Wuxiaworld > GAMBIT > 3 03| Chess
Quartz Vermillion, a man of knowledge and skill despite being an unemployed middle-aged man. He is also a compassionate person who somehow has no desire on applying for a job yet.

Aside from his bookworm nature, Quartz is also fond of playing the Piccolo. A fine woodwind instrument with half the size of an ordinary flute. This instrument was given by his father when he had the age of eight. His father always told him, that the Piccolo he loves to play, belongs to his deceased mother.

The young man only has limited information about his deceased mother. Her body was taken by death due to a rare genetic disease. Quartz, however, was only two months old during that time. Quartz's only reference to his mother is through pictures and descriptions told by his father.

Once the blanket of twilight has arrived, with the gargantuan moon ever glowing, Quartz would step outside his balcony, with eyes glancing on the night sky. Solemnly, he would play the Piccolo and join nature's orchestra.

"Whenever you feel alone, scared, or even troubled, just look to the stars and play a song. Your mother will always be there to hear your melody, and she will listen to you with her dearest heart." This was his father's instruction, which sparked Quartz's likeness to the Piccolo his father gave.

Every night, the young man would play a song, hoping that his mother would listen to the melody. He believes that no matter what, his mother will always be beside him, hugging him tightly through the storm.

Some neighbors would even stay awake just to hear the young man's masterpiece, truly remarkable and truly fervent. On rare occasions, tears would trickle down Quartz's eyes, as his song yearns for his mother's loss. 

Three hours have passed, and his father arrives at his abode with the notable chess set on his grasp. He couldn't wait to surprise his son with the gift he bought. His intellect could grow profoundly with the boardgame his father bought.

Proud and delighted his father is, to see that his son has already eaten his breakfast. Just from the door, he could hear the melody of the Piccolo, gushing to his heart. Just like every other normal day, Quartz is practicing his instrument again.

Steadily, Cypress knocks on Quartz's door, while holding the wooden box on his hand. "Come in." The young man pauses his practice for a while, and responds to his father's knock.

"Ah, practicing your flute aren't ya my boy? Before I left, I have promised you a gift, and here I have it now on my grasp." Cypress utters with an exuberant tone as he sits beside his son on the plain white bed.

"A gift? What kind of gift father?" Quartz places the flute beside him as his mind grows curious about the wooden box his father was holding.

"Ah! A game which suites men like you. A game of triumph and victory, a game for kings and queens. This my boy is Chess." Cypress exclaims and places the box on the young man's lap. Quartz's eyes gaze over the dusty wooden box, but he didn't seem interested in the game.

"Father, you do know that I am not fond of playing boardgames right?" 

"Of course, you are my son, I know everything about you, but this game will surely stimulate your intellect. You are a man who is interested in wars and sieges which happened back in the golden eras of our city. 

Now, you can recreate those wars and sieges with this game."

"Father, I don't even have an opponent."

"The best opponent is always yourself. In that way, you can become a Grand Chess player in no time. I am busy, so my time to challenge you may only be limited." Cypress utters then pats the young man's shoulders with ecstasy and encouragement.

Quartz however is still not interested in the game. As long as its a board game, it is considered as lackluster to him and Chess is no exception. He smiles back at his father for he didn't want to hurt his feelings.

 Suddenly, a knock from the house doors interrupts the both of them. The knock is rambunctious and boisterous, as if someone is eager to enter the house.

"I'll open the door." Quartz volunteers to open the door, stands up from his bed, and places the Chess Set on the wooden desk beside his rustic closet.

He dashes down the stairs, with a curious mind. He wonders who could be knocking on the doors of his house? And why would they knock in the first place?

The father on the other hand smiles with bliss as he stares at the portrait of his wife.

The knocking on the door continues rambunctiously, causing a buzzing annoyance on Quartz's sanity as he walks down the stairs as fast as he could.

"Oh... It's you." He opens the squeaky door with an expressionless face only to be greeted by one of his neighbors, Alice Violet. She has crimson eyes, ebony hair, and a fair skin tone. 

She is a high-spirited young woman with a very rambunctious nature despite being a  professional when it comes to Chemistry and Biology. Alice and Quartz are friends since the day she has moved to their neighborhood, they are indeed polar opposites which constructs a good dynamic.

Quartz may feel annoyed or cranky at times when Alice's rambunctious attitude exceeds his threshold. Conflict may sometimes arise between them, but forgiveness will always be there to stitch things up back to the way they were.

"Have you heard? There's a student movement just outside the village." Alice Violet utters while gasping for air.

"I know. It's all over the newspaper, and if you're planning to ask me to come and attend the movement, I'm not going." Quartz utters and slowly closes the door at the same time.

"Of course not, unless you don't know the meaning of 'Student' movement." Just before the door shuts, Alice places her foot in between, serving as a lump.

"Oh Alice, have you delivered the letters I've sent to your father?" Cypress interrupts after seeing the young woman from the door.

"Yes, Mr.Cypress, my father is happy to receive them. In fact, he actually asked me to give you this response letter." Alice replies with a stunning smile then hands out the letter to Quartz's father.

"Ah! Finally, I've been waiting for a week just to receive your father's response letter. Oh, and do you mind if you stay a bit longer?" Cypress's body burst forth with nothing but ecstasy after grabbing the letter from Alice's grasp.

