By Brian Lucas
This one is dedicated to my good friend Wayne. The future is yours for the taking…
“The world is moving so fast these days that the one who says it can’t be done is generally interrupted by someone doing it.” -Harry Emerson Fosdick
Take this agile challenge – go on I dare you! Prove to someone in less than 5 minutes that you are an agile thinker. Give up? Did you even try? You will be surprised that if you try it often enough you will expand the boundaries of your mind considerably. It is very similar to thinking outside the box or connecting the nine dots. It will sharpen your intellect to deal with all sorts of problems on the fly. Here’s is how I proved I was an agile thinker to a group of colleagues.
First a little background. I have always enjoyed playing chess since I was around 8 years old. When I first started working in business, I did a great deal of work at night. One of my fellow workers was a ranked class A chess player and quite good, so we played several games each night. I do not enjoy blitz chess, although we used to play fairly fast games. He was a very defensive player and I have a very aggressive game style. Unfortunately, I do not get enough time to play as often as I like now and I am careful when I play with friends. Once, years ago, I beat someone with the Sicilian variation of the Halasz Gambit. The poor looser had a fit, broke his expensive crystal King chess piece in half and never spoke to me again.
Ok, on to the challenge. I was playing chess with some friends the other evening in the hills to the south of my home while waiting for the sun to set. Our one friend, Daren, who lives in a beautiful home on top of the mountain has several expensive telescopes. Tonight, we intended using a Sky-Watcher Quantum 150ED APO triplet refractor telescope for some amateur astronomy, we had planned later that night. After a German style spaghetti meal I had furnished (my mother’s recipe), we thought we would get in a game over coffee, brandy and cigars. We had to let the telescope cool down to the ambient night temperature and of course wait for the proper progression of the night sky for viewing.
I honestly do not know how we got on the topic, but the two of my friends that are in the IT profession began to tease me about being agile. One thing lead to another and a bet was made that I could not prove I was an agile thinker in less than 5 minutes. Normally, I do not rise to take the bait in such challenges. However, when they put a box of Padron 1926 Anniversary series cigars and a bottle of Balvenie DoubleWood 17 year Scotch on the table, I was hooked.
The challenge was to create a new form of a chess game, complete with rules in less than 5 minutes. It had to be interesting, novel, unique and workable. They were going to be the judges. Now this sounds like a stacked deck (is that a mixed metaphor because we are speaking about chess?) and it was. My friends were honest though, and besides Daren’s wife, Gwen was kibitzing and I knew she had merciless ways of keeping them honest.
I first spilled the pieces off the board and looked at it for 15 seconds. Then I turned the board so that one of the corners was pointing at me. Next I began to assemble pieces on the board in various configurations until I had the following configuration:
I called it Diamond Minus Pawn Chess. The rules of the games were the same as normal chess with the following exceptions:
- A player must move at least one piece into or over the diagonal squares that run across the two neutral corners before he can move any piece backwards. (This was to prevent games being too defensive.)
- Players start with one pawn in reserve whenever they lose a piece they can choose to replace it with that pawn on the nearest square to where their piece was lost, without putting the piece in immediate jeopardy. They can do this for any piece and do not have to replace the first piece they lose.
As the French say, voilà! By-the-way, I am enjoying my cigars and Scotch immensely! You see there are many benefits to agile thinking, so till next time, keep agile!
 Which is not necessarily a bad thing.