--If you want spectacle, you need to have a bunch of props to make it
	nice.  Tabards for the pieces, for example.  And you also need
	to have some way for people to see the whole board.  Having
	some sort of a viewing stand, for example.  Otherwise the players
	and the spectators just can't really see what is going on on the
	board, and that makes it a lot less interesting.

Further, as far as I'm aware, there is no evidence of any Chess played
with live pieces at any time in period.  (Anyone with counter-evidence
should present it here).  This image seems to be produced by two things:
the "Marines" TV ad, and a scene from the movie "The Three Musketeers"
where the pieces are dogs ridden by monkeys.  The first has nothing to
do with anything historical; the second is a very poor tertiary source
of such activities in the 17th century, and has very little to do with
real combat with living pieces.

If it is spectacle you want, and an image of wealth and power and
conspicuous consumption, I suggest that you have a live chess match
where you make tabards for the pieces and have living pieces who
move on a board of one meter squares.  No armour, no "real" combat.
It would be easier for people to see, it would be much faster moving,
and it would still have most of the elements of spectacle you desire.

If you want to have spectacle and fighters fighting real bouts, I
suggest some sort of a Passage of Arms or allegorical tournament,
not a live chess game.  The allegorical tournaments can be very
spectacular (as much as you want to put effort into props and stuff),
and can be fairly short (as short, or shorter, than a live chess game).