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If for example, the bottom-left square is light instead of dark AND we place the queens in their colors:

enter image description here

By affect I mean psychologically, etc., because it is pretty obvious that everything you can do in a normal board will also be possible to do here and non-humans shouldn't care if they are swapped or not.

Also, note the word gameplay in the title, if the players are required to write down the moves, that will definitely affect them, but lets suppose someone else will do that for them and they will be 100% focused in the game.

  • Is the gameplay affected?
  • Are there any studies about this?
  • Can this be used as a technique to see things you don't normally see?

Anecdotally, I once played in my school the final match with human pieces in a 10m board with the position of the king and queen swapped. The confusion arose because it was ambiguous which were the light squares as the fills were made with white chalk on a dark-green floor, allegedly the 'light' squares were the ones filled with diagonal stripes because "they contained more white". The stubbornness of the event organizer was big, he didn't want to make this last minute change and we ended up playing in a normal board without really looking to the human pieces because they were wrong.

enter image description here

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3 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

The only difference would be that the players would be playing a mirror image of a normal game. In fact, if you think about it, the play would be exactly like allowing Black to go first on a normal board.

I don't think this would seriously phase any level of player, simply because good players are able to calculate well enough to cope with the slight change, and bad players don't strategize properly even on a normal board, so it wouldn't make a big difference for them to swap the king and queen.

Intermediate players might be put off a bit, since they may have memorized certain openings which are slightly changed on this new board, but I think the biggest thing to watch out for would be outright forgetting that the King and Queen are swapped and playing accordingly (e.g. accidentally exposing your King, thinking you're opening lines for your Queen). As long as that can be avoided, I think any "psychological" effects are quite minor.

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I agree with the answer being no. –  Nikana Reklawyks Jan 8 '13 at 23:37
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Yes, definitely. Try to feel 0 through 10 in the air, like you're doing grocery list calculations. For most people, across all cultures, we have a number line that starts small on the left and gets bigger to the right. Synaesthetes actually see numbers in this way.

I definitely have a kinesthetic sense for chess. I'd like to think I'm not very unique in this. Flipping the board horizontally definitely changes the weight.

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I'm absolutely positive you're not at all unique in this, but I'm also pretty sure those who share that with you are very sparsely scattered around the world. And to adress more precisely the question, would it really bother you ? (I personally wouldn't mind counting from right to left after a short habituation time.) –  Nikana Reklawyks Jan 8 '13 at 23:42
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Yes, it should have some impact, especially on players who learn strategic patterns of typical middlegame positions via visualizing themes like "play on dark squares in King's Indian Defense". Even replaying opening variations you are familiar with - would take slightly more effort. Writing those opening moves down on a scoresheet would feel strange too ...

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