Ed Trice
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  • December 1, 2000

    After moving back to Pennsylvania from New York in 1998, Ed Trice began looking more at the game of chess again. This time, he recalled that many years before that the former World Champion Jose Capablanca wanted to add two new pieces to the chessboard to make the game more interesting. Capablanca's board had 80 squares, with an Archbishop moving like a Knight or a Bishop and a Chancellor, moving like a Knight or a Rook. These pieces bring to chess what is has been missing; namely, the set of all possible combinations involving two pieces fused into one. (Recall the Queen is the fusion of the Rook and Bishop).

    Starting out with just what was called the "frying pan set" (extra chess pieces were melted together in a frying pan to make the new pieces) and an 80-square board he had printed at an oversized printer's shop, Ed started touring some local chess clubs and soliciting comments about Capablanca's Chess.

    The initial feedback indicated there was "some interest". The fascination with the new pieces soon wore off after it was demonstrated that the player who moved first could build up an unassailable advantage, no matter how stoutly black defended. Ed had to "go back to the drawing board" and determine if the fault was in the configuration Capablanca had chosen, or if the game of chess was somehow impossible to extended into an 80-square arrangement.

    After testing many different ideas, it seemed that none of the piece layouts were really that appealing. Ed was determined to exhaustively explore other setups. The hard work paid off only when the Queen was separated from the King, something Trice originally disqualified automatically for many reasons. But, as Ed Trice recounted later, "The King and Queen are paired successfully only on smaller boards. On larger ones, they must each oversee their regions without consent of the other."

    Ed finally was left with this arrangement as "the best":

    This new game was named Gothic Chess to distinguish it from Capablanca's Chess.

    Ed Trice and Andy Kirkpatrick formed the Gothic Chess Association on October 16, 1998 and later renamed it the Gothic Chess Federation. Soon after producing boards and pieces, Gothic Chess began to take off. Tournaments were being held for prize money, and by the year 2000, there was already one event with a $5,000 payoff advertised in Chess Life magazine.

    So, while technically not a "newspaper appearance," this first widespread advertisement of Gothic Chess was the demaracation of greater things to come.

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