Thursday, 3 July 2008

Shatranj and Chess

What a great film, Shatranj Ke Khilari (1977), 'The Chess Players'. In the colourful heat of Awadh, the last 'independent' Indian kingdom, two noblemen play chess obsessively while the British plot and execute the takeover of their land. There is plenty of political tension, clash of cultures and nicely-observed life. And lots of humour - the two men are so devoted to their game that they sacrifice good marital relations, any responsibility for living in a mature way, and almost their own friendship.

That kind of obsession is pretty true to life. If I get a head of steam up on the chessboard then it's hard for anyone to drag me away! But metred out carefully, it's fine - so when Charles came over last week before he vamooses to Yorkshire we had about 20 speedy games (some of which I actually won) which were great fun. Long live skittles shatranj!