Thanks to the help of my beautiful, wonderful, marvelicious momma, everything was ready in time for English Night. Alhamdulillah, it went well. This time one of my students brought a chess board, and there was Scrabble and chess going at the same time. I played three games, won only one.
Game Number 1: Played against a fairly good player. I am a mediocre player, therefore I lost.
Game Number 2: I win! I then rewarded myself with a handy slice of cheesecake. How’s that for a prize? (Like the lizard who jumped from the high Iroko tree, I will praise myself if no one else does)
Game Number 3: Now game three was the interesting one. Games one and two were played on a small, portable chess set. Game three, however, was played on a full-size wooden board, not with pieces, but stone figurines. The king was about six inches tall, the pawns were about three inches. They were all beautifully carved, and slightly racist. (hehe) The white pieces were Crusaders. There was a fatherly-looking Christian king (looked like Richard Lionheart to me) and a gentle, matronly-looking white queen.
The black pieces though, were SARACEN HEATHENS!!, aka the Muslims who were trying to defend the Holy Land from those nutty Crusading invaders. The black king (Salahuddin?) had a big nose, fat lips, and ugly, exaggerated features, and he was wearing an ominous, druid-type hood. The black queen was actually a Niqabi. She was wearing a long qameez and a scarf, and had her face covered. I was so in awe of the huge pieces and consequently so confused and disoriented by them that I kept mixing up what they were.
At one point in the game I was closing my knights (carved on horseback with complete horses) around what I thought was a lone white bishop. Well, luckily for me, just before I was about to put my piece directly in front of him, I realized, he was actually the king. I had to retreat, and all the moves I put into that strategy were a complete waste. Maybe I’m humble, or maybe I have a big ego, but I was too ashamed to admit that I was confused by the beautiful but visually chaotic pieces.
I also almost sent a castle to its doom by putting it in the way of a pawn that was totally obscured by the giant knight in front of it. I was about to take my finger off the piece (signaling the end of my move) when I noticed that the knight had three heads. One for the horse, one for the rider, and one on the side for the grubby little pawn hiding behind it. All I can say is, never trust Crusaders.
The board came from Germany by the way. I don’t know if I would ever want one. It’s too hard to play with. You can’t go from clean and simple little plastic bits to six-inch stone figures. It’s too hard to tell what’s going on, and you can’t throw them at people when you lose. 25% percent of the fun of playing chess is in the strategy, another 25% is in the mind games you play, and the last 50% is in throwing the pieces at the winner to compensate for the fact that you’ve lost. This is why we play with plastic pieces in my house. The marble pieces were destroyed a long time ago.