Chess has always been variant. Today there are thousands of mutations, transformations, and reorganizations of the classic game. I’m partial to those chess programs by Torus Games which allow you to play on boards stretched over imaginary topologies like Möbius strips and Klein bottles: http://www.math.ntnu.no/~dundas/75060/TorusGames/html/Chess.html
Alongside these programs you can find thousands of custom chess boards featuring strange situations and perplexing puzzles:
Understanding the history of computer chess as a field for measuring the intelligence of machines (and humans) is crucial to developing Neosentient Games. At first, citing the Mechanical Turk as a starting point for this history seems like a misnomer. The Mechanical Turk exhibits no autonomy and, in fact, isn’t strictly a computer. However, since the Neosentient will be invented through anthromorphic introspection, perhaps the idea of an augmented human (or augmented computer) is a good place to start developing Neosentient Games. After loosing to Big Blue in 1997, Gary Kasparov invented a chess variant for augmented play. Many chess masters create variants based on their intimate knowledge of the sport, adding or omitting pieces and extending the board, but Kasparov’s version of chess incorporated focused on augmenting the original game of chess by giving each human player a mechanical team mate. In Kasparov’s Augmented Chess, each human player could query their computer assistant for information. Is this the beginning of Neosentient Games? How can we develop this field towards the notion of the Neosentient?
1981 Cray Blitz won the Mississippi State Championship with a perfect 5-0 score and a performance rating of 2258. In round 4 it defeated Joe Sentef (2262) to become the first computer to beat a master in tournament play and the first computer to gain a master rating.