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: Brendan sent me to a rarely-updated Story Minute-ish comic The Grimbles, with special reference to the most recent episode. However, I like this one, and Sumana might like this one and definitely this one.

Constitutional Monarchy Chess: Sumana asked me why a chess queen can move arbitrarily far in any direction. Does this correspond to some great political power held by queens in feudal Europe? Seems unlikely. I made a wild guess that perhaps in the original Indian version of chess, the "queen" piece was some sort of king's advisor which didn't translate well to European terms.

Then I started thinking about all those stupid chess sets where the pieces look like Simpsons characters or Civil War soldiers or Wizard Of Oz commemorative plates and it doesn't make any sense. I thought, "I want in on this not-making-sense action!". So I decided to bring the game of chess into the modern world by changing the pieces to depict a political battle between two parties in a constitutional monarchy.

The chessboard is a country with a thirty-member parliament. There are two parties, the Social Democrats (white) and the Democratic Socialists (black).

The purpose of the game is to get the king to put his support behind your platform. Each side has a piece representing one of the positions the king could take, and you must corner your opponent's representation so that the king has no choice but to accept your side's position.

Each player controls eight non-cabinet members of parliament (the Pawns) and a seven-member cabinet or shadow cabinet (depending on whether or not they are the party in power).

The King, as previously discussed, is the king (more precisely, your party's wish as to the political position the king would take). The Queen is the prime minister or shadow prime minister. The cabinet positions are:

If you have more pieces on the board than your opponent, your party is in power and your ministers are actual ministers; otherwise you are in opposition and your ministers are shadow ministers. In the event of a tie, as in the beginning of the game, the Social Democrats are in power. This is because the king breaks ties and he is a Social Democrat. Unfortunately, none of this has any direct effect on the game.

Let's consider an example to see how Constitutional Monarchy Chess livens up the dull chess notation. "Qg7" would instead be "PMg7" or "SPMg7". The unspeakably boring "Bxe5" might become "SMfFAxe5". Now that's excitement!

I also forsee doing a brisk business in my specialized Constitutional Monarchy Chess pieces, which depict people in black and gray suits and dresses who can only be told apart by the ministerial logos on their briefcases.

BACK OFF #2:

BACK OFF, I'M A POSTAL WORKER

Probably not really a postal worker.

Yeah, I'm Scared:

root is not in the sudoers file. This incident will be reported.


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