What's your opinion on Chess?

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redcream

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#1  Edited By redcream

Ep. 144 of the Giant Beastcast talked about their opinion of Chess. Abby and Vinny are particularly enthused by it and rightfully so since it's a classic. However, I think that the standard Chess board is too cramped which makes it hard to get excited about strategies. Its age is its detriment too. It's been analyzed to death since time immemorial so nothing about it seems fresh. I do suck at it so I think I'm a little biased. I'm also uneducated about it but from the outside looking in, it seems that all known strategies have been experimented with making it seem stale. Is there any meta-game to Chess?

So, what's your opinion on Chess? Is it a perfect game? Is it the game of Kings? Or is it overly glorified?

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Bollard

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@redcream said:

However, I think that the standard Chess board is too cramped which makes it hard to get excited about strategies.

Let me introduce you to a little game called Go...

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development

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I am Pro-Chess

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BeachThunder

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@bollard:

Let me introduce you to a little game called Into the Breach...

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Fezrock

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I don't like it; I find the ruleset too restrictive. I need more tactical options to my grid-based games; let there be rules like "Once every 3 turns a Queen can jump over a friendly piece" or "Any piece can choose to move like a Pawn instead of do it's regular move." And so on.

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Ares42

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Chess is tradition. It's not superior or anything like that it just remains part of our culture because it made its way into becoming a tradition. It's like orchestral music or theater. Sure, some people out there are very adamant about how it's the superior form of art, but it's really just all about taste.

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Rejizzle

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Chess is, hands-down, the greatest game of all time.

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avantegardener

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Chess is great, easy to learn, difficult to master.. in shops now!

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ripelivejam

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#10  Edited By ripelivejam
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Atlas

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As far as I'm concerned, there are only three games that can be considered perfect: Chess, Go, and Tetris. I'm also willing to accept arguments for Royal Game of Ur, Texas Hold 'Em Poker, Magic: The Gathering, Pac-Man, Space Invaders, and Street Fighter II.

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Jesus_Phish

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As far as I'm concerned, there are only three games that can be considered perfect: Chess, Go, and Tetris. I'm also willing to accept arguments for Royal Game of Ur, Texas Hold 'Em Poker, Magic: The Gathering, Pac-Man, Space Invaders, and Street Fighter II.

MtG has needed way too many "balance patches" through restricted and banned cards throughout it's life to ever be considered perfect.

The rest are fairly spot on.

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The_Greg

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I don't like chess. There's always something better to do than play chess. I don't like board games in general. I think I have ADHD or something because I get 10 minutes in and want to flip the board out of sheer boredom.

The thing with chess is that people make out like there's a really deep level of military strategy to it when actually it's just a simple little game.

Sure, you have to use your imagination, but if I wanted to do that, I'd lay in a dark room and imagine myself flying through an alien landscape with three-breasted hookers under all 6 of my muscle-bound arms.

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shivermetimbers

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I used to play Chess all the time and since the game is old, there are only so many variables to consider before someone makes it seem irrelevant. It's not like Sudoku where you can have different layouts. Chess is very much a fixed game. That being said, yes, it has stood the test of time. Especially as one's first foray into strategy gaming.

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sombre

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Without it, there would be no RTS games

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deactivated-6204297b0c601

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Chess is great. People spent 900 years iterating on the rule set and balance changes, then another 500 refining the meta.

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fledeye

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I love board games, but I hate chess. It reminds me of supervised visitation with my dad as a kid.

And I think people who like chess REALLY like chess. There don’t seem to be casual players, everyone knows all the moves and gambits.

Having said that one of my favourite episodes of Columbo is about two chess Grandmasters...

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SchrodngrsFalco

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#18  Edited By SchrodngrsFalco

If you find Chess too cramped and stale, I strongly suggest you look into an old out of print game called Feudal.

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The pieces move in similar style to chess pieces (some exactly alike, some a slight variation, and some wholly unique), the board has three different terrain types, and the board is made up of four tiles that can be arranged in any configuration (including rotation of the individual tiles themselves. Oh and the pieces are setup privately in any configuration on your half of the board prior to the game starting. It can also be played with more than two players.

I was amazed at how it felt like a natural extension to standard chess. Had to hunt down a good copy on E-Bay.

Just checked and it is in the free workshop for Table Top Simulator. Highly highly highly recommend it.

