Muses during a chess game.

May 13, 2010, 12:14 PM |


Chess is a battle simulation game with an omnipotent King and a uniquely powerful Queen. At one point in the past the other pieces represented elephants, chariots, horsemen and foot soldiers. On the introduction of chess into the Wstern cultures this translated into Castles, Bishops, Knights and Pawns.

Unlike real life or even that of a modern simulated battle, both sides start of exactly equal with the same amount of time, a predetermined and constant battlefield within which to fight. Each side has an exactly similar 'Home Land' and knows in advance the size and capabilities of the opposing force. To further idealise the situation all the battling elements obey absolutely any command given, no flinching, retreating, insurrection or betrayal - Loyal unto death !

Equally, the 'Rules of engagement' are known to and obeyed by both sides with no illegal or out of sequence movements and so forth. Even if destruction is imminent the opposing side is allowed to make their move without hindrance. No trickery except for that allowed for within the rules. The pieces are arrayed at the start of the 'battle' in a predetermined order - each piece being opposed by a similar piece with exactly the same powers as their opposite number. Complete equality within an incredibly strict class structure - the only piece that can change 'class' is the most humble which if it survives to the distant end of the battlefield can be 'promoted' to any other piece, except for the King.

Not surprisingly, the 'life' of the King is guaranteed. When foreseeing inevitable destruction of himself or being unable to prevent his extinction he either resigns the battle and gracefully loses or else the battle is ended before his actual demise (Checkmate).

The relationships of the Queens and Kings are interesting. Neither King can come into pesonal contact with the opposing King. Logically, were this allowed the opposing King's next move would be to 'take' (euphemism for 'Kill') the other King. Equally neither King, both of whom move very slowly (one square at a time), is allowed to occupy a square next to an opposing Queen, as such a move would be instant suicide on the King's part.

There are a couple of further surprises:

First, there cannot be more than eight Pawns of any one colour on the board. In fact, a promoted Pawn that refused promotion and stayed as pawn would just be a useless lump on the board with no power to move or attack anything. It might be interesting to create a scenario where it could occur ...

Second, apart from the King, there could theoretically be situations with, say, 9 Queens or 10 Rooks, 10 Knights or 10 Bishops (or appropriate mixes). This would arise from all eight pawns of one colour being promoted and surviving. Now that's is a really wild idea, if all the Pawns of both colours got promoted then there'd be 2 Kings and the rest would be Queens, Rooks, Knights or Bishops. It might be a trifle difficult to arrange but, you never know, somewhere on a distant planet ...

It was whilst I was musing along these lines in a game today and chatting to my opponent that I found myself, as sometimes happens to me, in a bit of trouble on the board. I'm actually quite proud of the happenchance way that it finally turned out. The last part of the game is, of course, below along with a variation at move 3 that I noted might, but in the event did not, happen.