Day 63: Playing traditional games
I don’t know if you’ve heard of this game, or maybe played it. It’s called ‘Chess’ and it’s supposed to be a bit of a classic. In this game, where the black pieces play against the white pieces on a black-and-white checkerboard, the aim is to corner the ‘king’ using an assortment of pieces. There are ‘queens’ which are badass, and much better than the slow, lumbering, fearful kings.
Horses, known as ‘knights’ can jump around in a rather awkward L-shape that never seems to help with anything. ‘Bishops’ skid along the diagonals, presumably following the slant of their sceptres. And you have these little crenellated castles named ‘rooks’ after the birds that roost in them, that can go as far as they like in a straight line, as long as there’s nothing blocking it. Which is weird, because I’d have thought once you get a freaking castle up to speed, it will keep going and crush through anything in its way.
Finally there are these pretty useless cannon-fodder foot-soldiers called ‘prawns’ that move slowly, attack ineptly, but have strength in numbers that can make them useful. Plus if they can storm to the other end of the board they get crowned queen. Even if there is one already. Odd.
Okay, so I’ve obviously played chess before, but I didn’t think my 100 Days of Play could go by without playing some classic traditional games. I played a few games with my friend Anselm. Thankfully we’re both just about as bad as each other, and shared an equal number of wins, losses and stale-mates.
Mainly I feel with games like this: faster equals more fun. Maybe it’s not the game for me when it drags on, but I find it plays well at speed.
Once you’re a chess player, you spend a lot of time thinking about the game and you can’t get it completely out of your head – Magnus Carlsen