Check out this wonderful Making Light post about chess variants. A chess variant is simply that: a version of chess in which the game has been altered in some key way to make gameplay different. Some of these, like Behemoth Chess, alter the game by adding an element of randomness, while others like Omega Chess alter the game by adding new pieces or altering the board or both. Following the links, I find chessvariants.org, a huge index of such variants. I had a great time just clicking through some of these versions of the game, more than a few of which I'd love to play. I have three beautiful chess sets just sitting in their boxes, after all.
(BTW, if anyone can give the proper response to the title of this post, that person will be crowned King Geek for A Week.)
UPDATE: OK, I have now republished the entire blog, so the changes I made to the template yesterday should reflect -- in turn meaning that the comments thread should be accessible from inside the actual post page. I hadn't considered that when I made those changes yesterday.
As for the quote: There's an episode of Star Trek (The Original Series), titled "Whom Gods Destroy" in which Kirk, about to beam down to a planet, decides that it might be necessary for him to have a "password" which only he and Spock, if memory serves, will be able to supply upon their request for Scotty to beam them up. This is because the villain can change shapes or something, so he could theoretically take on Kirk's form and try to beam up and cause all sorts of trouble, unless of course he can't give the proper security password, which is in fact what ensues. The baddie, Garth, tries to trick Kirk into saying the password in his presence by taking Spock's form, but Kirk realizes that something's awry and tells Scotty, "Uhhh...Mr. Spock will give the response." The password they've come up with is a Tridimensional Chess problem.
And here's where I turn out to have egg or something similar on my face: I have the first half of the password wrong in the title to this damn post. Arrrgghhhh! It's actually "Queen to Queen's Level Three", not Four. That's what happens when you combine the wish to be a clever geek with a non-clever geek's faulty memory of the details. Shit.
Anyway, the correct response -- i.e., the other half of the password -- still has yet to be given. Oh, and welcome aboard, Nielsen Haydenites! Stick around a while. There's plenty of beer in the fridge. (But don't touch it. It's mine. You can all have water.)
UPDATE AGAIN: As usual, I forgot that PNH and TNH do not hyphenate their surname, so I've removed the hyphen that I had stuck in there. Thanks to the commenter for pointing out my error (which I nearly always commit when linking them), and apologies to the Nielsen~Haydens. (What? No tilde, either? How about an underscore? Or, since they edit SF, can I turn their names in SF names by sticking in random apostrophes, like this: Niel'sen Ha'y'den?)