I have never liked chess – the game, that is, and not the musical. I mean, what’s not to like about a show that contains a song like ‘One Night In Bangkok’?
The reasons I don’t like chess (the game) are numerous and extremely rational. They include:
Chess is upsetting. I regard the capture of any of my pieces as a deep affront upon my person. It physically hurts me and makes me hate my opponent with an ice cold passion.
Chess is time-consuming. I read somewhere that if there are 50 consecutive moves without any piece taken, you can call a draw. So even if I got my opponent to agree not to take any of my pieces, we’d have to sit through 50 moves before the game would end. In a ‘speed’ Chess round where players are given, say, four hours to complete each turn, this would mean I’d be 180 years old before the game finished. This is almost as bad as a game of Monopoly with four-year-olds.
Chess is thinly-disguised classist propaganda. My inner-socialist hates the fact that all the pieces aren’t equal and that some pieces aren’t valued as much as other pieces from the “born-to-rule” class.
Chess is misogynistic. My inner-feminist wants to know why everyone’s hell-bent on saving the King when he’s obviously so drunk he can only move one square at a time. The Queen, in stark contrast, has got these amazing superpowers that are actually worth protecting – although admittedly, one could argue she’s clearly able to look after herself, thank you very much.
Chess is a game of strategy. The closest thing I get to thinking strategically is sticking three lollipops in the bottom of my handbag so I can get out of the toy department in Target with my kids without creating a scene. But at the end of the day, chess pieces don’t eat lollipops.
Chess is boring. I really only like games that lend themselves easily to drinking- and/or stripping versions. Fact.
Chess is stupid. I fail to understand how a building the size of a castle can move more quickly than a horse. That is just stupid.
My husband, on the other hand, hates all board games with a passion but makes an except for chess. I think this is mostly because he enjoys making lots of “hard-core pawn” jokes.
He is currently teaching Mr Justice, aged almost 8, how to play. Mr Justice likes it because, in his words, he’s a “genius at maths” (as well as being incredibly modest). The Pixie loves playing chess, too, but she plays by different rules called ‘Bad Man Rules’ in which my husband sets up the board and The Pixie knocks off all his pieces in quick succession with one of her own pieces, shouting “Bad Man!” as she does it. As a consequence, the game is over very quickly. She’s no fool, my daughter.
Even Mr McGee likes to play chess, but only by stealing pieces when nobody is looking and hiding them in various places – some of which are entirely understandable, like the recycling bin, and others a bit more bizarre, such as down his pants. Which, now I think about it, is probably a strategy I’ll adopt if anyone ever challenges me to a game of Strip Chess. Which, now I think about it some more, somebody definitely will do, especially since I’ve admitted to all the above, and one of these days, I’ll no doubt find myself 180 years old with a bishop in my undies… Enough said.