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Play Chess Online with ChessJam

by Tom Johnson on Nov 29, 2009 •
categories: technical-writing

The other week I visited my brother-in-law Sean in Tampa, Florida. Sean is an interactive web designer who creates everything from flash games for Disney to augmented reality applications for the Adobe marketplace. While I was there, he showed me his latest creation: ChessJam.

Usually when I think of chess, I think of two people sitting around a small round table in moments of intense concentration, staring at the chessboard for hours as they contemplate their next sixteen moves. ChessJam really isn't like that. ChessJam is an online, interactive game designed for community-driven web culture. See the following two-minute screencast I made for ChessJam.

You don't need anyone to play. You can just open ChessJam and see who else is in the virtual courtyard and wants to play. If no one is in the courtyard, you can play a computer bot.

When the game opens, the chess board and pieces are in rich 3D graphics, with sounds that play at various times depending on your move. Here are most of the game's sounds that I've compiled together here:

ChessJam's 3D chess board and pieces
ChessJam's 3D chess board and pieces

The chess pieces slide smoothly along the board as you make your move. What's cool is that if you're a little rusty with chess, the board highlights the potential moves each piece can make. You can also observe other games in session.

I know that brilliant chess players mentally calculate their next several moves. And sometimes people can spend hours looking at the chess board. This is where chess can start to feel like a game that never ends. What I like about ChessJam is that you can set time limits on the game. If you only want to play for 5 or 10 minutes, you set the timer and whoever is ahead when the clock ends, that person wins.

Rooms to choose from in ChessJam
Rooms to choose from in ChessJam

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As an application, ChessJam is built on Adobe Air, which means it's neither an entirely local nor online application. It lives between the two worlds. You download the application and install it, but then the application runs online and pulls data from online.

Right now ChessJam is free. You can download it now and start playing.

This post was sponsored courtesy of HD Interactive.

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About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm a technical writer / API doc specialist based in the Seattle area. In this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, visual communication, information architecture, writing techniques, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out simplifying complexity and API documentation for some deep dives into these topics. If you're a technical writer and want to keep on top of the latest trends in the field, be sure to subscribe to email updates. You can also learn more about me or contact me.