Home  »  Library  »  Alex Randolph   »  2Brett & Board


A talk with Alex Randolph
... on the life in games

What I find particularly interesting in games, is that they are never finished. They can always be changed even further, so that one has the feeling that games are alive.
There really is just one game which was complete from the outset, and that is GO.
 
When I was in Japan, I played Shogi a lot (Japanese chess). As a foreigner I had many contacts with the great masters of Shogi, contacts which you do not normally have. They all played Go by way of variety. Just as all the great professional Go players played Shogi for a change. And the same with Bridge and Mah-Jongg. They played all the time! At one time did I ask the Shogi master what was man's biggest invention.
I already knew the answer: Shogi or Chess!     And Go?
Go, came the reply, is mankind's largest discovery - it was already here!
 
I really believe that Go is the only game which is unchangeable, which cannot be developed any further because it was born complete. But all other games can change and will constantly change themselves. I always expect them to change. Unfortunately does the changes usually happen very slowly, so that one hardly notices them.
 
For example will I expect to see the end of the offside rule in Football. Because it isn't good. I also expect that the throw-in with the hand, which is completely against the spirit of the game, will disappear. And so forth in other games. For example do I find it intolerable in Chess that the better you play the more games will end in stalemate. Only people who cannot play well find true pleasure in the game as they don't know who will win. It never ends in stalemate with poor players.
 
Shogi will never end in stalemate. The beautiful about Shogi is: if one captures a stone from his opponent will it immediately become one of his own stones which can be brought back into play. I transformed this marvelous rule, which make tie situations impossible, to work in Chess and developed a small chess variant: Mad Mate. I know several chess masters that loves to play this variant.
 
However, this is just one solution. There must be many other possibilites because chess is not finished.
 
Chess has changed very often and very much. From a culture-historical point of view is it fantastic to pursue the way chess has changed when moving from place to another. And this what occupies me the most right now. Therefore it also annoys me a little when one of games is published and someone says: 'We have already seen that.'
Naturally have you seen it before, but it has changed.
on gamingon the development of his own games

From Knut-Michael Wolf's interview in the special issue of Die Pöppel-Revue 1988
with kind permission from Friedhelm Merz Verlag and spielbox.de

© Mik Svellov 1997-2004editor@brettboard.dk03. maj 2004