Is chess a war game?

12/2/2002 – It is hardly astonishing that the game of chess lends itself to military symbolism. In recent weeks the media has been full of war and conflict metaphors taken from the our sedate little game. "It is turning out that Saddam is a better chess player than President George W. Bush," says one report. Another says "The inspectors landed. Now the chess game begins." Here are a few stories that illustrate the point.

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  • The Guardian: Don't be fooled by the pictures
    A startled hush falls over 15,000 New Yorkers as Saddam Hussein strokes his chin and considers his next chess move. Across the table George Bush drums his fingers impatiently and waits his turn. The screen above reveals a hooded Grim Reaper to be Bush and Saddam's puppeteer, controlling the chess game below.

  • Technology Review: War with Iraq—As Predictable as Chess
    War is no more predictable than is a game of chess. Even if we know the rules and the strengths of the players, there are two sides. Early choices made by the opponent can drastically affect the course of moves as well as the outcome.

  • United Press International: Looking for War with Iraq
    It is turning out that Saddam is a better chess player than President George W. Bush.

  • Toledo Blade: Falwell tells local church a war against Iraq is just
    Falwell: "I think that Saddam Hussein has been creating weapons of mass destruction. I think he has had a good many months to hide those weapons. I think he’ll move them around like a chess game and probably will not be caught by the inspectors. But I don’t think Mr. Bush will be fooled on that."

  • Los Angeles Times: Shakira ready to go from baring body to baring soul
    Shakira used her concert to deliver an anti-war message that skewered President Bush and Saddam Hussein. While she sang "Octavo Dia," a snarling indictment of world conditions that she wrote years ago, a grainy video portrayed the two leaders as puppets playing a hostile game of chess.

  • ABC, The Guardian, et al.: Inspectors to Make Report on Search
    The inspectors landed. Now the chess game begins, an intricate, slow-moving, potentially lethal contest of will and words, the likes of which the world has never seen.

  • Kentucky New Era: Iraqi chess game leaves butterflies in many stomachs

  • New York Post: Arafat playing a bloody game of political chess


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