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Brackstone

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Chess is only good with people at a similar skill level to you. That's true of many games, but it's most apparent with chess. A lot of chess is based not necessarily on "skill" or ingenuity, but sheer knowledge, data. Or rather, the skill of chess is memory. So when you come against someone who knows more than you, or remembers more than you, it becomes very imbalanced very quickly. Chess between two people who only know the basic rules and no strategies or openings is fun.

@ares42 said:

Chess is tradition. It's not superior or anything like that it just remains part of our culture because it made its way into becoming a tradition. It's like orchestral music or theater. Sure, some people out there are very adamant about how it's the superior form of art, but it's really just all about taste.

Goddamn, I don't think there's a better way to put it than this.

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leejunfan83

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He should have beat Tay Roc when they battled last year.

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Toastburner_B

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I am fascinated by chess. I own a number of boards and on of my prized possessions is a nice little traveling set my friends got me as a birthday present years ago. I've also never really taken the time to study proper chess strategy so I am garbage at actually playing the game.

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steevl

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I got roped into running a chess club for kids at the first library I worked at about 15 years ago for the sole reason that I knew how the pieces worked. From there, I actually learned a few strategies and how moves like en passant worked. And because of this experience, once I became a proper librarian at another public library, I was once again roped into running a chess club for kids. Eventually, I also started one for adults.

And honestly? I don't think I like chess, mainly because I could never wrap my mind around the different strategies and the whole "you have to think 4+ moves ahead" thing that I'd hear from a lot of players. I enjoyed interacting with them, but I always had to hide my fear when someone, whether it was a kid or adult, asked me to play against them during our club sessions.

Like someone said, it's best to play against someone whose skill level matches your own. The players at my chess clubs were often really good or really bad, with not much room in between, so I didn't get much enjoyment out of playing.

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TheHT

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Chess. It's good.

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Rigas

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Chess is rad. In collage we created Super Chess, where we gave each piece a secondary move along with their normal moves. It was hectic. I just wish I could remember what they were.

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dudacles

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I love it so very much. I'm absolutely terrible at it by "serious chess players'" standards, meaning that I'm better than someone who would play just knowing the rules and trying to figure out their approach on instinct, but I lose to most people who have spent any time at all studying theory and have a decent grasp on an opening. This is why, when I start playing blitz or something on a new chess website like lichess.org, or chess.com, I just keep hovering around the default rating, sliding around between 1100 and 1400. Or at least, that what I think that means. I will usually spend my breaks at work playing one or two five-minute blitz games on lichess.org or something.

However, despite my lack of skill at actually playing chess, I adore watching streams of high-level play with commentary. The coverage feeds by the Saint Louis Chess and Scholastic Center (Youtube channel here), the Chessbrahs, chess24.com, and chess.com are all great in their own way. When I'm not watching Giantbomb videos as a stand-in for "podcasts", 4-hour streams by the Saint Louis guys or any of the others work just as well. Chessnetwork is good as well.

I can sort of understand people who say that "chess is too cramped" or that "chess is too reliant on knowing the theory", but I do not feel like that while playing myself. I just have a great amount of fun playing against people of my own skill level online, and I feel the dynamic of games between super grand masters (the type of GMs who participate in the top tournaments) is not like that either. Those matches are a combination of their incredible knowledge of the theory on the one hand, and their instincts and insight into the position as it appears on the board. There is so much room for mistakes and brilliancies, that it often is exciting to me (though I will admit that rapid and blitz are typically more fun to watch than classical.)

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Rasrimra

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#26  Edited By Rasrimra

I have 3 personal problems with it:

I don't know if this is everywhere but where I live it's taken too seriously. Unlike other board games like Blood Rage or Pandemic or Dogs Of War, Chess is taken real seriously as if it's a measurement of your intellect. And I don't want to turn Chess into an obsession. I'm already insecure so this battle of wits is not something I'm looking for at all.

It's too memory-based. I prefer board games in which new players still stand a chance at winning. My granddad was so good at Chess nobody who played him ever won because he just had so much more experience and recognized patterns left right and center. Now this is not necessarily a problem with the design of Chess itself. You get this with pretty much every game that people play a whole lot more of than the other players. It's more a problem with its popularity. For this reason I rather play Go / Hanamikoji / Jaipur / Netrunner with people because hardly anyone here knows how to play it, including me.

And it's too competitive to my liking. Which sounds a lot like the first point but that's not the whole story. I simply don't like 1 on 1 games as much as any other type of game. I don't like winning from someone because I feel bad for them and I don't like losing to someone because it makes me feel inadequate. So I tend to avoid 1 on 1 games even if they are not super serious. I rather play cooperative games like Robinson Crusoe and Mysterium, team vs team like Captain Sonar or fun group games like Bang!, Sushi Go, Love Letter and Good Cop Bad Cop, Toepen, Chinese Poker, or single player games like Six Suite Solitaire, Coffee Maker, Navajo Wars.

