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The Magic Cafe Forum Index Tricks & Effects Review: The Chess Gambit(0Likes)

Posted: Jun 5, 2005 07:46 pm

Josho 0

Chess Gambit is another release from Devin Knight based upon his adaptation and improvements to work originally created
by the late mentalist Al Mann. The rst such release was the recent Glass Box Prediction, a superior effect featuring not
only a brilliantly thought-out headline prediction method, but a terric set of mix-and-match routining elements which can
be assembled to suit the performers taste.

Special user I can happily report that Chess Gambit is just as clever as the Glass Box Prediction, and preserves Knights record of
Albany, New York providing not only some diabolical subtleties, but a range of presentational possibilities to accommodate different comfort
725 Posts
levels. In both cases, these effects are greater than the sum of their parts. In both cases, Knight starts off with Al Manns
original effect and then guides you through his revisions, giving solid reasoning for each change. As Mann and Knight
worked together, I dont get the feeling that Knight is stepping on Manns toes. To the contrary, Ive been a fan of Manns for
many years, and its a real pleasure to see Knight give Manns effects a wider audience, and to do so with respectful and
intelligent thinking.

The effect: two (truly) random spectators are invited onstage. The Performer retrieves, from an audience member, a book
sealed in an envelope. This sealed package stays in view throughout the effect. The book, the Performer explains, was given
to a volunteer before the show, who looked through the book and circled ONE chess piece in red crayon. The book was then
closed and sealed in the envelope with a note attached giving the page number of the circled chess piece.

There is a chess set onstage. One of the two spectators is requested to take any one of the 32 chess pieces on the board
and place it in a bag. This is all done with the spectators back to the audience, so that nobody can see which piece is being
placed in the bag.

The second spectator opens the envelope containing the book. The spectator opens the book to the page given on the
attached note, to nd the circled chess piece. This page is shown to the audience, and the spectator can then flip through
the book to determine that there are no other markings anywhere within the book. Lets say the Black Queen is the piece

The rst spectator opens his paper bag and reveals that the piece he selected and hid was, indeed, the Black Queen.

Various features of this prediction should be pointed out: no stooges are involved, no assistants are required. The performer
never touches the book, the chess pieces, the board, or the bag. The spectator removes the book from the envelope and
there is NOTHING else inside the envelope; it may be torn completely open to demonstrate this.

OK, lets be honest: this is not an inexpensive package. So what do you get for your money? Its really surprisingly

1. The chess pieces. These are standard-design, good-sized pieces -- the Kings are 4 tall -- big enough to be seen clearly by
the audience, but small enough to be easily concealed by the spectator.

2. A flexible 20-square chess board.

3. A zippered pouch large enough to contain the chess pieces.

4. The book. This is a real chess book, an oversized paperback, and a hefty one at that over 350 pages. While it is genuine,
it has been pre-gimmicked in a unique way, allowing it to be casually examined while hiding a multitude of sins.

5. A large supply of the brown paper bags. These are ungimmicked, but the package itself plays an important role in the
effect. These are standard bags, so once you run out, youll have no problem nding more locally.

6. A sample Kraft envelope for the book. While any such ungimmicked envelope can be used, Knight has lightly gimmicked
this one in a way that demonstrates one of the possible wrinkles to the effect. (As with most such wrinkles, utilizing it adds
a bit more complexity for the performer in return for an even more aboveboard-appearing handling.)

7. A large supply of the material used to gimmick the book. With this material, you could gimmick many of your own books X
for other purposes and/or refresh the gimmicks in the supplied chess book. And this material is very commonly available, so
if you ever run out, its a cinch to get more.

8. Twelve pages of photo-illustrated instructions. (One of the photos is a little difcult to read because the instructions are
printed on copy-resistant red paper, but the supplied items make it abundantly clear what youre looking at.)
The way the book is gimmicked is, to my mind, the golden nugget in this package, because the concept behind the gimmick
is one of those jumping-off points that spurs thoughts of a huge range of possibilities.

But its not the only such jumping-off point in this effect; there are several more. Most dramatic, perhaps, is a little-publicized
Stanley Jaks principle (that actually formed the basis for Al Manns original version of this effect). Its a bold bluff and I can
already imagine some delightful and devious possibilities extending beyond the scope of this particular effect

Performing the Chess Gambit, going the easiest route, will take a small amount of audience handling and a bit of acting
(nothing beyond the scope of a good casual mentalist) and really nothing else no sleights, no outs, no memory work, no
secret writing. Even the additional handlings suggested by Knight, which add subtle convincers, arent technically difcult at

No matter what kind of routine you construct out of the available parts, the result will be an airtight prediction with an
unusual theme, one that should appeal especially to educated audiences.

