alice chess

it’s as if she changes her mind every time she speaks, like a pendulum. as if she exists not in her own mind but everywhere else.

if she hurts you, she’ll be back with bandages and a kiss to make it all better. and if she heals you, she returns with knives coated in a slow, slow poison.


she breaks people, too. but she doesn’t realize she’s done it. and she uses the shards to patch the people she loves right back up. she expects the favour, but doesn’t question it when she doesn’t receive it.

they’re a team, if she cares. but she sees the rest of the world as a team against her.

checkers chess

she’s not good enough. is that it? not until people say she is. it doesn’t feel like it. so she won’t stop.

but it just happens over and over again. she likes that she won’t.

checkless chess

untouchable. that’s what she is. there is no way to crack her.

it’s either you break her, or she shows nothing. it’s admirable. it’s ridiculous.

chess with different armies

speaking to her is like speaking to anyone else, if you had to say it.

there are some details different (in her eerie familiarity with death, with breaking, with being broken), but mostly you follow the same beats. it’s soft. it’s inviting.

circe chess

she won’t go down.

well, that’s not explicitly true. it’s possible to do it. you just need to stop her from coming back. but that’s not easy to do. it gets too intense.

cylinder chess

people are–well, not easy. but they’re easy to slide in and out of. both to assist and to destroy.

you just need to always take the back door, when you get the chance. another thing? she’s good at taking her own advice.

fischer random chess

she starts off strange. she doesn’t end that way, not if you can last long enough, but she starts off strange, and she makes you think that way too.

and she is frustratingly, frustratingly good at pretending she’s not.

gliński’s hexagonal chess

her goals are the same as everyone else’s. it’s just that she plays on a different board.

it’s not any better, or any worse, not in reaching goals. it’s just different. strange, but less strange than it could’ve been.

grid chess

this is what she does. tease people. cross the lines that shouldn’t be crossed. but she doesn’t see it that way, not even when it’s about her.

she speaks from the heart. and she stabs right through it, like she’s expecting them all to do it too. like she’s disappointed when they don’t.


she has other priorities. they’re such a small change, nothing even different from the most basic of rules. it begins the same way.

it ends differently. similarly enough, but with easy, easy pitfalls. so, so easy.


so many secrets. in everyone. from everyone.

she won’t tell. not if you ask. but she’ll hint. and that’s enough. other people hint too. so someone, somewhere, somehow, can deduce it. would that be enough?

maharajah and the sepoys

it’s just her. just her, and no one else. she doesn’t need them. she doesn’t want them. even if she did, they wouldn’t want her. so…maybe?

she’s doomed to lose, of course. even more. especially if her opponent knows what they’re doing.

monochromatic chess

she walks the same path she’s always walked. this causes her some strife, sometimes, but it’s easier.

it makes her…not predictable. not precisely. but it makes her play by more rules. (sorry? she thinks.) but she’s in too deep to stop now.

racing kings

she has one goal, one easier to attain than most people’s. and it’s easy to block out distractions in that way.

but then, that’s just who she is. someone that’s laser-focused down a narrow goal. it simply doesn’t matter to her how she does it.

sixteen pawns

it’s an odd handicap. murder is the line that can never be crossed, but anything else is fine. encouraged, even.

you wouldn’t expect it to be so big an advantage in this sort of game, but it very much is.

Photo: Felix Mittermeier on