Which chess piece are you?

. 2 min read

The chess nerds among us know that the World Chess Championship 2018 was played in November and ended last week. Don't worry, I won't spoil the result - if you, for some reason, don't know it yet and would like to rewatch the whole thing. (Although I have to wonder why; watching full-length chess games can be quite boring.) But as a person who sees philosophy in everything, I, of course, saw a nice allegory in the game itself. It's in the title of this article.

There are six different kinds of pieces in chess. Each side has eight pawns, two rooks, two knights, two bishops, one queen, and one king, in the color of the side (black and white). The pieces have their respective characteristics - they move differently and are of varying value - but they can all take enemy pieces, and any piece can take any enemy piece. (There are some other rules to chess but the rules aren't the focus of this article so I'll skip it - but you can look up the rules online.) Let's look at the characteristics of the pieces.

The pawns are the least valuable pieces. They move forward one square at a time (of, if it's the first move, it's one of two squares) and take enemy pieces diagonally. They cannot go back, but if they reach the other end of the board, they are promoted into a rook, a knight, a bishop, or a queen (it's possible to have two queens in one's army). The name suggests that pawns are mere soldiers - large in number, easily sacrificed.

The knights are more valuable than pawns, moving two squares into one direction and then one square to the side at a time. It can move to any main direction (not diagonally) and can jump over other pieces. The name suggests fierceness - a tactical unit that moves agilely.

The bishops are as valuable as knights, moving diagonally as many squares as they like in any direction. As they move diagonally, they cannot change the color of squares they stand on. It is almost as if they stood religiously on their chosen color (read: conviction).

The rooks are more valuable than bishops and knights. They move as many squares as they like in any of the main directions (not diagonally), meaning they can move from white squares to black ones and vice versa. They can also be used to castle the king.

The queens are the most valuable pieces in the army, moving as many squares as they like in any direction, including diagonally. There's only one of them in one army, though, and you should only lose this piece if you also can take the queen of the enemy down in the process.

The kings are, in a way, the most valuable piece in chess, because if the enemy manages to arrange their army so that you king would get taken on the next move and you could do nothing to stop it, you lose. However, kings aren't valued as the highest piece, as they are very slow, moving only one square at a time, in any direction.

So, which are you? Are you the common soldier, with no special skills, easily sacrificed? Or are you an agile and fearless fighter? Are you person who stands behind their convictions religiously? Or are you firm defendor of someone or something that rules you? Are you the all but omnipotent warrior, one of a kind, both a destroyer and a protector? Or are you perhaps old and a little clumsy, yet around whom the entire world revolves?