‘I declare it’s marked out just like a large chess board!’ Alice said as last . . . ‘It’s a great huge game of chess that’s being played–all over the world . . . I wouldn’t mind being a Pawn, if only I might join–though of course I should like to be a Queen, best.’
From my library’s corner sale I acquired my very own chess set. It was only a dollar, so I thought, why not pick it up? I am now on the slow but steady path to learning how to play chess properly. On this journey with me is my little sister. We decided that we would learn to become masters of chess together.
My chess set is a plastic one, molded in the ‘authentic Staunton design’, according to the side of the box. You can tell just from looking at the box that this is an older set. The yellowed tape, the style of the type, the discoloration of the box. Upon inspection of one side of the box I found a date; 1969. It may not be as pretty as some of the chess sets in the book my sister and I are using for instruction, but it does have some sort of charm to it. I’m certainly glad I have it, and that it simply wasn’t tossed into a dumpster somewhere.
The book we are reading from is “Chess move by move” by Paul Langfield. It was written in 1968, just a year before my chess set was made. I think that makes my chess set and it a pretty good pair, don’t you? I was amused to see the fictional quote it has printed on it’s copyright page.
THROUGH THE LOOKING–GLASS
I thought it was a fitting quote to add in there.
We’ve gotten through the first chapter, which explains to us how to properly set the game up. The two things I have learned from it are a) the bottom right-hand corner of the board must always be a while square for each player, and b) the white queen goes on a white square and the black queen goes on a black square, always. The idea that the king should always go on your right-hand side and the queen on your left is wrong. This puts the king and the queen diagonal from each other across the chess board, and doesn’t create the king’s side and the queen’s side of the board like it should.
When the queens are set up properly, a grid is created, as shown above. This is especially important if you are recording the game in ledger or some other thing.
We haven’t gotten to any of the actual moves yet, so we might not be able to out wit you as of this moment, but so far my sister and I can at least keep your board straight and even record the match properly if you so wanted us to.
There are many varied and unique chess sets pictured inside our book. It almost makes me want to go out and start collecting them, just for the looks of it. But if I started collecting anything else, I’d end up on an episode of Extreme Hoarders one day. That’s what I’m told, anyways. Though, arguably, is it really hoarding if all the stuff is really cool stuff? I don’t think so. Still, I am living on limited space at the moment, and limited cash, so there will be no old chess set collecting for now.
By the end of this book I will be a chess master ( probably ), and so will my sister ( maybe ). Either way, we’re going to have fun with it, and that’s all that will matter when the covers are closed.