Chess is Life: The Pawns

Pawns are family.  Pawns are your friends.  Okay, that sounds bizarre, but for my purposes, let’s hold it to be true.  Let me explain. 

In the beginning of life, we are extremely dependent on our family (and perhaps some friends) to take care of us.  The same goes for chess.  If you were to play a chess game without your pawns (against a reasonable opponent), you’d surely lose.  All of your pawns are very close to your king in the starting position of the game, providing safety.  Just as your pawns are close, your family and friends must be very close to you early in life to nurture you.  As the game progresses, some pawns will leave their starting rank, making the king more independent and allow for pieces to develop.  Same is true for life.  Family will “leave” you to make you more independent.  Walking, eating, potty training: all things that involve people “leaving” you. At some point the baby has to have time on the ground to learn how to crawl and stop wearing diapers to learn to use the toilet. 

In the early stages of the middle game, only a few pawns are really close to you (after a player has castled).  I think these pawns can have many different interpreations.  For this post, I’ll say that the pawns that are close to the king in the middle game represent friends one has during adolescence.  In chess the pawns in a castled position hide the king in the corner so that there are less attack avenues toward the king.  In my interpretation, this mirrors adolescents “hiding” behind the personalities of their friends to make them less vulnerable.  For example, it is very common for adolescents to try and fit in with a personalities they may not actually be in line with their own true personality.  Adolescents can use these cliques to disguise who they really are until they discover it themselves (aspects that relate to the endgame).

(A quick clip of the rules of castling:

In the endgame of chess, the pawns advance farther from their starting positions getting closer and closer to becoming one of the pieces.  Also, it is very likely that you will not have all the pawns you started with in the endgame.  This can represent friends moving away or the unfortunate losses of loved ones.  In the endgame, however, the king must protect his pawns.  A quote from one of the greats demonstrates this point. 

It cannot be too greatly emphasized that the most important role in pawn endings is played by the king.  –  Siegbert Tarrasch

Later in life, a person generally assists fellow friends and family much more than they did when they were children.  Using a very specific example (which will not hold true for everybody obviously), people are generally expected to care for their parents as they age (move further away).  As in chess, a king must protect the pawns as they move farther down the board.  As these pawns reach the last rank (equivalent to losing a parent), they become a piece.  In other words as a person cares for their aging parents and their parents eventually pass, there is a strong realization of how much the parents played a role in the person’s life.  The pawn is now a piece just as the external loss of a parent can be internalized by people understanding how their parents are a part of them or has affected them.

For now that is all I have. Hope you enjoy!



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