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Rafiqul Islam RimeChess, one of the most ancient games on earth, is considered to have been invented in the subcontinent thousand years back. This ancient but extremely modern game possesses such beautiful, subtle and the multidimensional wonders and intricacies that unveiling of them is, as it appears to be, extremely enticing. It is so alluring and welcoming that people from all walks of life do derive pleasures according to their mental dispositions. The enormous magic that the game embraces/produces goes beyond the border of human comprehension unfolding its aesthetic beauty to the lovers of this grand mind-game on 64-squared board which is simply menacing! And the stalwarts of chess do, at times, happen to relish that unfathomable beauty even in exchange of the mighty presence of this New-Brave world around them!
Anyone good at mathematics, calculation and can reason well deserves the right to fathom this unfathomable world of mystery and surprise that meets its paroxysms reaching the delicate twists and turns along with the unpredictable uncertainties that explodes in the eruption of the unearthly wonders followed by the outcry "Eureka!-- Eureka!!" And it takes one to a state of being comfortably numb in the essence of " Shristy Shukher Ullashe!" Chess lovers turn out to be "dreamers" -- the romantic dreamers, as far as its creativity and imagination is concerned! The interesting fact is that, a game between two players reveals certain determining characteristics of the personalities involved in the battle on board! Interestingly enough, this special characteristic is analogous to the essence of literature. As literature, it is believed, is the mirror to life and so is chess! A certain game played by a certain player reveals his/her ways of doing things!
Besides, both literature and chess demand a genuine love and an absorbing devotion. One has to have a strong urge embedded with love and devotion if one ventures to embark on to the journey to the unending human psyche! Former world chess champion Robert James Bobby Fischer of the USA is of the view that: " Chess demands total concentration and ---and yeah, a love for the game." The statement that describes the enormous and immeasurable mystery that is echoed by Fydor Dostoybsky in his explanation as to why and what is the driving force behind his writing endeavour literal meanings of what he says is that the human psyche is so unfathomable and mysterious that makes him try to fathom a little!
As literature is a mirror to the human psyche that reflects the enormous world of imagination of a writer, poet or the novelist, a creative mind at work under whatsoever the form or medium is, he/she roams around the world of beauty and h/her task is to search out the eternal truth; that is aptly expressed by John Keats : " A thing of beauty is a joy for ever". That search for beauty is vividly seen in a game of chess played by the former world champion- the wizard Michael Tall. Tall's vision and imagination was such encompassing that his calculation over the board was as precise as that of a mathematician, his assessment of position was as prophetic as that of a visionary and on top of all; his combination of the whole scheme was as mesmerizing as that of a magician! And it is observed that there is no room for any opportunity or chance that is well expressed by yet another world champion Emanuel Lasker and his words in literal meanings are that there is no hypocrisy on chessboard! That is, as both the players across the board are with same might and right that one has to outwit the other in all logical norms! The fact aptly determines the endless creativity that the imaginative world the players weave out on their journey! That versatility of the great mind game prompted great Goethe to comment: " Chess is the touchstone of intellect." Interestingly, if one likes to watch a calm and quiet game of tranquility one is suggested to watch or replay the games of the former world champion Botvinnikthat gives some special spirit akin to Keat's poems! If one chooses to watch some wild, imaginative fury embedded with the unknown and unexpected: one is suggested to watch the magical games of the chess wizard Michael Tall his games usually take one to a world of vivid and unexpected world of Coleridge's poetry! This way one keeps on exploring the spectrum of subtleties of a combined world of creativity at a parallel pace! Many great people used to play chess. Scientists, artists, writers, states men and many other connoisseurs of beauty used to play chess. At this point I can't suppress the temptation of naming a few great people: Einstein, Freud, Dostoyevsky, Leo Tolstoy our national; poet Kazi Nazrul Islam , Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Cuban maestro Fidel Castro were great lovers of chess!--- the list would rather go on and on! T.S Eliot, in his masterpiece of literary work" The wasteland", showed the extreme decadence of this modern civilization and individuals of this "Brave-New" world under different headers of the work. The one that is titled " A game of chess" depicts the total collapse of mankind in terms of the waning of the values that the humans are endowed with. Section two of the Wasteland "A game of chess" spreads shifting lights on the woman protagonist through the changing layers of expression. We see Cleopatra first, but it is the Cleopatra that lives within lifelessly, mechanical and robotic: " The chair she sat in, like a bunished throne, glowed on the marble, where the glass Held up by standards wrought with fruited vines From which a golden Cupidon peeped out (Another hid his eyes behind his wings) Doubled the flames of seven branched candelabra Reflecting light upon the table as The glitter of her jewels rose to meet it…."
There is then a midsection, a change of social class a privileged class:
(" The hot water at ten. /And if it rains, a closed car at four.')
Apart from the poetic meanings that the lines bear and the way they're expressed, one thing is common, to an extent, is that the palpable twists and turns that shape up the poem as does a game of chess, (with its three parts- opening- middle game and the end-game.") Vivacity and the urgency with the ultimate momentum, is replete or vividly discernible in both forms of expressions.One expresses /reveals one's inner expansion through ones expression, that we call poetry and the same is the case with the game of chess, one is there to outwit the other obviously in a style aesthetic or poetic! A more gripping similarity we see in the last part of the last act of the drama The "Tempest" by Shakespeare as both Ferdinand and Miranda are absorbed in a game of chess! Shakespeare wonderfully reveals the entire course of their marriage rituals in the discourse between the two while playing the game of chess! Their fidelity, love and commitment for each other are vividly marked with a masterly stroke of
words: Miranda:" Sweet lord, you play false." Ferdinand: " No, my dearest love, I would not for the world." Miranda: " Yes, for a score of kingdoms you should wrangle, And I would call it fair play." (Lines: 175-180;act-5) Here, a wonderful thread of ideas has been delivered in the most befitting way of the three components of a game of chess! And that a game of chess unfolds its mysteries in course of time as does the drama here! Moreover, a game of chess has basically three parts that are called: 1) Opening- the innocuous starting of a fierce battle that most befittingly matches that of a Shakespearean drama! 2) The middle game that marks the sparks of intellect of both the players and eventually determines the course of the game as in drama we find the crisis mounting to an enormous height -- crisis--- that determines the lot of the drama as well as the protagonist!
3) Then comes the end game in chess that marks the quiet and calm but the inevitable finish of the game to a point to bring about the " rest is silence!" a most fitting finish that the drama "Hamlet" by Shakespeare creates! To sum up my analysis, I take the privilege to draw a close line between the familiar aspects of these two different phenomena! most alike in essence! Both literature and the game of chess bear some subtle intricacies, as both are the reflections of human behaviour and nature. And both bear a common spirit and that they are expressed in a way almost alike, as far as human imagination and the eternal craving for the "new" is concerned! Could there be anything more interesting than the following statement by chess Master Hans Ree: "Chess is as much a mystery as women!" --with all my respect to the fair sex.
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