Today, Kids, Wizards and Readers, we are embarking upon our first journey to Kepler-438b, a planet orbiting in the ‘goldilocks zone’ of its red dwarf star, 470 light-years from our planet Terra. We have located an area that is ideal for human habitation which you should see on screen momentarily (it looks strikingly similar to an empty chess board). As you can see, we have divided this area into a grid of 8 rows by 8 columns and 64 total squares for easy identification and communication purposes. We have dispatched 16 colonization units to orbit around the planet to build our new world.
Unfortunately, an alien species of unknown origin has also dispatched their own 16 pieces into orbit and have claimed the planet for themselves. At the moment the situation is peaceful however we anticipate heavy resistance from the aliens after all of our colonization units have been put into place. You are ordered to place your pieces on squares in the first 4 rows closest to you. Do not engage in any hostilities until all 16 pieces have been placed. Should the aliens attempt to take this territory from us, you have authority to capture their leader and bring them in for questioning. The fate of our species may depend on your actions. Good luck.
- The game starts with a blank chess board.
- Players use their first 16 moves to place their pieces on the 4 rows closes to them (“their half”).
- Once all 16 pieces have been placed, a normal chess game begins.
An Example Game
Moves 1-6: Each side is placing pawn chains to control the center. Black takes an advantage by controlling more space on their second move, then protects the space with a strong pawn chain. White’s Move 6 guards the weak d3 and f3 squares.
Moves 7-11: Facepalm! White places their King down early on Move 7, perhaps thinking they have created a strong pawn base to protect him. Black immediately responds by placing their own pieces, boxing the King in and limiting their overall capabilities in the process. White’s Move 9 is particularly bad – now their Rook can’t even move!
Moves 12-16: White doubles down on their f2 defense, thinking they are safe. On move 12, Black makes a sneaky Bishop placement, adding pressure on the King from the Queenside. On Move 13, White places a Knight right on the boarder of Black’s turf. Black has a pawn remaining and puts it in danger immediately. Now that all White’s pieces are on the Kingside, Black shifts their strategy to the Queenside. Saving the Queen to be placed last, in this case, will prove to be exceptionally smart.
Super Advanced Sentient Species Version
On your turn, you can place a piece on your half OR move one of the pieces you’ve already placed. Yes, it gets crazy. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.