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Do you play chess?

I don’t, but I was scrolling through the feed on VK yesterday and, seeing some posts about Halloween, I suddenly remembered about a wonderful BBC drama called Gambits. And I thought – why not share it? And you can imagine being there now =)

Here’s the description:

The story is set in a small ordinary village in Essex where strange things have been happening for a while. Now, as Halloween approaches, the villagers are getting uneasy. Among them is a young boy, a gifted chess player, who has been invited to play with a grandmaster in London. The villagers have decided to enact this game with themselves being the pieces and make it the village’s Halloween event.

You can find the drama on the BBC website. (If you can’t access the website, check my TG channel.)

I absolutely loved the drama. I listened to it last December, and as you see, I’m still impressed.

Why you might give it a go too:

  • It has only ten episodes and each episode is 13 minutes long;
  • The language is wonderful and rich (but not simple);
  • The structure is quite original: (almost) each chapter is narrated by a new character (and read by a different person) and bears the name of one of the chess pieces. So you’ll get a view on the same situation but from different perspectives. You’ll find out about the inner life and life stories of the characters as well, told from the first person;
  • Chess is at the centre of the drama and you’ll hear what role it plays in the life of the villagers. It is presented in such a way that it’s not necessarily “a game for the smart”, but just a way to pass the time if one’s bored;
  • And there’s a very interesting description of what chess is for the chess prodigy (it’s not about winning at all).

And by the way, did you know that, although the word “chess” is different from Russian, the object of the game is to checkmate (the same roots appear) the opponent? First it’s common to announce “Check” (when the King is in check, but still can escape) and then “Checkmate”.

(“To check” also means “to stop someone from doing or saying something, or to prevent something from increasing or continuing”. Did you know? Example:
“They have begun to vaccinate children in an attempt to check the spread of the disease.”)

Also, the word “pawn” as a noun is a chess piece, but also “someone who is used by a more powerful person and has no control of the situation”, e.g. “The refugees are pawns in an international political dispute.”

But! As a verb, “to pawn” has a very different meaning, namely “to leave a possession with a pawnbroker, who gives you money for it and can sell it if the money is not paid back within a certain time”, e.g. “Of all items pawned, jewellery is the most common.”

Enjoy the drama)

Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash

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