Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Proletarian Chess. The rook guards the pawn.


Here's a chess variation we played in Santa Cruz...

Robert and Professor Law played a Leninist version of chess. The pieces and the board were basically the same (no bishops were used, of course, as religious figures were the first casualty of the revolution) but instead of the traditionally bourgeois goal to trap the all important King, Robert had suggested we play a more egalitarian game, something more in accordance with our political goals. So, all the pawns were positioned on the back row and the rest of the pieces guarded them. The object was to take the last of your opponent’s pawns. We called it Proletarian Chess and boisterously declared traditional chess capitalist propaganda.

Robert: “Pawns are the working class. They are not to be sacrificed for the sake of one feudal King. Fuck the King. Let him fight for once! You lose a King and you lose one guy who can move one space. The King doesn’t do shit. The whole history of chess describes the inverted priorities of mankind. The king moves backwards but the pawns only move forward. See? Karl Marx understood this! It should be the knights and rooks and queens of the world who are elected to sacrifice themselves for the good of the population, to protect the working man. Instead the proletarian is drafted to the front line where he is victimized on the black and white battle ground. Our chess games represent a quantum leap in human sociology.”


There was another variation called "Revolution Chess" where one player had only pawns and the other player had all the other pieces (even those mystical wizards). The proletarian side had to capture both kings and the bourgeois side had to capture every pawn. But that variation really was very hard to play and was more symbolic than anything...symbolic of how the working man gets screwed every day.

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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.