I’m a Chess aficionado but must admit I’m a horribly average player. Nevertheless the game has long fascinated me. It is easy to see why so many people both wise and simple associate its play with life. Everything from relationships to war can be analogized with Chess. Even as a child I quickly saw the games parallels with race,racism and the Black experience in America. I felt the racial implications with Chess so much so that for a time I and my friends would play allowing Black to move 1st. I later abandoned this unorthodox style of play and settled in to master as much of the game as I could allowing the orthodox move of white 1st. In allowing (or recognizing) this I took the philosophical view that allowing white to move 1st was analogous to the fact that in history “Whites”,Europeans and most Caucasians have been the aggressors in every conflict dealing with a darker skinned indigenous aboriginal people. In other words whites 1st move in Chess symbolizes this historical aggression. Dr. Frances Cress Welsing speaks on this phenomena in Chess and other European games in her famous book “The Isis Papers” https://archive.org/stream/TheIsisPapersTheKeysToTheColorsdr.FrancesCressWelsing/the%20isis%20papers%20the%20keys%20to%20the%20colors%20%5Bdr.%20frances%20cress%20welsing%5D.txt
In the video below Dr. Welsing discuses her “Color Confrontation Theory” using Chess as a metaphor. (I’ve linked the 2nd part because the 1st part had poor audio)
Another analogy I arrived at is the fact that in proper Chess etiquette an overly superior player allows the weaker opponent to play with white. This is the equivalent of a basket ball player spotting a 10pt handicap to a less skilled opponent. The better player allows the weaker opponent to move 1st thus play with white. This is just another way of viewing this games dynamic and falls in line with Dr. Frances Cress Welsing theories on White genetic survival.
When I first began playing Chess I attempted to use the same openings for black that I used for white. Again black always moves second thus starts on defense. I later began to use different openings for black but still would play hoping to eventually use strategies and tactics I use when playing with white. One day I was hit with the epiphany that I simply had to play a fundamentally different game when playing with black. This may seem like a simple bit of logic to arrive at but it was like a bomb went off in my head (especially since I’m primarily self taught). Yes the basics of the game applied to both sides ie: knights can only move in “L” patterned right angles, the bishops must move in diagonals and stay on their original color and pieces can only move one time per turn-but the way the game is approached must be strategically different if you wish to win when playing with black. The fact black always moves 2nd means that black is at an intrinsic disadvantage from the start of the game and this must be recognized and taken into account when making ones moves. So technically the game of Chess is intrinsically biased towards the black pieces and the black side of the board. This is analogous to the old and new Jim Crow systems in place today that inhibit the upward mobility of African Americans.
This chess truth can be applied to the Afro American experience. Few African Americans realize just how diametrically opposed this system is to them.
To quote a former American president:
“ you have to face the fact that the whole problem is really the blacks. The key is to devise a system that recognizes this while not appearing to.”
-Richard M. Nixon-Rep.
This is right after the so called civil rights movement victories. Here you see the American government at the highest levels wishing to put into place a system to counter the productive gains of the civil rights movement. It seems Nixon and his cronies were succesful when you hear so many Anglo Americans saying that racsim no longer exist. Today you still see factions of the government taking away and restricting the freedoms of African Americans and other minorities.
Afro Americans are also economically denied access to the “American Dream”.
Just as the educational system and much of mainstream literature is biased or contains racist/anti Black elements so does the educational systems of Chess. Most Chess puzzles deal with moves for white. Even when talking about defense the lessons are primarily taught from the perspective of playing with white.
Many of us (Afro Americans) do not realize we must take and make extra effort to succeed in this society. At the age of 11 my father told me that I would have to work twice as hard as a White man in this world. At the time it was “thee” most unfair thing I’d ever heard. Like most things your parents tell you, the full understanding of this did not sink in until I was an adult. You have Blacks that subscribe to the same “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” philosophy touted by White conservatives but they fail to realize you will always have a percentage of people that will succeed in oppressive environments. Just as 1% of a bacteria targeted by an anti-bacterial solution will survive so will a certain % of a targeted group successfully resist or avoid the forms of discrimination used against them. This and the fact that this system grants members of the targeted group that collaborates with it perks and gratuities. They parade these “example” models of the targeted minority group as proof that if only the other members of the group “assimilate” they would be successful too. The fact is that Afro Americans have tried to assimilate into American society for centuries but have been denied full access to the “American Dream” I could easily hold the position that since I’ve been relatively successful other Blacks should be able to replicate my success but I understand its not just that simple. I understand that yes other Blacks could replicate my success but they would also need to possess the knowledge of self and this system I posses. See I fully understand that Black peoples of this world must play life’s “game” according to the tactics and strategies conducive to Black success and those tactics will be different from White America’s tactics for quite some time to come