Chess and Such by Kayne Belul

Pawn to e4. There are other options for sure, but it’s always a safe bet. One move into the chess game and there are already eleven common enough ways for black to respond. If both players are skilled and want a safe game, the first half of their match becomes choreographed. Certain moves just work.

A few weeks ago I attempted to have the protagonist of one of my stories play a game of chess with the omniscient narrator. I’ve since given up the idea. There are too many ways the story could play out. I can’t narrow the choices down.

I: The protagonist is sitting alone, in a park, at a stone chess table. A piece moves.

II: The protagonist only exists in the moments when his eyes are open. When his eyes are closed, he flickers out of existence and is replaced by the narrator, who wants to play chess in the intervals.

III: The narrator is standing in a white cube, watching a projection of the protagonist on one wall. To make a move, the narrator simply alters every slide from the moment when a piece moves to infinity. If he only altered one slide, the piece would revert instantly.

IV: The narrator thinks in the mind of a passerby, allowing him to play the protagonist in human form.

V: The narrator believes the pieces move, and so they do. The protagonist is driven insane.

VI: A homeless man acts as the king. The narrator half-heartedly attempts to kill him off while the protagonist tries to save him. Sort of like a word game.

And so on. None of the options quite worked.

Many people have made the case that pawn to d4 is the superior opening move. I don’t get it. I will eventually.

Kayne Belul, class of 2018

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