Chess is more than just a game.
A battle begins, pieces white and black,
pawns, knights, bishops, rooks, king and queen.
A board of sixty four squares, tactics, strategy,
the goal of checkmate.
Ah chess, the game of kings, mental tug and thrust, complex
but beauty in itself and I dare say the perfect game. On dew-
drop days I do not slumber but check positions rife online.
(I miss those days of face-to-face in civic centers or in
cozy homes.) Still, chess remains a daily fresh of zest,
and games are had by Internet with opponents from
England, Russia, Germany, Australia, the USA of
course--all around the world is chess.
The game starts, a pawn moves forth;
control the center--that’s the key. Yet over
on that other side, black is there to thwart your
every move because his goals are the same, and thus
the opening begins as knights jump out, and bishops rule
diagonals, and before too long, deployed are men eager to
begin assault. Pawns capture diagonally, knights are pinned, the
trades commence and tactics reign. And kings are castled into safety
as the middle game begins, or sometimes not, when chessmen slay
one another with abandon, wherein the endgame is at hand.
Infinite in position, artful in its inherent possibilities, beauty on
the board this magnificent game, this character builder, this
wand of Merlin. To win is to feel sated, to sigh deep, to
hold the head up and allow both heart and mind to join
hands and dance a jig. Conversely, losing draws a
veil, to be sure, yet you extend your hand, so to
speak, and move on to another game.
Pawn to king four, Ruy Lopez, Sicilian when playing black;
how good the feeling of the plan, the sacrifice of rook for
knight. Chess resonates within my bones, it mows with
sharp blades any stalks of stagnation growing on gray
matter. It is the emancipation of mental sloth, it is
imagination, analysis, and calculated onslaught.
The power of the queen unleashed, a fork,
a skewer, discovered check. Even king,
that one square wonder*, can advance
and become a fighter. Ah, chess!
And so I play.
Writer’s Cramp Winner
*The king can move in any direction, but only
one square at a time.