The game of chess has been around for centuries and has captured the minds of some of the world’s greatest thinkers. What’s intriguing about this game is that it seems to mimic real life. You have the board with 64 alternating black and white squares, recalling the 64 hexagrams of the I Ching, or the 64 combinations of DNA bases. Chess is a game that pits opposites against each other, and the strategies employed determine the outcomes.
The chess pieces are the King, Queen, Knight, Bishop, Rook, and Pawn, and each has its counterpart on the opposite side of the board. The pieces are either black or white, and interestingly, the way the game is played today, the white piece gets the first move at game start-up. What this means is that from that point on, black pieces are playing in a reactionary mode based on the white piece’s initial move.
Let’s look at the individual pieces and try to draw parallels to their societal counterparts. The game’s objective is to checkmate the King; the king, therefore, is the ruler, the leader, political or otherwise. The queen is one of the most powerful pieces on the board, and is the king’s mate. The knights can be seen to represent soldiers, i.e., the armed forces; bishops apparently serve a clerical function, (churches, synagogues, mosques, etc.), and rooks are the fortresses, the castles, the fortified abodes, real estate. Collectively, the first row represents the establishment. Finally, there are the pawns residing on the second row. These can be seen as the masses, who along with the other pieces are pitted against each other depending upon whether they are black or white. One of the great characteristics of pawns, however, is their ability to ultimately make it to the other side and become kings, and this is an important point to remember!
How does this scenario play out on the human chessboard? First of all, if we substitute people for chess pieces, the whites with the first move are the aggressors, the initiators. They seem to have the advantage. Black people are often in a reactionary mode perceiving themselves as victims. And both black and white people are pawns of the establishment represented by occupants of the first row. Basically, the way each individual plays the game of life depends upon how he or she strategically interacts with the other pieces on the board.
When looked at in this light, in the Western world, it has been obvious that the white establishment has had the advantage. But this is based upon acquiescence. Who is to say that whites should always have the advantage? What would happen if Black people reversed the game and took the initiative on the chessboard of life? What if the game is changed so that the black piece has the first move? This would result in a psychological shift; instead of operating in a reactionary mode, Black people would be the initiators, the shot callers on the human chessboard. This is not a farfetched notion. Once upon a time in the ancient world Black people held a very different position on the world’s stage that is apparent today.
In order to play reverse chess, Black people need to forget about the obsession with white supremacy and victimization. If the focus is turned within on self and community, Black people could tap their own unique brand of mastery, and the world would have to react, i.e., adjust to this new position. In this regard, just by a shift of perception and consequent behavior, Blacks can reach the other side and become king. This is doable; it has been done by various individuals, but this must become the norm. In this manner the Black community would cease being the pawns manipulated by the establishment and ascend to the throne of self-mastery, thereby winning the game of life. A luta continua.