Games with aliens. The sort of story that's not in the least bit groundbreaking, but still enjoyable.
— Psocoptera, "2014 online short fantasy and science fiction recommendations, part 6"
A middle-aged woman is challenged to a game of alien chess to save the crew of a spaceship. This story could’ve been bleak, but instead it made me happy and hopeful.
— Sara Norja, "Sunday recs: Fairytale, memory loss, alien chess"
[T]his story is about an alien encounter and it hooked me in right from the beginning. Its writer’s name is Curtis [C.] Chen. As a big fan of Ted Chiang and Ken Liu (if you haven’t heard of them, you’re missing out on some awesome stories!), I was curious to see another Chinese American name.
And I wasn’t disappointed. The story was excellently crafted. The plot had tension and several layers of things going on, yet no word seemed redundant and all of the sentences were simple-yet-varied.
— Natso, "A Cool Sci-Fi Short Story, A Question That Sprouted From It"
ETA (28 Mar 2016):
Although space chess is never a terribly original idea for a story, I rather liked Curtis C. Chen’s “Zugwang.” While he definitely dwells a little too much on his heroine’s insecurities about her body, and things are tied up a little too neatly at the end of the tale, it was solid enough to get me to read his other two stories [in Up and Coming].
— Bridget McKinney, SF Bluestocking
(original 512: "Zugzwang," posted 29 Mar 2013)
Thanks for reading!