The Tale of Froddy Bischer

What if Bobby Fischer had turned from the Royal Game to the Game of Royals, that of philosophy?

Chapter 1 …

              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.” 

              But what was vital at this moment was to not blow it all.  The first game had not gone according to plan at all. In fact it was just about as opposite to “plan” as it could possibly be.  His opponent, Sporis Bassky from Dark Race which threatened Tellus Midi with its own evil domination for ages, made Froddy look like the child that he really was. To be more precise, Froddy made himself look like just that child, though one who appeared to have only recently been introduced to the game, and was making moves on some other board far, far away with entirely different rules. It was a disaster.

In point of fact, Froddy had never shined very brilliantly in his previous encounters with Sporis.  Yes, Sporis came from a regime which did more than exploit the work from its own inhabitants, to fund their war machine: it stole their joy.  Drab clothes and shoddy products were all that Orknian enterprises turned out for its kind, as even the most meager of profits were siphoned away by the rulers in waging their war against Froddy’s all of Tellus Midi, and the hodgepodge of races who dared oppose them. And as if to prove their worth to the planet, the Orknian regime professionally funded all manner of sports, “culture” (we will have a look at the sham effort Orkney made at “culture” in another chapter) and otherwise competitive activities.  So, in just about any sense of the term you imagine, Froddy v Sporis was a Davd v Goliath battle, and apparent mismatch.

But Froddy had in fact been brilliant. So much so, that he was the one individual that the collective of Orkney Shachgi professionals feared.  Froddy simply hated to lose.  When groups of Orkney competed in elite tournaments, Froddy was quite right in claiming collusion and cheating.  “The Orknians have ruined Schachgi!” Froddy claimed, and in the most popular journal of the day. And he was right.  Orknian Grandmasters would play short, simple drawing patterns of moves against each other, saving up their energy to pound on any and all impudents who dared to qualify for such tournaments.  And Froddy was the best of them. The Orknian collective, in fact, had often already pre-ordained who among their own elite would get to vie for the top spot in such tournaments, and lesser luminaries in their firmament would drop a match here or there to clear the path for the chosen few.

Sporis himself had been a brilliant player, despite all the politics. In fact, unbeknownst to Froddy, Sporis was secretly critical, maybe more like sarcastic, in his feelings towards the collective, but what could he do?  They controlled, no, they owned him. Otherwise, as current champion, who had in fact essayed his own manner of brilliance against the few, chosen elites for Orkney, he presented a formidable foe to young Froddy.  But Sporis was not the spry, innocent-eyed youth that was Froddy; he had to wait his turn in the collective, as there were many highly skilled players.  It was maybe a fortunate thing that there was, in fact, so much talent there: had the accumulated mental prowess of these board game Barons been conscripted into the more explicit cause of planetary domination, the war might be over by now, their drab, colorless Flag and way of life liberating all from their otherwise meaningful lives.

In the first game of the match, Froddy had carefully, and uncharacteristically, played not to lose.  But even that plan could not endure his appetite for brilliance and glory. When Sporis dangled a simple Horbit, the foot soldier of the game, on the edge of the board, Bobby bit and took it.  It was a beginner’s trap, Froddy knew it. Sporis knew it. Froddy kenw that Sporis knew it. Sporis knew that Froddy kenw that Sporis knew it. Even the otherwise mindless Orknian bureaucrats, who had no appetite for independent thought, and their household pets, knew it. 

But Froddy thought he might just manage to outwit the trap. By that point, the game had been reduced to just Monarchs, a small cadre of Horbits, and a solitary Elf for either side. Moving swiftly and incisively, the diagonal-moving Elf of Froddy’s slip off to the edge of the board, dooming the hapless Horbit for all eternity, or for the remainder of the game, which was a considerably shorter period of time.  As even the goldfish expected, SPoris responded by advancing his adjacent Horbit a single square, trapping the Elf behind a chain of Horbits.  Froddy reasoned that he could advance his own Horbit in time to break up the life-sucking chain, liberate his Elven intruder, and then, in the cool, calculating way for which he was feared, convert the advantage of a single foot soldier into a statement win in the opening match.

