Here’s what happened when two marine scientists played emoji chess on Twitter
So the kings are the whale and the octopus, and the crabs are the pawns…
Twitter’s new 280 character limit has opened up many possibilities, but one you probably didn’t see coming was online marine biology emoji chess.
The sport has been brought to the attention of many by a game between two people: Dr Andrew Thaler, a marine science and conservation consultant, and Dr David Shiffman, a marine conservation biologist and science writer.
Game on, @WhySharksMatter, game on.— Andrew Thaler (@DrAndrewThaler) November 10, 2017
With standard chess pieces such as pawns replaced with sharks and crabs, Dr Thaler added a few rules to make it educational, and a little more challenging.
Also, one last thing: House rules.— Andrew Thaler (@DrAndrewThaler) November 10, 2017
1. You can't take a piece without describing how the overtaking animal would defeat its prey. GIFs encouraged.
2. When a piece is advanced, you must share a fact about that animal.
3. No "en passant", hippy.
Naturally, shark and crab facts were frequent – did you notice one side of the board is invertebrates and the other vertebrates?
8🐧🐬🐡🐠🐳🐡✖️🐧— Dr. David Shiffman (@WhySharksMatter) November 10, 2017
Greenland sharks can live up to 400 years.
8🐧🐬🐡🐠🐳🐡✖️✖️— Andrew Thaler (@DrAndrewThaler) November 10, 2017
A coconut crab can exert 3,300 newtons of pinching force. pic.twitter.com/jtZZ0kkeys
8🐧🐬🐡🐠🐳🐡✖️✖️— Dr. David Shiffman (@WhySharksMatter) November 10, 2017
All sharks are predators (eating plankton is eating animals)
Remember the first rule of online marine biology emoji chess? “You can’t take a piece without describing how the overtaking animal would defeat its prey.”
So when the krill took down the penguin, this was Dr Thaler’s explanation.
Flush with the joy of fatherhood and scrawny from a long winter, the happy penguin waddled to the edge of the ice and lept into the frigid sea.— Andrew Thaler (@DrAndrewThaler) November 10, 2017
He gorged himself on the thousands of krill gathered in the upwelling waters.
Then he choked & died.
He was allergic to seafood.
The game continued with an admission from Dr Shiffman that chess wasn’t his greatest strength.
8🐧🐬🐡🐠🐳✖️✖️✖️— Dr. David Shiffman (@WhySharksMatter) November 10, 2017
Some pufferfish species build nests. (I am bad at chess)
We all learned something very important about the cone snail.
8🐧🐬🐡🐠🐳✖️✖️✖️— Andrew Thaler (@DrAndrewThaler) November 10, 2017
Cone snail venom is deadly. Don't pocket that shiny shell.
As the game neared its conclusion, Dr Shiffman’s gif game became apparent.
UnCheck.— Dr. David Shiffman (@WhySharksMatter) November 10, 2017
There are 5 species of freshwater dolphin pic.twitter.com/wHwlOvjsaE
But Dr Thaler was relentless in his pursuit of glory, even defeating a dolphin with a shrimp.
Check.— Andrew Thaler (@DrAndrewThaler) November 10, 2017
Eyeless shrimp live at hydrothermal vents.
And when checkmate had been achieved, Dr Shiffman had a perfect – and very graphic – gif to represent the defeat of his king (whale).
It’s fair to say the fans loved it.
THIS is why Twitter exists, yes?— Yvonne Caruthers (@resuitener) November 10, 2017
Love it!— Nathan Emery (@FoggyIdeas) November 10, 2017
After the game, Dr Thaler produced a gif of his own that summed up the whole thing.
Better luck next time, vertebrates.