Love and Respect your King—or Lose

Oct 12, 2011, 10:10 AM |

Love and Respect your King—or Lose

I must admit, when I first started playing chess I had very little love and even less respect for my king.  As ridiculous as this sounds, sometimes I wouldn't even notice him. 

It is easy for a beginner to take her king for granted because he is perceived to have the least amount of power.  He controls little space, he makes no grand sweeping gestureshe just sits there.   He moves one square at a time and even that lends itself to a bit of contempt because typically when he's moving during the middle-game, it's to avert an attack, running away like a coward.  Needless to say, I'm not a fan of weak men; so maturing in this game has allowed me to see the king in a different light.

The king is not weak, he has infinite power and potential because he is the beginning and the end of the game.  In shaping our thoughts about the king, it is helpful to compare him to that of a manager, CEO, or head-of-state.  The head of any organization, family, or state, functions most effectively when he can motivate those around him to do the work that is required of the institution.  You are not going to see the CEO of Target stocking shelves; and it’s not because he can’t or because he thinks the task is beneath him; his time must be spent on strategic planning and coordinating those around him to do the work.

While many women are most attracted to charismatic men with sweeping gestures and empty promises, smart women are more attentive to those men who simply get the job done.  On the flip-side, many men spend a lot of time with women who tease their heads in mirrors longer than they spend in books.  On both sides, what is popular is popular.  But smarter people should and do choose accordingly.  I digress, but for a more satisfying life and loving family unitchoose wisely.  There is good reason to chose a man who is still like a king than flamboyant like a queen.

In the endgame, the battleground will be bare.  The opposition will have fewer attacking pieces, and the king becomes a very active piece.  His primary focus is to facilitate the mate of the enemy king, avoid mate, and promote his passed pawnsa gesture of true nobility.  Wise leaders do not needlessly sacrifice pawns because they are the least valued on the board.  Wise leaders take note of a pawn potential and develop candidate pawns that they will work diligently to see through to promotion.  This ensures the succession of the kingdom. 

Many beginners do not experience the courage and wisdom of their king, because many beginners are still learning the patience and long-suffering that is required of a good chess player.  King safety is of most importance; not because he is weak, because he is the alpha and the omega of this game—all-powerful and infinitely valuable. 

Check out this game I played against a stronger player.  I was down material, but my fight was strong and deadly.  My opponent's king, on the other hand, was in a pretty vulnerable position.


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