The Coalition checkmates the Axis of Evil

by ChessBase
2/24/2004 – It's a chess with a difference. This one pits white pieces, led by one George W Bush, against black ones with a figure called Osama Bin Laden at their head. Each of the piece types is a well-know character, taken from the international "war on terror". The manufacturers are calling it the 'mother of all chess sets'

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The "Mother of all Chess Sets"

This chess set has hand-carved pieces, the white ones made of teak and black ones in rosewood.

The board and the box is teak, with each dark square inlayed with a globe of the Earth at a different stage of rotation. The board is supposed to represent the Earth involved in the war against terrorism.

The white pieces are labelled The Coalition. Each piece represents a player in the coalition against terror, and each player is described on a separate biographical page. The pieces are given below in the order King, Queen, Rook, Bishop, Knight and Pawn.

George W. Bush, United States President; Tony Charles Lynton Blair, United Kingdom Prime Minister; Colin Powell, United States Secretary of State; Donald H. Rumsfeld, United States Secretary of Defence; Kofi Annan, United Nations Secretary General; the Allies Forces.

The black pieces are called the Axis of Evil. There is substantial biographical material on each of the characters they are modeled after. Click on each of the names will take you to the descriptions.

Osama Bin Laden, leader of a terrorist organization known as Al-Qaeda ("the Base"); a suppressed Afghani woman; Saddam Hussein, former President and Dictator of Iraq; Hojatoleslam Seyed Mohammad Khatami, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran; Mohamed Said Al-Sahaf, former Iraq Information Minister; the Suicide Bombers.

As the political arena changes the manufacturers are promising to make udates available, with new players on the world scene. They say the sets in no way imply support for the actions of Osama Bin Laden or Saddam Hussein. Neither does it do so for the policies of George W Bush or Tony Blair. "This chess set represents the civilized world on a collision course with the Axis of Evil. It is dedicated to all innocent life which are caught between human greed for Power, Oil and Religious Fanaticism."

The entire chess set thing has a philosophical and political background. The web site defines it:

"Modern humankind lives in an era which is plagued by perplexing and sobering questions. These questions not only define our generation but our ability to respond to them will establish the legacy which we leave to every generation that follows. Yet, there is one question which surpasses all others in importance and indeed, virtually renders them irrelevant – it is that of international terrorism and how to combat against it.There must be an urgent global solidarity, and good will, where all our differences must be put aside to form unyielding front in order to confront this danger. Terrorists continue to lurk in the shadows reticent with the need to strike against the civilised world. Indeed, this belligerent menace to our system demands a concentrated and full baking of humankind which utilizes the rapid technological advancements to counteract terrorist citadels wherever they exist. The past several years have exemplified a new and menacing trend which threatens our security with unprecedented horror. The list of terror continues unabated even while the civilised world and the lovers of modernity and human decency declare and wage a war of their own on terrorist and nations who sponsor them.

The history of the world has been plagued with events surrounded by human pain, trauma and agony. Yet, modern terrorist activities and lethal conflicts fuelled by burning hatred between nations and individuals who are driven by fanatical belief even more heinous when you consider that those who are targeted are not military personnel trained to fight; but rather innocent, unassuming civilians subject to death and maim."

The manufacturer also seems to have some compunctions about the set. In a lengthy disclaimer they write:

"This is only a game. The views expressed in this chess set are those of the artist. This chess set is a work of fiction, it brings a wit and wisdom to the issues of our times. The mother of all chess sets raises issues and concerns in dealing with our current threat which faces us all terrorisms, which is a dominant globally discussed issue. Although it draws heavily upon the artist views, and many texts and quotes will be presented exactly as he wrote them, it should not be considered authentic.They are a fictional interpretation and not meant in any way to be an accurate depiction. They are absolutely false and based on a public image, and are not meant to reflect the person's private life. No harm, misrepresentation, libel, malice or copyright infringement is intended. At no time is this meant to be construed as reality. We have no idea what we're talking about."

Etc. etc. Someone apparently got cold feet when the product (and the web site) was completed.


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