June 3, 2019

I have found it: the most pleasant news story of the day.

"A medieval chess piece that was missing for almost 200 years had been unknowingly kept in a drawer by an Edinburgh family.... The Lewis Chessmen are among the biggest draws at the British Museum and the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.... 'They brought it in for assessment... That happens every day. [Sotheby's] doors are open for free valuations. We get called down to the counter and have no idea what we are going to see. More often than not, it's not worth very much. I said, 'Oh my goodness, it's one of the Lewis Chessmen.'...  The newly-discovered piece is a warder, a man with helmet, shield and sword and the equivalent of a rook on a modern chess board, which 'has immense character and power'" (BBC).

54 comments:

Dan in Philly said...

They've been using a penny in place of it for quite a while now...

stevew said...

How much of the estimated fetch of £1m at auction will the Edinburgh family get? Article doesn't say, does that absence of saying imply all? They came to possess it by legitimate means.

born01930 said...

Now poor Papa MacLeod can't find his nutcracker...

Fernandinande said...

This ">Lewis Chessman King looks like he was left "home alone".

Sharc 65 said...

"immense character and power"

i.e., can go back and forth or sideways.

traditionalguy said...

A pawn in their drawer.

MayBee said...

I want it.

Gahrie said...

I have a replica of the set. Well actually my father does, but I spent hours of my youth playing with it.

Ken B said...

1964 was 200 years ago?

Rob said...

Damn, I had a similar one but tossed it out last year. It didn't spark joy.

stlcdr said...

Blogger Rob said...
Damn, I had a similar one but tossed it out last year. It didn't spark joy.

6/3/19, 12:33 PM


Not quite powerful enough, or you couldn't handle the power? ;)

Limited blogger said...

Have a nice wooden set. Lost a pawn years ago. Replaced it with a plastic one. Always put that pawn in the center so it is taken off the board ASAP.

Joan said...

stevew, from the article: Mr Kader, who has kept the discovery under wraps for six months while authenticating the find, said: "We can safely say that a million pounds will transform the seller's life."

Thanks for the lovely story, Ann! I've been looking for a chess set for my son. He might like a replica of the Lewis set, which relates to his Scots-Irish (my side) and Scandinavian (his dad's side) heritage.

Bay Area Guy said...

My best pal brought back a nice old chess set he got in Israel about 25 years. Very sweet gift.

Problem: I can't [bleeping] tell the King from the Queen, and it vexes me, and throws off my game.

So, I have saved it, but I never use it.

Limited blogger said...

The King is the tallest piece

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I have found it: the most pleasant news story of the day.

The world's falling apart and you're blogging about this?!?

BarrySanders20 said...

"Problem: I can't [bleeping] tell the King from the Queen, and it vexes me, and throws off my game."

There a lot of that going around. Seems to be the mini-theme of the day round here. Kings are queens, people with "game," all mixed up.

stevew said...

Ah, thanks Joan, missed that bit.

Yancey Ward said...

Yeah, the king and queen are transitioning.

Narr said...

Put a little vagcap on her.

Narr
Or paint her pink

Earnest Prole said...

I was wondering where I put that.

StephenFearby said...

Appears to be (one of the varieties of) a berserker chess piece. It has the moves of a modern rook:

"...There's no archaeological context for the pieces, so we can't date them precisely. But their duds give us reliable clues. The rooks are all warriors decked out in a fashion typical of the late-Norse period: long leather coats, kite-shaped Norman shields, expensive swords, and mostly pointy helmets (two look more like a bowler hat and a bucket, respectively)"

http://mentalfloss.com/article/70597/12-berserk-facts-about-lewis-chessmen


"...In battle, the berserkers were subject to fits of frenzy. They would howl like wild beasts, foamed at the mouth, and gnawed the iron rim of their shields. According to belief, during these fits they were immune to steel and fire, and made great havoc in the ranks of the enemy. When the fever abated they were weak and tame. Accounts can be found in the sagas.[2]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berserker


The modern equivalent is called going postal.

Curious George said...

My favorite TV show as a youngster was "Combat!". They used to say things like this on the radio: "Checkmate, King Two, this is White Rook, over!" I had no idea what it meant having no idea about chess. We used to mimic it of course when we played "Army."

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ignorance is Bliss said...I have found it: the most pleasant news story of the day.

The world's falling apart and you're blogging about this?!?


And you, a law professor!?

Narr said...

And you people call yourselves pedants!?!

Narr
It is to spit

CJinPA said...

That is indeed a pleasant story. Maybe someone can make hay with the sexist term "ChessMEN"? Something to ruin the warm feeling?

traditionalguy said...

FTR: the Lewis Chessmen are from the Isle of Lewis which is an outer Hebrides Island off the NE coast of Scotland.Historically it was settled by Vikings/Norwegian fishermen. The largest city on Lewis is Stornoway, which is where Trump’s mother was born and raised. Stornoway is known as the most Presbyterian place on earth.

gilbar said...

My mom had a set carved from rock
And we put white out on the queen to tell her apart. Don know why we picked her not him

madAsHell said...