Recommended, and available exclusively from

--Josh Mandel
Posted: Jun 5, 2005 10:24 pm
kamus 0

Thanks for taking the time to share with us your thoughtful review. Sounds good!
il illegetimi est non carborundum

Veteran user
Silver Spring, Md
357 Posts

Posted: Jun 6, 2005 02:08 am

hjelm 0

Thanks a lot!
Just one question, but an important one for me:
What is the mentalist's ability or skills? I ask this because Al Mann is a mentalist and the effect is sold by Hocus Pocus
under "mentalism"? maybe it is mentalism but for me it looks like a fantastic magic trick. Am I wrong?
Regular user Sweden
Sweden, Borlnge
112 Posts

Posted: Jun 6, 2005 02:41 am

dr chutney 0

I'm afraid so far my only exposure to Devin's work is Impossible Devination, which I thought was pants.

His current output does seem to be garnering favourable comments, and thank you Josh for a very thorough review. It
sounds as if you're getting a well thought out comprehensive package.
We're having a laugh!
Special user
Grab yourself a FREE Joke Ebook at
United Kingdom
518 Posts

Posted: Jun 6, 2005 04:07 am

kinesis 0

Thanks for the review, a very good one at that. I will have to consider this effect again as I think it will play well.
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

Inner circle
Scotland, surrounded
2692 Posts

Posted: Jun 6, 2005 04:44 am

Josho 0

You're quite welcome!


It's purely a prediction effect, so I think it falls squarely under the heading of mentalism. Boiled down to its simplest
Special user denition: the spectator who initially circled the chess piece in the book prior to the show somehow correctly predicts which
Albany, New York one of 32 chess pieces will be selected by a different spectator during the show. (Of course, you can frame it differently...)
725 Posts

Dr. Chutney (and others),

There's another thread about the effect here:

It may answer yet more questions about the effect. I'm never sure how much to reveal in a review...
Posted: Jun 6, 2005 07:47 am
Devin Knight 0

I strongly suggest if you are considering this effect to not delay as the supplies are very limited. I have no more myself to sell
as my stock is depleted. The problem is that the gimmicked book I supply is out of print and in short supply. I've looked at
several alternative books but the one I supply is the best one and to supply an alternative book would only decrease the
quality of the props and trick in my opinion.

V.I.P. Paul Gross of Hocus Pocus ask me if there was any way I could come up with 24 more of these due to the big demand. I'm
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happy to say after weeks of searching the interent book dealers I was able to come up with 24. Most book dealers only have
a small stock of each book sometimes as few as just 3 or 4 copies. Coming up with these 24 books was quite a job as I have
pretty well cleaned out some book dealer's stock. The last 24 sets that will ever be made are shipping to HP this week, when
these are gone no more will be available as I just can't get the needed parts. That is a shame as this a really great effect in
my opinion and I wish it were possible to give it to more people.

Devin Knight
Posted: Jun 6, 2005 12:20 pm
hjelm 0

Hi, Josh, and thanks for answering!

First I must say that the trick seems to be really good.
I don't think I'm a funda-mentalist. The price is not much for what you get. But I have bought so much good things, that later
don't t into my show. That's why I always ask myself: what skill do I want to show and does the trick show that?
I think you answer me "the spectator...somehow correctly predicts...". That's OK for me.
Regular user hjelm
Sweden, Borlnge Sweden
112 Posts
Posted: Jun 6, 2005 06:08 pm
Juan D 0

Devin, any news on the PUBLICITY HOAXES

I'm eagerly waiting

Elite user
482 Posts

Posted: Jun 6, 2005 07:03 pm

daffydoug 0

Being an avid chess player, this has really got me going..

The difcult must become easy, the easy beautiful and the beautiful magical.

Eternal Order
Look mom! I've got
13099 Posts

Posted: Jun 6, 2005 11:35 pm

Joshua Quinn 0

Question: Could the principles be adapted to a non chess-themed presentation, using a different set of objects and a
different book?
Every problem contains the seeds of its own solution. Unfortunately every problem also contains the seeds of an innite number of non-solutions, so that rst part really isn't
super helpful.

