Jessica Ellis
February 06, 2016 7:48 am
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Oh, Mark Zuckerberg, you’re always thinking up ways to make our interactions a little nerdier and more fun! What would life be like without you? In the latest innovation from Facebook, it turns out there’s been a sneaky, secret, hidden game under our noses- and under Candy Crush, Farmville, and Zuma Blitz– all along!

And the game is (drumroll please) chess! It’s a little Easter Egg buried in the Facebook Messenger app (which seriously, we keep meaning to download.) You can start a game up with any of your friends with whom you aren’t currently screaming about politics, simply by sending them a message in the app or FB window that says “@fbchess.”

Now, this Easter Egg is decidedly old school; there’s no clickable board or interactive pieces; you have to rely on good old text-based commands to move your chess pieces to victory.  Instead, the chess board has a handy grid of numbers and letters that give each square a name, and each chess piece is identified by the first letter of it’s type (so a knight is k, for example.) So, to take a daring gambit by moving your Queen to F3, you’d type “@fbchess Qf3.”

In the event that you’ve got two pieces of one type that can reach the same space, Lifehacker has learned that the game will prompt you to determine which one you want to move.  You can also blow the size of the board up by typing “full conversation,” which makes reading the numbers and letters on the board a bit easier.

Of course, we know that there are about a million and a half chess games and apps online, but this is still a great novelty to try out. Think of all the people who are hopeless at understanding how apps work who can probably manage a throwback game this simple! For real chess addicts, it’s a great treat, and for chess newbies, the text-based system is actually a pretty good way of familiarizing yourself with the board and how to use it! Grand Master status may be just around the corner.

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