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Posts Tagged ‘Fair Game’

32 blacks and 32 whites; 2 Kings – one of white and one of black; equally armed with an armour of equal forces; and of course, not to forget the equal battery of pawns. Chess isn’t a great deal. Equal battalion of equal strength. The difference isn’t in intentions either, one aim to behead the other King- a perfect equilibrium.

Since my birth, I have been a mute spectator of it. How many times have I been witness to the same slaughter, only colours differing each time. Nevertheless, the game never ended. It cannot. This was yet another game, and as usual, my master opened with one of us, along with his usual hyperbole, “Beware, you ignorant creature, here comes my pawn”.

I knew from all my experiences as a pawn, this was a jocular warning for the opposition. We haven’t been considered even a potential threat by anybody. I, standing at the corner in front of mighty Rook, just watched as the opposition pawn made his entry in the battlefield.

One after other, moves followed. I never paid much attention towards the motives of such moves. We weren’t supposed to do that. I have been brought up as a loyal pawn. Pawns never think. They are always the frontline soldiers. Always ready to take any attack head on. Behind us is shielded the Majestic couple and their armour of Rooks, Knights and Bishops, they all are unique in their own powers. We are the feeblest ones, making one move at a time. Following what the edict may be.

Suddenly a scream interrupted my stream of thoughts. What I saw was, if not frightening but a usual war-scene. One of us had been slained and was lifted out of the arena. The next move, the opposition pawn, which killed my brethren, was beheaded by the Knight. To cap this genocide, my Knight whom I always looked upon with great adulation for his formidable penetrating powers was also killed by the Rook. I wondered how my master let this happen. Loss of a Knight is considered a grave one. But then, I am a pawn. I was not supposed to be worried by all this. I left it all on my master.

I had always viewed with awe the Queen. She had all the strength of the game. She seemed simply omnipotent. She could reach just anywhere. Her mere presence was enough to send terror wave across the opposite camp. Then there was the Rook- mighty and huge- he could run over the enemy anytime. Bishop, too, with his slant gait, was equally capable of mayhem. To peak it all was the Knight, who could penetrate deep inside the enemy fort and come back with equal swiftness, of course, after demolishing the enemy from within.

However, one question always plagued my mind when ever such show of strength was displayed. All this was to protect and kill a King, who can hardly move a square at a time. And all those who have tried their hand at the game any time know; King moves only when in danger. Yes, that’s symbol of His Royalty, His Excellence, but shouldn’t a leader lead from front. It’s always the Queen, or some proxy, who wages war for the King. I wondered. But again, I am pawn, so…..

I was brought back from this trance by a cunning laughter. Then I saw myself moving ahead in the battlefield. The void which was created by the enemy Rook (who killed our Knight) was being attacked. And I was the part of it. I saw the Rook, whom I was shielding, moving pass me and also the Bishop backing up his advance by keeping check on opposite Queen.

I was thrilled and excited. I was ebullient; for now I was in something really “big”. I was considered worthy enough by my master’s perspicacity. The enemy Queen was kept at bay and we were advancing rapidly. Suddenly, a sense of pride and significance stirred me up. I started feeling important. I was part of a very shrewd move to finish off the opposition forever.

Two moves later, I found myself posing ahead of Queen. A mixed feeling of bravery, courage, and fear was running through my nerves. I know, my Bishop was backing me up, so the Queen won’t dare to touch me. I had started understanding the dirty games behind the moves. And if Queen hit at me, our Rook would just find the much-awaited path to check the opposition King.

Enemy obliged, and I was killed. I had lost my life, my part in the game had been played, I believed. I assumed now, the Queen too will be slaughtered by my protector Bishop. But to my surprise, that wasn’t to happen. Bishop just backtracked. In the next move, my Queen attacked the opposition King from the other front. Then I realized; my sacrifice, my martyrdom, was only to divert attention from the other front. Poor me! I thought I was going to be a part of the plot that won the game for us. I was totally dejected and disillusioned by my master. He yet again used me.

“It happens”, said a voice besides me. I turned and saw another pawn killed in the war and now watching it from outside the 64 squares. “Tell me, what did you gain by being in that plot?” Just when I was thinking of an answer, he added, “or did you lose anything? Don’t say your life; we pawns don’t have a life of our own.” I stared back at him blankly, bemused, knowing not what to say. He replied,” Brother, don’t you feel we are happy following the orders. Not knowing what for these orders are? Who gave them? What are we going to achieve by executing them? The moment you get into these things, you are neck deep into the dirty waters of politics, and then you start thinking in the same dirty fashion. What should I do to get that Rook out of that square- simple bait him with a pawn, the most logical and allegedly intelligent way out, isn’t it?”

” You start feeling that you are creating a history, doing something great for your side, conspiring of something which even Chanakya must have not dreamt of, playing a move, a game, a plot, which just no one shall decipher; and then you shall be through with your aim. Isn’t this, what you thought when you were poised in front of that Queen?”

I still knew nothing of the answer. But what all he said was true and he depicted my feelings accurately.

“Well, friend, I don’t know, if you achieved your goal or not; and I am least concerned about it, but one thing for sure, you lost all your ingenuousness. The world round you will never be the same. The feeling of guilt that you played a dirty game, the pinch of betrayal that led you here, and not to forget the vexation, the unquenchable bloody thirst for revenge, won’t let that sweet, naive smile back on your face. Friend, YOU HAVE LOST YOUR INNOCENCE, YOUR OWN SELF”.

I stood there, staring at the dirty game, where mayhem continued, betrayals becoming routine, and politics flourishing— A GAME NOT SO FAIR.

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