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Report on 41-square Chess Variant Competition

The 22 entries were, almost without exception, of a remarkably high standard. This made judging extremely difficult, compounded by the fact that with the exception of a pair of variants, all entries were on different-shaped boards so that I had to compare unlike with unlike.

The merit of any game, in my view, depends on playtesting in depth, clearly impossible for this competition. Without it, injustices can and likely will occur. Entrants who therefore do not receive a mention here can console themselves on this account.

Apart from playability, I was looking for originality, simplicity and elegance. Inevitably there is a subjective element in my selection: however, I would stress that I do not know any of the entrants and I gave no preference to the games I personally would prefer to play.

The prizewinners were so close that on another day I might have placed them in a different order.

1st Takeover Chess by Tony Quintanilla
2nd Little Dragon Chess by Peter Aronson
3rd Equestrian Chess by Jason D. Wittman
4th Hex Shogi 41 by Fergus Duniho
5th Tapestry Chess by David Howe

Among the non-prizewinners, special mentions, in no particular order, for Free Corners Chess by Sergej Sirotkin which would probably have made the prize list if the board had been a little less crowded, Fusion Diamond 41 by Fergus Duniho, Snark Hunt by Peter Aronson and Reenterent Chess by Edward Lovett.

Again, I would like to emphasize the remarkable quality of the entries. There was not a single game that I was able to dismiss out of hand.

D. B. Pritchard

Written by David B. Pritchard.
WWW page created: June 7, 2001.