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Issue 44 - Making all the right moves

Whisky Magazine Issue 44
November 2004


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Making all the right moves

As ways of making drinking a cerebral pastime, whisky chess takes some beating. Alex Kraaijeveld explains how it works

Have you ever heard of shot glass chess? It's a game of chess played in which glasses of different shapes and sizes serve as pieces.

The glasses are filled with either a clear (for ‘white') or a coloured spirit (for ‘black') and whenever a piece is captured, its contents have to be drunk by the side making the capture.

I'm about to embark on a game of shot glass chess which is quite a bit more sophisticated than the bar version. The game I want to play has two challenges and a twist.

Challenge number one is clearly to win the game. Challenge number two comes from my girlfriend, in my absence, having filled the ‘black' pieces with malts from my whisky shelves, a different malt in each kind of piece.

So on top of having to play and win the game, I am also faced with a blind tasting of six different malts, taken from among those open bottles on my whisky shelves. And the twist? I'm playing the game against Kasparov.

No, not that Georgian bloke, I'm playing against a Kasparov ‘Simultano' chess computer. As there's not much point in pouring vodka on the computer's chips, the ‘white' pieces are filled with water and the potential effect of alcohol on the computer's playing ability is simulated by lowering its playing level each time it makes a capture. And I'm allowed to use the water from the captured ‘white' pieces to cleanse my palate between tasting.

Of course, I'm going to take this nice and slow because the point is clearly not to get drunk. I want to win an...

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