What I really love about Chess however is also threefold. It is the clarity of the rules, the simplistic look of the game yet with more personality to it than most other abstract board games, and that some variants of Chess are still popular. The clarity of the rules is of importance in any game. Everybody has experienced playing a game and hitting a point at which people interpret the rules differently and you basically have to decide on an honor system that this is the way the game proceeds. Game designers are getting better at this: online errata and being able to ask the creator directly are of great help. The look of the game is great for someone like me. I have trouble sometimes with getting a mental overview and I don't have that problem in Chess because there aren't that many moving pieces, there isn't a whole lot of clutter or different types of currencies. The pieces aren't easy to miss. It's a very elegant design and I appreciate that greatly. And lastly I love variants in games in general. I used to watch some Blitz Chess because the matches are very short and even the pro's make mistakes there that an inexperienced person like me can hope to understand.

My verdict is it's a great game for almost everyone but me XD It's almost the polar opposite of what I like in a game. As you can tell I play a whole lot of different board games of all types but not Chess, mainly because of what I prefer and not at all because of the quality of the game itself.

Actually I should dive a little deeper into that. Because people like me like to think of elaborate theories or plans and leave out the human element. It's so nice to leave out the human element because at its base it's easy to explain but at the front-end human behavior turns messy and unpredictable. You just don't know everything about what happened in someone's past at key moments in their youth. They can appear to be one way and then change into someone else entirely the next minute, because of something that seemed so meaningless to you. That's also why relationships between humans are so inelegant. Of course, in reality the human element is almost always of importance. And here we're talking about very personal tastes, colored memories and prejudices. So I should clarify that I have a tendency to dislike what is very popular.

And I could rationalize that in many ways but I don't really know how that came to be. It could be the 'role' I play in society. What we see with ants is that certain ants take on certain behaviorisms and it tends to be an exact percentage of the population that behaves this way or that. It could be that there is always a percentage of people who are naturally inclined to look the other way than where everyone else is looking. The eyes in the back of... humanity. There's probably a better way to phrase that. Or I could say it's because I feel like it's a waste to just play one game a whole lot of times instead of exploring what else is out there. And don't worry I know that it isn't a waste at all to other people. But something inside of me gets really annoyed by people who don't look any further. Who stop exploring. And I have that with video games too. There are people who play COD and then nothing else. That's the extend of their attention for games. And they won't try something else even if you gift them another game. (Believe me I tried, because I was annoyed by it and I wanted to see what would happen. Well, nothing happens.) And that is absolutely fine but something inside of me feels like some part of these people are convinced that there is nothing better to be found. That there is nothing more interesting about games than that thing they found. Like people who play Monopoly, didn't like it (rightly so) and then practically wrote off board games as a whole. And that's one way of looking at it. And it would be reasonable in the sense that humans don't have the energy/time to investigate everything. I shouldn't feel annoyed by that yet I do. And worse, or better still, to any of you it would/should be more obvious than to someone who feels like me, that the reverse could be argued just as easily: that by not playing one game a whole lot, or even exclusively, you don't ever get to know it as well as you could. There, a little lesson for myself.

It's valuable to be observant and critical of your own ideas and actions. Especially of ideas. And especially of your own.

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redcream

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Thank you for all the thoughtful replies. I respect Chess, no doubt about it. I might check out some streams to see if it can be a thing I can get into, at least in a spectator sport kind of way. Actually I just checked some Youtube videos and there are 45 minute long videos on tips and strategies. It's daunting yet fascinating to see people being so passionate about Chess. They conduct symposiums for this game. Wow.

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FrodoBaggins

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Fuck Chess

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ArbitraryWater

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I respect chess way more than I actually enjoy playing chess. I love myself some tactics, but the “perfect” (or “near-perfect” if you want to spend 3 hours talking about the relative impact of “first move advantage”) symmetrical balance of chess means that it’s all memorization, gambits, and mind-games, meaning someone who knows what they are doing will curbstomp me every single time. That’s no fun, and I tend to prefer stuff that’s a little more chaotic and asymmetrical as a result.

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ExK4

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Chess is a game where there is no knowledge gap on the board, both sides know 100% of the game state, and I feel like that's generally not the type of game that interests me as it removes much of the human aspect of reading and conditioning an opponent.

