First and foremost, thank you to the reader who sent from my wishlist (‘happy birthday to me’) the wonderful “Lewis” chessmen, found on Lewis Island in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, not at Lewes in Sussex where friends of mine labor in the Lord’s vineyard and whence came Thomas Paine, a man for our own time now. Some years back I saw the 12th c. Lewis chessmen in the British Museum, which has most of them, and found them striking. In general I prefer to play with Staunton pieces, or very similar. These special chessmen, however, are wonderful. They were discovered in 1831.
After that, their history would be the stuff of a great thriller, if someone creative could work it out.
A while back I posted an invitation to Catholic clerics who might play chess to drop me a line. I had a few nibbles. I’m patient.
I also want to send thanks out to people whom I don’t know, but who sent practical things in large and heavy boxes. You know who you are, if I don’t, and God knows you as well. May God reward you.
Thank you to all who have sent monthly donations and ad hoc contributions. Thank you to you special “200” project givers. Some have dropped by the way side, perhap others will take up the baton and keep it going.
Thank you for your prayers and notes.
I have been regularly saying Mass for the intention of my benefactors, as I did today. Today, ALL benefactors seemed appropriate for “All Saints”.
Meanwhile, in other chess news, one of you sent this amusing bit from The People’s Cube which I haven’t seen for some time.
Buy Now: Anti-racist Chess!
In traditional chess, white gets to go first. A shocking and racist beginning to anything, but pretty much what you’d expect from a game invented by white people.*
Anti-racist Chess is an updated, more equitable version of this ancient but problematic pastime.
How to Play
The rules are similar to traditional chess with these modifications to make it more fair for the Pieces of Color (PoC):
- Before playing, the skin color of both players is determined. The players are to be assigned their pieces based on skin color if at all possible: black players get the black pieces, racist white people get the racist white pieces, etc. If both players are the same skin color, the player with the fewest grievances must play as white.
- Before the game starts, the black player gets to draw two ‘race cards’ from the Diverstity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) deck.
- Black gets to move first.
- All the black pieces can move anywhere on the board during their turn. Only one piece can be moved per turn.
- The white pieces can only move forward one square. Only one piece can be moved per turn.
- Players are permitted to play a race card at any time, which allows them to remove any one of their opponent’s pieces from the board. After the race card has been played, another can be drawn from the deck.
- Just like traditional chess, the first player to place the other player’s king in checkmate wins. Stalemates are also possible, in which case the black player automatically wins to make up for past injustices.
History of the game
Critical Race Theory (CRT) Professor Kincade X. Charletien noticed a disturbing trend in the game of chess in 2016. He analyzed 632 chess matches going back to 1948 and discovered this shocking fact: white wins 54.6% of the time. While most people would make this obvious example of systemic racism known by the usual methods – publication of a book, writing an expose for the New York Times, or burning down a city – Dr. Charletien decided to go a different route. Like the inventor of Monopoly, he would seek to educate the toiling masses by harnessing mankind’s natural attraction to games and puzzles.
He invented Anti-Racist Chess in 2019 and it became an instant classic, replacing ‘racist chess’ nearly everywhere in the US and selling over 87 million copies in the first year.
Makes an excellent Kwanzaa gift!
* Some people still believe chess was invented in India 1,300 years ago, but that has been shown to be an elaborate hoax: Chess was actually invented by white slave traders in 1619.
Speaking of racism and prejudice, I suppose my friends in Lewes are preparing for the annual Catholic bashing coming up on 5 November.