"A bit longer, what for father?" Quartz tilts to his father, then queries.

"Since you are a novice when it comes to Chess, I was wondering... maybe Alice could teach you some tips up her sleeves," Cypress suggests.

"What?! I am not in need of any help. I am certain that I can learn the game by myself just like how I self-thought myself to play the Piccolo." Quartz complains with a frown on his face.

"I'll be glad to teach your son, Mr. Cypress!" Alice interrupts with a blissful smile as she enters their house.

Quartz wasn't happy with his father's decision, it was his first time to disagree with his father's idea. The young man had no choice though, but to follow his father's instruction. All the time he has saved for reading history books will now be wasted on a board game tutorial. 

"I am not a profound Chess player, but my father thought me how to play." Inside Quartz's bedroom is where both played a simple game of Chess. Quartz is in fact, an amateur on this game. The only thing he could do is to entertain his mind while listening to Alice's boring lectures and tutorials.

"This is the pawn, a chess piece of the smallest size and value. A pawn moves one square forward along its file if unobstructed, or two on the first move, or perhaps one square diagonally forward when making a capture. 

The rook is a piece in the game of chess resembling a castle. Formerly the piece was called the tower, marquess, rector, and comes. The term castle is however considered informal, incorrect, or old-fashioned. Each player starts the game with two rooks, one on each of the corner squares on their own side of the board. It moves in a horizontal and vertical direction.

The knight is a piece in the game of chess, representing a knight. It is normally represented by a horse's head and neck. Each player starts with two knights, which begin on the row closest to the player, between the rooks and bishops. It moves and captures in an L-shape direction.

The bishop is a piece in the game of chess. Each player begins the game with two bishops. One starts between the king's knight and the king, the other between the queen's knight and the queen. It moves and captures in a diagonal direction.

The Queen, it is the strongest piece out of all the pawns and officials. It can move diagonally, horizontally, or even vertically. 

And lastly the King. It is the most important piece of the game. Once the king has been trapped by the foe's officials, then checkmate is proclaimed.

Once the pawn reaches the other end of the board, it can transform into anything it wishes to be. In Chess, even the tiniest of men can become the bravest of souls. All it needs is the courage to overcome anything which dares to oppose it during its journey to the other side. Let's play one game shall we?" Alice Violet explains and illustrates every basic instruction for beginners like Quartz.

"I'm sorry, but I am not fond of this game, nor did I understand anything at all." Quartz rolls his eyes and utters with a sarcastic tone.

"How disappointing. Bookworms like you should have profound understanding skills, unless... the bookworm I'm talking to is lazy." Alice giggles and teases as she sets up the board.

With a little persuasion, Quartz has finally accepted her challenge with no intentions of winning or whatsoever.

A simple game, without the use of a Chess Clock. Both of them are in control over the two colors, black and white. Quartz shall represent the white, while Alice shall represent the black. In Chess, it is a rule for the white to move first.

The game continues for more than ten minutes already, and it seems that Quartz is heading to a tight place. Due to the exchange in the center, White is in a difficult situation. Black has a comfortable situation against the isolated pawn. White places his rook on the c8 tile, the usual in this situation, waiting for the opponent to make a move with his queen. Was this the right move? White thinks for a moment. He then realizes he would need to move the rook to the b5 tile for when he would need to revert back to the Carlsbad structure.

After another exchange, Quartz's place is a lot more difficult, and his opponent's more comfortable.

Black moves Rook to c4

This move is the usual counter in situations like this and Alice expects Quartz to move his queen in response. Had she made the right move?

Black moves his pawn from f4 to f5

Quartz bites his lip. He should have moved the rook to B1 instead, but he'd lose a chance to move his knight into a more protective position.

[Note: This is all randomly made up, so it is not necessary to actually record their notations on a chessboard.]

"Hmm, checkmate!" Alice declares with joy.

"Of course you won. I didn't know what I was doing anyway." Quartz rolls his eyes once more then stares at either his books or his Piccolo.

"That game wasn't too bad. Did you know that the game we played has the Carlsbad structure involved? Structures and openings helps in developing officials and pieces.

Anyways, I'll be going to the bathroom first. Set up the board, let's play for one last time." Alice stands up from the mattress and heads out of the room. Being Quartz's only friend, she is quite fond of visiting him and thus knows every room in his house.

As Alice takes her bathroom break, Quartz tries to set up the board according to how his friend has done it before the first match commenced.

"Ok Quartz, its just one more game. You can do this right? The lackluster will end any moment now." Quartz utters with encouragement while trying to keep himself calm over the boredom aroma circulating the room.

Quartz is finally fed up from waiting for Alice in the bathroom. He decides to move a pawn forward and that's when unexpected things start to happen.

"What the?!" Quartz's mind is in sudden shock after seeing the black side respond. After moving his pawn from c2 to c4, black responds with the King's Indian defense mechanism. No one is there, but how could someone move the piece suddenly? 

He rubs his eyes and responds by moving his knight, and once more the black responds without anyone playing with him unless that "anyone" is a ghost.

Things start to become more paranormal when the white pieces respond at their own. Both black and white played together without the assistance of any human at all. Could this be the effect of two proficient ghost battling against each other? Or is it something entirely different? Quartz has no choice but to glance at the lifeless siege...