« ZurückWeiter »
friends) some little improprieties in the practice of it, shows at the same time that it may, in its effects on the mind, be not merely innocent, but advantageous, to the vanquished as well as the victor.
The game of chess is not merely an idle amusement. Several very valuable qualities of the mind, useful in the course of human life, are to be acquired or strengthened by it, so as to become habits, ready on all occasions. For life is a kind of chess, in which we have often points to gain, and competitors or adversaries to contend with, and in which there is a vast variety of good and evil events, that are in some degree the effects of prudence or the want of it. By playing at chess, then, we may learn,
I. Foresight, which looks a little into futurity, and considers the consequences that may attend an action; for it is continually occurring to the player, “If I move this piece, what will be the advantage of my new situation? What use can my adversary make of it to annoy me? What other moves can I make to support it, and to defend myself from his attacks ?”
II. Circumspection, which surveys the whole chessboard, or scene of action; the relations of the several pieces and situations, the dangers they are respectively exposed to, the several possibilities of their aiding each other, the probabilities that the adversary may make this or that move, and attack this or the other piece, and what different means can be used to avoid his stroke, or turn its consequences against him.
III. Caution, not to make our moves too hastily. This habit is best acquired by observing strictly the laws of the game; such as, “If you touch a piece, you must move it somewhere; if you set it down, you must let it stand ;” and it is therefore best that these rules should be observed, as the game thereby becomes more the image of human life, and particularly of war; in which, if you have incautiously put yourself into a bad and dangerous position, you cannot obtain your enemy's leave to withdraw your troops, and place them more securely, but you must abide all the consequences of your rashness.
And, lastly, we learn by chess the habit of not being discouraged by present appearances in the state of our affairs, the habit of hoping for a favorable change, and that of persevering in the search of resources. The game is so full of events, there is such a variety of turns in it, the fortune of it is so subject to sudden vicissitudes, and one so frequently, after long contemplation, discovers the means of extricating one's self from a supposed insurmountable difficulty, that one is encouraged to continue the contest to the last, in hopes of victory by our own skill, or at least of getting a stale mate, by the negligence of our adversary. And whoever considers, what in chess he often sees instances of, that particular pieces of success are apt to produce presumption, and its consequent inattention, by which the losses may be recovered, will learn not to be too much discouraged by the present success of his adversary, nor to despair of final good fortune upon every little check he receives in the pursuit of it.
That we may therefore be induced more frequently to choose this beneficial amusement, in preference to others which are not attended with the same advantages, every circumstance which may increase the pleasures of it should be regarded; and every action or word that is unfair, disrespectful, or that in any way may give uneasiness, should be avoided, as contrary to the immediate intention of both the players, which is to pass the time agreeably.
Therefore, first, if it is agreed to play according to the strict rules, then those rules are to be exactly observed by both parties, and should not be insisted on for one side, while deviated from by the other, for this is not equitable.
Secondly, if it is agreed not to observe the rules exactly, but one party demands indulgences, he should then be as willing to allow them to the other.
Thirdly, no false move should ever be made to extricate yourself out of difficulty, or to gain an advantage. There can be no pleasure in playing with a person once detected in such unfair practice.
Fourthly, if your adversary is long in playing, you ought not to hurry him, or express any uneasiness at his delay. You should not sing, nor whistle, nor look at your watch, nor take up a book to read, nor make a tapping with your feet on the floor, or with your fingers on the table, nor do any thing that may disturb his attention. For all these things displease; and they do not show your skill in playing, but your craftiness or your rudeness.
Fifthly, you ought not to endeavour to amuse and deceive your adversary, by pretending to have made bad moves, and saying, that you have now lost the game, in order to make him secure and careless, and inattentive to your schemes ; for this is fraud and deceit, not skill in the game.
Sixthly, you must not, when you have gained a victory, use any triumphing or insulting expression, nor show too much pleasure; but endeavour to console your adversary, and make him less dissatisfied with himself, by every kind of civil expression that may be used with truth, such as, “You understand the game better than I, but you are a little inattentive;" or, “ You play too fast;” or, “You had the best of the game, but something happened to divert your thoughts, and that turned it in my favor.”
Seventhly, if you are a spectator while others play, observe the most perfect silence. For, if you give advice, you offend both parties, him against whom you give it, because it may cause the loss of his game, him in whose favor you give it, because, though it be good, and he follows it, he loses the pleasure he might have had, if you had permitted him to think until it had occurred to himself. Even after a move or moves, you must not, by replacing the pieces, show how they might have been placed better; for that displeases, and may occasion disputes and doubts about their true situation. All talking to the players lessens or diverts their attention, and is therefore unpleasing. Nor should you give the least hint to either party, by any kind of noise or motion. If you do, you are unworthy to be a spectator. If you have a mind to exercise or show your judgment, do it in playing your own game, when you have an opportunity, not in criticizing, or meddling with, or counselling the play of others.
Lastly, if the game is not to be played rigorously, according to the rules above mentioned, then moderate your desire of victory over your adversary, and be pleased with one over yourself. Snatch not eagerly at every advantage offered by his unskilfulness or inattention; but point out to him kindly, that by such a move he places or leaves a piece in danger and unsupported; that by another he will put his king in a perilous situation, &c. By this generous civility (so opposite to the unfairness above forbidden) you may, indeed, happen to lose the game to your opponent; but you will win what is better, his esteem, his respect, and his affection, together with the silent approbation and good-will of impartial spectators.
Il y avoit un officier, homme de bien, appelé Montrésor, qui étoit très-malade; son curé, croyant qu'il alloit mourir, lui conseilla de faire sa paix avec Dieu, afin d'être reçu en Paradis. “Je n'ai pas beaucoup d'inquiétude à ce sujet,” dit Montrésor, “ car j'ai eu, la nuit dernière, une vision qui m'a tout-à-fait tranquillisé."
“Quelle vision avez-vous eue?” dit le bon prêtre. “ J'étois,” répondit Montrésor, “à la porte du Paradis, avec une foule de gens qui vouloient entrer. Et St. Pierre demandoit à chacun, de quelle religion il étoit. L'un répondoit, 'Je suis Catholique Romain.' *Hé bien,' disoit St. Pierre, 'entrez, et prenez votre place là parmi les Catholiques. Un autre dit, qu'il étoit de l'église Anglicane. "Hé bien,' dit St. Pierre, 'entrez, et placez-vous là parmi les Anglicans. Un autre dit qu'il étoit Quaker. Entrez,' dit St. Pierre, et prenez place parmi les Quakers. Enfin, mon tour étant arrivé, il me demanda de quelle religion j'étois. “Hélas !' répondis-je, malheureusement le pauvre Jacques Montrésor n'en a point. “C'est dommage,' dit le Saint, je ne sais où vous placer; mais entrez toujours ; vous vous mettrez où vous pourrez.'”
An officer named Montrésor, a worthy man, was very ill. The curate of his parish, thinking him likely to die, advised him to make his peace with God, that he might be received into Paradise. “I have not much uneasiness on the subject,” said Montrésor, “ for I had a vision last night which has perfectly tranquillized my