h a l f b a k e r y
You could have thought of that.
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The board is a shallow horizontally square cuboid tank with a chessboard pattern at the bottom, filled with water and with a grid of wires corresponding to the squares at the top. The chesspieces are deep and buoyant but are weighted at the bottom. Each piece corresponds to a nautical equivalent to
a conventional chesspiece, thus:
bishop=sea bishop (see link)
queen=Britannia (rules the waves)
king=Neptune (the god, not the planet).
It would also be nice to give everything sails and use a small electric fan to blow everything around like sailing ships, but this really wouldn't work.
This is probably arcane [nineteenthly, Jul 23 2005]
||Perhaps if the Sea Bishop is too arcane you could replace it with a Monkfish. The Monkfish is sometimes called the "allmouth fish" because the fish is almost all head and the head is almost all mouth. In some ways this, too, might seem particularly descriptive of a Bishop.
||A monkfish would certainly float properly, there is that, but obscurity is good, i think.
||queening would change to involve king prawns?