Active Chess

From Sverre.Johnsen@dnv.com  Fri Nov 21 12:27:48 1997

Anyway these activities are very popular in Norway. When organizing
summer camps or larger team competitions we always try to find some
time for social/ physical activities like "relay-chess", "basket
chess" or "chat-team" competitions. A brief explanation:

RELAY-CHESS

This is a competition between two teams. It is basically an ordinary
game of chess where the teams have to run a bit to do their
moves. They can each have from 2 to app.12 players. It is not
necessary for the teams to have the same number of players.

Both teams are lined up some distance from the board. (10-50 m
depending on how long time they are given) They each get e.g. 10
minutes on the chess clock. The first player on team A (white) runs to
the board, makes his first move and presses the clock button. When he
has started team B's clock, the first player on team B runs to the
board, makes his move starts the clock. When he has pressed the button
the second player on team A may start running, but only if the first
player on the team has found his place at the end of the queue.

As in an ordinary game of chess you can either win on time or by
mating.  The longer running distance and the shorter time limits the
more important it is to run quickly. And the fewer players on each
team, the more exhausting it will be. The blunder rate often increases
considerably because of the time pressure and because the teams will
rarely have a consistent idea behind their moves.

Be sure that the rules are made clear before the game starts: Is it
allowed to shout advices to the player to move? What happens if there
is an illegal move? Do you have to stop your own clock to claim a win
on time?

BASKET CHESS

This too is a typical outdoor activity but between single players. The
idea is that if you captures a piece you have to throw it into a
basket before you can press your clock. If you misses you will have to
run some penalty rounds. If you misses with a pawn it will be just one
round, if you misses with a knight or a bishop it will be three, a
rook will be five and a queen will be ten (or nine if you prefer). You
can vary the running and throwing distances depending on how
"physical" you want the game to be.

Usually this kind of chess is also very entertaining for the
spectators.  In some time pressure situations you may see players
sacrificing their queen on g7 in the hope that their opponent will
miss the throwing and have to run the ten penalty rounds.

CHAT TEAMS

This really is multiple consultation games. Contrary to the outdoor
activities this may be very instructive in addition to being noisy and
entertaining. The basic model is four players on each team but the
match being played over five board. The teams are free to communicate
and to allocate their players as they want to.

Most usual is to give the strongest player two boards to start with
and the others one each. When a game is finished the players move over
to other to give advise or take over games from weaker teammates. But
I have also seen teams letting their strongest player play
simultaneously on all boards just leaving to his teammates to do
obvious recaptures and press the clocks.

If you want to give the match a twist you may set different time
limits on the different boards or you may let one of the games
(perhaps played on an outdoor set) be played for two points (one point
for a draw).

I often set one additional rule: After three warnings from the arbiter
for shouting or non-constructive criticism a point may be deducted
from the team's score.


Sverre Johnsen


Chess Quotes

36. Ne1?
"Well, well. IM (and correspondence GM) Douglas Bryson once told me that he almost never plays a game that flows smoothly from start to finish; there is always a "moment" of sorts where someone misses a big defensive opportunity or the nature of the position changes more than one might reasonably expect. This was such a "moment"."
— Jonathan Rowson British Chess Magazine October 1999 p.553