Monday, January 25, 2016

Because the Queen is More Powerful than the King? - column

Lawrence Hall

Because the Queen is More Powerful than the King?

“I want no more thinking!”

-Henry V in Jean Anouilh’s Becket

A grand mufti in Saudi Arabia has banned chess as antithetical to purity of thought and good order in the family-owned tyranny – hardly a true kingdom – that has spent the last eighty years suppressing numerous ancient nations and tribal groups all over the Arabian peninsula.

But one can understand his point. The idolatrous spectacle of millions of people all over the world obsessing on chess matches is an embarrassment to the right-minded. Fans have been known to riot over chess team identification and send seriously rude twoots and tweets to others for wearing the wrong chess team ball caps and tees. Chess championships often end with supporters of the winning team sneering at two-cylinder Fiats and torching Starbucks coffee cups in designated campfire areas.

Disreputable young people who play chess often lurk in well-lit libraries and try to intimidate other pawn-slingers by wearing those menacing hipster hats and speaking in complete sentences. Scary.

And then there’s the foul language common to chess thugs – saying “en passant” is not acceptable behavior in public, and “queen to queen’s pawn four” might qualify as hate speech.

America pretty much shuts down for the National Chess League’s Superboard Sunday. Friends and families gather over garden salads and gluten-free 10% whole-rice croissants to whisper enthusiastically for their favorite teams.

During advertising breaks the high demand for beverages has been known to collapse cappuccino machines.

This year’s half-time show will feature the cast of Big Bang Theory performing the provocative Dance of the Seven Slide Rules. Let’s just hope Bob Newhart doesn’t suffer a wardrobe malfunction.

Thank goodness the world has the super-civilized Family Saud to stop the blood-crazed madness of chess and guide humanity in the paths of righteousness and clean living through arbitrary edicts and mass executions.

Now that chess has been banned, no doubt the grand mufti will next investigate Candyland and Scrabble for treasonable sentiments.

One can only imagine the mentality of an old dude with a beard that looks like it was culled from Donald Trump’s hairpiece sitting around and finding evil and dirty-mindness in board games.

We have people like that here, of course, but Old Ms. Grundy can’t have anyone’s head chopped off.

And what, really, is a mufti, grand or otherwise? Is there a baby grand mufti that you could stand in a bay window for impressing the neighbors?

Yes, chess offends the grand mufti; indeed, it frightens him because chess requires thinking. Once people start thinking, tyrants start trembling on their stolen thrones.


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