Inner circle
with an outer triangle
1990 Posts

Posted: Jun 7, 2005 05:33 am

Josho 0



Special user
Albany, New York
725 Posts

Posted: Jun 7, 2005 06:09 am

Devin Knight 0

I can't say right now what the effect is (to prevent someone from beating us to the market) but I have similar effect NOT
using the Chess Book but other objects coming out in about a month via Murphy and Hocus Pocus called Double
Coincidence. We realize the chess theme has limited appeal to some people and the new version should have universal
appeal. That's all I'm allowed to say about it, but the same principles will be applied to different objects for those not wanting
to use chess boards and a chess book.
2476 Posts
Devin Knight
Posted: Jun 8, 2005 09:53 am
durhamkid 0

The Chess Gambit is a quality "set piece" form of mentalism. There's nothing really to be added to Josh's review.
Presentation wise it plays as it reads on the product description - no misleading hype just great entertainment. It is clear that
the Knight / Mann stamp is a guarantee of a product with pedigree.

The other reassuring aspect re this product and "Glass Box Prediction" is that Devin Knight appears to understand the
New user general concerns magicians and mentalists have about new products. To this end he has been quite prominent on the Caf
64 Posts
in answering questions and clarifying any points. Admittedly he is also promoting the products but it is refreshing to see that
he does respond to genuine queries and is honest and open about the parameters of an effect.

A couple of practical points re the materials for Chess Gambit. In Josh's review he mentions the freely available brown paper
bags.Paper grocery bags are not as commonly used in the UK and as such will not be widely available. This is not
necessarily a problem because owners of this trick may want to use an alternative type of bag anyway. Secondly the
replacement material to gimmick the book is hard to nd from most high street retailers in the UK. An internet search has
veried this but has detailed a couple of suppliers who may stock it. I stress may because I have yet to check with them.
Apologies for being so cryptic but as the method is so closely allied to these mystery materials it is not appropriate to reveal
them here.

Posted: Jun 10, 2005 03:37 pm
kuffs 0

I receive this weeks the Chess Gambit.

First I am a fan of Devin thinking for most of his works. This one t the bill...

Well constructed routine and clear manuscript, even some part can be use for others routine with some imagination...Some
Special user clever touch are ad to the Original's Al Mann idea and Devin bring the idea to a far superior ending in my mind
791 Posts

I like it and will use it... For me this is the best part! ;-)

Posted: Jun 21, 2005 10:26 am
magicinsight 0

I recently received Chess Gambit from Devin and I am very impressed with the effect and the method. As with Devin's other
release, Clear Prediction Chest, Chess Gambit comes with a very comprehensive and easy to understand manuscript of
intructions and tips as well as a thorough history of the evolution of this effect.

The effect is direct, unusual and very entertaining. Prior to the show a sealed package containing a book is given to a
Inner circle spectator to hold. During the show, a freely selected spectator who knows how to play chess is asked to come on stage.
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Please note that this effect can also be done in a parlour setting and can even be done one on one in a close-up setting. On
the stage or in someones livingroom is a chess set with all 32 pieces properly in place. The spectator is asked to freely
select anyone of the 32 pieces and to put the chess piece in a paper bag so that no even the audience can see which piece is
being placed inside the bag.

The person who was given the sealed package to hold is asked to step forward and conrms that he/she has kept the sealed
package in his/her possession and that nn one has opened it. The package is opened and inside is a book wrapped with
paper and sealed with tape. The tape and paper is removed and stuck on the book is a message stating that a chess piece
was circled on a certain page inside the book. The spectator opens the book to that page and sees a single chess piece
circled and the spectator tells everyone the name of the chess piece that is circled. The spectator riffles through the book to
see that no other chess piece is circled. For the rst time, the other spectator removes the chess piece from the paper bag
that was freely selected and matches the chess piece that was circled in the book.

The detailed instructions coems with three (3) different methods of accomplishing the efect. All methods can easily be done
by any mentalist or magician of all levels of experience. The techniques are easy to master. With last two of the methods
provided, the spectator and the audeince can verify that the note attached to the book clearly is written what page number
the chess piece was circled on.

The effect comes with a wonderfully gimmicked book that you could not nd or make for yourself. It also comes with a vinyl
chess board cover that is like a heavy vinyl small table cloth that can be esaily folded into a very small and lightweight
bundle. It weighs almost nothing and can be folded into a very snamll bundle. It also comes with the complete ungimmicked
chess pieces.

