I’ve begun resurrecting my long-time interest in chess now that I’m retired and have the time for such nicely paced activities. In rummaging around my documents attic today I ran across this chess-themed spiritual essay I wrote a couple of years ago.
I hope you enjoy.
I AM Pawn
I AM a proud pawn, the most important and powerful piece on this playing field. I am the least valued by inexperienced players. There are more of me than any other piece, of which there are only one or two. We are eight.
But look at me!
I am the only piece in this game who can move more than one way. Think about that! I have choices. Everyone else lives by a single rule of movement. I can only move forward, it’s true, but I can move one or two spaces my first time. I can move diagonally to capture other pieces, which makes me a stealthy fighter. I even have a sneaky move many players don’t know (and I despair in their ignorance) in which I can capture an enemy pawn who thinks he’s slid past me by moving into the empty space behind him. Nobody else can do that! (It’s called en passant in case you don’t know.)
Because I cannot retreat, I cannot give up. Nor can I turn on my own fellows and become an impediment to their successful attack or defense.
But in the end, I AM the most important and powerful player in the World of the Game because I alone can transform myself into any other piece. Knights are and always will be Knights, however noble. But if I can reach my enemy’s home rank, I can choose to become a devious Knight, or a dominant Bishop or even an imperious Rook. Or even the King’s consort, the Queen.
Don’t overlook me. Don’t dismiss me. Learn me. Watch me. Use me.
I AM Pawn.
(Inspired by re-discovering Hans Kmoch’s brilliant study, Pawn Power in Chess.)