Now, when you think of the word “chess” what does first come to mind?
For me, the word invokes feelings about a complex game with rules that are difficult to grasp and therefore feels completely alien to me. A game that I have seen played in numerous Central Park scenes on US TV shows or in tournaments that I do not have access to so it always felt out of reach for some reasons and this is added to the fact that I have never had any interest in it.
…But sometimes comes along an unexpected little story that might just spark your interest.
I might not be interested in the game but “The Foolish King” and its fairy take on the history of chess had me totally fascinated.
As some of you may know sadly, I did not have a favourite book growing up as a child (I go into it in a little more details here if you’re interested), but if I had had the chance to have favourite books back then and the story of “The Foolish King” had been around, it would have certainly made the list.
The tale centers around Old King Marra caring for his kingdom and the fruit it bears. Unfortunately, he knows he is soon to depart this world but his deep love for his son has not blinded him to the fact that he will not be leaving his beloved kingdom in safe hands, so he asks Woogle the Owl, to be of great council to the soon to be King Parip, the way she has always been to him. She accepts warily.
The King Parip greed and selfish ways quickly threaten to be the doom of the Kingdom of Stur. Soon King Parip tires of Woogle’s council preferring Crow’s poisonous advice.
As Crow fattens up and King Parip shows an ever thinning silhouette, the prospect of his own starvation drives him to the corner of The Royal Garden, the one place he never visits but the only one that still bears fruit and is tended by Mr Perry hard working gardener and father to Holly and Pip. Blinded by hunger King Parip becomes a danger to the Royal Garden and Holly and Pip take on the mission to save it even if it means trespassing on magical land to do it.
But what do Holly and Pip find on this other side you’re asking.
Well, I will leave it to you to find out, I will however give you one clue…it has to do with a little something called “Chess” :).
Apart from the story that I have obviously become very fond of, one additional reason as to why I would highly recommend this book to both the young and the adult alike is that fans of the ever growing Apple digital world will be happy to know that you can download “The Foolish King” app on your Ipad. You can carry on the adventure with the characters you met in the book, and you will have the opportunity to learn how to play chess from beginners to advanced level…I did it! It’s like child play!