King… In chess

imageChess is a great thing! A game that entertains and amazes at the same time. 32 pieces on a board with 64 squares. Sounds pretty simple right? Yet everytime you play the game is always different and that is what makes me keep coming back.

Of all the pieces however, there is one that I find most interesting… The King.

At first glance seems to be the most important piece of them all – loose the King, loose the game. However, on a closer look, you realize that his majesty is rather a weak piece and his contributions to the overall strategy are limited… Beyond staying alive of course.

Think about it, his kingship does not like to be in the middle of the fray. At the first chance, retreats to the relative safety of the corners of the board away from the center where tipically most of the battle takes place (there’s even a special move for this – castling).

Also, some pretty good fighters have to commit to the sole purpose of protecting his highness, tipically a rook, a knight and a couple of pawns. These guys would be probably more useful in the battlefield slaying the oponent’s army. But remember, lose the king, lose the game.

He will leave all of the fighting to his trusted troops (pawns, rooks, Knights) advisors (bishops) and… His lovely wife (the queen) who in reality is the most powerful piece on the board. Wherever she shows up, the enemy trembles! Talk about the power behind the throne.

Very rarely you will see husband and wife fighting shoulder to shoulder for the good of the kingdom and their noble subjects. It will be more like I’ll cheer for you from here darling, go show them who’s boss.

And a well positioned and protected queen does show them who is boss… She is!

As the battle progresses and the casualties mount up in both armies, royalty becomes a bit worried, his highness will have to move either to join the chase of his nemesis or run away because the enemy troops will be busting the throne room doors.

In either case, when it comes to moving, the king is sluggish (1 square at a time in any direction). Maybe is that winter fat belly or just that he is out of practice, but in any case he is not very fast.

That can turn out to be problematic, if he has to run for dear life, he will not get very far before he is captured. If chasing the other king, it might take some time before he even reaches the vicinity where the other monarc is hiding.

So, you see, delegates all the fighting, spends most of the time in hiding, sluggish when moving around and yet, lose the king, lose the game.

I am sure there is a grander lesson here, but I am having too much fun thinking about my next move, so, I will leave to you to draw your own conclusion and perhaps you can share it with me while we can catch a game.

-Stein

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