Cosplay Human Chess 2014

Cosplay Human Chess 2014

Want to see your favorite characters battle it out with each other? With Cosplay Human Chess, anything is possible! No one knows what will happen as two chess players maneuver cosplayer pieces across a giant chessboard. This year's theme is Shojo vs. Shonen - battle of the sexes a la anime, manga, and video games!  


How does Cosplay Human Chess work? In ordinary Human Chess, thirty-two participants act out the parts of chess pieces on a giant board as two players direct from above. Cosplay Human Chess is the same, except that all the pieces are in costume, and act out their moves as their characters would. You do not need to know how to play chess to participate, as the two chess players have already been preselected. 

Cosplay Chess is held on Sunday morning, and last year participants had to report for 9am to begin orientation and practice.  If you know you will not be available at the con (or be awake!) at that time, then participating in Cosplay Chess probably isn't for you.  If you are at least 18, you are still eligible to be in the Dating Games, which happen on Friday and Saturday.

If you are selected and for some reason cannot make it, and you do not notify Game Shows staff in advance of the con or ASAP during the con, you may be blacklisted from future participation in future AnimeNext official game shows!

To apply: 

Please read the directions, rules and fill out this form. The registration deadline is May 25.

To participate on the board in Cosplay Human Chess, you must be in costume as anime/manga/video game characters. Priority is given to well-known characters from popular series with distinct outfits, and to multiple characters from the same series especially for our "special attacks."  Pre-registration is required for those actually participating in the event as chess pieces, and everyone is welcome to watch! 

Cosplay Human Chess Rules:

1.      Entries must be from manga, anime or video games – Japanese games are preferred but Western game characters are also eligible!  

2.      You may enter more than one costume.

3.      Costumes will be selected on quality and construction, as well as popularity of the character and show and how well it fits the theme. This is not first-come first-serve.  We are also giving preference to costumes not present in 2012's game, though this is not a hard rule.  We will not accept the same cosplayer in the same outfit as last year, so please apply with an additional costume if you participated in 2012!

4.      Costumes do not have to be made by the cosplayer as this is not a craftsmanship contest.

5.      All costumes must be PG-13. We will immediately discard any entries that disregard this rule. All costumes must also follow the con guidelines. All weapons must also adhere to the AnimeNEXT's weapon policy.

6.      You must attend the chess meeting immediately prior to the match. There are things that you need to know that will be covered during this time. This will help prevent some of the chaos from occurring during the match.

7.      All contestants must be registered for AnimeNEXT. If you are not registered at con or by preregistration, you will not be able to participate. Anyone participating that is under 18 must have a chess waiver signed by their parents or guardian.

8.      This is an act after all, so no attacks that could hurt the other cosplayers or damage their costumes. Overall, please be considerate of the others involved.

9.      Images of your costume must be presented along with the entry form. You will NOT be considered without all information on your entry, as well as images of YOU IN YOUR COSTUME, not just a reference picture of the character!  Please wait until you complete your outfit before applying!  Remember to include your real name, contact email and the series of your character when applying.  If we cannot reach you before the con, you cannot be selected!

10.    Feel free to apply as a part of a group, or individually.  Please note all group members on your application.  


Cosplay Human Chess FAQ


How are applicants selected?

We will select the participants on the basis of the characters and the quality of the costume, not on a first-come, first-serve basis.

We are looking for applicants who will cosplay major characters from well-known shows so that everyone in our audience will be able to enjoy their viewing experience to the utmost. Priority will be given to recognizable and popular characters that will be easily distinguishable from one another at a distance. Applicants with costumes from very obscure shows or of lesser-known characters will not be as likely to be accepted, no matter how delightful the costume. 

We are also taking our theme into account when selecting participants.  A character that is more clearly established in one category or another will be more likely to be chosen.  If you are unsure which category your character fits into, please let us know on your application. 

I don't know how to play chess and/or never saw human chess, how does the game work?

