Daily Rome Shot 531, etc. – packed!

Catholic?  Have a site or web project?  The Catholic Signal Corps might be just the right resource for you.  Recently we helped Padre Pio Press.

Please remember me when shopping online. Thanks in advance. US HERE – UK HERE  These links take you to a generic “catholic” search in Amazon, but, once in and browsing or searching, Amazon remembers that you used my link and I get the credit.

Today, 50 years ago in Iceland, not much is going on. The great match between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky resumes on 15 August.

Meanwhile, I know you are hungry for more chess lore.   I am working my way, slowly, through Birth of the Chess Queen: A History by a feminist writer.  It is interesting how in some books that have an ideological goal, or some TV series or movies, the first part is balanced and even-handed, nothing too forward.  Then, slowly but surely, less subtle comments or images are put it.  It’s as if they are thinking, “If he read/watched this far into the book/TV series/movie, he is hooked and won’t stop.  Now is the time to start putting in the a) ideology b) images of homosexual PDAs, c) propaganda.  Over time, it’ll have its effect in changing people’s views.  Just think Murphy Brown.”

Anyway, I am now at the chapter about the connection between devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary in the medieval period and the development of the Queen as a piece in chess.  So far, respectful, but there are a couple of little hints that more might be on the way.  All in all, when she talks about the great queens of, say, France, especially those descending from Eleanor of Aquitaine, such as the fabled Blanche, her daughter and mother of St Louis of France, she is respectful and laudatory about the fact that they had many children and were family in their families.  However, she usually at some point throws in a comment about how “misogynistic” prevailing attitudes were.  Yawn.  Really?

Anyway, I have picked up on one common theme about the transformation of the ancient Indian/Persian Elephant and the Islamic Vizier into the European Bishop.  In literature of the day, descriptions of chess, poetry about chess – don’t for a moment underestimate its importance and popularity – pieces had moral, ethical connotations too.  Bishops were in some places Jesters (the two pronged cap and bells hat probably being a version of tusks) or were considered as sneaky and devious, because they moved on diagonals.   Here’s one passage about the chess Bishop in the time of the great Eleanor.

But getting back to the bishop, he was generally not held in high esteem.  [Alexander] Neckham referred to him as a “spy” and the Winchester Poem called him a “thief.”  The very word aufin commonly used in French and English for this piece became a term of scorn or reproach in both languages.


There are quite a few snarky remarks about the chess bishop.

No bishops in sight in this puzzle.  White to move and start the net, and I don’t mean ham radio.  You might be tempted by a distraction.  Don’t waste your time.

Thank to a few more readers who have used the Wavy Flag for my upcoming Roman October.  Every donation makes a difference.  In the last couple of days, I thank especially


Mille grazie!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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One Comment

  1. Paul says:

    But Father, but Father, isn’t there still a lockdown?
    TLM 19 virus?

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