Americans Don’t Play Chess

Americans don’t play enough chess
It’s the reason we’re in this political mess
The Right has carefully studied for years
Constitutional weaknesses, racist fears

They’ve put in long hours, learning the game
Motivating their base, pointing the blame
Spinning problems as the fault of their foes
Scuttling each bill that would end those woes

Like Morphy, Alekhine, Karpov, Nimzowitsch
Dangling carrots; a cheap bait-and-switch
A Fischer sacrifice; playing the long-game
The board no longer looks quite the same

Their rooks and bishops, now in key places
We watch with horror, mud on our faces
We slept through opening, developing play
Their knights are posted; it seems they’ll stay

Kiss of Death at the Opera, then it’s too late
Anastasia smiles, threatens Legal’s mate
A double-bishop pin, a dovetail, strategic
Is needed, or our king will be quadriplegic

Having good pawn structure is fundamental
And theirs is proving to be quite instrumental
Mate is possible with any piece on the board
Except the other king, who may be ignored

Unless, that is, he works his way up the file
Blocking the enemy king’s movement, while
The officers sweep in to deliver last blows
A game is often over before the loser knows

We’d better learn the game, or we’ll be through
It’s less checkmate, more authoritarian coup
A king can be smothered by his own pieces
It only takes a few with deceptive caprices

If the game may be saved, our wits must return
Or “How to lose everything” is all we will learn
We scoffed at haughty, four-dimensional claims
But, with distractions, they hit all their true aims

We’re playing an opponent who is happy to win
By legal means, if possible; they’ll nod and grin
Beaten fairly, he gives no handshake reward
But balls up his fists, and knocks over the board

The only way to beat a cheating, spoiled brat
Is to win fairly, but be ready to pick up a bat
For this one believes they must win at all cost
And will not admit or accept that they lost

The one sitting on the other side of this table
Is wily, unscrupulous; cheats when he’s able
Demanding to rewrite how the game is played
Promoting a pawn, says “A new king is made!”

Yes, win… but don’t be surprised if the liar
Pulls a gun or a knife, upon losing their desire
We all must fight hard to get out of this mess
We must become better at political chess


©2022 Kevin Trent Boswell

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Smothered Mate

The Queen nestles up snuggly, next to the King
Behind her, the Rook shuts the door
The Knight seizes upon his opportunity
To seal the King’s fate, evermore

Through the open window, the Knight, he spies
The King, cornered and exposed in his room
Bending his bow, the Knight looses a bolt
Thereby making the King’s chamber a tomb

A King now lay naked as the day he was born
Except for that single arrow, through his heart
The Queen in cahoots and the Knight’s fine aim
The King was quite clearly doomed from the start


©2021 Kevin Trent Boswell

Author’s Note: “Smothered mate” is a chess tactic, whereby checkmate is achieved through a Queen sacrifice. The Queen moves in between the Rook and the King (in the case in the picture above, this happens on the G8 square; although this can also occur on the other side of the board, as well).

Since the King is in the corner, behind a row of pawns, there’s no legal move except to capture the Queen, with the Rook.

The King cannot capture her, because there is a Knight in place, making it an illegal square for the King to move into. After the Queen is captured, the Knight moves again and it’s checkmate; the King has been “smothered”, unable to move because he is trapped on all sides, by his own pieces.

This makes for a clear parallel with an old school assassination plot, as might occur in Game Of Thrones… and did occur in a great many places, throughout history.

This piece will be in the new book of dark poetry, Out On The Killing Floor, coming soon.

Coming Soon

The image is the property of Chess.com

just a game

advantage of en passant 

on the Queen Rook’s file

surveyor eye finds wedge to jam

subtle gambit, invisible, silent

leading astray, all the while

underneath sleepy, hypnotic taunt

rhythm, all assumed with a smile 

double check reveal, cry of damn

wondering how, to hell, it all went 

sniper picks a dapper, gone style

take up a piece

toss them all down 

none of this matters 

trembling helps not

to checkmate the crown

rank and file sheep to fleece

winning smile, inflicting frown

lifeless blood splatters

on one’s hand, to be got; 

enough of it brings a bit of renown

Author’s Note: the rhyme scheme for this is an A, B, C, D, B pattern.

© 2020 Kevin Trent Boswell

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Five poetry book titles now available on Amazon

The poetry of Kevin Trent Boswell

Chaos Comes Apart

in the current

Dark Matter – Poems of Horror And Depravity 

Next 

Liber ex Liberi – The Book of Children 


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Kevin Trent Boswell