The Campbell Report
Correspondence Chess
"On the Square" Article

I was delighted when I opened my email and found the following short story waiting for me. Thanks to Harold L. Bearce for sharing this story with us. Once again we see how chess can be enjoyed in yet another way. Even if you aren't inspired to put pen to paper (or fingers to keys) I'm sure you'll enjoy this creative writing by our chess friend Harold Bearce. He can be reached at: hlbcob@yahoo.com
-- J. Franklin Campbell

The Seventh Rank
By Harold L. Bearce

The silver monarch smiled as he surveyed the field of battle. King Louis had every reason to be pleased. His forces still included a cunning knight and a ruthless bishop, while the forces of his bronze opponent were nearly depleted. He smelled certain victory.

Louis noticed how the bronze king perspired as he nervously glanced across the 64 squares to assess the silver forces arrayed against him. "William is such a pushover," thought Louis. "He's never defeated me in battle, never even come close. He was stupid to sacrifice all his strength to gain this position. He never learns. He should know by now that I cannot be beaten."

Louis turned to those of his loyal subjects who yet remained on the field of battle. He spoke to them, saying, "Congratulations, men. Well done! King William may not be a military genius, but he is a man of courage and honor. He will no doubt surrender his sword and the field will be ours."

King Louis saw his bronze opponent furrow his brow in concentration, then draw his sword and say, "Louis, you have finally met your match. I will stand before your forces and resist your power. I will snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Louis then saw William turn to his only remaining piece and command, "Winston, step over the line, advance over the line."

A look of cold fear swept Louis' face as he saw what was coming. This was unexpected. The silver knight and bishop began to tremble with horror, helpless to resist what was about to happen.

Winston, the lowly serf, the lonely pawn, hesitated to advance further, to become even more isolated. The monarch implored, "Winston, for the sake of your king, for the honor of our clan, ADVANCE!"

Winston boldly leaped from the seventh rank to the eighth. He raised his arms high above his head and tilted his head back, gazing toward the heavens as he screamed triumphantly, "Long live the King!" The metamorphosis was complete. By reaching the goal line, Winston transformed into Maria-Louise, the deadly queen, stronger than any knights or bishops, the most powerful person on the field.

The silver knight and bishop scattered for cover as Louis bowed to his bronze counterpart. He offered his sword to King William, fell to his knees in defeat, then lay prostrate before the victor.

Copyright © 1999, 2008 Harold L. Bearce, all rights reserved.

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