– Is it all about winning?

The unnamed chess king
Chess, a game of battle and strategy, an art, that can be explored forever. It sharpens your mind, teaches you patience, focus, and sometimes even life. And I think maybe it has a bigger purpose, well mainly because I
don’t want to regret my past but… Anyways.  A chess piece, most of them have the same story, there are very few of us who get a master that influences the story of our lives, and I am lucky to be one of them.

Z Zip, zzzzip, zzzapip  I heard the zip of my pouch open and the bright, warm sunlight came in. I was excited, very excited; today was my first game and I was looking forward to having a good start by defeating the
black king, we don’t have names so I’ll just make up one, ummm……. ‘Blonkei’ yeah, that’s a good name. So my hopes were high until I heard my 9-year-old owner say “How do we arrange the pieces papa?” as he
tumbled my packet onto the hard surface of the table

‘ouch!’ 
The father took black (Blonkie’s army) and the boy took white (my army) I really hoped we wouldn’t be playing a game today, it certainly won’t be a good way for me to start the season. It took a long 30 minutes for the father to explain to the boy how the game works and the only thing new I learnt was the boy’s name was Gary, and I knew I wouldn’t like him. One of the
questions he asked his dad was “Why is the king so important when it can move so less?’  ‘aww, how cute, bah’ the king is always important, he is the leader, except I have no control over my army, but still, a king is only named king when he is important, powerful, a hero! Shouldn’t the boy understand that, what do they teach him at school, how to put people down? 

And after this terrible start, I had to play three games on that kid’s side, which means I lost three games straight, what a way to start the season ‘Wo, hooo’, I mean honestly, who pays h3 as an opening move and to. To make things worse I was placed next to the black king back in the pouch.

Good game,” said Blonkei.
“Shut it Blonkei.” I said.
“Who you talking to?” asked Blonkei.
“You, who else,” I replied annoyed, this man didn’t understand the competition at all.
“Finally, someone decided to name me, though
Blonkei doesn’t seem to be a very great name”
Really, who is this man, he thinks he can go joking around with the great white king, he is really lucky I can’t move.

“Whiter?”
Oh god, this is going to be a long night, maybe a
week.

So that was how went my first year in this house. Turns out the boy only wanted to play with white and there were a very few times I played on the father’s side and won. But still, I never managed to tease Blonkei. At least the kid was improving.  So after my boring first year here I hear Gary was starting chess classes, something new at last.

The first day is always boring, the teacher explained how the game works. Then things started improving. Given the amazing understanding of chess, I still missed noticing some things that the teacher did. The classes were fun. My life was improving

One day, four months later the teacher told Gary to start playing on chess.com, the online chess website. At that moment my whole life went tumbling down, all my dreams, I would guide Gary to success, workday and
night in his hand until the day he became the best chess player ever, I would have a name, I would be celebrated in the world of chess pieces, but now, now all those dreams would go to that chess.com. I would not allow
that, I was screaming and shouting. I wanted to punch the teacher but, newton’s law of motion states I can’t move on my own, AAAAGHH, and this has to happen just when Gary had started winning against his father,
wait … did I just say the boy has talent?
So the next few months I was only taken out for the chess class, or to play with the father so my life was back to stage one, except I mostly won and got my chances to tease Blonkie. Every time I played I knew the boy was improving, his speed, his moves, and he knew it too. It was that time when I learnt something new.

The boy loved white, he said it was his lucky colour, most of the time he won with white. He got too attached to me and never believed he could win with black, so he never did.

In his class, the other students were catching up to him and he didn’t like that, and his chess teacher would make him play more of black. He believed it unlucky so he barely ever won. His test was coming close, the test to decide if he can go to the next level in chess, and if he didn’t believe in black he would lose. And that’s all his father said that night “Believe”. That one word did wonders. It really felt weird how the next day went.
The next day Gary was all ready and had high hopes. He sure did pass with flying colours when he played black he played one of the best games in his
life. That one word brought Gary 2 steps up. It’s so wondrous how just a thought can influence too much.
From then Gary went to many tournaments, won a lot, became arrogant, like every other person with high ambitions, and his downfall started again, he lost a lot and a lot and a lot. He gave up, nearly.
This state of the now teen reminded me a lot of myself, how I dreamt only of my fame. So I decided to reflect.

I considered myself a king, hoped to be most famous of all, but my hope of becoming the best blinded me to the beauty of the game. I only focused on the boy because I wanted to become famous, I hoped he would take me there. I never realized that I was just another piece of human entertainment, nothing more, yet I was given extra attention. I was named a king just for the game, and I was a very dumb one too, but I hoped it was false. I started to wonder, is there a deeper meaning to the game? Well, the past cannot be changed but I can make a better next move.

Back to Gary, one day he came crying out of the bathroom and asked “What have I become?” and again the father came to the rescue. The boy and the father had a conversation, a rather long one, but after that Gary started becoming normal. The next few months Gary practised and practised, but never went for a tournament. He was too scared of what would happen. It took some time but he finally decided to walk through the mist. On the other side the chess pieces welcomed him like a King, he had improved a lot. In 9 months he was in the nationals’ playoffs, all my dreams were coming true just when I dropped them, 3 years later he won against Vishwanath Annand, 4 years after that an international master, and now 9 years later grandmaster. In this period, I saw him win and lose, but his personality was always good. He had now developed an appreciation for the beauty of the game.

It’s so amazing what a simple lesson can do, I sit here on my wall recalling my life every day. I still feel there is a deeper meaning to this game, I hope
to find it and I assure you, I am making progress.
-no one has ever won a game by taking forward moves, sometimes you have to move back to take better steps forward. That’s life…

By, Hitanshu Dhandhania, Grade 6, EJPN

Posted by Ekya

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