I am infatuated with chess. I’ve known the basic rules for as long as I can remember, but had not gained an appreciation for the game’s nuances until recently. The game designer in me was hooked by the game’s endless complexity, and how it arises out of a set of simple rules. The software developer in me was intrigued by the game’s algorithmic nature.
The Game of Kings
I recently came across a quote that captures my sentiment:
Chess is an entertainment with a 1600-year history. A game, a sport, an art-form. As pure as mathematics, as symbolic as religion, as brutal as war.
–AGON, organizers of the World Chess Championship
Chess has a powerful sales pitch. Playing the game has been correlated with higher IQ scores and increased ability in math, reading, and critical thinking. But more interestingly, chess is intriguing for people who never play it. The game is a ubiquitous symbol in popular culture.
It has become our cultural shorthand for struggle and intellect. In movies and TV, we see it associated with characters who succeed by out-thinking their adversaries.
Chess is especially taxing when games are played with a time limit. Adding a timer not only increases the pace of the game, but also causes less predictable play. Less predictability means more exciting, varied games.
Chess Clock Plus
The fun of playing timed games inspired my new app, Chess Clock Plus.
Chess clocks typically use byzantine terminology that makes configuring the clock feel like programming a graphing calculator. Chess Clock Plus attempts to clarify the jargon. It combines a robust feature set with a clean, simple presentation.
I made this app for fun, so I’m releasing it for free. If you’re a chess player, please download it from the App Store and let me know what you think.