23 January 2014

Chess Comics No.4: Mad's Modern Chess

After Comic Interlude, you might think I've had enough of Mad Magazine, but there's more. Going back to April 1963 (No.78, 'One False Move Dept.'), we find a four-page spread that starts,

Basically, the game of chess is a game of 'war'. It was created many centuries ago, and so it was naturally based on war as it was waged in those times. [...] The kind of war the traditional chess game represents is a far cry from the kind of war nations would be moronic enough to fight today. And so, we propose that the game be brought up to date, that all the pieces be re-designed, and that, while there's still time, we start playing MAD's MODERN CHESS.

The first page of the spread shows a 'normal' chess set -- not Staunton design, but otherwise recognizable, assuming you ignore the h1-square of the wrong color and the Pawns all being different -- plus the caption:-

Note how accurately this fine old antique chess set depicts the glory of ancient war. Note splendid royalty. Note proud bishops. Note grand castles. Note haggard, tattered, hungry pawns who are in the front rows ... and have to take most of the beating.

The second page of the spread is shown below.

Artist: Bob Clarke • Writer: Al Jaffee

The text here is readable enough that I don't have to transcribe it. As for the moves of the pieces, both 'old' and 'new' moves are detailed in the last two pages of the spread and are pretty much what you would expect from Mad Magazine.

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