Eye Candy

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Eye Candy

Post by TomD » Fri Apr 10, 2020 10:43 pm

Allow me to tell my Musketeer Chess story.

I’ve been eyeing the Musketeer pieces since I first discovered them a few years ago. I’m the typical buyer for them: I love chess but haven’t had the time to memorize openings, or even to play many games. I own Gothic Chess and Omega Chess sets and have given them as gifts. My main activity has been as a Scouting Chess Merit Badge counselor (good stories there).

Recently my 7-year old granddaughter got involved in an after school chess class and became quite enthusiastic about chess. I got her a Chess Life for Kids subscription and then said, what the heck, and I ordered the Musketeer pieces.

I was very impressed after they arrived. They are well designed and well made. The artistry was most impressive. There was just one problem: they were too big! Here I saw my ignorance at work: all of the chess sets that I had used with the Scouts were analysis sets, much smaller than tournament sets. So I ordered a tournament set and board.

When I opened the second order I discovered I had made another mistake, but a fortuitous one. I had ordered the first board I came across on the online catalog with 2.25-inch squares. It turned out to not be an 8x8 board but a 12x12 Musketeer board! So, I set up the board with all the available pieces as eye candy for my granddaughter. She loved it, especially the animal themed pieces – Elephant, Hawk, Leopard, and Unicorn. She wants to play with them, but I told her no, she has to become a better player of standard chess first (nice motivation, eh?). BTW, this whole episode has reoriented me back to standard chess as well, and I’ve been getting her a few books on it.

Attached is the ‘eye candy’ board. In arranging the pieces, I decided to keep the standard pieces together on the back row, flanked with the Omega variant pieces. The Musketeer pieces occupy the next row, and pawns ahead of them. It seems a bit impractical for real play: it could be called Musketeer Frenzy or Musketeer Bloodbath, with so many powerful leapers right behind the pawns (originally I had the two rows reversed a la Grand Chess to slow down the leaping, but I decided standard pieces on the back row would be better for transitioning from standard chess). Adding a second row of pawns (Next Gen / Super Pawns?) behind the regular pawns might slow the frenzy, and it would introduce real phalanx style warfare, but would likely turn the game into the chess equivalent of a long Monopoly game.

The Musketeer pieces are also arranged in rough order of point value, with the Dragon and Spider in the center as the highest value pieces and moving to lower values toward the sides. I did violate this consideration in the placement of the Cannon and Fortress, because I wanted all pawns protected at the initial state of the game – and aesthetically, it turned out that placing them in front of the Rooks looks good.

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Re: Eye Candy

Post by musketeerchess » Wed Apr 15, 2020 7:21 pm

Sorry for this late answer.

What an inspiring story.

And your story is exactly one of the main reasons i started to make these pieces.

In fact, chess with the opening knowledge is no longer the game i used to love: to compete with others you have to learn so much data in openings that it’s no longer fun. Also the fact that the games between elite players became much more technical due to all the home work done in the openings with a very low winning percentage.

I love chess,and this millenial king of games should remain a struggle between two brains on the board.
For me it’s not important if you win or lose, i try to produce the best brain storming on the board and i allow my opponent to ask for takeback moves. Naturally, my main goal is to win, but i enjoy the thinking and strategic planning almost as muchnas winning a game.

I like to spiceup the games with the new pieces either replacing classic pieces with the new rules or introducing the new pieces according to musketeer rules ( these rules are for advanced players because they are perfect to lower white’s advantage as the side playing first, and for that to be true black must be very careful when placing his pieces and must think about white’s strategy and try to counter it) and the more i play chess variants and discover the huge potential and joy these games provide, the immensity of new possibilities, the less i play classic chess.

I also discovered that when i play classic chess from time to time, i compete very well against the others (even strong players) and this proves that chess variants not only maintain chess skills but further develop them.

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