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Old May 10th 04, 09:39 PM
Gunny Bunny
 
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Default Chess queen's power reflection of real life

MAY 09, 2004 WINNIPEG FREE PRESS PAGE: B10

Chess queen's power reflection of real life

None
Birth of the Chess Queen A History

By Marilyn Yalom

HarperCollins, 304 pages, $39



Reviewed by R.J. Stevenson

AS a game revered the world over, chess has special status in many
regards.

The complexity and skill that attends mastery has presently been
preserved in the male domain, yet the presence of the chess queen adds a
stunning dimension.

On the board, she shares power with the king as his protector, charging
forth to destroy his enemies and defying the narrow constraints that bind
the rest of her army.

Marilyn Yalom presents a history of the chess queen that sees her power
on the board in the reflection of queenship and through the influence of
several female rulers at crucial moments in European history.

As a senior scholar at Stanford University's Institute for Women and
Gender, Yalom has written extensively on women and culture in her books A
History of the Wife, A History of the Breast and Blood Sisters.

Birth of the Chess Queen is her examination of the queen's emergence on
the board, and how this presence symbolically correlated with the rise of
female power in the Western world.

It is important to note that the queen did not exist in the early days of
chess. As a game that originated in India during the fifth century, Yalom
explains it would not have made sense to have such a figure on the board.
"Chess," she writes, "was resolutely and exclusively a war game enacted
between male fighters mounted on animals or marching on foot."

However, with the advent of chess in Europe the queen was born. Around
1000 AD she made her first appearance, and Yalom argues that she was
modelled after Adelaide of Burgundy or Empress Theophano, both consorts of
Germanic Ottonian emperors with great influence who shared political power
with their husbands.

It was not until 1497 that the chess queen was recognized with the full
range of movement she now employs; by the time Isabella of Castile ruled
over Spain and parts of the New World discovered by Columbus she had gained
new authority.

Yalom says this signalled the change from old chess to the game in play
today.

Additionally, the author associates the rise of the queen with courtship
rituals, the veneration of the Virgin Mary and also through the cult of
romantic love.

Interestingly, it is also indicated that despite women's limited presence
in chess today (recent estimates suggest that only five percent of players
worldwide are women), females in both the historical Arab lands and Europe
were proficient competitors whose participation in the game was readily
accepted.

Well-researched, with pictures and a lively narrative that incorporates
poetry, anecdotes and legends, Birth of the Chess Queen offers the reader a
whirlwind tour of the Old World to make the acquaintance of some very
fascinating women, in the context of an ancient game.

R.J. Stevenson is a Winnipeg editor and writer.


  #2   Report Post  
Old May 11th 04, 09:04 AM
Ray Gordon
 
Posts: n/a
Default Chess queen's power reflection of real life

"When the men on the chessboard, get up and tell you where to go....go ask
Alice, I think she'll know..." -- Grace Slick

MAY 09, 2004 WINNIPEG FREE PRESS PAGE: B10

Chess queen's power reflection of real life

None
Birth of the Chess Queen A History

By Marilyn Yalom

HarperCollins, 304 pages, $39



Reviewed by R.J. Stevenson

AS a game revered the world over, chess has special status in many
regards.

The complexity and skill that attends mastery has presently been
preserved in the male domain, yet the presence of the chess queen adds a
stunning dimension.

On the board, she shares power with the king as his protector, charging
forth to destroy his enemies and defying the narrow constraints that bind
the rest of her army.

Marilyn Yalom presents a history of the chess queen that sees her power
on the board in the reflection of queenship and through the influence of
several female rulers at crucial moments in European history.

As a senior scholar at Stanford University's Institute for Women and
Gender, Yalom has written extensively on women and culture in her books A
History of the Wife, A History of the Breast and Blood Sisters.

Birth of the Chess Queen is her examination of the queen's emergence on
the board, and how this presence symbolically correlated with the rise of
female power in the Western world.

It is important to note that the queen did not exist in the early days

of
chess. As a game that originated in India during the fifth century, Yalom
explains it would not have made sense to have such a figure on the board.
"Chess," she writes, "was resolutely and exclusively a war game enacted
between male fighters mounted on animals or marching on foot."

However, with the advent of chess in Europe the queen was born. Around
1000 AD she made her first appearance, and Yalom argues that she was
modelled after Adelaide of Burgundy or Empress Theophano, both consorts of
Germanic Ottonian emperors with great influence who shared political power
with their husbands.

It was not until 1497 that the chess queen was recognized with the full
range of movement she now employs; by the time Isabella of Castile ruled
over Spain and parts of the New World discovered by Columbus she had

gained
new authority.

Yalom says this signalled the change from old chess to the game in play
today.

