There are a number of games that are ideally suited to lone players, such as patience, Tetris and, of course, solitaire. Chess, on the other hand, has always required an opponent, be it human or computer – to be a challenge anyway. But this new Solitaire Chess, which is “almost” chess but not quite, removes the need for an opponent but keeps the rules and moves associated with the traditional board game. The idea of this logic puzzle is to wipe out all the pieces bar one using your problem-solving skills as you would in a game of chess.

Available through Brookstone, the company says this form of chess will also make regular chess enthusiasts better players when next they face their foes. And for beginners, it’s a great way to learn the subtleties of chess minus the humiliation of watching your pieces quickly disappear into your opponent’s grasp.

Solitary players begin the game on the mini chess board with ten pieces – two knights, two rooks, two pawns, two bishops, a king and a queen. Players then choose one of the 60 challenge cards and, using the rules of chess, capture as many of the pieces as possible until only one piece remains, thus ending the challenge and making you the winner.

The challenge cards range in difficulty from beginner to expert level and can be progressed through as the player's skill increases.

For US$19.95 you get 10 chess pieces, the storage box/board, 60 game card challenges and the motivation to become the next Garry Kasparov.