We discover runes from antiquities. Can a resurgence in Dungeons-n-Dragons be far behind??

Lance said...

Mr Kader, who has kept the discovery under wraps for six months while authenticating the find...

That was my first question, whether they'd put any real effort into authenticating the piece. I wonder how much provenance they turned up? Did they do any chemical analysis to compare it to the other pieces?

D 2 said...

I don't see Sothebys rating the kind of gamepieces I'm contemplating
I'd let you watch, I would invite you, but the rooks we use would not excite you

Sebastian said...

"the warder"

Orange hair?

FullMoon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bay Area Guy said...

What could be more pleasant than a glass of wine, some jazz music and an intense game of chess?

I do it all the time.

Darkisland said...

This jumped out at me:

They brought it in for assessment... That happens every day. [Sotheby's] doors are open for free valuations. We get called down to the counter and have no idea what we are going to see. More often than not, it's not worth very much.

Sound something like a high rent "Pawn Stars". Do they have a Chumley for comic relief?

Old man Sotheby for snark?

It'll never make it on TV.

Though, if you have ever actually been to the pawnshop in Vegas, it is very disappointing a rather pokey, grubby, little place with lots of junk. My son wanted to go see it.

Nothing at all like we expected from the TV show. It is amazing what they can do with lighting and camera angles.

John Henry

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

sorta looks like @temujin's avatar

Narr said...

Who says D and D went anywhere?

Narr
I know people, OK?

Darrell said...

I found a Tab bottle the other day.

madAsHell said...

I found a Tab bottle the other day.

Thank God!! The Mexicans saved Fanta Orange!!

Narr said...

Can't tell you how often someone called me about, or brought in, an original copy of the Declaration of Independence. They were "pretty sure, 'cause it really looks old."

Usually they were easy to talk down, but one guy left fuming, and promising that the people in DC would prove me wrong.

Narr
I hope he had free airmiles

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Chess.

The left cannot abide.
When they lose the argument, they take a baseball bat to the chess board


Candace Owens and the Left’s Effort to Ban Common Sense

Narayanan said...

"I have found it: the most pleasant news story of the day."

May I speak with Ann Austen and ask her to regale us further.

Narr said...

Oh do!

Narr
I quite enjoy it.

Yancey Ward said...

There are rumors that Holzhauer lost on Jeopardy tonight.

Fen said...

In battle, the berserkers were subject to fits of frenzy. They would howl like wild beasts, foamed at the mouth, and gnawed the iron rim of their shields. According to belief, during these fits they were immune to steel and fire, and made great havoc in the ranks of the enemy

Calvin: Rook takes Pawn. (rolls dice) Seven! Rook goes into Rage Fury, jumps Queen and takes your Bishop Knight and Rook!

When the fever abated they were weak and tame.

Hobbes: My Pawn tags your Rook out lollygagging back to 42nd base. He's out!

CalvinChess.

Quaestor said...

Always put that pawn in the center so it is taken off the board ASAP.

Not if the plastic pawn is on the queen's file and you end playing Queen's Gambit Declined.

A better role for the PP is the queen's knight's pawn. With it gone you free the bishop to occupy the long diagonal.

The new warder doesn't look much like the previously known example, which portrayed a man with a drawn sword who bites the top of his shield berserker-style.

Quaestor said...

That is indeed a pleasant story. Maybe someone can make hay with the sexist term "ChessMEN"?

Well, many writers on the game consider the back rank counters — the king, queen, rook, etc. — to be pieces, while the pawns are the men — expendable protectors whose loss often empowers the mighty queen to roar, leave home, and trade child-rearing for a high-backed swivel chair in a corner office, but are sorely missed when the game gets desperate.

Titus said...

I cut down a tree today, mowed the lawn, talked to the neighbors and planted tomato plants. Oh and watered flowers. I have helpin Boston to do that for me but in Wisconsin they do it themselves. We are two different countries. Mom sad they have been pouring liquid manure on the farms.

My mom has al kinds of coupons with her pig card. I would be embarrassed to use a coupon let alone a pig card. My mom knows how much stuff cost and I have no idea. I don't look at price tags.

Fen said...

the pawns are the men — expendable protectors whose loss often empowers the mighty queen to roar, leave home, and trade child-rearing for a high-backed swivel chair in a corner office

When does she learn how to operate a toilet seat? Asking for a friend.

Quaestor said...

Titus wrote: I don't look at price tags.

Way to stay superficial.

Quaestor said...

Asking for a friend.

The white queen has white knights to do that for her.

The black queen has no white knights.

buwaya said...

It is a guy thing to look at price tags. Even rich men.
I have been with men of ridiculous wealth, haggling down a roadside fruit vendor.
Women, especially wealthy ones, no.
They like it, they buy it and don’t look at the receipt.
There are definite sex differences in all this.

Quaestor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael K said...

Though, if you have ever actually been to the pawnshop in Vegas, it is very disappointing a rather pokey, grubby, little place with lots of junk. My son wanted to go see it.

I was a fan of the show for years but Chum Lee finally cured me. His drug arrests were a bit too much.

I got interested from a piece in Naval Institute Proceedings about the old man. He has since died.