Being a player of the human chess match, is psychologically, the only opportunity for power the ordinary citizen gets in The Village according to Number 14. It has been a bone of contention that the chess match was contrived for the benefit of Number 6, to bring him and Number 14 together. For myself I like to think that the chess match was independent of any such involvement of Number 6. And yet Number 14, the man with the walking stick in demonstrating his defiance of the Guardian as it passes by when everyone else is standing still, would certainly attract the attention of Number 6. But was it an act of defiance? If this was the beginning of some plan, then the Guardian could have been instructed to ignore Number 14 as it passed by. And true to form, this action does attract Number 6’s attention as he looks on from a small pagoda. And from the moment Number 14 asks him if he plays chess, Number 6 does become involved. And it is from Number 14 that Number 6 learns to distinguish between the blacks and the whites, between the prisoners and the guardians. To use simple psychology, to judge by people’s attitudes, and Number 6 soon finds out who is for or against him! Is Number 2 involved? He doesn’t appear to be, in fact he doesn’t appear to involve himself very much in anything other than his administrative details. But he is always calm and in control. Even when it’s reported that Number 6 is getting friendly with the Rook, he’s happy to allow Number 6 to continue with his activities. And for the doctor to carry on with her experiments, previously carried out on rats and dolphins, adapted to use on humans! However it is Number 2 who involves Number 6 with the Rook, in the same way as Number 2 involved Number 6 with Number 8 during ‘The chimes of Big Ben,’ by taking Number 6 to the hospital to see the Rook. Later Number 2, by allowing Number 6 to carry on with his activities did allow the doctor-Number 22 to carry out her experiment involving Number 8 and a new gadget, a reaction transmitter.
There appears to be no plan at the
outset of ‘Checkmate,’ and yet plans do develop as the episode progresses,
plans involving trial and error!