The Fifty Move Rule

19 10 2013

The intended reason for the rule is so that a chess player with no chance to win cannot be obstinate and play on indefinitely or seek a win purely due to an opponent’s fatigue.

She edges closer in dreamy dark,
‘he should sleep through now.’
Check. Scratched from safety,
he blunders an arm between them. She moves
away. An exchange of sighs.

Desperate to resign.

Isolated pieces patrol, paring trenches
paralleling harmlessly. The board is dusty;
his turn. The game is torpid; his turn.
The intercom invites him with songthrush,
stream, sonata and he is teased to tiredness
by a baby’s breaths. A vicarious sleep.

A flare of sound, a firework of panic
and he chooses carelessly. Reading
the black like Braille, stumbling
towards the baby’s wail,
he pauses to take
down dressing gown
and she is there to turn
on lights, offer advice.

He follows her around the board,
swapping territory, holding hopes
giving ground, facing stalemate in silence.
He plays at parenthood.



7 responses

19 10 2013

Interesting, especially as we wait for our first Grandchild. Weeks if not sooner. Our son, trailing around the pregnancy like a puppy, excited but not really sure.

20 10 2013

Terrified and apprehensive I’m sure. Exciting, horrid, wonderful and wearisome times! I hope the days countdown quickly for you.

19 10 2013

Wonderful writing, intense … and thanks for the link between title and poem.

20 10 2013


9 11 2013
Audiophile Paradise

Amazing! You’re magical at writing poems! Just out of curiosity, was this poem intended for the big chess game between Vishwanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen?

9 11 2013

Thank you. I had no idea of any chess player post Kasparov until I googled the two names you mentioned and found this

I love the picture it features! Who is your money on in the game?

10 11 2013
Audiophile Paradise

I’m guessing Vishwanathan Anand will win 🙂

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