Sunday, 7 June 2015
(Addendum: Of course, Anderson "mentions" chess more than just twice. See comments.)
Science fiction provides opportunities for imagining new games or variations of games in the future or on other planets, although Anderson did not do this. We would expect the Merseians to play a combat-based board game. However, the winged Ythrians would not think in two dimensions.
Reading on, I have learned that SM Stirling's Martian board game, atanj, the Game of Life, can be played by up to eight and that its board is octagonal with sixty two squares on a side. These and other differences remove it far from any real comparison with chess. Another difference is that the Martians play it virtually all the time, hardly the case with chess. These Martians are unempathetic characters and I much prefer Stirling's Venus.
Iain M. Banks Culture novel, The Player Of Games, centers on extremely elaborate board games but we are not told any of their rules which I think we should be.