Coastie conjures new form of the ancient game of chess
IT IS the same centuries-old chess you know — but not as you have ever played it.
Welcome to Chessplus, the brainchild of a Copacabana man whose “light bulb moment” came when his daughter grew frustrated with her dad winning all the time.
Not since William Webb Ellis picked up the ball in a schoolboy soccer game in 1823 and gave rise to modern rugby did something have the potential to instigate such profound change as when Christian Simpson’s nine-year-old daughter picked up her rook and pawn and charged at his queen.
“She picked up a rook and a pawn and decided the pawn could use the rook’s power to get to the other end,” he said.
“As a dad I watched on bemused and then it was like a light bulb moment.”
Mr Simpson spent the next nine years developing a modified form of the game where pieces can merge and adopt the movements of either piece or separate and become individual pieces again.
The result is a fast-paced, unpredictable version of chess.
He patented his concept and engaged Sydney firm Nielson Design to produce a prototype, where the bottom of each piece fits seamlessly into any other of the same colour except the king, which cannot be merged.
“The way [designer Adam Laws] designed the pieces was something far greater than what I could ever do in the back shed,” he said.
“Both my parents were architects so I think I value what experts can bring.”
Mr Simpson said he ran the game past a grand master to check there was “nothing I missed” in his modified rules and has launched a crowd-funding campaign to raise enough money to begin production.
“In traditional chess there’s 10 opening moves, this has 24 opening moves,” he said.
“If a merged piece is taken both pieces are gone so there’s more at risk, there’s more risk and more reward.”