Chess and Tiddlywinks

Real winks don't wear crownsWatching two people duke it out on a chessboard can be instructive, and thought-provoking. The sidewalk match I was observing last night wasn't generating much in the way of dialogue, which I suppose is one of the hallmarks of the game. But that changed when a passerby stopped to watch, and mentioned an overlooked opportunity on the part of one of the players. An en passant capture, he suggested, would have improved the player's situation. The player responded that life is a lot like Chess, then retracted the remark in favor of the stronger, more direct statement that life is, in fact, a game of Chess.

I have a different idea. I think life has more in common with Tiddlywinks, because those little blue, green, red and yellow winks have to fly through the air, and so may be affected by unanticipated events—sneezes, for example—that can dramatically alter the outcome of the game. Another aspect of the game that mirrors real life is the act of squopping, or covering the opponent's wink so as to make it unusable. This has many analogues in the everyday world; clothing and dark sunglasses are two examples.

The language of Tiddlywinks more closely resembles actual, real-life language as well. An example from the Lexicon of Tiddlywinks proves the point.

I can't pot my nurdled wink, so I'll piddle you free and you can boondock a red. But if Sunshine gromps the double, I'll lunch a blue next time.

Of course, I'm not suggesting that Tiddlywinks is the strategic equivalent of Chess. But strategy can only take you so far, because sooner or later, someone is going to sneeze.


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