Monday, 30 January 2012

A Tale of Two Knights

By Moulthun Ly

“The universe is made of stories, not atoms”

“This single-combat between Gologras and Sir Gawain is long and very evenly fought, but at last Sir Gawain gains the upper hand. But Gologras will not ask for mercy. He prefers death to the dishonour of surrendering to Sir Gawain. The victorious knight tries to persuade the other to capitulate and Gologras replies that if Sir Gawain will pretend to have been defeated and to walk off the field as his prisoner, then he will see that matters are resolved to Sir Gawain’s liking once he is in his castle. Despite not knowing Gologras at all, Sir Gawain agrees to this plan, sensing that his adversary is honourable. They pick themselves up from the ground, pretend to fight for a while, then Gologras leads Sir Gawain off the field as his prisoner. Roles have been reversed. King Arthur groans in anguish and begins to weep.”

“Once inside the castle, however, Gologras addresses his noblemen, lets them understand the situation and they tell him that they would rather that he remained as their lord, even though he may have been defeated in battle. Gologras and Sir Gawain issue from the castle together, unarmed, and Gologras approaches King Arthur in submission. Three days’ feasting ensues in celebration, and at the end of it, as King Arthur prepares to leave, he relinquishes his sovereignty of the land and gives full control back to Gologras.”

So what exactly is the point of this story? Short answer is that, there is nothing quite as exciting as the stories of chivalry, honesty, loyalty and courage, which is prevalent throughout medieval history.  I'm sure I could have mentioned a much better story. Besides, this was one of the shortest to highlight. For anyone who has read Jonathan Rowson’s book, Chess for Zebras then you will understand the importance of storytelling for chess players. Simple put it is a way for us to create meaning of a situation, to find a beginning and mark an end.  I do this all the time during my games, sometimes even subconsciously. 

But, I suppose I should end it with it least something chess related. Looking through some games of one of my favorite openings, the “Blackmar-Diemer Gambit”, I found a nice game. Which if nothing else, is befitting the title. 

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