Friday, February 8, 2013

Chess and Beginnings and Ends

 He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.
~Revelations 21:6~

 My dad was teaching me how to play chess today.  The last move in the game will always be check mate.  One of the kings will be captured or executed or the "flag" will have been captured or burned or basically, the king of either white or black will have no place to go, and is knocked over by a finger as a symbol that means someone has lost and someone has won. 
In a previous game, he asked if I wanted to end the game because we were so far into it and I had made several not so good moves and lost many pieces.  I replied, "Don't you want to know what is going to happen next?" Then I smiled.
"I mean, if we end the game now, we'll never know what might have happened."
I said something along those lines.  And I was entertained by the game we were playing, even if I was losing, because it was very interesting and I had never been in a position quite like it before in a chess game.  I had lost before but the pieces in that particular game were in interesting positions and I had been drawn into that game and wanted to find out who would win.  I can't remember if we finished it or what the outcome was.  But walking away, I realized, and therefore spoke, "Chess games are like stories."

Although chess games don't really have a distinct middle but only a beginning and end (stories have beginnings, middles, and ends), they are like stories.  Good and evil.  Black and white.  Dark and light.  Sometimes I call them the White chocolate side and dark chocolate side.
Chess games are like battles and some politicians like the game because it helps them think about certain moves in real life.
This clip from the somewhat recent movie The Young Victoria illustrates how chess sort of mirrors politics in some ways.

When you picture real people in the place of the pieces on a battlefield or near a castle, chess can seem real.  Anyway, sorry for being off topic!

The way to get to check mate is to position your pieces so that the King can't move anywhere and then to attack him.  Or chase him around the board with your pieces till you accidentally catch him in check mate.

There are so many ways to begin a story or end it.  Ultimately it ends in either answering the question, "Did the character get what he/she wanted?" or ending a certain amount of related events in the character's life.  But, of course, the story never ends where we place the "ending".  The characters will go on and on.  They will life happily ever after, but there is much more to it than what we have said.  There will be many more events in their story, and some of them happened before we placed the beginning!
But I suppose there is a proper beginning and a proper end to your story.  You just have to choose it.  Some stories cover someone's whole life including their birth and death.
I like the movie Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium because it shows that even though someone's ending may seem sad, it must happen in order for the next domino to topple and for another character's story to begin.

Anyway.  Chess games are like stories because there are characters in a setting with a goal.  Each different kind of piece has its own importance in the game, its own abilities.  Characters in our stories each have their own abilities and setbacks.  And there is always a King in a game of chess that needs to be protected above all.  The one at his side, the queen, is the second most important piece because of her abilities (she can move forward, backward, and diagonal in all four ways.  But she can't jump over pieces like the knight can).
The game of chess doesn't mirror most stories but it does have similarities.
God bless you and give you peace. :)