Fearless Act #8: Chess, Anyone?

I’ve always wondered about these guys setting up shop in Union square playing chess. Is this how they make their living? How long have they been playing? And what’s so special about this game anyway? So instead of walking by as I normally do, I decide to sit down and learn. This is T.C. (short for: Teach Chess!!) and he’s been playing outside Union Square for five years; rain, snow and incredibly hot weather won’t stop him. He loves the game. He said his mother taught him when he was a kid. When I asked what about the game he loves so much, he doesn’t give me a profound answer; just that he’s tried everything else in life and this is the only “job” he’s always come back to. He begins by asking me questions: what’s this one (a rook) and this one (the queen) and this one (the knight). Then he asks what do I think they do? I mumble something until he actually gives me the answers. He explains that the Queen is the most powerful player (👊!) and she can make any move, anywhere. The King, however, while its the most important of all the players…can’t really do much (figures 🙂 I keep trying to get T.C. to make an insightful analogy about how the game of chess is like life but every time I interject, he adamantly says, “NO! It’s like Football.” Oh. Football. Great. Another one I don’t know how to play. As he continues to talk, my focus drifts to the “players” all around us: the Krishna singers in the background; the homeless-looking guys along the subway stairway; the poet in the back typing away on his typewriter offering poems for cash…and I can’t help but wonder…Which one of us is the King? The Pawn? The Knight? And who are we protecting? Disappointed I didn’t get a proper “a-ha” moment out of T.C., I get up, offer a few bucks and thank him for his time. And as I leave, I kept thinking, maybe we all have these “players” within us…only some of us know it

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