Unfortunately, the statement he made was “I’m stupid.” Or “with Stupid” at any rate. The plan flopped, as had all such plans in the history of the game. Froddy’s brilliance had not quite rewritten the game. “I played like a goldfish” even worse than a goldfish, in fact) Froddy declared afterwards, then scurried quickly away.

The second game of the match was anything but mercurial: Froddy’s brilliance never even made the journey to the gameboard.  His long history of suspecting the Orknians of “fixing Shachgi” had played its own moves on the game board of his mind.  Froddy had complained about nearly everything related to the match, which he desperately wanted, in fact needed, to show his timeless brilliance. Room servants would frequently appear at the most inopportune of times to break up his concentration and study, and secretly steal his tricky plans and moves, before they ever made it to the match.  The match was held on the island of Vickjarey, with a climate much more familiar and comfortable to his cold weather opponents.  The rigged qualifying tournaments, even though Froddy had brilliantly plowed through the competition, with streaks of wins the length of which was unheard of in such elite play.  The spectators in the Shachgi hall were too noisy, and Froddy thought he could hear secret Orkney chants and hymns hummed, however nearly inaudibly, among the crowd.

And after his frighttful opening loss, Froddy’s mind simply caved in on him.  He gave the Tellus Shachgi Federation officials a list of his demands which were to be met before he would resume the match.  When no action was forthcoming, Froddy skipped the match, and simply sat in his room and munched on his favorite snack, freeze dried, salted golfish.

All About Chess

How to sac a Queen and deliver checkmate with a bare Horsey

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.

First order of business: some interesting puzzling and positions from the recently released Netflix 7 episode series, The Queen’s Gambit. But first I needed this introduction page. Hopefully more musings on the game of kings will follow.

Jesus Talks with Buddha: The Lotus and the Cross

“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.”

RZ Buddha

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.”

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From [Confucian/Taoist] Pagan to Christian: Story of Philosopher Lin Yutang

From David Cain’s Wild Wild West persona Kwang Chai Cain, the peripatetic peace-loving Shaolin monk to Disney’s Mulan, Kung Fu Panda and upcoming Moana to the Karate Kid, the allure of Eastern Thought has held a certain popular appeal. Here we listen to noted Chinese novelist, philosopher, translator and inventor (a Chinese typewriter plus a toothpaste-dispensing toothbrush) Lin Yutang as he reconciles his upbringing as the son of a Chinese Pastor with his learning in Chinese Classics and later return to Christianity.

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The Eutopian Power of Music


The power of music has been lauded as essential not just to man but to the cosmos by diverse figures ranging from Plato to Martin Luther, who declared “next to the word of God, music deserves the highest praise.”[1] Pythagoras first spoke of the “music of the spheres” in an astronomical sense, as the same geometry found in humming strings could be found in the spacing of the planets; Aristotle argued against such “music of the spheres” (since no one could actually hear it), though two millennia (1619) later Johannes Kepler published De Harmonice Mundi (Harmony of the Spheres) arguing for just such a connection.[2]

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Orthodoxy I: Introduction in Defence of Everything Else

orth5“I have often had a fancy for writing a romance about an English yachtsman who slightly miscalculated his course and discovered England under the impression that it was a new island in the South Seas… There will probably be an impression that the man who landed (armed to the teeth and talking by signs) to plant the British flag on that barbaric temple which turned out to be the Pavilion at Brighton, felt rather a fool… What could be more glorious than to brace one’s self up to discover New South Wales and then realize, with a gush of happy tears, that it really was old South Wales. How can we contrive to be at once astonished at the world and yet at home in it? … how can this world give us at once the fascination of a strange town, and the comfort and honour of being our own town? … I wish to set forth my faith as particularly answering this double spiritual need, the need for that mixture of the familiar and the unfamiliar which Christianity has rightly named romance.”

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Orthodoxy II: The Maniac

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“Poets do not go mad; but chess-players do. Mathematicians go mad, and cashiers; but creative artists very seldom. I am not, as will be seen, in any sense attacking logic: I only say that this danger does lie in logic, not in imagination.”

bheart neitzsche

“The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits.”

Next: Orthodoxy III: The Suicide of Thought