Space Age Chess
With satellites spinning around the earth 2,500 miles out in space and Walter O'Malley and the Dodgers even farther removed from their launching pad at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, the problems of adjustment to the new age mount by the minute. But the problems are being solved: the toy manufacturers were in the shop windows with miniature satellites and missiles almost overnight, and now comes word that the ancient game of chess has been made ready. Arthur Elliott, an artist and avid chess player, has designed (and copyrighted in Italy) a whole new set of space-oriented chessmen.
"As a game," says Elliott, explaining his own adjusted thinking, "chess is often compared to war maneuvers. Even the pieces used to play the game have resembled or been compared to military counterparts, the pawn as the foot soldier, the knight as the armed horseman, the tower the fort or tank and so on. In my game, the pawn is a rocket, the knight is a satellite, the queen a space ship. The tower is radar, the king a space station, the bishop an ICBM."
All the new pieces, says Elliott, are in character with the traditional ones. That is, the satellite hurtles through space as did the old horseman across the landscape, the ICBM slashes across the board as did the bishop and the rockets protect and attack at close range as did the pawns. The space ship, the queen, can go anywhere, and the space station, like the king it represents, has little mobility.
The adaptation of chess to space could scarcely be more fitting, in Elliott's view. "Since chess is played in the mind and imagination," he says, "it is a quiet game, matching the silence of space. And the movement of the chess pieces is as thrilling to the eye of the passionate chess player as an eclipse is to the astronomer."
Other Space News
And then—in the story now going-by word of mouth from coast to coast—there's the new Sputnik Girdle. Haven't heard of it? It's for girls who want their shape to be out of this world.
Not so many Easters ago the only discernible signs of friendship for the Japanese people in this country lay in a grove of blossoming cherry trees along the banks of the Potomac River in Washington, D.C. These innocent plants were themselves an anachronistic holdover from a day before the bitterness of war had turned the people of two great nations against one another, however, and there were those in Washington back in the early '40s who even wanted to chop down the cherry trees.
Since that ugly time many things have changed; changed, we think, for the better. As the Easter season rolled around again this year, it was the cherries themselves that held aloof. Embittered by an extra-harsh Potomac winter that lingered overlong, they stubbornly refused to blossom on schedule. But elsewhere in a nation whose people find hatred at best an uncomfortable burden, evidences of an old friendship nurtured to renewed strength by past regret were in full and vigorous bloom. A movie celebrating Japanese-American friendship in the very shadow of national defeat and victory was a leading contender for the highest honor U.S. filmdom had to offer. Two Japanese actors as well were up for Hollywood's cherished Oscars and one of them walked off with the prize.