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Chess Is Sexist. . .And I Can Prove It!

December 14, 2022

Chess is one of the oldest games in existence. It was invented in India about 1400 years ago. It’s a simple game to learn. A near impossible game to master. And a game in which you can’t cheat. (Well, not really.)

I enjoy playing chess. Recently, with the effort to erase past evidence of bias, I thought about chess. And I’m convinced that chess is sexist. Think about the game. The weakest piece on the board is the King. I guess you can suggest that the pawns are not as strong as the kind. Still, a pawn that reaches the opposite side of the board gets promoted. The pawn can literally be piece given enough time. Any piece except a king.

Chess allows for multiple queens. But there can only be one king. And despite his weakness, the king must be protected at all costs. If the king is threatened, no other move is allowed except one that protects the king.

Have you ever considered that the king is never actually captured? Ever other piece on the board faces the prospect of being captured and removed from the board. The king never yields. Once the king is trapped and has no way of escape, the game is over.

The purpose of the other 15 pieces on the board are in all ways to protect the king, or to attack the opposing king. The kings are the ultimate piece, and yet they are weak and can barely limp around the board one square at a time. Even the pawns’ initial move can be two squares.

Clearly the creators of chess felt the need to elevate the king above all the pieces, and still acknowledge that it’s the weakest piece.

Check back tomorrow and I’ll show you how chess is an incredibly progressive game in terms of gender.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. Order Miscellany III A Collection of Holiday Short Stories, an anthology including his latest short story, “You Can Call Me Dan” here

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