Bad Chess

Mad Wrapper Chess

Attached to each present is an envelope containing a card. The outside of the card shows a picture of a chess board.  Inside is a list of chess moves that describe a complete game of chess.

Usually when a chess player follows a series of moves listed in a book or in a newspaper the player is intrigued by the profoundness of the problem.  And, although not109_0953 all chess matches listed on a printed page will evoke a sense of appreciation from the average chess player, those listings typically do not result a gut wrenching comedic laughter.

Unlike those listings, chess Mad Wrapper style is a farce, a joke. Black pieces seem to want to say “Kill me! Kill me! Take the King!” And White silently mouths the simple word “Ok,” move after move after move.

Black pieces disappear steadily throughout the match. White quickly dominates the game but, strangely, there’s no quick checkmate. Instead, there’s wholesale Black misery extended far beyond reason. White will not allow black to resign. Deaf to Black’s pleading for a swift checkmate White continues to  sidestep the win and captures some other minor piece in insolent dishonor.

But finally, something extraordinary happens.  After the last Black piece has been knocked off the board, and the undefended King stands near the sideline alone nervous and exhausted, White begins to cluster. Planning a kill. The cluster shifts around. Then, BAM, with championship drum and bugle precision, Black is mated along with a bold message to the nearby public. At the moment of final dominating triumph, a letter of the modern English alphabet is spelled out on a bastion of squares proudly marking White territory. A message from the chess god.

The letter formed on the board also happens to be the first initial of a spectator in the room. Sometimes, to clarify the statement, two letters are used — two initials of a bystander at Christmas celebration. A clever Mad Wrapper might know how to move pieces into a three-letter formation but this Mad Wrapper has not attempted such a feat.

The Chess Card

All gift cards have the same picture on the front of the card.  After searching the internet I chose a picture that shows the letter and number grid representations of the board.

The inside of each card is unique but the format is similar to those in books and newspapers.  I added a couple of web links for novice chess players to view for an explanation of chess shorthand and piece movement rules.  Nearly everyone in my family knows how to play chess (although a few questioned an en-passant move that I threw in to make things interesting).





How to Create a Chess Match

Theoretically a chess match could be designed using only a chess board, 16 pieces, a pen, and paper but that method will be of questionable accuracy. I found it best to use a computer chess playing program to track my moves. Most chess software will allow two human players to play together on the same board. Often this mode is not obvious and falls under the menu heading of “editing the game” or “making a game fragment”.  But there is a difference between creating a game and setting up a specific end position. One of these will keep a log of moves while forcing legal moves along the way. The other simply allows you to place pieces into a certain configuration on the board.

I found two good Windows chess programs free to be downloaded from internet
websites. ChessPad can be found at . WinBoard, which uses GNU Chess, can be found at . ChessPad has a slight advantage over WinBoard: the log file can be exported in RTF format which uses a chess font that can be used by Microsoft Word for a nicer presentation.


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