The Joys of Life, Issue 3 – Chess

This week, as we look towards the 2020 Election, which we will most definitely get into, I wanted to talk about the best game of all time: Heads Up 7 Up. That’s not the best game of all time. It’s also a game I will never have to play ever again. No, the real game we’re talking about is the one where it’s called chess: Chess.

Chess is a game where one side is black and one side is white. Politics is a game where one side is red and one side is blue. OH WAIT, I’M ALREADY EDITORIALIZING, we’ll do more about how chess is the best game of all time, which I still have to prove. Chess is a game of pure skill. It is one of the only games that is pure skill. And, yet, it is not totally skill. Whoever goes first gets a major advantage and THAT is why I always go first. 

Back to our trusty source, Wikipedia that has enlightened us about the glory of Bubbles and Puppets, chess got its start as a humble farmer from Scranton, Pennsylvania. I mean, sorry, wrong thing, chess got its start as chaturanga (four divisions [of the military] in Sanskrit) in India, under the Gupta Empire (they’re the ones that gave us the Kama Sutra.) The original four pieces were infantry, cavalry, elephants, and chariotry. This became the pawn, knight, bishop, and rook. Later, as the prototype travelled down the Silk Road, the king was added and the phrase check and checkmate, from the Persian “shah mat” which means “the king is helpless,” became the phrase you say when the king is, well, when he’s helpless.

By 1475, chess had made it all around Europe and the modern rules were developed. Also in 1475, George, Duke of Bavaria, and Hedwig Jagiellon the Pole got married. Good for Hedwig. This 1475 edition included the vizier piece transforming into the queen and becoming “Mad Queen’s Chess,” because 1400s has a sexism quota and also she gained the ability to move basically anywhere on the board. They added castling, when the king, if it hasn’t moved all game, moves two spaces to the right or to the left of it’s starting position and gets protected into a corner by the rook. Pawns also were allowed to move two spaces, which, good for them, finally workers are getting some rights.

Throughout the next 400 years, chess became a commonplace thing. There were chess clubs, people played chess during operas, everyone was addicted to chess. So Wilhelm, Steinitz created the World Chess Championship which he then won 8 years in a row. That sounds SUPER RIGGED! 

Chess has always been a game of strategy. A game of skill. But there is also an enduring moral legacy that lasts throughout the game of chess. Chess is a means towards self-improvement. Chess teaches Foresight, Circumspection and Caution. Otherwise known as the FCC. Also, keeping with a “religions don’t like this” theme of last issue, all of the religions banned it because they thought it was gambling and then they realized THAT ISN’T HOW GAMBLING WORKS! 

Now, you might be wondering, “Grayson,” you can read this out loud if you want, “Grayson, why did you say you were gonna talk about the election and you still haven’t yet?” And, yes, I was trying to do a more integrated thing last week where the message is part of the overarching narrative, but I decided to wait for this moment. This year’s election is just like a chess game. It’s all skill. 

HAHAHA, no, all the balls are in the air and nobody has any idea what’s gonna happen until this issue comes out. Except when you read this, we’ll probably know and Future Grayson will be happy about the outcome, maybe, I don’t know, I’m not Future Grayson yet. But the fact that RBG died, Trump got Covid, Trump’s taxes kind of came out, the Hunter Biden “emails” came out, and we still have a week left is leaving me worried. 

I want to take back something I said. We might not know who actually won this election until much after this election. It’s like college in that it’ll take six weeks (probably not that long) for them to figure out if I can be happy or not. So we have to be patient. Like I said, in chess, whoever goes first has a major advantage, and it looks like Trump will have more votes before Biden, chronologically speaking. On election night, the winner will not be the winner of election night. The winner will be the winner of the election. We can’t lose sight of that. 

This is why you have to keep paying attention even after November 3. It’s not over that day. The Parker community needs to keep their eye on the pulse of the country at all times, but especially now, if we truly want to be representative of an embryonic democracy that educates for global citizenship. We need to be alert, for even longer than we think, and we need to stay on our toes as all moves are on the board. This game is almost over, but we have to see it through all the way to the final checkmate. Deal?