by Magnus Olsson

Episode 17 of Textfire 12-pack

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A snack., May 6, 2022

Zugzwang puts you in the position of a chess piece close to the end of a game. Sounds quirky? It definitely is.

The game is extremely short (10 turns) and extremely linear (two paths). For me that's a classic candidate for 1, max 2 stars. The game is so quirky though - the setting alone is unique, but there's also dialogue between the individual chess pieces, IF-style description of the events, optional examining - it still sucks as a game, but it has so much potential, and as a "proof of concept" it sort of shines. I constantly had to think of a Romeo and Juliet story unfolding through a chess game. Too bad this is just a (term used by game) demo.

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Andrew Schultz, May 6, 2022 - Reply
I'm glad this game exists, and I'm glad you made me aware of it!

While experienced chess players may've seen this before and know this technique (it's useful in speed-chess if you're low on time and need to mate in a hurry,) this really is one of the classics. It's the sort of puzzle that got me interested in studying chess more deeply, because something unexpected happens and happens quickly, and once it does, it makes sense. So it's really cool someone did this. And I think people who are interested in chess but don't have the time to move up in rating will enjoy this out of general intellectual curiosity.

I can't think of too many other puzzles like this that would allow for a first-person view. I mean, I can think of them, but it would involve multiple pawn sacrifices and thus an odd change of viewpoints that would be tricky to implement.

(Well, okay, there's one endgame that would have minor guess-the-verb. Maybe I'll save it for next year's April Fools.)

Also, to be pedantic, there are three paths: (Spoiler - click to show)you can move to f4 and deliberately lose the game, which I got a laugh out of.

(And finally, it's amusing to see someone named Magnus wrote any sort of chess game when Magnus Carlsen was, at the time, 6 years old.)
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