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Chess for three.

A three-person chess game was just an idea Rick French toyed with for a few years, with little to show for his efforts other than a handmade prototype.

French now has seen his dream become reality with the help of Lordin Games, a division of Indianapolis-based Lordin Enterprises, a diversified company involved in printing, graphic design, engineering and game publishing. His dream has become Geo Chess.

French, a physics teacher at Franklin Central High School in Indianapolis, and his game were featured in The Indianapolis News. Michael Peters, president of Lordin Enterprises, saw the article and asked French about manufacturing and marketing the game. A three-person chess game, he says, has a huge potential market--"a worldwide base of people who already know how to play."

The game was dubbed Geo Chess and has begun shipping. In addition to marketing through select retail outlets, Lordin sells Geo Chess by mail to those who call 800/39-CHESS.

Geo Chess is not the first chess variation, so to stand out, Lordin took extra measures to ensure its success. Sara Hall, Geo Chess' marketing coordinator, says that some other chess variations don't emphasize aesthetic design or solid marketing techniques. "Geo Chess is a quality variation of chess," she says. "We had the game manufactured by the same contractor that produced Trivial Pursuit and Pictionary. So this is not some fly-by-night variation."

"It's elegant in design and play," Peters adds. "It preserves the strategy of classic chess with some real energy added."

Lordin had to strike a delicate balance in marketing the game to appeal to non-chess players while not offending chess purists. Peters, a former chess-tournament player himself, has seen a legitimate interest from purists and novices alike. The purists see Geo Chess as a way to improve their traditional chess game.

"A chess player who could 'see' two or three moves in advance can increase his ability to see deeper--more options, more moves in advance--by playing Geo Chess," he says. "It's similar to a golfer or baseball player swinging two 'sticks' to warm up." Meanwhile, for the non-chess player, "the objectionable qualities of chess--too boring, too long, too silent--are removed so they can enjoy a good game with family or friends."
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Title Annotation:Ventures; three-person chess game
Author:Larsen, Anthony
Publication:Indiana Business Magazine
Date:Nov 1, 1993
Words:369
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