"Checkmate", or should we say: "Check this, mate"! Did you know you can play chess with your Facebook pals in Messenger? Well, seems you can! And just like any chess game, it's highly addictive, provided that you play with a willing opponent, though Messenger's take on the classic strategic board game is not as user-friendly as we'd like it to be.
After all, Messenger's current take on chess is not an interactive game, but a bot that you can invoke in a conversation with any of your pals. Once you start up the chess bot, a representation of the chess board gets displayed, though it's not interactive by any means. You move your figures by inputting commands in the chat window, which have to adhere to the standard algebraic chess notation
. You will have to at least learn its basics if you want to get around with Messenger's chess bot.
Let us sum it up for you with a couple of words: the algebraic notation uses a combination of numbers and letters to describe the moves in a game. All major chess pieces except pawns are identified with capital letters: "K" is for king, "Q" is for queen, "R" for rook, "B" for bishop, and "N" for knight. Poor pawns don't get a letter; they are indicated by the absence
Moving on to the chessboard tiles, these are indicated by the coordinates of the board - horizontal ones get lower case letters, while numbers are used for vertical ones. Easy-peasy, right?
You can start playing by keying in "@fbchess play" without the quotes, which will start a new game. Moving a piece around requires you to include @fbchess before each command, followed by the algebraic notation for your move. If you're in a game, it will show the last state of the chessboard, as well as which player's move is due. Check out the two screenshots below: the first one shows you what typing the "@fbchess play" command does; the second
@fbchess play creates a new game
Here's a classic initiation, pawn moved from e2 to e4
Here is a full list of the available commands in the game. Each of them has to be keyed in just Remember that you can always invoke the list by typing "@fbchess help"
, without the quotes of course:
- Start game with random colors: @fbchess play
- Pick the colors: @fbchess play white/black
- Pick the opponent: @fbchess play white John (replace John with your pal's name)
- Make a move: use Standard Algebraic Notation
@fbchess e4 or @fbchess Pe4 moves pawn to e4
Nbd2 to move knight from b-file to d2
B2xc5 to take on c5 with 2nd rank bishop
e8=Q to promote pawn to queen
0-0-0 or O-O to castl
- Claim draw (e.g. 3-fold repetition): @fbchess draw claim
- Offer a draw in the current position: @fbchess draw offer
- Offer an undo of the last move: @fbchess undo
- Resign: @fbchess resign
- Show current position: @fbchess show
- Show stats between current players: @fbchess stats
- Continue a game from another conversation: @fbchess continue
- From 1:1 conversation, @fbchess continue with [friend]
- From group chat, @fbchess continue from [thread name]
After some trial and error you should be able to master Messenger's take on one of the most classic games in world history!