249: Chess Photo

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Chess Photo
We once tried playing blindfold chess on the Aerosmith ride at Disney World.
Title text: We once tried playing blindfold chess on the Aerosmith ride at Disney World.


A roller coaster is a kind of thrill ride where a small train carries people through a number of twists, turns, and hills at a high speed to the occupants' great delight. Such rides are popular at amusement parks, where people have to wait in long lines to get on a ride that can last less than two minutes.

Many amusement parks have a spot where they take souvenir pictures as you are experiencing the ride. After you get off the ride, you can buy one picture or a set of pictures to commemorate riding the roller coaster. These pictures usually have people with their hands up, yelling and screaming. Wind may be going through their hair as they pass through the air at high speeds.

Cueball is subverting the usual 'souvenir picture pose' by gluing chess pieces to a board and then staring at the board when the picture is taken. He stands out in the picture as a calm person studiously studying a chess problem while everyone else yelps and whoops with excitement.

The title text refers to blindfold chess, which doesn't require any actual blindfold, it's just called that because the two players don't need a board and just communicate their moves. This would of course be impossible to photograph. This might also be a pun on actually not being able to see while playing chess, as the Aerosmith ride (officially the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith) is indoors and not lit up, making it extremely hard to see anything while on the ride.


[Cueball sits at a desk with glue, chess pieces, and a chessboard, while his Cueball-like friend looks over his shoulder.]
Friend: What are you doing?
Cueball: Gluing down chess pieces.
Friend: Why?
Cueball: Because there's a picture I've always wanted... I'll need your coat to sneak this onto the ride.
[A photograph of a roller coaster ride with Cueball sitting in the first car, chin in hand, thinking over the chessboard and the rest of the people screaming with their hands up. The photograph has "Mega Coaster 3000 souvenir photo" written on the bottom margin.]


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I've seen pictures of people doing this before I met xkcd, and I just read the confirmation at knowyourmeme.com that Randall started this. This is friggin' amazing. 15:07, 17 November 2013 (UTC)

Comics Missing!-- 10:38, 5 December 2013 (UTC)

Could you compile these at the community portal? I'll see what I can do about this. Davidy²²[talk] 11:16, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
It's 5 in the morning, and this fixed now. Davidy²²[talk] 13:03, 5 December 2013 (UTC)

The last sentence has always been upsetting me and never found the time to comment/correct: Blindfold chess doesn't require any actual blindfold, it's just called that way because the two players don't need a board and just communicate their moves. Therefore, the "blindfold" is not redundant, it is rather the simplest way to play chess on a roller coaster. -- 22:07, 16 August 2014 (UTC)

Updated. Anyone cares enough to check it? 22:05, 1 April 2015 (UTC)
It wasn't started by Randall though. It might have been popularised by him, but there are records on the net of people doing this as far back as 1994. 01:21, 6 October 2015 (UTC)

On the ascent of a roller coaster, I took out my small point and shoot camera to take an arm length selfie of us in the front row, and the ride stopped. A worker came walking up the service ramp, and asked for my camera so she could put it in the bag hold area, where I could pick it up when we were done. Luckily nobody else on the ride was pissed off since we had gone only like 50 feet. Anyone know what they would do if they caught you with a chessboard? 20:33, 14 June 2016 (UTC)