Additionally, the author associates the rise of the queen with

courtship
rituals, the veneration of the Virgin Mary and also through the cult of
romantic love.

Interestingly, it is also indicated that despite women's limited

presence
in chess today (recent estimates suggest that only five percent of players
worldwide are women), females in both the historical Arab lands and Europe
were proficient competitors whose participation in the game was readily
accepted.

Well-researched, with pictures and a lively narrative that incorporates
poetry, anecdotes and legends, Birth of the Chess Queen offers the reader

a
whirlwind tour of the Old World to make the acquaintance of some very
fascinating women, in the context of an ancient game.

R.J. Stevenson is a Winnipeg editor and writer.




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Old May 11th 04, 04:19 PM
Parrthenon
 
Posts: n/a
Default Chess queen's power reflection of real life

"In chess, the queen wears the pants; she is the most powerful piece, roaming
the board while the king takes baby steps. But it wasn't always so...." -- U.S.
News & World Report, April 26, 2004 in a review of BIRTH OF THE CHESS QUEEN by
Marilyn Yalom
  #4   Report Post  
Old May 11th 04, 10:42 PM
John Fernandez
 
Posts: n/a
Default Chess queen's power reflection of real life

"In chess, the queen wears the pants; she is the most powerful piece, roaming
the board while the king takes baby steps. But it wasn't always so...." --
U.S.
News & World Report, April 26, 2004 in a review of BIRTH OF THE CHESS QUEEN
by
Marilyn Yalom


She's doing a book signing at the Marshall next Monday, by the way.

John Fernandez
  #5   Report Post  
Old May 31st 04, 09:45 PM
adam w.
 
Posts: n/a
Default Chess queen's power reflection of real life


I read a review of this book in NYT. IMO, the metaphor is
overwrought. The 1500's are not famous for being the age of female
emancipation. The few examples of powerful women were exceptional.
Most women enjoyed a social status only slightly higher than that of
slaves and domestic animals. Chess is a game. In real life castles
dont roam the battle field, horses are heavy weapons easily impeded
by obstacles and foot soldiers can retreat etc.

Adam W


On Mon, 10 May 2004 16:39:41 -0400, "Gunny Bunny"
wrote:

MAY 09, 2004 WINNIPEG FREE PRESS PAGE: B10

Chess queen's power reflection of real life

None
Birth of the Chess Queen A History

By Marilyn Yalom

HarperCollins, 304 pages, $39



Reviewed by R.J. Stevenson

AS a game revered the world over, chess has special status in many
regards.

The complexity and skill that attends mastery has presently been
preserved in the male domain, yet the presence of the chess queen adds a
stunning dimension.

On the board, she shares power with the king as his protector, charging
forth to destroy his enemies and defying the narrow constraints that bind
the rest of her army.

Marilyn Yalom presents a history of the chess queen that sees her power
on the board in the reflection of queenship and through the influence of
several female rulers at crucial moments in European history.

As a senior scholar at Stanford University's Institute for Women and
Gender, Yalom has written extensively on women and culture in her books A
History of the Wife, A History of the Breast and Blood Sisters.

Birth of the Chess Queen is her examination of the queen's emergence on
the board, and how this presence symbolically correlated with the rise of
female power in the Western world.

It is important to note that the queen did not exist in the early days of
chess. As a game that originated in India during the fifth century, Yalom
explains it would not have made sense to have such a figure on the board.
"Chess," she writes, "was resolutely and exclusively a war game enacted
between male fighters mounted on animals or marching on foot."

However, with the advent of chess in Europe the queen was born. Around
1000 AD she made her first appearance, and Yalom argues that she was
modelled after Adelaide of Burgundy or Empress Theophano, both consorts of
Germanic Ottonian emperors with great influence who shared political power
with their husbands.

It was not until 1497 that the chess queen was recognized with the full
range of movement she now employs; by the time Isabella of Castile ruled
over Spain and parts of the New World discovered by Columbus she had gained
new authority.

Yalom says this signalled the change from old chess to the game in play
today.

Additionally, the author associates the rise of the queen with courtship
rituals, the veneration of the Virgin Mary and also through the cult of
romantic love.

Interestingly, it is also indicated that despite women's limited presence
in chess today (recent estimates suggest that only five percent of players
worldwide are women), females in both the historical Arab lands and Europe
were proficient competitors whose participation in the game was readily
accepted.

Well-researched, with pictures and a lively narrative that incorporates
poetry, anecdotes and legends, Birth of the Chess Queen offers the reader a
whirlwind tour of the Old World to make the acquaintance of some very
fascinating women, in the context of an ancient game.

R.J. Stevenson is a Winnipeg editor and writer.


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