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#329 :: Rook, Knight

January 3, 2005

click this web ‘popup’, for sale ‘width=500, order height=500,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0′); return false”>The game set has not yet been invented, but the pieces are constantly in play and the rules subject to random, violent and sudden change: The King moves in bold strokes across the spherical, blue board at will and at random, heedless to cries from his own Pawns. The Handlers and the Blind Pawns give him power. The Manipulator assigns the King’s moves, and calculates the moves the King’s Puppet and the Numb General must make in order to transit the board and claim territory without risking that Blind Pawns will become Seeing Pawns … This is tedious, isn’t it. Too bad that while I can re-edit the whole self-indulgent exercise in seconds, we have to wait four years to change the real thing.

These two noble figures come from a game forged in a different era of power and sacrifice, and, ultimately, from the greatest antique store in Southern California. Swirled, pearlescent plastic lends gravitas to their prideful faces. They are, perhaps, secret lovers from warring houses, the swift, crafty knight and his blunt, fast-moving maiden in the tower. They came from a bin of about three dozen random chess pieces, only one or two more of which belonged to their set. I can’t place the design or the period, but I’d guess they have visual roots in facial studies by NC Wyeth and his fellow travelers.

(Ed.: I just switched the site to WordPress, since the otherwise stellar Movable Type was causing me untold problems with comment spam. You’re now welcome to post comments once again. As you can see, I’m still fussing with the stylesheet, but I thought it was time to make the move anyway. Thanks for being so patient.)

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