Chess reaches the digital games summit with help from new chess variants

Choker App Visual

Queenside Games launches the “World Choker Tour”, a chess variant that follows a long history of evolution for the “Eternal Game”.

Chess rises to the digital games summit

Chess, the game that was conceived over 1,000 years ago in ancient Persia is now evolving to become a gaming behemoth of the digital era. Globally there are an estimated 700 million people who can play chess. Now the forces of streaming, e-sports, lockdown and a Netflix chess-based series have taken chess to the top of the gaming world.
  • The current World Chess Champion, Magnus Carlsen tops e-sports earner of 2020 with $511,000 earnings (source Unikrn).
  • 5 times US Chess Champion, Hikaru Nakamura, has risen to become the world’s most followed chess player, with e-sports influencers lining up to play him. He and Alexandra Botez, a Canadian Women’s Chess Master have been signed up by major e-sports management companies (TSM and Envy); attracted tens of millions of viewing hours on Twitch and YouTube; and drawn sponsorship from clothing, technology, media companies and energy drinks.
  • The chess platform, Chess24 announced a new virtual 2021 chess tour for the Grandmaster elites with prize monies of $1.5M.
  • While eyes are on Fortnite, DOTR and League of Nations on Twitch – more people of all ages are actually playing chess across every conceivable platform – including in the real world.

As chess reinvents itself for the digital age – Choker is born

Chess has always fascinated and enthralled gamers of all generations by evolving and moving with the times. For hundreds of years, it was a slow, immersive game. Bobby Fischer famously said: “Chess is war across a board. The objective is to crush the opponent’s mind”. Now it’s evolving and growing fast.
Since the birth of the internet, chess games have become faster and faster. Many people are surprised to learn that 99% of the games on (the world’s biggest chess platform) are the speed chess formats such as Blitz chess where games last 3 minutes or bullet chess which last 1 minute. Meanwhile derivatives like Chess960 (a game which randomises piece starting positions) and 4-player chess are moving into the mainstream. As chess adapts itself to 21st century gamers, Choker takes the evolution a step further by merging the brilliance of chess with the cunning of poker. The result is a game that is fast, tense and already gripping 21st century gamers.

The biggest e-sports names are playing Choker and punching the air!

While elite chess players are usually not demonstrative when they play chess – they let loose when playing Choker. Something about the random swings of fortune make Choker more tense and exciting at the crucial moments. Watch leading e-sports players like Hikaru Nakamura and Alexandra Botez shout, scowl and punch the air – making great viewing.

Choker – more cunning, more depth, more fun – in 3 challenging phases

Choker allows players of lesser chess skills the chance to take on and even beat a Grandmaster – in the same way that a rookie poker player can get lucky and beat a world poker champion. But that is not because the game is any less profound or complex. Quite the reverse.  Choker requires more skills and has more complexity as it takes you through three phases of betting, placing of pieces and, finally, chess.
  • Phase 1 – bet on the strength your chess cards. For this phase players will need cunning, bluff and cool calculation.
  • Phase 2 – players place their pieces on the board. In chess there is a single starting position for every game. In Choker there are in excess of 82 trillion starting positions.
  • Phase 3 – It’s all out chess. Now players need precision, strategy and speed of thought. Whoever wins this phase wins the pot.

The World Choker Tour – Play the Queen Assassin or Killer Knight?

For those wanting to be the hero of their own story and play at their own pace – they can play against the AI in the World Choker Tour. Here they can virtually tour the world pitting their wits against a series of End Bosses such as the “Queen Assassin” and “Pawn Crusher” in a quest to become a Choker Grandmaster. As they move through the levels the bosses move faster, bet with more cunning and play chess more ruthlessly. Within the game, players can also play their friends and other players from around the world – live and direct.

Choker: Growing Fast and Long Player Engagement

Choker has attracted over 130K players mainly through word of mouth on account of its fast, fun and challenging nature. Gamers are playing for long periods of time (average 56 minutes) as they grapple with the new challenges set by this unique, made for the 21st century, hybrid. Hikaru Nakamura recently played random players for fun and posted the video on YouTube. Within 4 days 150,000 people had watched the variant with 99% approval rating.
The inventor of the game, Andrew Finan, says: “In many ways Choker and the new World Choker Tour, gives chess back to the chess enthusiast. In chess there is one starting position with equal forces – as it has been for a thousand years. In Choker there are an estimated 82 trillion possible starting positions for the chess phase and the forces may not be equal. Learning opening theory by rote, therefore, counts for nothing. To win the pot you’ll need your wits, your cunning and your chess brilliance.”