The Open File
by Life Master Mike Petersen (Zug)
I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t like limericks. However, since they are a type of humor distinct to the English language, a good definition might be in order. According to Wikipedia:
“A limerick is a five-line poem with a strict form (AABBA), which intends to be witty or humorous, and is sometimes obscene with humorous intent. It may have its roots in the 18th century Maigue Poets of Ireland. However, there are examples of such verse in English dating back to Anglo-Saxon times. It was popularized in English by Edward Lear in the 19th century.”
Of course, none of us would ever write an obscene limerick, would we? Also, note the words, “a strict form (AABBA)”. Just what does that mean? Well, it has to do with poetic meter. Let’s go a little farther with Wikipedia here:
“The standard form of a limerick is a stanza of five lines, with the first, second and fifth usually having eight or nine syllables and rhyming with one another, and the third and fourth usually having five or six syllables, and rhyming separately. Lines are usually written in the anapaestic meter, but can also be amphibrachic."
"The first line traditionally introduces a person and a place, with the place appearing at the end of the first line and establishing the rhyme scheme for the second and fifth lines. In early limericks, the last line was often essentially a repeat of the first line, although this is no longer customary.”
Uh-oh. What the heck is anapaestic or amphibrachic meter? Anapaestic meter is two short syllables followed by a long one. A very good example of a poem using this meter is “Twas the Night before Christmas.” Amphibrachic meter is a long syllable between two short syllables. An example of this type of meter is the Dr. Seuss book, “If I Ran the Circus.”
Okay, so big deal. Yeah, I say big deal because I’ve never seen any chess limericks. This has recently been remedied by a clever soul on Chess.com who goes by the handle of “theweaponking.” You may want to check out the forum entry on chess limericks started by this individual at the link http://www.chess.com/forum/view/community/chess-limericks?page=1, but I must warn you! There are many limericks in this forum thread that do not follow the rules. You’ll enjoy most of them anyway. I have even added a few (clean) limericks myself.
On Internet chess:
I like to play Internet chess.
The positions are fun to assess.
Lose or win it's okay
'Cause I can pass through the day
Without ever having to dress.
On my quality of play:
My game is no good, God knows.
It's wrecked by multiple blows.
I tried the Lopez
And Breyer then says,
"Your game is in its last throes."
And finally, my most genius chess limerick of all:
My column is "The Open File."
You really will like its style.
I write one a week
With tongue firmly in cheek
In order to give you a smile.
Well, in this case, I hope I’ve succeeded.
Click here for links to Mike's other work on Chess.com