Key Takeaway: The Think! Game created by Reynato Sian is more challenging and better than chess with its more complex yet realistic rules not based on war strategies but on real-life principles that develop both intelligence and character. Its supporters call for it to be integrated into national education to improve individual, organizational, and analytical skills more effectively than chess: a socially innovative way to increase the impact of education with a concept celebrating local talent.
First of all, I’d like to wish my beloved 二哥 a happy 39th birthday! May God continue to bless you and keep you.
Last week, I featured a social enterprise that promoted, among others, Pinoy pride and talent. That day also happened to be my 哥哥’s 42nd birthday according to the lunisolar calendar and Chinese reckoning. Being the man who taught me how to play chess, unlocking a quiet but continuous passion for the game that persists until now, I dedicate this post to him.
Chess is a ubiquitous game that exemplifies the concept of “easy to learn, but difficult to master”. Played by people over the world it may be, it takes a dedicated mind to master the game. But it pales in comparison to one humble but mind-boggling game, a game whose roots can be found in Western Visayas. It is harder than chess due to its more complex rules and concept – but its creator believes this is good, as it will be more effective in unlocking the limitless potentials of the human mind that the current educational system is not as good in doing. In fact, efforts are being made to integrate it into the educational system, as they believe it will be better than chess in developing children’s logical, analytical, and critical skills. Say hello to the Think! Game.
Featured on Rappler, the Think! Game is promised to be a wonder in training the human mind and developing the youth of today. Created in the 1970s by one Reynaldo Sian, a Negrense from Bacolod, the game was conceived to be a response to the perceived lack of the element of reality in chess. Sian believed that chess was not realistic enough, being based on war strategies, and not fully engaging the faculties of the human mind.
Resembling a mix between chess and Chinese checkers, Think! is a two-player game with 19 pieces each, on a 61-space hexagonal board. The 19 pieces are named after man’s mental faculties – instinct, reason, judgment, logic, wisdom, and mind. The Mind is similar to the King of chess – the objective is to capture the opponent’s. To do so, a very deep strategy must be employed – one that really develops one’s mental skills. A commenter in the aforementioned Rappler article, Mr. Vic Duran, shared the following YouTube video of how it is played:
Sian and the game’s supporters, who call themselves thinknologists, believe that it is the answer to a lackluster educational system in the country – effective but fun and interactive learning. They are calling for the game to be integrated into the educational system, primary to tertiary – just as how Russia, the US, Australia, and even the Philippines itself have inserted chess into their learning programs. For Sian and company, however, Think! will be better than chess in achieving these objectives – and it is a Filipino creation, thereby fostering an appreciation for the country and the genius of its people.
Although the game grew quite popular and acclaimed among national and international chess masters, Sian eventually suspended the project because of the “disadvantageous nature” of business offers. Today, however, modern thinknologists are lobbying for it – by spreading awareness and soliciting production offers in going from barangay to barangay.
I would personally – and I am saying this out loud now – be willing to go into business with thinknologists to produce and distribute the game, turning it into a social enterprise in the process. First, it promotes responsible learning with its character-building and mentally-enhancing gameplay. Second, it’s proudly Pinoy made. Third, I love board games.
Thanks to my regular contributor, Kevin Christopher M. Tee, for sharing the Rappler link with me.
If you are a, or know any, thinknologist, please let me know. I would love to meet them and partner up with them. Contact me by commenting below or by leaving an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.