The effect is very strong and easy to do and easy to carry. In fact, you can perform this at a dinner party adn if the person
has a chess set, you can use that person's chess set and even mail the book to the person ahead of time to hold. This way
the only thing that you have to bring is the paper bag.

This is a very strong effect. It uses interesting props and an intersting premise. It is difcult to come up with mentalism
effects that are different and have an interesting theme and are entertaining. Chess Gambit accomplishes all of these. Chess
Gambit as well as Clear Prediction Chest are true mentalism classics that will withstand the test of time. I highly recommend
Chess Gambit.

Belief matters more than truth. Every moment, belief in imaginary things alters lives while truth sits unnoticed and waits.
Hakim, Loreweaver
Posted: Jun 21, 2005 11:30 am
magicinsight 0

I forgot to mention in my previous post that everyday some new effect is distributed that is supposed to be the next miracle
effect. Some are indeed good while, more often than not, the effect sinks into oblivion and into the purchasers' drawer or
shelf, forever forgotten. I have a drawers and shelves of my own forgotten "miracles."

I cannot stress enough that I feel this item, Chess Gambit, as well as Clear PRediction Chest, is a powerful and entertaining
Inner circle mental routine. Maybe it is not the latest fad that got a lot of unjustied and soon forgotten hype. But Chess Gambit and
3315 Posts
Clear Predcition Chest are routined around solid and proven methods developed and/or improved by a true professional with
many years of experience. These routines are meant to be used, to entertain and to mystify. These items are and will be
classics of mentalism for years to come. Ocne again, I highly recommend both of these well made and well developed

Belief matters more than truth. Every moment, belief in imaginary things alters lives while truth sits unnoticed and waits.
Hakim, Loreweaver
Posted: Jun 21, 2005 07:09 pm
Devin Knight 0

Thanks for the nice review Michael. One thing Michael forgot to mention is that the circled chess piece in the book is
apparently circled by someone in the audience before the show, or by a psychic friend.

The mentalist along with the audience apparently doesn't know which page is circled until the post-it note on the cover of the
book is read. The person was instructed to circle a piece at random, note the page and write the number on a post-it note to
V.I.P. make it easy to nd the page during the show. So please understand, the magician doesn't make the prediction. The circled
2476 Posts
chess piece is done by someone else making for an almost impossible concidience. The mentalist just sort of observes
what is going on, which is what makes this so amazing. You apparently do nothing. The effect just happens and is
Posted: Jun 23, 2005 07:10 am
magicinsight 0


I forgot to mention those important details. Thank you for the clarication. I think the fact that another person besides the
performer makes the prediction by circling the chess piece in the book before the show adds credibility and mystery to the
effect. It also changes the pace of the show in that throughout the show you have and are proving to the audience that you,
Inner circle the performer, can read minds, predict future events, duplicate images, even bend metal objects. This routine allows the
3315 Posts
performer to show that everyday people come across unusual or strange events and sometimes dene them as being a
coincidence since coincidence is an explanation that is easy to accept. But perhaps what appears to be a concidence is
actually something different, something perhaps unexplainable. You can demonstrate this by doing this routine and let the
audience decide if the matching of the chess pieces was merely a coincidence or something more, something that we all
possess and something unexplainable.

I really hope people get this effect and use it. It is a very well made and well thought of routine. I should be using it in an
actual performance within the next week and I will let you know how it goes.

Best regards,

Belief matters more than truth. Every moment, belief in imaginary things alters lives while truth sits unnoticed and waits.
Hakim, Loreweaver
Posted: Jun 28, 2005 07:50 am
magicinsight 0

I had the opportunity to perform Chess Gambit at a friend's house over the weekend. I like to try out new effects with friends
before actually using them for "real" audiences. It gives me a chance to gauge my performance and the people's reaction so I
can make the appropriate modications.

In summary, the effect and routine played extremely well and the guests were entertained. Aterwards my friend and the
Inner circle guests told me that they enjoyed the routine and thought it as very interesting. They were baffled as to how the chess piece
3315 Posts
that one of them freely selected was correctly circled in the book that was given to one of them to hold prior to the
performance in a sealed package.

Having tested this effect with a live audience, I can say that Chess Gambit will entertain an audience and is a very practical
and easy to do mentalism effect. A performer will have better success in using this effect if used with an audience who has
a basic knowledge of chess. I enjoyed using this effect and I highly recommend it.

Belief matters more than truth. Every moment, belief in imaginary things alters lives while truth sits unnoticed and waits.
Hakim, Loreweaver

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