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hermes

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I respect it quite a lot but, as a game is so deterministic and it has been studied for so long, that there is very little innovation, specially when it comes to the first moves. High level play turns into learning and memorizing the limited number of openings and their countermoves...

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mellotronrules

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i like chess- but i really liked chess when i was new to the game (and had a small group of friends that were of a similar experience level).

once i played against people that were using named-strategies, though- and i no longer had even-matches- i quickly lost interest.

i like to play socially, but fuck competitive chess forever. which also happens to be my attitude toward starcraft, hah.

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Nux

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I like it, it's fun

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nutter

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Chess is fantastic. I have a board and can play with my son, which is cool.

My wife got it for me 15+ years ago...but she doesn’t handle competitive games well, so we never really played.

I used to play a bunch as a kid. Needless to say, I’m a pretty casual player.

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nutter

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#35  Edited By nutter
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jkz

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Chess is awesome. There's a lot of people who are way too good at it for it to be fun to play against them unless you're similarly skilled, but I don't particularly hold that against the game itself—it's just a result of its ubiquity, age, and structure. Go's great too, but where the challenge of becoming decent at chess at least seems surmountable, Go perpetually confounds me. Fun against another person who only knows the absolute basics though.

Also Tetris is incredible and is definitely near that level for me. Too bad it requires a computer, but Tetris in all its forms is one of the most brilliant pieces of game design in history. It's also my go to wind down game—much easier to fit in a couple games of battle Tetris than it is to play a match of online chess after work.

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BBAlpert

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#37  Edited By BBAlpert

Chess: Good

Chess Ultra (particularly on the Switch): Surprisingly, almost impressively bad

I've only played 2 or 3 different chess video games in the past, so maybe I got weirdly lucky and accidentally only played amazing ones, but maaaaan Chess Ultra is a disappointment. Especially after being talked up so much on the Beastcast. I didn't expect to get so upset by a lackluster chess video game, of all things, but it just drops the ball in every conceivable way. (sorry, I just needed to get this rant off my chest)

- Unhelpful tutorials: the tutorials cover what the different pieces do, what pinning/forking are, and a handful of "guides" on openings that are literally just "This is a popular opening. *the pieces move on their own to show the first few turns of a game, without any explanation of why either side is making those moves* Press A to start the next lesson."

- Fancy graphics to a fault: The game looks nice, with its lovingly rendered environment and artistically tilted camera angle, but even with the (very limited) camera controls, it's difficult to ever get a clear view of the board. There IS a top-down camera perspective, but most of the chess piece sets are designed such that they all look almost identical from directly above

- Fancy graphics to a fault, again: The game (on Switch, in handheld mode at least) runs like trash. I'm not normally a stickler for frame-rate, but it's a bummer to see the chess pieces stutter across the screen at about 20 FPS. And when a piece is capturing another, the frame-rate occasionally dips to like 15 FPS (because now the system has to display TWO pieces moving instead of just one). Even the menus are jerky and unresponsive. On top of everything else, those detailed environments take time to load in, so don't expect to just hop immediately into a game

- Lack of out-of-match options: The options menu has 3 options. Sound volume, music volume, and some third thing (game language, I think). That's it. As for options in setting up a game, you can play against 1 of a few different AI skill levels and you can set how you want the rules for a game timer to work. You can also set 1 of 4 or 5 different environments, and chess piece sets/materials (wood, plastic, metal, a stripey stone material that makes the 2 sides virtually indistinguishable, etc)

- Lack of in-match options: Once you're IN the game, you can play the game, suspend the game, or forfeit (which lowers your "skill rank"). As far as I can tell, there's no way to highlight pieces that are in danger, or highlight potential good moves, or ask the computer for a hint of what it would consider "optimal". So as far as learning what to look for or what is/isn't a good move in a given situation, you're on your own. Oh, and you only have 6 slots for suspended games, so if you want to start over more than that, you'll have to forfeit the game in one of those slots. Those slots are also used by saved replays. If you played a game that you want to go back and study later, that'll use one of your 6 slots

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diz

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Chess is awful. There's no meaningful progression. There are no upgrades, skins or hats. There is absolutely no single player at all. The graphics are blocky and the player map is uninteresting. The story, what there is of it, is just some old medieval clap-trap.

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TheWildCard

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I don't really care for Chess. So much of it is knowing possible moves 4-6 turns ahead of the current board. If I'm going to play a long standing abstract game I'd rather play Go: much simpler rules but feels more organic as the board state emerges. Obviously it also has extremely advance meta but I still think it's better between two people that only know the basics.

