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OMEGA CHESS by GM Alex Sherzer

Chessplayers all over the world are becoming enthralled by Omega chess, the new hyper-modern variant of chess which is rapidly growing in popularity.

As a chess Grandmaster, there are many things that immediately attracted me to Omega chess. It offers all of the intrigue and fascination of traditional chess while at the same time adding new dimensions of interest. For starters, the larger battlefield provided by the expanded board (10 by 10 squares) allows the two armies more time to assemble their forces before going into battle. This allows tremendous variation in terms of planning and strategy in the opening. This new range of possibilities makes it much less likely that opening theory will conquer Omega chess, as it has traditional chess.

The two novel pieces of Omega chess, the wizard and the champion, play their own unique roles. It is interesting to note that since both of them can jump, there are now three different "jumping" pieces: the knight (from traditional chess), the wizard, and the champion. The wizard is particularly lethal, being similar to a knight but having become almost a long-distance piece!

No description of Omega chess would be complete without mentioning the enigmatic extra square in each corner. A king can potentially hide there and build an incredible shelter around itself, while being immune to attack on any rank or file. On the other hand a bishop could entrench itself there and play the role of sniper against invading enemy forces.

It deserves further emphasis that regular chess has a major problem: the memorization of opening variations. This defeats the entire purpose of chess, which is to think for yourself and do battle using your mind. Instead, many modern games, including some of the top- level games in the world, are won or lost with the winner not having to make a single original move, the entire variation having been memorized beforehand. Omega chess solves this problem perfectly, as all known chess opening theory is useless in Omega chess.

To summarize, the new possibilities offered by Omega chess are astronomical. Being full of exciting, new, uncharted territory, chessplayers can apply their creativity to the game in full, without being burdened by memorization of long opening variations, something that has plagued traditional chess for several years now. At the same time, Omega chess has enough similarities with traditional chess that good "chess skills" still apply. In other words, good chessplayers will be good Omega chessplayers. The world's top players do not have to fear that their game is being undermined or that they will have to relearn anything.

In short, Omega chess strikes a perfect balance between keeping the benefits of traditional chess and offering a beautiful new landscape of unexplored territory. The chess world has been hungry for a new form of chess for a long time now. Even some of the greatest players of all time, like Fischer and Capablanca, have suggested adding new dimensions to the game. For all of these people, as well as the next generation of chessplayers, Omega chess is the answer! I have no doubt that Omega chess is the natural result of chess evolution, and is the right way for chess to enter the 21st century.

GM Alex Sherzer

Written by Alex Sherzer.
WWW page created: May 30, 1999.