The Chess Variant Pages

Check out Expanded Chess, our

featured variant for September, 2023.

Chess Morality XVII: Turning Rhyme

By George William Duke

A secret turning in us makes the universe turn. Head unaware of feet and feet head. Neither cares. They keep turning. --Rumi, 13th Century

And as they walked the third ascent, each one seemed to have his own little vision that he followed and his own Rules; and all over the universe I could hear the winds at war like wild beasts fighting. --'Black Elk Speaks'

The chessboard is the world, the pieces are the phenomena of the universe, and the rules of the game are what we call the laws of Nature. --T. H. Huxley

There are no laws of nature, just one law of the universe. There is no dichotomy in it--there is no distinction between the law and supplementary initial or boundary conditions. Just one all-embracing static equation. We can call it the universal equation. Its solutions (being one or many) create structure as a first principle, just as the ordinary Schrodinger equation creates atomic and molecular structure. This is because it attaches a ranking--a greater or lesser probability--to each conceivable static configuration of the universe. What we have here are putative Rules of creation, or perhaps we should say of being. It is obvious that in quantum cosmology the whole superstructure of an external time must go. The instruments must be subsumed into the quantum system (which becomes the complete universe), and we must get to grips with a static wave function. Does this leave any scope for making a connection between actual experiences and the bare bones of quantum gravity as found by DeWitt? I believe it does. Is not our most primitive experience always that we seem to find ourselves, in any instant, surrounded by objects in definite positions?--Julian Barbour, 'The End of Time'

Let it be known there is a fountain that was not made by the hands of men. There is a road, no simple highway between the dawn and the dark of night. --Grateful Dead, 'Ripple'

If you could travel back two thousand years and stand by a marker on the Street of the Dead and look over a petroglyph on the western horizon at the right time of year, you would see the setting of the Pleiades star cluster. When the Pleiades reappeared in the east after having been invisible in the light of the Sun for forty days, they did so on the precise day of the sun's zenith. The Eyes of the Night to the Maya, the Pleiades became the new celestial timer of choice to the astronomers of Teotihuacan. --Dick Teresi, 'Lost Discoveries, the Ancient Roots of Modern Science'

Electra (F): The local group of galaxies include
The Milky Way and Magellanic Cloud.
Varieties of Chess we have pursued
Insofar as the speed of light allowed.
Positions form the essence of the game
With or without an external time frame.
Merope (P): Whiling away the time hanging in space,
A game to play is called Rhymie-stymie,
Whose object is to pair-match words in place.
This refrain's fully ten-beat scheme (blimey!):
'The avatar Horus all-seeing Eye
We have a star chorus rallying cry.'
Sterope (N): Words that rhyme turn on fundamental pulse
Of any shared linguistic heritage,
Like answer to a question true or false
Stripped of all the usual verbiage,
Or skipping stones across water, or such bars
As may extend ripple effect to stars.
Maia (B): Besides for stakes, chess variants for pun,
For free verse, irony, and sterner stuff
Of fable, cipher, trope, hyperbaton.
Here's my word-playing diamond in the rough:
'Hie yourself, mine stark raving maniac,
By our twelve-sign arc-waving zodiac.'
Taygete (K): 'Spotless whirling dervishes slide fright'ning
Loose-kick spin-dance gaits, seeing 'acrostic.'
Goddess' hurling her wishes by lightning,
Zeus-like in stance, Fates being agnostic.
These bit fields make sixty-syllable rhyme.
Please it yields break 'twixt refillable time.'
Alcyone (Q): Is over-rhyme of every meter spoke
(Vowel assonance one more figure of speech)
A mind-game exercise attempt to joke?
Modern computers all still fail to reach
The pattern recognition it requires,
All manner of presentiment conspires.
Calaeno (R): A postal game outside our galaxy
Would take age of universe to rehearse,
Lest, once and for all, proven all facts be
Consistent with time running in reverse,
Or time-less state whence what's realized last,
No return to an idealized past.

--George William Duke 2005