Omschrijving van het schaakspel in het 16e eeuwse klassieke Chinese boek The Journey to the West
Mijn vrouw en ik zijn beiden het klassiek Chinese boek The Journey to the West aan het lezen. Zij de uitgebreide versie, ik de verkorte versie. In de uitgebreide versie staat een prachtige omschrijving van het schaakspel, waarop ze mij attendeerde en waarover ik de lezer graag wil informeren.
The way of chess exalts discipline and caution; the most powerful pieces should remain in the center, the weakest at the flanks, and the less powerful ones at the corner. This is a familiar law of the chess player. The law says: ‘You should rather lose a piece than an advantage. When you strike on the left, you must guard your right; when you attack in the rear, you must watch your front. Only when you have a secure front will you also have a rear; and only if you have a secure rear will you maintain your front. The two ends cannot be separated, and yet both must remain flexible and not be encumbered. A broad formation should not be too loose, while a tight position should not be constricted. Rather than clinging on to save a single piece, it is better to sacrifice it in order to win; rather than moving without purpose, it is better to remain stationary in order to be self-supportive. When your adversary outnumbers you, your first concern is to survive; when you outnumber your adversary, you must strive to exploit your force. He who knows how to win will not prolong his fight; he who is a master of positions will not engage in direct combat; he who knows how to fight will not suffer defeat; and he who knows how to lose will not panic. For chess begins with proper engagement but ends in unexpected victory. If your enemy, even without being threatened, is bringing up his reinforcement, it is a sign of his intention to attack; if he deserts a small piece without tryng to save it, he may be stalking a bigger piece. If he moves in a casual manner, he is a man without thoughts; response without thought is the way to defeat. The Classic of Poetry says:
Approach with severe caution
As if facing a deep canyon.
Such is the meaning thereof.
The poem says:
The chessboard’s the earth; the pieces are the sky;
The colors are light and dark as the whole universe.
When playing reaches that skillful, subtle stage,
Boast and laugh with the old Immortal of Chess.
[Bron: Anthony C. Yu (tr. and ed.), The Journey to the West, rev. ed. 2012, Volume 1, p. 245-246]