Hamas, Israel and the Lost Chess Game

Congratulations to everyone’s favorite non-state terrorist group! Hamas can finally enjoy some long-deserved peace after its victory. Congratulations too, to the world’s most deluded nation. For acting so aggressively in Gaza, Israel too can declare victory. Each of your decisive triumphs will ring down through the ages! Wait, you both won? How does that work?  Though such logic clearly doesn’t pass muster, many chess players think in such a convoluted way.

Let’s go back to the beginning. After my introduction to the various chess archetypes, mentioned in an earlier column, chess zoologists discovered the presence of another species among us. Please give a warm welcome to the newest member of the chess phylum, the Chronic Disdainful Shusher. Just don’t clap too loudly because they’re liable to get testy.

So what does the emergence of this new creature have to do with people fighting pointlessly in a desert? In both cases its counter-factual evidence that rules the day. The other day I saw a fight escalate in a tournament hall when somebody made too much noise; this is nothing new, but in this instance one principal was dead serious that excessive sound affected his performance. The decibel levels affected him so critically, and apparently not his opponent, he felt justified in declaring a win instead of a loss. So did this guy not so long ago. As they might say in the homeland of one Gaza belligerent, “Oy vey!”

“I was winning easily until they forgot how to shut up,” the aggrieved chess player told the crowd. In my head I told him he was full of beans. My interior monologue must have been in a good mood that day because choicer words were appropriate.

It all makes me think. When you run out of time or get checkmated the game isn’t over. You’ve got to whine a bit and make a show of the world’s wanton unfairness, don’t you?

Should his claim be validated through actual examination or is he as much of a fool as the parties I’ve mentioned before? Not only people, but countries too, should accept their losses. The cost of not doing so is more collateral damage. When you don’t understand the reason why you fail then you’ll probably never improve your chess, or take more than the occasional siesta from killing innocent civilians.

The whole point is that your claim to supremacy is valid only to your dwindling group of sympathizers. So by all means do whatever it takes to protect your house, whether it means reacting with tank columns on the flimsiest of pretexts or pretending the world is a vast conspiracy. Just know that “I was up a pawn” or ” I was experimenting” (one I hear often, much to my delight) make your defeat sound truly pathetic. Use the cease-fire not just to analyze your tactics (the hook and ladder that could have won you material or the encirclement that could’ve made a rag-tag Hamas even more rag-tag) but your entire mode of conduct.








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