Chesster

The “Chesster” is a new playing piece designed to revolutionize the Classic sixtyfour square game of Chess.

Invented by Simon Jepps in 2019, the special quality of this piece resides in its superiority over its predecessor the ‘Jester’ and its enlightening evolutionary development into a majestically mesmerizing force upon the Chess board.

Furthermore, it is hailed by its inventor as the eureka solution to an evergowing historical problem of how to create a compatible new piece without altering the Classical game.

The paradox being: if all the naturally given moves are already assigned to the existing Chess pieces, how or what in all possibility, is the destined character of any new piece to be?

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Special 20 Country Tuned

Special 20 Country Tuning
Paint the country blue… or erm, illusive copper.
I recently blogged about the Seydel Big Six and how the attempt to chromaticize Blues Harmonicas only destroys the very philosophy of its own original voice.

That philosophy, born from the oppressed good black folks of America, speaks of the strength to make the most of what little you have and the meditation therefore, to create more from less.

It is only natural then of the Blues Harpist, to recreate or arrange melodies from other genres in a way that satisfies both the instrument’s demands and the listener’s ear.

More than often this means not only an alteration of style, but to manipulate the existence of notes which are not naturally sounding in the Harmonica.

This is a technique called ‘bending’.

Whilst they may sound harsh if held too long, or whence unnaturally forced to support a piece of weighty Bach, whence employed as careful “passing notes” they can often convey a very subtle beauty of speech.

Yet therein, due to their unnatural sounding, there is an element of truth in what modern harmonica players say, that sometimes if just one note of their instrument were changed, then so would their entire world.

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Thine Good Mug

Thine Good MugLike many of us, my most personally cherished “mug” has been a discovery of a lifetime.

I say this because, regardless of the many drinking vessels I have acquired over the years, each and every one of these has purely been a “step up” from the last, towards a perceived eventuality of finding… my perfect mug.

I don’t know how many of you reading this might relate to this humble phenomena, but in a general sweep of the social rumblings, I would be inclined to regard this as true for many others.

Ten years ago I acquired my grandparents’ French Soup Bowls, which are small as bowls go, but large as coffee mugs… um, go. They have handles and also… they have lids.

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Sax In My Pocket

Pocket sax jeppsOriginally a lounge Pianist, yet forever intimidated by its inconvenience of size, expense and formality, I found myself in a passionate love affair with a new instrument.

Invented in 1972 by Brian Wittman, a Hawaiian musician, guru and gentleman, the Xaphoon®, more popularly known as The Pocket Sax, is a Trumpet sized Saxophone, that not only fits in your pocket, but whence the dedication and mutual embrace is spoken, will turn your mind inside out as it screams the blue soul of a real Saxophonist.

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The Big Six

Seydel big six harp
Less… art… more…
I had spent many years researching new and innovating Blues Harp designs, specifically focussing on alternate tunings or reed configurations, which allow an otherwise regular harp to be played chromatically off the bat.

There are many.

Most notably the Suzuki Sub30 which actually incorporates an extra ten reeds into the same 20 reed infrastructure, acting as silent “sympathetics”, only sounding when the player instructs them through embouchure.

Yet whilst it was my frustration with an instrument’s limitations that led me to this decade long investigation, it would soon come to pass that this very disposition of the Blues Harp’s design would be the very thing that solves my paradox.

All my life I have taught people a blessed miracle of music, that whence the passion of creativity resides within one, an orchestra can be painted from a pallette of only three colours.

That is to say, music is not the art of playing as many notes as possible as quickly and as loudly as possible… it is the art of creating masterpieces out of only the air, or thus from a flute without even any holes.

Enter… The Big Six.

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Cha’nga

Chaturanga
Chaturanga is the sacred origin of a pastime
Rekindling an ancient pastime, by Simon Jepps.

Cha’nga, pronounced “shangaah”, is a version of Chaturanga, which allows just two players to employ the classic four armies.

I invented this game because I know as much as people love Chaturanga, its inconvenience is the requirement of four players.

Creating an understanding as to how only two people can play, in turn sanctifies its misunderstood silence, revealing instead its diversity and adaptability to all walks of life.

But first a truth.

However you interpret history, there is no avoiding the fact that “Chaturanga” literally translates as “the four arms.” It comes from “chatur”, meaning four, and from “anga”, meaning arms.

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Cobra Paw Dragon

cobra paw dragon by simon jeppsA variation of Cobra Paw by Simon Jepps.

The game of Cobra Paw Dragon is played in very much the same way as classic Cobra Paw, except the following.

  • A maximum of two players assume their places about the arena.
  • Each player chooses one of two symbols as his own, suggested by the roll of both dice.
  • All tiles are snatched and scored as per usual except whence you snatch your opponent’s symbol by mistake.
  • For any tile snatched carrying your opponent’s symbol is surrendered to the opponent and thence… turned upside down.
  • The upside down tile scores double, or 2 points and may not be snatched again ~ so look out!
  • The tile carrying the symbol of both opponents scores thrice, or 3 points and can be claimed by either player.
  • BEWARE, if a player rolls a double of his own symbol, that tile also scores double, or 2 points AND if snatched by mistake, is turned upside down scoring quadruple, or 4 points.
  • “No touchy” law applies throughout.

NB:~ There are two styles of Dragon…

  • Dynamic: The player chooses a different symbol each round, from the two suggested by the dice, in order to increase confusion.
  • Straight: The player keeps the same symbol every round, but only if the dice permit, reducing confusion but receiving an extra 5 points at the end of the game.

The dice must suggest a symbol to choose or keep. If the dice do not suggest the same symbol thrice, the player cannot thrice keep it.

A pen and paper is required to keep score and to mark down each player’s symbol for each round.

Kudos to Karen Arnold for the Dragon.