Presbyter to Queen's Four

Of East and West and Abiding Christianity

David Wingrove's Chung Kuo is one of those SF series that got way too serial to stay good. The first two or three are excellent (I have no idea how many there are now; the series has become as fat and stagnant as the empire it portrays) stories of the Chung Kuo, or Middle Kingdom, empire in the future: terror! Yellow peril! The Chinese have conquered the world, and the world is one vast city. The novels do an excellent job of pitting order against chaos, the status quo against reform, reform against revolution, and perhaps most interestingly, individual against community.

The Chinese game Go is featured heavily in the book. Wingrove makes the point that in chess the pieces move from square to square, and each has its own ability. In Go, the pieces move on the lines between the spaces, and each is absolutely the same in intrinsic ability and worth.

To that I said: whoa!

I've always hated checkers, and now I know why.

I'm not a good chess player, but man, that strikes me as a Christian game if ever there was one. A definite hierarchy of pieces, but the more important pieces depend on the efforts of the lesser pieces for their success. There is the idea of self-sacrifice for the greater good, and not just by the pawns. And the successful side will make use of each piece's abilities so that the whole will succeed. There is nothing more annoying than a player like me, who is dependent on one kind of piece or another. Perhaps you've heard the chatter: "Man, I've got to take away his knights, he loves to use them." "He always sends his queen out early." And of course, my patent move is really lame: trying to use two rooks to trap the enemy on his own baseline; such a low success rate, such lameness.

Chess is also a Christian game because it has bishops. Obviously.