Posts Tagged ‘chess’

The Game of Chess

April 8, 2011
the game of chess

the game of chess

In their grave corner, the players
Deploy the plodding pieces. The board
Detains them until dawn within its
Structured bounds where two colors clash.

From within, the forms radiate their magic rules.
Homeric castle, nimble knight,
Armored queen, backward king,
A bishop on the bias, and aggressive pawns.

When the players have departed,
When time has consumed them,
Certainly the ritual will not have ceased.

In the Orient this was burst into flame
Whose amphitheatre is now all the Earth.
Like another ganme, this game is infinite.

Weak king, slanted bishop, carnivorous
Queen, straightforward rook and cunning pawn.
Over the black and white they seek their path
And unleash their armed battle.

They do not know that the distingished hand
Of the player governs their destiny,
They do not know that an unyielding force
Controls their autonomy and their days.

The player too is a prisoner
(The phrase is Omar’s) of another board
Of black nights and of white days.

God moves the player, and he, the piece.
What god from behind God begins to weave the plot
Of dust and time and dreams and agonies?

— Jorge Luis Borges

Chess from Dreamtigers by Jorge Luis Borges. Translation by Katherine Neville and published in The Eight, a tale of the Montglane Service, a chess set that once belonged to Charlemagne.

Top story in The starleigh_grass Daily (Friday 8 April 2011).

Top story in The One Stop Poetry Daily (Friday 8 April 2011).

The chess game

The chess game

August 19, 2010
chess game

chess game

A young man said to the abbot from the monastery of Melk:

– I’d actually like to be a monk, but I haven’t learned anything in life. All my father taught me was to play chess, which does not lead to enlightenment. Apart from that, I learned that all games are a sin.

– They may be a sin but they can also be a diversion, and who knows, this monastery needs a little of both – was the reply.

The abbot asked for a chess board, sent for a monk and told him to play the young man.

But before the game began, he added:

– Although we need diversion, we cannot allow everyone to play chess the whole time. So, we only have the best players here; if our monk loses, he will leave the monastery and his place will be yours.

The abbot was serious. The young man knew he was playing for his life, and broke into a cold sweat; the chess board became the center of the world.

The monk began badly. The young man attacked, but then saw the saintly look on the other man’s face; at that moment, he began playing badly on purpose.

After all, he would rather lose, a monk is far more useful to the world.

Suddenly, the abbot threw the chess board to the floor.

– You have learned far more than was taught you – he said. – You concentrated yourself enough to win, were capable of fighting for that which you desire.

“Then, you had compassion, and were willing to make a sacrifice in the name of a noble cause. Welcome, because the secret of life is to know how to balance discipline with compassion.”

Posted by Paulo Coelho on his blog.

Also see

A Christmas Tale

Chess on the beach

May 27, 2010
chess on the beach

chess on the beach


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