The Phantom Queen

by ChessBase
1/11/2022 – Sometimes it would be nice to have another queen on the board, especially if things went wrong in the first part of the game. In a YouTube video on optical illusions, Matt Pritchard reveals how you can suddenly conjure up a queen on the board by using means of disguise that have a long tradition in chess but are rather unusual in modern tournament play.

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In the "Best Illusion of the Year 2021 Contest" Matt Pritchard demonstrates on YouTube how "anamorphic camouflage" might allow you to surprise your opponent with unexpected ressources. The optical illusion is intriguing, however, it would have been even more convincing if Pritchard had used a real 8x8 chess board when demonstrating the trick!

Incidentally, Wolfgang von Kempelen (23 January 1734 – 26 March 1804) worked according to a similar principle when constructing his famous chess automaton "The Turk" that he presented to Queen Maria Theresia of Austria in 1769. But von Kempelen used camouflage to hide a human in his construction of a machine that seemed to able to play chess.

A picture of Von Kempelen's famous "Turk"

Matt Pritchard's illusion



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