Instead of person vs. person it’s team vs. team. Each team consists of 16 people, each with the ability to control only one chess piece.
The game is played remotely, with each team’s members separated from each other. Each player has a computer and a big red button. When it’s a team’s turn to move, the first person to hit his button gets dibs on moving his piece that turn. If someone’s piece is unable to move because it’s blocked in, they can’t hit the button.
Each player on the winning team gets $1 million regardless of whether his piece was captured.
Each player with an un-captured piece at the end of the game gets $10,000 regardless of whether his team won.
I don’t know how this would work out, but I’m sure it’d be interesting. I know this basic idea (small personal reward vs. large group reward in cooperative tasks) has been explored before, but applying it to chess would make for a really interesting spectator sport.
Note: For the players controlling the kings, there’s no dilemma! Altruism and egoism synthesize perfectly. Ah, if only we were all Chess Kings!
This idea is absolutely mesmerizing.
The financial aspect may not be applicable, but a game played in this fashion could in fact happen, the logistics could be organized- particularly if we tried it via email (and accepted that the game would be played at a slower pace than real time).
32 people email a ‘chessmaster’ who randomly assigns each piece to a player. The chessmaster BCC’s each team when it is their turn, to ensure that the identities of the teammates are never revealed to eachother, and the first player to email back gets to move their piece. In each email the chessmaster includes an image of the updated board. There is a certain percentage of honor system adherence necessary for this- players agree not to discuss the game with their friends/fellow players- but otherwise I think it would work. In fact I want to try it. 33 total people would need to be involved- the players and an administrator.
The strategic aspects of this idea are extraordinarily interesting and I could talk about them at length, but for now I am gonna daydream about making this happen. Benjamin, let’s talk.
Terry Withers signs off, a few hours before Smirk’s cagematch show:
Terry: “Hoping in the shower. See you soon.”
me: “That might have been a typo but it’s still true, isn’t it?”
If you are at home reading this, GO TO CAGEMATCH TONIGHT!
This whole thread has been pretty great. Five points…
I miss Zuleyka rehearsals, not specifically because we were growing, but because they were consistently the most fucking hilarious 3 hours of my week. We had to stop only for reasons of money and scheduling. Practice is not just useful, it’s an absolute party if you’re in a good, supportive group.
An underrated value of practice that hasn’t been brought up yet- it makes you hold your shows to a higher standard, because you’ve experienced a broader range of what your team Can do. As much as I’ve enjoyed The Bishop’s shows, I know the hilarious, adventurous stuff we’ve done in rehearsal, and we all do, and it keeps us hungry to put our very best work up. We know, from the experience of awesome practices, that we are all capable of better than even the best of what we’ve so far done onstage. I feel like this is a universal sentiment among practicing teams.
Small side project teams are fun. We’re all just artists and performers jamming with eachother. I agree with Brett, I get a little put off by people with a dozen two and three person groups, but we can’t fault people for having fun experimenting with other players. I’d love to do more one-offs with people… it’s actually kindof crazy when I think about how many of my friends I’ve never been onstage with.
Bozarth makes a great point about, we have to live, we can’t just perform. That’s the biggest and most crucial advice that can exist in the realm of improv. It’s such a delightfully addictive art form, it is always an internal battle to not live like it’s the ‘only’ thing. Reading and going to museums and generally engaging with the world in different ways… these are crucial to good work onstage and a good life in general.
Lastly I’d say, in the past few months I’ve gotten a whole lot of work as a coach, and it’s pretty fascinating to open your eyes to the reality that- there is an absolute universe of improvisers who are younger to this than us; people who are not at McManus twice a week, people who cannot name every Harold player, people whose improv experience has thus far pretty much been defined by Roo Roo’s cagematch dominance, with every other team somewhat less central. There’s a world of young players who are still practicing and learning. I don’t know how this specifically relates to the conversation, but it’s an interesting thing that’s been on my mind a lot lately. The boundaries of this world stretch far beyond our bubble.