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Risky Move

The queen is constantly “gambiting“ us these days. Strangeness like life itself.

After watching, Queen's Gambit, the runaway hit on Netflix, we are playing several games every day. Some are quick ones. Some are slow over multiple sittings. And sometimes a parent or kid will gang up on the third one. Tarun is the wiggliest of us with amazing capacity to get out of hellish situations!

Chess started in India in the 6th century BC as chaturanga with four divisions of the army - elephantry, cavalry, chariotry, and infantry. Modern day chess is called shatranj in Hindi and Arabic and it is a derivative of the word chaturanga. The elephant is the bishop, the chariot the rook, the cavalry the horse and the infantry is the pawn.

The basic rules are simple enough to make me feel like I know how to play. Compound that with an array of opening moves for a cranial explosion. I spent a recent evening studying opening moves on YouTube. Armed with the knowledge and feeling confident, I sat down to play with Josh and he didn’t respond in the expected ways. Ugh!

There are many intriguing facts about chess. These are my favorites.The total number of unique chess games is 10^120 but the number of electrons in the universe is 10^80 - how about that for scale! "Checkmate" is derived from the Farsi phrase "Shah Mat" meaning the king is dead. And the word rookie comes from the rook which is the last piece to be moved. I recently learned that there are eight ways to Mate in two moves and 355 ways to Mate in three moves.

In these pandemic evenings, I do what lame chess players do - try to nix every move that my opponent makes while moving a few pieces into position for a Checkmate. I lose whenever I am overly involved with being on the offense and miss the defensive postures.

So much like life! Plain defense doesn’t help me move ahead and constant offense is counter-productive.

This is precisely why chess is the emperor of board games and can only be combated with a solitary and risky move - wine with every game.

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