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MVHVTMV

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Chess is a very good little wargame that's basically been ruined by centuries of analysis. It's fun to play with people who are at your skill level who haven't memorised moves and counter-moves, but as soon as there's any kind of outside research being done, it becomes extremely unfun.

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fpshooterful

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I say Chess is at least more of a sport then these dumb E sports games. Takes no skills to play COD, but yet these players gets more money then actually pro chess players.

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OurSin_360

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Its like checkers for babies

j/k

I played for a while online like 20 years ago when they had free games on yahoo i think, but now i dont even remember all the moves for the pieces. Its a fun game when you get into it though.

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TwoLines

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#43  Edited By TwoLines

Nah, I don't like Chess at all.

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inkerman

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I don't really like Chess, but I respect it.

My issue is that because it's such a 'rigid' game, it simply boils down to who knows the better moves. There is no chance, or other aspects out of the players' control. Each is essentially responding to the other, which is fine, but it also means there is no 'outside the box' thinking or creativity unless you are at the highest levels of play.

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deactivated-5e6e407163fd7

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Chess is the dark souls of classic board games

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NTM

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#46  Edited By NTM

I is baby. Me like checkers. In all seriousness? Not exactly into chess and to be honest, I've only ever played it once! Not really into board games, but have definitely played a handful of them. Board games, if not reading is one of the go-to things when power is out... Which, is rare mind you. If I play any type of card/board game, I'm into the trivia ones despite feeling kind of stupid when I play them sometimes.

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SSully

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It's good, but kind of taken too seriously. Can be a good time if you play against someone who treats it for what it is, a game.

Idk how to link on mobile, but the phone game Really Bad Chess is a fun little spin on the game.

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monkeyking1969

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#49  Edited By monkeyking1969

Chess has lasted a long time, surely it has different rule sets and board sizes, but they fundamentals of the modern game are shockingly similar to what we know of the ancient game. As with video games there is a great deal of strategy and drama that can be created by the "constraints" of the game.

The fact that we can still puzzle over a game that has just a few pieces all with specific moves with specific rules rules on a board of eight rows and eight columns says alot about it power. Math tells us that as each side moves the number of possible position of pieces rises dramatically, but I think that misses that people still play and find satisfaction in it. Far from being simple finding a chess program that could consistently beat the best human player took 47 years. From Alan Turing to DeepBlue too an incredibly long time when you consider how many minds worked on teh problem. More theorists and engineers worked longer and harder on making an "unbeatable mechanical turk" than made the first atomic bomb in all likelihood. They did it because people still play chess...in newspapers with chess problem puzzles, in moves-by-mail games, and on tiny electric gadgets.

I take nothing away from other games, but we have to admit that Chess and Go are these incredible human activities - not just games, but metaphor used everywhere for other activities. I think if there would be were two impressive thing we could show aliens it would be music and board games.

I am a fan of books about games or people who game.

In the Courts of the Sun by Brian D'Amato (A fun thriller about the Mesoamerican game Patolli, called in the book the sacrifice game. It is about time travel, gaming, and the end of the world -of course.)

The Eightby Katherine Neville (It's a chess game in play - in theory. But in reality. History! Clever moves and alliances people and pisces. Politics - a game of its own.

Halting State by Charles Stross (I found a review on GoodReads that said best, "...In the world-to-come, scary governments and scary non-governments have figured out how to use live action role play and massively multiplayer online games to continue diplomacy by other means [i.e war & espionage]." If how Eve Online blurs that line between game and real politics and economics, this novel might interest you.)

Omnitopia Dawn by Diane Duane (It is about a massively multiplayer game at the middle of a huge conspiracy....think a much smarter & less cloying version of Ready Player One.)

Pawn to Infinity edited by Fred Saberhagen (Short stories about chess...some of the best written.)

Oh, and I cannot play beyond a baby novice level.

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indure

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#50  Edited By indure

I'm terrible at chess, but it is a well designed game that deserves a top spot when it comes to board games that have withstood the test of time. To the OP, I think the tightness of the board is actually the best part of chess. It makes it even harder to pierce through your opponent's defense without stumbling into your own pawns or creating too large of a gap in your own defenses.

The one problem I have with chess is that there is zero chance in the game so it is very hard to find anyone who wants to play more than a single game of it, because unless the two players are exactly the same skill level, it will always be a landslide. I think games that offer indirect competition and evolving strategies through chance, like 7 Wonders Duel are better games to play and much easier to find opponents willing to play a couple of games with.