Suppose it were perfectly certain that the life and fortune of each of us would some day depend upon our winning or losing a game of chess. Do you not think that we should all consider it to be our primary duty to learn at least the names of the pieces and how to position them on the chessboard?
The world is a chessboard, Madam, on which we play out our ploys and follies. You are the Queen, of course. Your moves are the strongest. For myself, I claim only to be a knight, advancing in a crooked progress. Do we move ourselves, do you think, or does a great gloved hand place on our squares
Self-confidence is very important. If you don't think you can win, you will take cowardly decisions in the crucial moments, out of sheer respect for your opponent. You see the opportunity but also greater limitations than you should. I have always believed in what I do on the chessboard, even when I had no objective reason to. It is better to overestimate your prospects than underestimate them.
Rather than opera, football is more like ballet or a chess game. You can really see it in a team like Arsenal, especially when Dennis Bergkamp was playing. He seemed to be able to read the game like a chessboard and knew where a player would be several seconds later and put the ball there for him.
Marcus du Sautoy
Unchecked pride evolves into swagger, a hypnotizing mask of insecurity that can and does compromise our ability to make progress and attain power. Pride stands in the way of forgiveness and a strategic approach to navigating a chessboard rigged to prevent pawns from becoming kings and queens.
I could picture how Caprice was before we lost her. Dark hair, beautiful smile, intelligent hazel eyes, quick wit. Now gone. Just gone. Like a chessboard where suddenly one of the knights disappeared. A blank spot on the board of life that could never truly be replaced because no two things were alike, no two beings alike.
Perhaps there is a reason that there is no fool piece on the chessboard. What action, a fool? What strategy, a fool? What use, a fool? Ah, but a fool resides in a deck of cards, a joker, sometimes two. Of no worth, of course. No real purpose. The appearance of a trump, but none of the power: Simply an instrument of chance. Only a dealer may give value to the joker.
That image of a chessboard - an epic contest between two giant players, carefully nudging their pieces around the globe as part of a grand strategy - has indeed become a familiar metaphor for the Cold War. But it is misleading. Many decisions remembered today for their farsighted, tactical brilliance were denounced in their day as weak-willed. And big, public gestures often made less difference than the small, hidden ones.
Generals were early to bed, early to rise, always brushing their teeth after every meal, never skipping a morning shave. All they had to do was sit back in Nagano drawing up their battle plans. One order from them and us mortals on the front lines would move like pawns across a chessboard to our grisly fates. I'd like to see just one of them here with us in the mud. We had our own rules down here. Which is probably why they stayed away. If one of them showed, I'd see to it a stray bullet put them on the Killed In Action list.
When we talk about 'reproductive rights' this is what we mean. It's the difference between people as objects, and people as agents: between regarding people as pawns on the policy chessboard and recognizing them as the players, the decision-makers, the drivers of policy; autonomous individuals intimately concerned with the direction of their own lives. Under these conditions women, especially, enjoy better health and live fuller lives.
I became aware of just how fleeting the sense of happiness was, and how flimsy its basis: a warm restaurant after having come in from the rain, the smell of food and wine, interesting conversation, daylight falling weakly on the polished cherrywood of the tables. It took so little to move the mood from one level to another, as one might push pieces on a chessboard. Even to be aware of this, in the midst of a happy moment, was to push one of those pieces, and to become slightly less happy.
The first Embassy to Afghanistan by a western power left the Company's Delhi Residency on 13 October 1808, with the Ambassador accompanied by 200 calvary, 4, 000 infantry, a dozen elephants and no fewer than 600 camels. It was dazzling, but it was also clear from this attempt to reach out to the Afghans that the British were not interested in cultivating Shah Shuja's friendship for its own sake, but were concerned only to outflank their imperial rivals: the Afghans were perceived as mere pawns on the chessboard of western diplomacy, to be engaged or sacrificed at will. It was a precedent that was to be followed many other times, by several different powers, over the years and decades to come; and each time the Afghans would show themselves capable of defending their inhospitable terrain far more effectively than any of their would-be manipulators could possibly have suspected.
Women's liberation is one thing, but the permeation of anti-male sentiment in post-modern popular culture - from our mocking sitcom plots to degrading commercial story lines - stands testament to the ignorance of society. Fair or not, as the lead gender that never requested such a role, the historical male reputation is quite balanced. For all of their perceived wrongs, over centuries they've moved entire civilizations forward, nurtured the human quest for discovery and industry, and led humankind from inconvenient darkness to convenient modernity. Navigating the chessboard that is human existence is quite a feat, yet one rarely acknowledged in modern academia or media. And yet for those monumental achievements, I love and admire the balanced creation that is man for all his strengths and weaknesses, his gifts and his curses. I would venture to say that most wise women do.
Why, observe the thing; turn it over; hold it up to the window; count the beads, long, oval, like some seaweed bulbs, each an amulet. See the tint; it's very old; like clots of sunshine, aren't they? Now bring it near; see the carving, here corrugated, there faceted, now sculptured into hideous, tiny, heathen gods. You didn't notice that before! How difficult it must have been, when amber is so friable! Here's one with a chessboard on his back, and all his kings and queens and pawns slung round him. Here's another with a torch, a flaming torch, its fire pouring out inverted. They are grotesque enough; but this, this is matchless: such a miniature woman, one hand grasping the round rock behind, while she looks down into some gulf, perhaps, beneath, and will let herself fall. 0, you should see her with a magnifying-glass! You want to think of calm satisfying death, a mere exhalation, a voluntary slipping into another element? There it is for you. They are all gods and goddesses. They are all here but one; I've lost one, the knot of all, the love of the thing. Well! Wasn't it queer for a Catholic girl to have at prayer?
Harriet Prescott Spofford
The game is a thread, microscopic in breadth, a hint of gossamer drawing unsuspecting souls together in simple competition to the exclusion of all else, from a mother and her infant playing peekaboo to two old men hunched over a chessboard and everything in between. The game unifies, joining father and son pitching baseballs at night after a long day at the office, pitches pounding the mitt or skipping past, one time even knocking the coffee cup handle clean off and the boy scampering off to retrieve a wild one as the dad sips and ponders. The game allows brothers to bond even when the age gap is too great for real competition, their mutual effort to fashion a bridge between disparate age and ability forming a bond of trust and respect. And finally, it is the game's presence and past and its memory that inspires each of us to forgive time and aging and their inevitable accompanying attrition because the gray and hobbled old man before me was once lean and powerful and magnificent and some of what became of him was due to the investment he made in me and after all the batting practice he threw and grounders he hit, his shoulder aches and his knees need replacement. Even though youth masks it so you don't realize it all when you're a kid, someday it happens to you and suddenly you realize you are him and you are left wishing you could go back and tell him what you now know and perhaps thank him for what he gave up. You imagine him back then receiving nothing in return except the knowledge that you would someday understand but he could not hasten that day or that revelation and he abided it all so graciously knowing that your realization might be too late for him. So you console yourself that in the absence of your gratitude he clung to hope and conviction and the future. Turn the page and you find yourself staring out at the new generation and you wince as his pitches bruise your palm and crack your thumb and realize that today the game is growth and achievement and tomorrow it will be love and memories. The game is a gift.