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Chess by Shelby Lyman

Monarchs and military leaders – Peter the Great, Napoleon Bonaparte and Robert E. Lee among them – have shown an affinity for the board game called chess.

It is no wonder. The pieces are more than symbolic replicas of military weaponry.

Their employment on the two-dimensional chessboard embodies the dynamics of space, time, force, strategy, tactics and struggle.

Napoleon, himself, has been described as having a special fondness for the knight whose equine-like capability of moving in any direction beguiles both artist and soldier.

But the self-proclaimed Emperor was, nevertheless, a terrible player. His chess cavalry could not do it all.

Virtually anyone was capable of beating him, although many were careful not to do so too often.

Napoleon also had the dubious honor of inspiring the Napoleon Opening in which the queen enters the fray prematurely by moving to the third rank on the second move.

For some, the dubious chess strategy is suggestive of his consort Empress Josephine’s amorous sallies and perambulations in real life.

Napoleon met his Waterloo more than once – on the chessboard and in the boudoir as well as on the battlefield.

Below is a win by Veselin Topalov against Maxime Vachier Lagrave from the third Norway Chess 2015 tournament in Stavanger, Norway.