Thursday, January 19, 2006

Chess and palmistry

Bobby Fischer, former world chess champion, is one of the greatest chess players of all time. Garry Kasparov wrote that of all world champions of chess, the skill gap between Fischer and his contemporaries was the largest in history. Fischer became the U.S. Champion at the tender age of 14 (the youngest ever, and with 0 losses), and went on to became the world's youngest ever Grandmaster (although this record no longer stands).

Well what does this have to do with palmistry?

Well, Fischer is actually a firm believer in palmistry. A quote from an interview: "Palmistry is a definite science. It's not just a bunch of nonsense like astrology." And about his own palms, he says they "show a flexible mind and a soul that has been callused by the hard knocks of life. Like I'm not as soft or as generous a person as I would be if the world hadn't changed me." [source:]

This provided some inspiration to look at the palm as if it were a chessboard, as Fischer might have done. The five different chesspieces (excluding the King) actually make interesting metaphors for the five fingers, similar to the two popular systems of palmistry - astrological palmistry (planet metaphors - jupiter, venus, mars, etc.) and 4 element handreading (air, water, earth, fire). So, without further delay, I hereby introduce: chess palmistry!
(due to the nature of chess it is kind of 'battle' oriented)

Thumb = the Queen. Like the thumb on the hand, the queen is easily the greatest force of power. It is also the most flexible piece, able to move in all directions. It is without doubt the captain of the ship, but still needs to work together with the other pieces in order to unleash its full power.

Index finger = the Bishop. Like the index finger, the bishop is the first to get out into the open and expose itself. For this reason, its usually the first to pose a threat.

Middle finger = the Castle (rook). Like the middle finger, the castle is the stabilizing core - strong and powerful, second only to the queen, but its influence is more often behind the scenes - until the final kill.

Ring finger = the Horse. Like the ring finger, the horse is the most unpredictable, creative, and distinct. While equal in strength to the bishop, it's tactics are more subtle and indirect.

Little finger = the Pawn. Like the little finger, the pawn is subtle and seemingly weak, but its influence should not be understimated. Often, the pawn becomes the most powerful of all, and it is through the hidden strength of the pawn that one tries to outwit the opponent.