1.e4 c5.

And suddenly it is laid out plainly on this random morning. Life, in itself, is a game of chess.

One not-so-startling difference in this game is that you’re playing life itself and you know you are going to be checkmated at the end. You will lose, you will die: that is the natural progression of the game if you do not count the variegated and mostly unrealized scientific possibilities of cryogenic preservation (for the physical) and gobbledygook (for the mental).

Life is a game of chess you play, fully cognizant of the fact that you’re heading to a 0-1 (you vs life).

What, then, makes for an interesting game is not the number of steps you’ve managed to squeeze into 64 squares, or the number of years you’ve managed to live on a ball with a radius of about 6400 kilometers.

An interesting game lies just in the boldest, apparently absurd, status-quo-redefining moves that lead to newer pastures that the world has never witnessed.

A 40+-move game closely on the heels of book-moves and past-games is no fun even if you’ve shown combinatorial prowess frequently. This is what almost everyone of us is doing. Look around. All the faces that dabble in mediocrity, all the souls that follow the charted path, all the beings that seek not the unknown but only the ‘tried, tested, and done’ a million times.

The real satisfaction, it seems to me, comes from a 17-move game, ‘blitzy’ as it may sound (but in a World Chess Championship, that can take over an hour), with peculiar, tactical gameplay. An entire generation of the populace will call you the fool - after all, you are up for a checkmate in the endgame - but heed not to them. In their own desolate lairs of monotony and mediocrity, these men and women are watching your game in utter shock, surprise or interest, occasionally wishing that they had the courage to play like you.

1. e4 c5 is Sicilian Defense, considered Black’s strongest response to White’s opening e4.
2. Like every John Doe, I wish I could rewrite history to get back, for his own family and myself, the man who introduced me to the world of chess.