Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions I have received from readers about the stories and the future of Chess Tales.
(More questions to be added, periodically).
The concept for Across the Battlefield originated with the idea of the end scene, where a pawn makes it to the promotional rank on the chessboard, but defies expectations of becoming the all-powerful queen because she has discovered something within herself that is more satisfying than power for power's sake. In other words, it was the idea of a pawn who was comfortable with who she is to the point that she a) was not limited by her status as being a "lowly" pawn while b) not feeling like she had to obtain absolute power and status to make her impact on the world.
From there, I came up with an end game on the chessboard that would fit the story. However, the rest of the book was primarily organized around a list of specific micro lessons in how to play the game of chess, where the lessons formed the framework to guide the story. And the lessons were organized based on the trajectory of a game (e.g., start with introduction of the pieces, how they all move, openings, and then setting your plan/strategy, and executing the plan with tactics). The story elements for the beginning and middle parts of the book were built on this framework.
But at the same time, I had front of mind the character story arc for Prunella as she develops from an unfulfilled individual who is trying to fill her longing for meaning and purpose with external accomplishment to finding a more satisfying inner peace that is not dependent on her external circumstances.
There were two primary reasons why I left out the middle game. First of all, the book was already getting too long, and I did not want to the story to be unreasonably dragged out simply to accomplish the purpose of covering a complete game in the book.
But second, beyond the story, my objective was to touch a list of pre-determined lessons in the book, and once those were covered, it was not necessary to add more moves in the game to cover the lessons. In case you are wondering, the list of lessons I covered are the following:
1. The chessboard - ranks and files
2. How a pawn becomes a queen
3. The first moves in a game
4. Closed vs. open games
5. The pawn's role in defense / How pawns attack & defend
7. Control the center
8. How the pieces move
9. Piece development / Creating threats
10. The fianchetto
11. Taking the initiative
12. Connect rooks & give them room to run / Pieces don't like to be alone
13. Pawn chains & Connected pawns / How pawns work together
14. Discovered attacks & double attacks
15. Removing the defender
16. Good vs. bad pieces (e.g., "happy" vs. "sad" pieces)
17. Coordinating your pieces (e.g., teamwork & "communication")
18. Think twice before moving (e.g., pawns can't move backwards)
19. Strategy vs. tactics / Color square advantages
20. Unprotected pieces
21. Fork & pin tactics
22. Creating space
Yes, with two caveats. First, is that not all moves made in the game are the best move according to computer analysis. For example, on move 18, black should have played d3, having Prunella fork the knight and bishop. However, that would have led to Prunella exiting the game, which would not work for the story. In fact, because I had a set ending I was trying to reach, for the sake of the story, you will notice a few mistake moves in the annotation. Mistakes are denoted with a "?". With the exception of the move where the rook steps in Prunella's way, the mistake moves are mostly not covered in the text of the story. (Note: moves that are mentioned in the story are blue, while moves that were skipped in the story narration are orange).
Second, I unfortunately discovered through this process that the board diagrams for the end of the book have the white knight misplaced. (In fact, in the first version of the book, which some of you may own, but is no longer in print, there was a second white knight that is not supposed to be there). I will fix this knight for future prints, but it will take a bit of time before all of the copies with the error are sold, so your copy may have this error. The error in question is that the white knight on d5 should actually be one square over on c6 (see board diagram, below). If you bought a copy of the book with this error, I will offer you $2 off the second book in the series. Fill out this form (link will be activated once second book is released) and send me a picture of the error in your book, and you will get a coupon code to use (only works for purchases on this website).
With that said, here are the moves for the first portion of the game:
How the board looked after move 21a:
The next portion of the game was largely skipped in the book. These were skipped in order to keep the book interesting without dragging out the story. In fact, covering all of these moves would have approximately doubled the length of the book.
Snapshot after Prunella captures Queen Idalia.
This is a snapshot after move #47 (one move prior to the diagram from the end of the book). However, note that the Knight on c5 here is correct, unlike in early copies of the book. The bishop on b3 is also correct, whereas the book originally showed him on a2.