The two chess players are preselected and/or members of Cosplay Chess staff.  On the giant chessboard "stage" you will follow the directions of the two chess players and voice-overs. There will be no role-playing involving dialogue among the pieces, because it is impossible to provide microphones to everyone on the board. Only physical movement will be visible and any scripted or unscripted banter between the participants will be difficult if not impossible for the audience to hear. Please keep this in mind when submitting applications. 

You will be able to interact with other characters in pantomime and you will be asked to prepare an elaborate "attack" for piece captures. If you are selected, the chess coordinators will brief you thoroughly by e-mail before the match and help you plan if you need ideas.


How many people will be selected?

We will choose thirty-two chess piece participants who will be active on the chessboard. We will also select a set of alternates and several special attacks.


Do I get to pick which piece I am? I want to be the king!

Applicants will not be given a choice of which position they want to be on the chessboard. These decisions will be entirely up to the chess coordinators with no exceptions. No requests in this matter will be considered. 


My character isn’t from a big-name Shonen or Shojo title or is from a title that doesn’t quite fit, what do I do?

Shojo and Shonen are special categories – there’s a lot of characters that fit into one but aren’t officially categorized as shojo/shonen.  For example, Naruto and Naruko both are from what’s generally categorized as shonen, but if there’s a Naruto AND a Naruko, the male version and female version would be shonen and shojo respectively.  Solid Snake would be shonen, but The Boss might just be shonen too!  We’ll categorize as best as possible – don’t expect an all-boys Shonen side, just as easily as the Shoujo side might not be all girls!

Worst-case scenario, apply as the character or characters you wish to play as.  


How do I apply?

Please complete and submit this form. The registration deadline is May 25th. Make sure to include your real name, contact email, and age. Every applicant must submit a link to a web page with color photos showing the back and the front of the costume. Photos of the cosplayer not in costume or of the costume not being worn by the cosplayer are not acceptable. Other photos, of side views or significant accessories, may be included on the web page at the applicant's discretion.


Everything that an applicant intends to visibly wear or carry as a participant must appear in a photo. If you do not have a web page with photos, you should create one; an easy way to do this is to go to, which offers a free cosplay profile service or on a site such as – we do prefer a webpage but in a pinch even uploading to Photobucket or Imageshack is ok.  When you send in your application, be certain to check the links to make sure they work and that no login is required to access them. NO FACEBOOK PHOTO LINKS.  Very often photos uploaded to Facebook are "friends-only" and thus we cannot view them. IF WE CANNOT SEE YOUR COSTUME YOU CANNOT BE SELECTED.

If you do not have photos of your completed costume yet, wait to submit your application until you have them. Applications are NOT first come first serve, and everything received before the deadline will be equally considered (of course, don't procrastinate so much that you forget to apply in the first place!)  We will always prioritize costumes that are 100% completed as that is the only way to guarantee all costumes will be ready for the match.

Please email if you wish to apply but have a time delay, for example are waiting on a commission arrival that is due to arrive after the deadline but before the convention.


I'm under eighteen. May I still apply?

Cosplayers under eighteen may certainly apply with the inclusion of the appropriate chess waiver form signed by parent or guardian. Be certain that your parent or guardian knows the time of the match and that you will not be forced to leave the convention early as the event will take up most of Sunday morning (exact times TBD but I can tell you that it's EARLY by most congoers' standards for a Sunday!)


May I apply with several different costumes?

Yes. Any applicant may submit more than one costume, as long as each costume has its own set of photos and otherwise meets all rules. The application form is designed to hold up to four costumes. If more than one costume is submitted, decisions as to which costume an applicant will wear in the game are entirely up to the chess coordinator, although the applicant may indicate a preference. 

I also want to be in The Dating Game, is that ok?

As all of the events occur on different days, you are also welcome to apply for The Dating Game as long as you are over 18, and every year a handful of people do participate in both.  However, you need to fill out both application forms as there are different questions on each, and except for special circumstances (last minute replacements) you will be required to wear different costumes.


