A few months ago, I introduced CJ to checkers. I beat her, badly. I couldn’t help it. The rules say you have to jump whenever you can.“Do you want to play again?” I asked.
“Okay,” she said. “But this time we’ll play by my rules.”
She set up the board.
“What is this?” I asked. “This isn’t checkers. This is shmeckers!”CJ taught me the rules to shmeckers. All pieces are super-kings. They can jump any direction, any number of squares. They can jump four pieces at once. They can jump off the board and back on.
At least those are the rules to start. You can change them if you want.
CJ captured half my pieces on her first move. You might think I was worried. I wasn’t.
I stacked my remaining pieces. “This is the Tower of Power,” I said. “The Tower of Power shoots out of a force field and blasts all your pieces off the board.”
“Can you do that?”
“I win,” I said.
“No you don’t,” she said. “Half my pieces come back alive and knock down the Tower of Power.”
“That’s cheating,” I said.
“Is it?” she asked.
“CJ,” I asked, “have you ever played Tic Tac Toe?”
She hadn’t. I beat her. Then I let her beat me. Then I showed her how to force a cat’s game.“So it’s always a tie?” she asked.
“If nobody messes up,” I said.
“Do grownups play this?” she asked.
“I’ve got an idea,” she said. “What if you had a bigger board?”“How many do you need in a row?”
“Five. But you can go around corners.”
“What do you call it?”
“Shmick Shmack Shmoe.”