Living Chess

Todd & Tim 1979When I was a junior in college, I organized Living Chess for the University’s Winter Carnival. I was surprised the head committee liked it so. They were disappointed we didn’t continue it the following year.

That said, my friend Tim (who converted to Islam with a new name I don’t recall) and I had a bit of fun with this. As the white guy, I played the white pieces; he the black. We were about the number one and two players among the undergrads, so we avoided duty as chess figures:

living chess

The theater department was super generous and helpful. They provided thirty-two costumes. Since medieval fare was more colorful than black and white, we went with red and blue, the chief royal hues.

Tim and I played on the fourth floor lounge. My friend Dave wore a gray suit and announced moves to the large open lounge two floors below.

For kings, I recruited the tallest two guys I knew. Two of the tallest women I knew were queens. I had something of a crush on the blue queen at this time, and she looked very cute in her Renaissance dress and crown. (I still remember her measurements I collected for the seamstress.) But alas, neither queen was captured in the photographic record of the event. I told Tim, “Let’s not trade or sacrifice our queens on the board”–to give female royalty plenty of time to glam up the proceedings below.

Some of the pawns had some masterful sword fights. My friend Neil tore up a few squares with enthusiasm before croaking.

The “gimmick” for this year’s staff insert is a picture from our college days. I asked the young miss to find a picture from my college yearbook. She noticed this one, scanned it, and sent it to my office.

*Sigh* This was a long time ago. I haven’t been clean-shaven since about three months after this game. Some good friends I didn’t appreciate as much when I was young, arrogant, and feeling entitled about life. I don’t play much chess at all these days. One of our grad students is bugging me to play a tournament. I haven’t played a rated event in almost thirty years. I said I would play a team event, not an individual. Or I’d play for Iowa State or for the city in a league–if such a thing were ever to exist.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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