May I apply as a group?

Yes. Applicants may apply as a group but each member needs to fill out their own form with their contact information.  Note that smaller groups are much more likely to be selected since we do not want to let one series monopolize the game. If you apply as a group, we will try to accept the whole group either as pieces or special attacks, but may accept selected individuals from it if there is not room for everyone. 


Is it okay if I didn't make my costume?

Since this is not a costume contest, costumes may be submitted that were not made by the applicant or that have been professionally tailored or contain commercially manufactured pieces. Costumes may also be submitted that have previously been entered in the costume contests or masquerades at other conventions. Award-winning costumes from past cons are more than welcome to participate. We do ask that you not submit a costume which you intend to enter in the Hall Costume Contest or the Cosplay Masquerade at AnimeNEXT 2014.


I've never made a costume before. What are my chances of being selected?

As we are choosing participants based in part on costume quality, experienced cosplayers will have an edge although it will certainly be possible to be selected if you are a beginner.  Don’t be shy, give it a shot – we’d love to see your entry!


My costume has moving parts/large weapons/gets in other people's way. Is this a problem?

All costumes must be self-contained, with no electrical plugs or other outside support required. A costume should be something that the applicant can move in; chess is, after all, a fighting game and movement will be necessary for the role-playing. If your costume is bulky, heavy, heavy-looking, has a long train or otherwise is awkward an explanation should be included with the application explaining in detail how the design of the costume makes quick movement possible.


All costumes must be appropriate for wear in a family environment and must be street-legal in the State of New Jersey. Any costume that turns out to be obscene, excessively revealing, or not street-legal will be removed from the game instantly.


Show weapons are permitted, but no actual metal will be allowed in weaponry. This event will adhere strictly to the AnimeNEXT Weapons Policy. Weapons will be examined both in applicant photos and at the event sign-in. Any breach of the weapons policy will result in expulsion.


No props or stage accessories will be allowed which scatter. This means no confetti, no fake blood, no rose petals, and nothing else that could disrupt everyone's footing. 

How will I know if I've been selected?

Selected applicants and alternates will be notified by e-mail as decisions are made. You must keep your e-mail contact information up-to-date and stay in touch with the Chess Director.


I've been selected! What do I have to do before the con?

Participants will be required to exchange frequent e-mails with the Chess Director during the weeks leading up to the convention. If we can't reach you, we will find an alternate that we can get in touch with!

Oh no, I've been selected but just found out I cannot go to the con!

Please email the ASAP.  This will allow us to secure an alternate for you before the con.  Letting us know before the convention starts will not affect your chances of being selected in future years, but simply not showing up to check-in or the event itself will significantly decrease the likelihood of being chosen next time!

The con is here! What next?

All participants and alternates are required to sign in on Thursday night pre-reg checking, Friday or Saturday at the Info Booth in the GSEC. No exceptions. Anyone who fails to sign in before the game will not be allowed to participate as we will be forced to recruit alternates.


Is there paperwork to fill out?

Participants will be required to submit release forms when they sign in, allowing the use of their images in commercial video and photography. The match will be recorded and failure to turn in a form will result in dismissal from the match. Underage participants must have a parent or guardian sign their release forms.


I might sleep late and/or just say “yolo” if I feel like blowing off.  Is this OK?

Negative, it is not OK.  If you think you may not be able to make it, please notify as soon as you can.  If it’s at the con, you’ll have the cell phone numbers of the Game Shows staff – please call or text if you don’t have access to email.  We will be grateful that you let us know, as will the alternate Chess player.  However, if you simply do not show up for Chess at the 9 AM roll call, Game Shows reserves the right to reject any and all applications you submit for any official (not fan-run) AnimeNEXT game show events.  Please don’t blow us off – we only want to put on a good show, and that takes people showing up.  We’ll get you coffee if that’s what it takes!  :-)