Chess thoughts

If you know me, you probably know I’m a big chess fan. I’ve been playing it almost all my life, having learned it from my friend Chucky’s grampa and being fascinated by every aspect of it ever since.

I definitely play too much–the internet makes it so easy to grab a quick game on a whim, and I have racked up thousands of 1, 2, and 3 minute games this way.

On the one hand, I could argue that it keeps me sharp; playing chess forces me to exercise my brain power, analytical thoughts, and concentration.

Regarding that last point: concentration, I heard an interesting comment by renowned chessmaster and streamer Eric Rosen recently. He was asked by someone in the chat box: “Does playing chess help you concentrate?” His answer was something like: “Getting lots of sleep, eating well, and exercise helps you concentrate. Chess depletes your concentration.”

Chess Set v1

Over the past COVID afflicted year, I’ve spent countless hours learning 3D design and printing. I find that the best way to both teach and learn new skills is to take on a project with a tangible outcome––in an area the student is passionate about. For me, this was the perfect chess set.

I wanted a set that could be beautiful but also utilitarian. I wanted one that could be used in a competitive setting, heavy and hard to knock over, with pieces that were distinctive and easily identifiable. I wanted the pieces to stay upright during chaotic, tumultuous speed chess matches.

I’ve also had time to survey my house. There are pennies everywhere. Under any and all pieces of furniture, tucked inside every crevice of laundry rooms and cars, and abandoned in pockets of rarely-worn jackets and jeans are these useless copper disks that cost more to store than they’re worth. I could amass thousands to be used as wights for the pieces.

I’ve pondereed discarded things that could be used as boards. Sidewalked leather couches, old wooden panels, large swathes of fabric. Anything I could silkscreen print checkerboards on would be fair game.

And there you would have everything you need to play chess, especially in these times. A good, weighted, tactile set, that won’t tip over in a lightning game.

So here it is, all 32 pieces printed, polished to an ebony/ivory finish, weighted with pennies, felted with leather, on a hand-silkscreened board.

I’m making more and giving them to friends and family, but also thinking about a kickstarter campaign to help me build a distribution model, where I could sell this and other designs Jeanne and I are working on. Stay tuned for that.

Context Queries in CSS

Media queries are firmly established methods for serving custom experiences based on the media being used to access content.

However, there’s no way to an experience based on the context being used. How crazy would it be would it be if this were possible?

Imagine some code that went like:

@context (currently-traveling:yes AND role:driver) 
{ * {display:none;} } /* hide app from a distracted driver }

That’s some scary stuff, privacy-wise, but you know if it were possible people’d be writing it. But just think of what you could do with