I got the idea for this from Zach, when he mentioned that he'd like to play correspondence chess but -- lacking a proper chessboard -- would need to sketch out the moves on a piece of paper to keep track of them. Chess by mail is an embattled enough pursuit in the age of email that I couldn't help but feel it needed something to redeem its slowness and expense, something that it could provide that email could not. Something, in fact, to make it more glamorous to have a piece of paper for a chessboard. That something is the postal-service-compliant mailable chess set!
It's an 8-inch square grid and pieces made of heavy paper, with each piece stuck down by repositionable tape so moves don't get lost in the mail. Hand-drawn, of course, with all homey appeal that that implies. But just hang on a second -- when you fold the board down the middle, it becomes a machinable 4x8 document weighing in at slightly less than one ounce. That's right; you can put it in a standard legal envelope and mail it with a regular first-class stamp.
I've made two so far: one to send to Zach in New York and one to send to one of my classmates in Pittsburgh. The second is unquestionably neater, as a result of being drawn with Sharpies instead of India ink and old-fashioned pens. What it may lack in style and soul it makes up for in functionality, having each piece trimmed to fit within its square and the crease running reasonably between sides instead of across them.
If I wanted to make things really interesting, I'd wait for both games to get going and then trade boards, sending each person's game to the other to continue. Having never played with either of them before, I don't know who'd stand to benefit from that arrangement. Probably not me, seeing as -- as the observant and chess-playing among you may have noticed -- I can't even handle the stress and complication of setting up a board without misplacing pieces. It doesn't bode well for my performance in these games.Posted by dianna at August 11, 2006 12:01 AM