Jesse Shaw is the Founder & CEO of Revolution Chess a visionary take on a traditional game made for the next generation of modern Chess thinkers and strategists.
Could you discuss your passion for chess and why it resonates with you?
It all starts back to when I was six, my parents signed me up for an after school chess class. I surprised myself and the teacher by beating him. He graciously awarded me a dollar bill, which felt like a million dollars back then. In high school, we had a school-wide tournament and I ended up winning. Similarly, in college, I won a larger tournament. The thing is, growing up I was shy and had an auditory processing learning disability, so I never felt like I was smart. Reading and writing was tough and public speaking was terrifying, but I was good at Chess and could beat the average joe. The game helped me develop an inner confidence that might not have been established otherwise.
Chess has stood the test of time for nearly 1500 years, why do you think this game has had such a lasting appeal?
Chess is technically a strategy board game, but it’s really more than that, it’s a philosophy, a mathematical language, and to many a way of life. The geometry of how the 32 pieces move on a 64 square board is truly perfect. For me the beauty of Chess is that you can understand how your opponent thinks without saying a word.
In 2003 you came across the idea for updating the game with a new board layout where the king is surrounded by his army. Could you tell us the genesis story behind this idea?
In college, I delved deeper into Chess. Friends would come over for a match and I would even play games against myself, curious which side would win. Often, I wondered why the king was so vulnerable that he could be put in check, even checkmate within a couple moves. In a real war, medieval or modern, the leader would never be put in jeopardy because he would be surrounded by all his soldiers. It was this concept that led me to discover the triangle formation of the pieces. This setup gives the king ultimate protection. It proved to be a strong game when friends would come over and prefer to play Revolution Chess instead of Classic Chess.
How does the new chess board layout make the game more exciting?
The Revolution Chess layout makes the game faster paced with instant action right from the start. You can get Queens early on in the game, but your opponent also can so they end up canceling each other out. The setup uses the corners of the board in a triangle formation with the king in the back, providing him maximum defense. Pawns have a stronger defense and offensive, because they have the freedom to pick their direction of attack (either north or east of the board) this allows the pawns the ability to flank the opponent. In classic Chess it takes about 10 moves for the game to get exciting. In Revolution Chess that excitement starts from the first move.
What type of strategies are being developed by players to take advantage of the new board layout that is featured in Revolution Chess?
Revolution Chess hits the reset button, there’s no historical data to look at.
That’s what is most exciting about the game; it's too new to have proven strategies yet. Traditional Chess has been over analysed and studied to the point that players are so good the majority of FIDE tournaments end in draws.
In 2018, you chose to develop Revolution Chess into an official game. What was the process for having it officially recognized as a form of chess?
Well, currently only the US patent office recognizes Revolution Chess as an official game. Throughout the process of building it into an app, I researched many other chess variants. I found that variants either change the board, add or combine pieces, or randomize the pieces like in Chess 960. In my opinion the true essence of Chess is in having the exact same 32 pieces on a 64 square board with the same rules and objectives. Revolution Chess stays true to the game, only with a different setup and one new rule.
In 2019, the first Revolution Chess Tournament was held in Odessa Ukraine. How did the chess community react to this?
We had a great tournament, forty youth players from all over Ukraine came to compete. The players thought the game was outstanding and it was great to hear the players discussing different strategies.
The app for Revolution Chess launched in 2020. Could you tell us more about this app?
The game was designed to get younger players involved with a new way to play Chess. I made it a 3D game and added elements of Magic the gathering and Street Fighter to make it more fun and enticing. There are different environments, so users can play a game in a medieval tavern or in a park. They can also customize the board and pieces, play the computer or with friends.
Is there anything else that you would like to share about Revolution Chess?
Revolution Chess is a hidden game within the framework of chess. The game has been there the whole time for hundreds of years, we just didn’t know it was there. Now the secret has been unveiled and players have a new way to play Chess in the 21st Century.
Thank you for the great interviews, readers who wish to learn more should visit Revolution Chess.