A lot of news sites are adding puzzles/games to help retain readers (as the NY Times notes) , and the Concord Monitor is among them.

However, there are only so many different word/shape/number puzzle games in the world so there are a lot of different-looking-but-actually-the-same items out there. The Monitor’s collection, from a company called Puzzmo, features three variants of spelling words and one vaguely Tetris-like shape puzzle fitting shapes together.

But we’ve also got one unique game – unique to me, at least – called Really Bad Chess. It sets up a chessboard with crazy layouts, maybe with five knights, or pawns on the first rank, or multiple queens. White and black are not mirrored; the only sensible rule is that there’s just one king per side.

You play the computer, and the computer has slaughtered me every time. It shows how much of my chess playing ability, such as it is, involves creating familiar patterns rather than any real analysis.

Bobby Fischer famously proposed a variant of chess in which the pieces would be somewhat randomized, although much closer to traditional layout than Really Bad Chess. He argued that this would prevent players from relying so much on memorized openings. According to wikipedia, it has been officially adopted as a variant by FIDE, the world chess governing body.

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