Some thoughts on slow chess

I asked an old friend on Twitter the other day if he wanted to play chess. I'm no good at chess, but I thought it would be fun to play a really slow—and by slow I mean weeks or months—game of chess.

A few times, back in the day—it must have been graduate school or just after—I would go to Yahoo! Games to play chess, or some other simple board games. I didn't realize it until after writing the preceding sentence and trying to go to Yahoo! Games that it doesn't even exist anymore. (Wired: "Yahoo Games Has Passed Away at Just 17") Anyway, I always got beat, but it was fun to play, and to maybe chat with someone for a while before moving on.

I had a thought that we good just send our moves back and forth to each other via Twitter. Slowchess. Pat myself on the back for coming up with that. But exists and redirects to, which looks like an active but old-school interactive chess game site. And what's more is that there appears to be a term for this kind of asynchronous game: correspondence chess. There's even an International E-mail Chess Club. Should've known better than to think I came up with something that clever on my own.

I'm going to spend a little time developing something anyway, just for coding practice. I'm thinking it will work like this. Start a game with a friend on Twitter by sending a tweet to @slowchess (surprised that handle was still available). Tweet your move to @slowchess for that game, and both players get a tweet with the current game board. Repeat until it's over.

That's it. Maybe it's a lack of vision, or having come of age when the web was fairly half-assed and I wasn't even able to develop eighth-assed solutions, but I'd like to see how lo-fi I can do it while still making it viable. In fact, while developing, I could even make it work Mechanical Turk style. Everything online seems to have features Features FEATURES with artificial intelligence this and machine learning that and that's OK. I'm into it. But I don't want it in everything. I just want to goof off a little and learn how things work.

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