First move for spherical chess
Sunday 27 October 1996
Mounted on a Corinthian column, the Chessball resembles a black and white enamelled globe, marked off in lines of latitude and longitude. From their starting positions on opposite sides of the sphere, magnetic bishops and knights poke out like the spines on a Second World War naval mine.
There are almost twice as many spaces as an ordinary board, but the same number of pieces, and it is, its creator believes, a far more attacking game.
Mr Gramolt, a management consultant from Hartfield, East Sussex, hopes this latest variation on the ancient game of chess will make him rich. "I wanted to put what I preach into practice," he says. "I wanted to put together the optimum business."
But he faces a tough battle. British Grand Master Nigel Short believes variants have little appeal."History is littered with people trying to improve it, but chess is a very rich game, almost infinite in its complexity."On this, Mr Short is at odds with the former world champion Bobby Fischer, who recently launched a variant called Fischerandom, in which the back row pieces are placed on the wrong squares.
The Encyclopedia of Chess Variants by David Pritchard lists 1,450 modifications, from three- dimensional chess to four- player chess, with pieces from wildebeests to nuclear warheads. There are five spherical chess boards listed. Not one of them took off.
John Wareing, owner of The Chess Shop near Olympia, says he only has one variant available. "I've got Tri-Chess for three players, and I used to have Three-Dimensional chess. But it's quite a specialised interest."
Mr Gramolt was inspired to create his new board on a ferry crossing from Newhaven to Dieppe in 1985. He and his son played battleships on the red and white gingham tablecloths. "The following morning I had Chessball on my mind."
Mr Gramolt is offering his new game to mail-order customers for pounds 149, or pounds 129 during an introductory offer.
He says: "I know there are chess people so obsessed they wouldn't want to waste their time with anything else. But I wouldn't want Chessball to be killed off by someone saying 'It's not real chess'."
International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
Malaysia Airlines: Search for true identity of passengers with stolen passports launched as terrorism concern grows
Singapore sting: Sky-high prices are pushing locals to the edge of affordability
International Women’s Day: 'When a man gives his opinion, he's a man. When a woman gives her opinion, she's a bitch' - feminist quotes from female icons to inspire you
Dead woman's body found sitting in a car after six years after direct debits ran $54,000 bank account dry
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Ukraine crisis: Russia dismisses '3am ultimatum' as 'total nonsense'
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
White people become less racist just by moving to more diverse areas, study finds
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
- 1 International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
- 2 Orgasm machine to deliver climax at the push of a button
- 3 Teacher shows sex tape featuring herself to pupils during class by mistake
- 4 Singapore sting: Sky-high prices are pushing locals to the edge of affordability
- 5 Liam Neeson turned down James Bond role because late wife Natasha Richardson said she wouldn't marry him if he took it
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: A small but growing chain of boutique hot...
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: The company works with Tier 1 FTSE 100 Ba...
£45 - 60k Per Annum: Charter Selection: Highly profitable leisure brand, marke...
£30000 - £50000 per annum + Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: Residenti...