Why does white go first in chess?

column : Is Chess Racist?

Berlin - John Adams recently broke his collar. The former Australian chess official got a call from the radio channel ABC Sidney: Sagensemal, why does White always move first? Is Chess Racist? Adams, a conservative bone, refused to give the information and preferred to explode online: "Marxist ideologues" wanted to desecrate the royal game. That made the headlines. Even Garry Kasparov was angry.

In another time I would have grinned weakly and kept trimming my nose hair. Probably another radio telephone prank, the down-under version of the NDR flunker uncle Leif Tennemann. Now I know: if it sounds absurd, it's serious. Just like with Saint Mauritius, the legendary Roman officer and martyr. Its dark-skinned head is now to be erased from the Coburg coat of arms for the second time. In 1934, the patron saint of the city did not appear Aryan enough, in 2020 he is considered to be the product of colonialist stereotypes. For allegedly anti-racist reasons, too, people recently took Ulysses S. Grant from the pedestal in San Francisco - the Union general who had defeated the slave-holding army near Gettysburg. In Washington, an Abraham Lincoln statue is on the brink. It was once financed by liberated blacks. No, nothing is still a joke.

ABC Sidney later assured them that chess was by no means considered racist - as if it wasn't strange enough that a public broadcaster found this nonsense worth discussing. A tweeting father is said to have inspired the whole thing. He wanted to teach his child chess, but had been warned not to spread patterns of discrimination in the process.

On the chessboard, armed forces and not tissue pigmentation face each other. It would be racism if the lighter-skinned player could always start and not the one with the paler stones. You can be sure if you use 32 pieces of the same color. In this way, the confrontational game becomes a cooperative game, and - according to modern pedagogy - there is no loser in the end. Or both sides simply pull at the same time. This gives the otherwise top-heavy duel a refreshing and contemporary irrationality. In any case, the Rubicon of correctness would seem to have been exceeded if the saying “white begins, black wins” were anchored in the rules. I'm still unsure whether a privileged old white man should even play with black. Isn't that also a form of blackfacing? In the “Simpsons”, white people are no longer allowed to speak a black cartoon character.

In the anti-racist struggle it is like the one against sexism: The choice of bizarre secondary theaters of war destroys some of the important main concerns. I do not find it expedient to make yourself a full horst for lofty goals. Sure, judoka doesn't have to worry. Champions wear black belts and nobodies wear white belts. But my favorite sport, snooker, will have to be asked questions. In this type of billiards, the most bonus points are achieved by pushing a black ball into dark holes with the hegemonic white cue ball, over and over again. If you do this sixteen times in one go and also sink all the other balls of color, you have the chance of the really big thing: a so-called maximum break. Somebody's gonna open this barrel. Do not laugh. Everything is possible.