A life time fan and Prisonerologist of the 1960's series 'the Prisoner', a leading authority on the subject, a short story writer, and now Prisoner novelist.
The black and white chess pieces should always stand face to face. So, it isn't impossible to tell them apart although it may prove to be practically difficult. Says a non chess player. - BCNU!
Err, of course no black and white pieces here. It's also helpful to have living people as pieces with a front and a backside that "real" chess pieces, wooden, marble etc, don't have. unless modelled like the piece in "Chimes"... - BCNU!
Hello Arno, Yes I think I can see where you're coming from. But when as chesspieces on the human chessboard are all dressed alike, and when even the chesspoles which each person holds are the same, which side are the whites, and which the black pieces, and how do they decide which side makes the first move? Such a thing is easy with an ordinary chess set, no matter what colour the opposing side to white is. But on the chessboard in the Village, both sides are identical! So I suppose that way it doesn't matter which side are the whites, and which the black pieces, they even might toss a coin to decide who makes the first move!Very kind regardsDavidBCNU
As they are humans the direction is quite evident not matter if are all dressed alike. I would suppose that it's the direction they are facing, left, right, front or rear that would decide on the first move. Perhaps they don't toss a coin but roll a a dice? On the other hand, dice is symbolic for gambling, chance, luck, unpredictability (unless manipulated). Something which, I think, the Village wouldn't like to see happen. Because they prefer the opposite and strategic moves - like on a chessboard. - BCNU!
Hello Arno, Quite so, and well put. Although when it comes to gambling, there was the original idea of 'The Palace of Fun,' which would have incoprorated a gambling Casino! What happened to 'The Palace of Fun,' seeing as it''s only on the Map of The Village, and never spoken about, or entered into? Well perhaps it became the Recreation Hall?"Very kind regardsDavidBCNU
Hi there,I like the idea that it's a matter of the direction they are facing! Makes me think."Whose side you are on?" "That would be telling" Yes, indeed, taking into consideration the above it's a matter of your perspective and point of view, isn't it?Very best wishes,JanaBCNU
Hello Jana, When it comes to the direction the human chess pieces are facing, during the game a chess piece could always turn the tables, by casually turning round on his or her square! Then whose side would they be on?Very kindRegardsDavidBCNU
Hello David,yes, I think that's the point. Maybe this is where defectors or double agents come into play, so to say. Then again there are the pawns who I guess would change the sides only occasionally or if they're told to do so, and then there are those who play their own fine game. Then the point would be how to prevent the pawns from becoming players..On the other hand Number 2 crosses my mind: "Both sides are becoming identical. What in fact has been created? An international community. A perfect blueprint for world order. When the sides facing each other suddenly realize that they're looking into a mirror, they'll see that this is the pattern for the future." After all they're all playing the same game ;) Very kind regards,JanaBCNU
"casually turning round on his or her square" - isn't that what the rook did? The pieces were meant to stand in only one direction so the player would know which pieces were his. The rook shouldn't have made moves of his own or turned around to perhaps face someone he knew (if that's why he did it).One could, of course, go further and assume a variation of the chess game. According to this thesis the pieces, all dressed alike, would be randomly allocated to the two players who would not know or: who'd have to find out which piece was on his side... This conception would in fact concur with what the Man with Stick told No. 6: psychology is needed to tell them apart. - BCNU!
Hello Jana and Arno, Interesting comments from you both, and interpretations which I have been giving thought to, but I'm finding it a bit of a mind bender to get to grips with. As for the Rook, he made an impossible move, because just previous to his own move, the opposite side had "castled," thus there was a Rook protecting the King, and therefore it was impossible for the Rook to claim to put have put the King in check! But yes, Arno is right, the chess pieces are meant to face in one direction that way the player would know which pieces were his, indeed when a Bishop is attacked by the white Queens Pawn, protected by the Queen, the Bishop makes his next move walking backwards. As for selecting sides, there is another way of looking at this. That the chess pieces themselves select which square to stand on. After all, with both sides looking alike, it doesn't matter on which side of the board they stand. That would make each side as random as possible, the two players having no descision on which pieces are on his side.....I think. So as a player, if the chess pieces are the ones facing away from you, and those of your opponants face towards you, where is there any need for psychology in the game? Well that comes in when trying to tell the difference between the Prisoners and the warders!Very kind regardsDavidBCNU
Mind bending... it is! Your are right, psychology wouldn't be needed as as long as we are dealing with a more or less rigidly structured game, with specific rules laid out. As a chess ignoramus I cannot judge on the moves made in this game. I for one don't think it's the case here but just for the though of it. However, the chess game as such is significant of strategic moves and also of psychology that goes into it. So, why did the Village set up this variant of chess game without attributing distinctive colours to the pieces and perhaps the players? If it wasn't to symbolically or practically create a feeling of disorientation, I believe. Things are always different in the Village. - BCNU!
Hello Arno, Fair comment. It is also an interesting point, that the only people who could take their place as chess piece on the chessboard, are ones who know how to play chess. When people stand on the chessboard at a Prisoner Convention, each piece has it's move or moves are indicated on a card attached to a chess pole. But in the Chess match in 'Checkmate' in the Prisoner' people on the board have to know how to play chess, to make the moves the two players call out.Very kind regardsDavidBCNU
Hello David, hello Arno,I think that my be the key, that everyone has to know the game and everyone has to play according to the rules. Otherwise it wouldn't work. Maybe that's why it's so important that noone shows a sign of individualism, like the Rook does. Also, this could be an explanation why they don't use black and white coats: The Village relies on obedience, and they (want to) proof that they can.Very kind regards,JanaBCNU
Hello Jana, Well quite so. But using black and white attire for the chess peices, wouldn't that have made it all too easy playing the game?Very kind regardsDavid BCNU
Hello David,that's a nice way to look at it. :)Very kind regardsJanaBCNU
Yes, nd no matter how meaningful or significant the actual moves of the players may be the rules must be followed, on and off the chessboard. Then perhaps it is a prerequisite, a rule a bit like in a Kafka novel that can never be found as a coded law in any library nor in written form but which is spread only as a word of mouth. Is that what you're up to? - BCNU!
Quite! Only, I hadn't thought that far. Yes, I guess the rules that have to be followed might as well be unwritten and implicit. I guess the implicit rule which the village wants to demonstrate here is that everybody on the Chessboard does what he is told to do, and only what he is told. This is why the game works. I agree, they have to know the chess rules, if only to be able to understand the orders. But they have to ignore those chess rules if neccessary. If one of the players wants them to move against the chess rules, they still have to obey.Best wishes,JanaBCNU