Home Pharos Fiction Site Map Updates Search



Halexandria Foundation
Sacred Mathematics
Connective Physics
Chronicles of Earth
Justice, Order, and Law
Extraterrestrial Life
Creating Reality
Tree of Life

Check Mate

Chess was ostensibly invented in India in the seventh century A.D. (although some have suggested that the game goes as far back as four or five thousand years).  From India the game made its way to Persia, where it became the classic battle between two kingdoms, leading to the capture or death of one or the other king.  In fact, the modern chess player’s cry of “Checkmate!” is a corruption of the Persian “Shakh Mat!”, which translates, “The king is dead!”  The game was introduced into Western Europe by the Crusaders who had brought it home along with a host of other ideas and learning.  

The curious thing about chess is the distinct ways in which different types of pieces move on the board. The eight pawns on each side, for example, protect the whole array of other pieces, and as foot spearmen, move one step at a time -- although in the opening move the pawn can move two squares, in keeping with a common Persian military tactic in which the spearmen ran out to make a bristling picket in front of the host.  Being spearmen, the pawns can only attack any other piece on the board by a diagonal, forward slanting thrust (the idea here being that when directly facing any other member of the battle array, they’re either toast or unlikely to be able to do anything -- the side attack being their only option).  

The rook or castle was originally an elephant, with a fortified chamber, tower, or castle on its back.  The elephant moved inexorably, but only in a straight line.  An exception also rules the rook, in that in the act of “castling”, one or both rooks can do an end run around the King in order to protect him.  (The limitation to this move is that the King cannot move across the line of fire so to speak of an attacking member of the other battle array.)  

In spaces one step closer to the King were the cavalryman, whom the Crusaders dubbed the knight.  Each knight galloped, moving two squares in one direction and one to the side.  The knights were the only piece which could leap over other pieces in making their L-shaped moves complete (but without doing any harm to those particular pieces).  

Next came the navy, represented by a ship, which could only advance by tacking, so the ship moved only on the diagonal.  There were two of them.   

In the center was the king, burdened with his household, his administrative staff, and most of all his treasure, which he had to take to the battlefield with him as this was the only means of its protection.  Because he was so heavily laden, the king moved just one square at a time.  The queen, on the other hand, was guarded by swift light cavalry and could move in any direction as far and as fast as was necessary.  The fact that the Sovereign, the King, had as his most valuable protector, the Queen, is worthy of note.  

In the early fourteenth century, with the election of Bernard de Goth to the Throne of Peter as Pope Clement V, chess underwent a notable change.  Clement V, for all extents and purposes under the protection and control of France’s King Philip IV, left his home in France in 1305, ostensibly heading for Rome.  But he never made it, taking up residence in 1309 in Avignon (at the time belonging to Jane of Naples and not part of France).  The Avignon popes built a palace and fortress and the papal court settled down for a stay of seventy-five years, during which time only one pope even made a visit to Rome.   

With the pope entrenched in Avignon, under the strong influence, if not the domination, of the French monarch, money, power and status became all that mattered to the Church.  Prestige and personal stature became the end thing.  Protocol was established regarding positions in processions and at the table between the church hierarchy and secular nobility.  Ego defined honor and the church demanded for itself every conceivable right, privilege, and gesture of respect.             

Ultimately therefore, it became intolerable for the Holy Roman church that there could be a popular game (chess) that pitted nation against nation, but which had no role for the church.  Furthermore, only a position next to the royal family would suffice.  Accordingly, the navy ships in chess became bishops, and to this day every chess player moves his bishop diagonally across the board, tacking like a ship to catch the wind.  Real life was a game of chess, but the real game was power.  (And you probably thought that the bishops in chess moved diagonally because it was inconceivable they could proceed in a straightforward manner!)  

So what does this game have to do with Sovereignty?   

First, the king is vulnerable in large part because of all the baggage he’s carrying.  Were he to shed the unnecessary material comforts, he could approach the Queen’s range and speed.  This would virtually eliminate most of the opportunities to capture (or kill) him.  In other words, it would take a very skillful player to take out such a king.  One might argue that the Queen does oft times fall prey to an aggressor, but almost always as a sacrifice for or simply in the process of protecting the king.  (Try allowing the king the same range as the queen in his moves, if you don’t believe me.)  

Sovereignty may thus require a certain degree of being mean and lean, and able to travel without all the unnecessary baggage of modern civilization.  

Then there’s the Navy/Priest thing.  In real life, priests are unlikely to provide protection for the average sovereign -- and may in fact be pretty incensed at anyone claiming such a status.  Certainly, Pope Leo XIII, in his Encyclical of Condemnation, was not partial to anyone claiming to be “naturally independent”, “sovereign”, or not subject to priestly intervention in critical matters.  Furthermore, the object of his wrath was the Freemasons, the alleged inheritors of the Knights Templar, and in the Demise of the Templars, the thing that saved some of them from extinction (along with their vast hoard of gold and wealth) was... you guessed it!...  Their navy!  They simply sailed with the night tide.  

Sovereignty may thus require a degree of flexibility in how one moves.  The advantage of the seas and oceans, is that there are no highways or other restrictions to unlimited travel in two dimensions.  The oceans are, for the most part, also outside the limits of sovereign nations.  Having a navy or an equivalent amount of mobility, might be an essential quality of sovereignty -- just in case it becomes necessary to remove oneself from the jurisdiction of a limiting and aggressive government(s) -- sailing on the night tide, so to speak.  

Note that the energy and transportation possibilities of The Fifth Element and Inertial Propulsion systems would be the ultimate ticket for such sovereign mobility.  At the same time, the need for Spiritual Sovereignty is also included in the bare necessities.  These aspects would provide both the agility of the knight chess pieces, and the mobile castles of the rooks.  Note that the floating fortress, aka an aircraft carrier, has the advantage over the fixed land base of an air force, in that it makes for a much more elusive target.  

The pawns are less obvious in their links to Sovereignty, but as has been said, the only viable social security is your friends.  Sovereignty of necessity is not a loner occupation.  If the world around you is not free, then it’s unlikely you will be.  The more the merrier!  

Finally, there is the story of an ancient kingdom whose inhabitants were really into the game of backgammon.  Two budding entrepreneurs then arrived on the scene, with the intent to sell the game of chess to the inhabitants.  Rather quickly, they found themselves before the king, explaining all the details of chess, and hoping for a royal endorsement.  The king dwelled on the matter for some days before he called the entrepreneurs back into court.  There he informed the two that not only would he not endorse the game of chess, but in fact would command that it not be allowed in his kingdom.  The horrified venture capitalists foolishly asked why?  The king explained that chess was pure logic, and did not rely on chance, whereas backgammon with its continual throwing of the dice was.  Since life was also filled with unexpected opportunities and set backs, backgammon properly taught the correct values.  Chess did not.  Chess was, in effect, unnatural to life.  

Sovereignty of necessity must be able to roll with the punches.  There are no guarantees in law of any stripe or complexion.  Anyone assuming the role of sovereign must accept the fact that the consequences will seldom be predictable, and that certainties are not part of life or achieving sovereignty.  Sorry about that.  


The Ugly Damsel         The Wizard of Oz         Sovereignty

Forward to:

Corporate Rule         Transnational Corporations         Corporate Politics



                                                                                      The Library of ialexandriah       

2003© Copyright Dan Sewell Ward, All Rights Reserved                     [Feedback]