Nefarious and I have not been playing much chess lately because we got a bunch of new strategy games and because we’ve been playing card games and she’s really into them right now so it’s all rummy and blackjack and crazy eights and such, but today I came up with a new game that I presented to her and her school pals when I picked her up. This one is called “Secret Agent Chess”.
The reason it’s called that is because it’s built around the idea that you have “secret agents” among your opponent’s pieces that occasionally sabotage their game. At the start of every turn you flip a coin. If it’s heads, the turn is played like any normal turn. If it’s tails though, you have a choice — you can either play your turn as normal, or you can activate a “secret agent”, which means that instead of moving one of your pieces, you get to move one of your opponents pieces (any legal move, as if they were making it). If you choose to do this, on their next turn they have the limitation that they can not “reverse” the move you made. They can move the piece, but they can not (in that immediately following turn) move it back to the square it was on before you moved it. The game is also played “full board”, meaning that the goal is to take all of your opponent’s pieces, rather than to capture the king.
This chess variant is interesting because it adds a level of chaos and unpredictability to the game, giving your opponent the ability to mess slightly with your plans. Nefarious picked up on it well, way better than I did I suppose, as she beat me more soundly than I can recall… For the next hour I experienced an emotional state that encompassed both pride and shame.
We were up a little later than usual (late for a school night anyway) as we plowed through the last couple chapters of The Goblet of Fire — all 636 pages — finishing it up, which means that we can finally watch the short-falling film adaptation for Friday’s movie night. I expect Nefarious to be quite exhausted by the end of tomorrow, as she’s spending the day downhill skiing with her school, and then after school, gymnastics. The first time I went downhill skiing I couldn’t walk the next day — a memory which has me wondering whether the problems with my legs may go back further than I assumed, because now that I think about it, I can remember quite a few times where these specific muscles have caused problems.
PS. I just got a new Photoshop filter that I think must have some of the best painting simulation effects that I’ve seen yet. It’s called Virtual Painter and it does some really nice stuff just out of the box using defaults. Here’s a quick example taking the settings that it came with — I’m sure it can produce even nicer results with a bit of tweaking:
That said, today I was looking at the classic Photoshop filters — you know, embossing, charcoal, and so on — and was thinking how terrible and tacky they looked. When we first saw them, they seemed so cool, but now I have to wonder who in their right mind would ever use them. I’m sure things like this painting filter will go the same way with a short wait.