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Marine biology nerd chess is the only decent justification for 280-character tweets

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Twitter bumped all of its users up to 280 characters this week, reducing the density of the average tweet, if not that of the intellects behind them. There have, at least, been a number of decent gags to come out of the change, even as we all adjust to the newfound eyestrain of massive walls of text on a service that was once the “Jesus wept” of social media platforms. But a pair of marine biologists may have found the first argument that 280-character tweets are not only mildly useful but actually vital, by reporpoising them for the nerdiest past-time we can imagine: marine biology fact-based chess.

The epic match was kicked off by Dr. Andrew Thaler, who challenged colleague Dr. David Shiffman to a game of “Ocean Chess” on Thursday night:


Despite the colorful pieces, Thaler instituted only two new rules: every move had to be accompanied by a fact about the animal in question, and captures had to be accompanied with detailed descriptions of how the kill went down.

Things got kind of wild:


The match wrapped up yesterday afternoon. We won’t ruin the fateful conclusion, except to leave you with this word of advice: Just like nerds pushing themselves to find new ways to dork around and waste time on social media, it never pays to underestimate the humble octopus.