Benny’s games and discussions with Beth lacked the international charm of the other venues (Mexico City, Paris, Moscow), and frankly cluttered up the other pages.* But they were highly interesting on their own terms, though often played, as bewailed of the the tournament in Columbus, Ohio, “with plastic pieces on vinyl boards” unlike the more exotic venues abroad. So here they are, starting off with a puzzle presented in Benny basement chess lair, followed by Beth’s game against Benny in the US Open championship in Las Vegas, Benny’s humiliation of Beth at speed chess, then Beth’s return match(es) with Benny and two friends, simultaneously at speed chess.
As Jupiter (the king of planets) and Saturn (mythologically associated with suffering and wisdom), aligned in the skies on December 21, 2020, I can not help but wonder at what symbolic significance one can attribute to the event – without “going astrological” – especially given the pandemic-wrought suffering of 2020 as the year comes to a close amidst the joyous and hopeful notes of Christmas. These jumbo-sized planets align to the Earthling eye to some extent every 20 years, though they have not done so quite like this since March 4, 1226 (there was 1623, but the sun was too bright for anyone to see it), as per a recent USA Today article. The appearance suggests to some that of the Bethlehem Star, rising 2000 years ago to announce the reign of a new King on Earth, Jesus, the long-awaited and much-heralded Messiah and King figure of the Jewish scriptures.
As we pause to consider the suffering wrought by the corona virus pandemic in 2020, and the meaning of hope and joy at Christmastime as we put 2020 behind us, we can ponder the wisdom induced by the sufferings of Saturn, and the hope and joy brought by a regal Jupiter, and how they can both be found in the hope and hero of Christmas, Jesus.
Besides her matches with Borgov and Pluchenko in Moscow, The Queen’s Gambit abounds with intriguing chess games and positions. They are here presented, in the venerable spirit of chess puzzles like this collection from logician Raymond Smullyan.
Thus far, games or positions discussed include
Mate in 3 puzzle from Episode 6 Adjournment in Benny’s basement loft, as it were, with his chess friends, who later challenge Beth to multiple simultaneous games of speed chess.
From Exchanges (Episode 2) Beth’s first tournament move Mate in 1 position from a Beltik game
My identity on chess.com would seem to require some explanation. Hopefully you can read English, as in addition to my various western US time zone friends*, I keep getting matched with opponents from Europe and sometimes Latin America; chess.com is not just fun, but globally if not cosmically fun.
The simple, enigmatic name results from a confluence of a few factors …
What if Bobby Fischer had turned from the Royal Game to the Game of Royalty, the Philosophy of Life?
It was the third game of the Tellus Midi championship match, and the culmination of Froddy Bischer’s short, precocious life. Froddy, you see, had spent his entire life in pursuit conquest and domination, in short, immortal glory, on the eighty one squares of the Game of Royals, Schachgi. His father, himself a brilliant scientist of the highest rank, had given him his brilliantly cool calculating brain. His mother, a poet who sang with the sinners and danced with the saints, his resilient spirit. His sister constantly dweeded on her interstellar TeleVac with her chatty friends, and didn’t figure much in his ambitious plans, or so-called “life.”
Like Russians sequestered indoors during their long, harsh winters, Americans (and likely many other parts of the world) are learning to enjoy the game of chess once again.
The NY Times cites a resurgence in chess interest in Chess (Yes, Chess) is Now a Streaming Obsession (Sept. 7, 2020 Kellen Browning), though much of it consists in watching Grandmaster superstars play rapid games (games with time limits of 5 or 10 minutes for an entire game’s moves), such as the American Haruki Namakura who has gained nearly all of his 528,000 Twitch followers since the pandemic began).
Activity at sites like chess.com is also up, though the US populace will be challenged to match the Russian enthusiasm for the game, as a report cited in Chess Life magazine a few years back cited how a stunning 43% of Russians will play at least one game of chess a year, double the rate of the closest competitor nation.
While a “friend” once chided me on the oxymoronic status of my favorite magazine, Chess Life, I yet maintain that said royal game is nearly as philosophically nuanced as life itself. Or, at least it is nearly as fun. Hence, to supplement my various observations posted here at NarnianFrodo, I hereby include a category for musings on chess [and] life, as it were.
Us (us, us, us, us) and them (them, them, them, them) And after all we’re only ordinary men Me And you (you, you, you) God only knows It’s not what we would choose (choose, choose) to do (to do, to do)
“Jesus and Buddha can not both be right; the lotus is the symbol of Buddhism, the cross the symbol of Christian faith. Behind them stand two diametrically opposed beliefs.”
Notes/summary from The Lotus and the Cross: Jesus Talks with Buddha, Ravi Zacharias (Sisters, Oregon: Multnomah Press, 2001).
“Dedicated to ‘the kind and generous peoples of Malaysia, India, Singapore and Thailand for their friendship, hospitality and inspiration.’ where the author spent time, ‘scores of hours in temples with monks and with instructors of Buddhist thought,’ researching the book.”
An imaginary conversation between Jesus, Krishna and an Indian in search of the truth, Subra, and a westerner Richard; statements are drawn often directly from statements made by Jesus and Krishna. Notes/summary from Ravi Zacharias 2008 book, Multnomah Press.