Oddly enough, my 2014 summer has been characterised by several cultural events about chess. I am not a player and I am probably not smart enough to play, but the following impossible dialogues have been inspired by the show “ScaccoMatto” (i.e. Check Mate, in Italian) held by the magic “Teatro della Tosse” theatre company in Apricale during the second week of August. They were also inspired by a great weekend with two very good friends in Marostica, a small town in the North East of Italy, famous all over the world for the human chess game it carries out every other year, with living chess pieces, in the city public square. Have fun reading!
I will miss the way you arrange your crown.
Of our home, I will miss that huge clock, tic toc tic toc, placed between us and them, on the sides of this immense chessboard. How many times have we wondered if anyone on these black and white squares has ever realized of our love, secret and hooded, but really in front of everyone’s eyes! Your Queen, above all, fat and libertine, has always been the blindest of them all.
Of you, my lame King, I will cherish that very first moment when you cast your eyes on me, poor Pawn, as black as the night. In time I will treasure your smile, bright and light, while the Knights and the Bishops would chatter and shout far in the distance. In that moment, I realised that I would be your faithful dark Pawn in that and in all the future matches.
I am leaving soon, again. I will be moving as imposed by the rules of this game, only and always forward. Unarmed. Defenceless. I am just a poor Pawn, I cannot even jump like the Knights can, but I will try all my best to delay, even if for a few moments, that check mate.
Do not forget me, my King. September and November will come. One day I will return and this game will restart again from the beginning. They say you die twice: first, when you stop breathing and a second time, a bit later on, when somebody says your name for the last time. Do not kill me twice, my lame King.
My most esteemed citizens!
My most esteemed citizens, look at them, down there, in front of us.
Even from here, you can definitely see them: they are ugly, different, don’t you think? We can actually smell their stench from here. They will come over and will steal our jobs and our women. They will impose their gods and their laws, instead of accepting the only righteous ones: our gods and our laws. They will cut the throats of our Knights. Their swords will shine over our homes. They will eat each of us, Pawn by Pawn. At the end of this game, then, they will burn down our barns and dance on the graves of our ancestors. We must get ready, defend our roads, and raise deaf walls. Let’s forget what history has taught us. They are different from us, remember that well: their Queen for instance is full of tattoos. They say she got them in some brothels in their lands. They are not ready to give their lives for their King, like us.
My King, our heralds have returned from the reconnaissance mission.
Very well, let them in.
Are you sure, Captain?
Talk, tell us: what do they look like? Surely, we know the gist already: their 8 Pawns are not as noble as ours; their Rooks do not protect the colours of their houses, touching the sky and accepting their prayers. Tell me! I bet you anything that their Knights are not as elegant dancers as ours, and do not know how to charm the enemy with their Roses. Can we then compare their retarded King to me, unique and invincible, and as beautiful as a summer sunset? How can those compare to us?
Well.. Commander …
Speak, I order you!
They have 8 noble Pawns. Their two Rooks are beautiful and protect the colours of their houses, touching the sky and accepting their prayers. Their Knights are smart and charming and valorous. Their King is unique and invincible, and as beautiful as a summer sunset. Their Queen is adorned with incredible tattoos. They are exactly like us, except for the colour of their cloaks: ours are white, theirs are black. We are like them, they are us, we are only two images reflected by the same mirror.
Cut his head off!
Can you believe this? 1043 even 1050! These are the amounts of movements we could potentially do! Hey! Are you listening to me? We cannot understand our luck! We are 32 pieces, on 64 squares, white, black, it does not really matter. Destiny nailed us on this limiting amount of space, but in reality we are facing the Infinite! Hey! You, down there! Can you hear me? Nobody ever listens to me with the exception of that stupid Mexican guy chewing his time off. Think of it: we can move two squares horizontally and one square vertically, or two squares vertically and one square horizontally, or diagonally. We can move the way we like, or not move at all! We can potentially run on this Maginot Line? Or was it a ligne imaginaire? Tell that Mexican to stop chewing! Hey! Can you hear me? No, the King is not dead. Yet. He is resting. Think of it: to begin, to end, to complete. We have millions of crossroads in front of us. Do you see it? Infinite! What if we try to get off this chessboard? For once? That would increase our possibilities to 10123.
Can you imagine that?
Oh, shout up Sir Knight. We all know you are a crazy horse!