Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0023670, Thu, 14 Feb 2013 19:00:58 -0500

Re: Chess and the asymetric universe

Symmetries aside, there are some interesting connections: Alice executes a variation of the "Excelsior" theme, so named by Sam Loyd in his most famous chess problem (constructed so as to have the least likely white piece deliver checkmate), after Longfellow of course (and one might contend Poe's Raven and subsequent Philosophy of Composition partakes thereof). C. Kunin said:I was thinking of Lewis Carroll of course (the Red Queen and the Red King) and you are right - something I never seem to get correct is that the Queen is on her own color - so the two queens do oppose each other. The King is a McGuffin anyway.
I rarely play chess - learned by watching my father play. But got quite good at it while hospitalized with nothing else to do. But I do think the asymmetry of the board/pieces is of greater importance than Stan admits. Too bad we haven't Dmitri to consult. Perhaps Martin Gardener in his Ambidextrous Universe discusses chess.
There is always confusion about this amongst us casual players - I for example just learned that the white square must be to the player's right. And few casual players know that it is possible to castle on both the king's (short) side and the queen's (long) side.
p.s I do happen to recall that in Martin Gardener's Annotated Alice, he does mention that if the universe were not asymmetrical it wouldn't exist. In other words, matter and anti-matter would cancel each other out.

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