How To Play Woke Chess

Canceling diversity with a modern take on a classic game.

Last week I was hanging out with an old friend who was suddenly called away to deal with a minor emergency. As he hurried out the door he instructed his teenage son to entertain me for an hour until his return. The seventeen year old boy rolled his eyes and said ‘okay’ with the enthusiasm of an arthritic goat.

“So what do you wanna do?” he asked, not really interested in the prospect of being answered.

“I dunno, what sort of games do you have?”

He perked up at that, “Like, video games?”

“How about chess?” I suggested.

“Only if we play woke rules,” he countered, and I agreed because I was frankly a bit nervous to ask, and thought I would figure it out within a few moves.

He got the chessboard out and asked if I wanted black or white, and I picked white for no particular reason, and then he gave me a puzzled look, “Your call boss.”

I started to set my pieces up in the usual manner and was soon interrupted.

“Whoa there, gramps? What do you think you’e doing?” he phrased his admonishment as a question. “Pawns go in the back, this isn’t an oligarchy. The strong must sacrifice themselves for the weak. Turn it around.”

I realized right there that I was way out of my league.

“Okay, so just pretend I have never played this game before and…”

“You’ve never played woke chess before, have you?” he interrupted.

“Let’s just proceed as though I haven’t. How do we play?”

“Alright, it’s easy. You picked white, so the first goal is to have all of your leaders transformed into pawns, and transform all of my pawns into leaders.” he stated, as though it was the most obvious thing ever.

Okay, so how do we do that?”

“Well from there it is pretty much like oppression chess, you just sort of attack one another to make the conversions. Like if your bishop takes my knight, the bishop becomes a pawn and the knight stays the same.” he explained.

“Okay, well what if my knight takes your queen?”

“Bruh, you can’t even attack queens. That’s misogyny.”

“Okay, what about the king?”

“Well in that case, boomer…”

“I’m Gen X,” I interrupted.

“Whatever,” he quipped. “Then your knight would become a pawn and my king would become a queen.”

“Wait, how are we supposed to know when our pieces have been transformed?” I asked genuinely.

He pulls out a bag filled with at least two other sets of chess pieces, “Like this.”

“What’s with all the grey pawns?” I wondered aloud.

“That is how the game ends, when all of the black and white pieces have been replaced with grey pawns.”

We sat there staring at each other for what felt like an eternity, and I had so many things to say that I could never say to my dear friend’s teenage son that I opted for total silence until it became unbearable.

“So…what video games do you have?” I asked

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