MUSE LOG: Unicorn Variation    
 Unicorn Variation31 comments
picture26 Apr 2003 @ 19:01, by Quidnovi

How exiting! An entry about chess.

R U Game?

What do you mean Chess is not Creative Writing? Have you ever taken a good look at a Chess game's transcript?

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bb5 Nf6
4. o-o Nxe4
5. d4! Nd6
6. d4xe5 Nxb5

7. a4 d6
8. e6 fxe6
9. axb5 Ne7
10. Nc3 Ng6
11. Ng5 Be7
12. Qh5 Bxg5
13. Bxg5 Qd7
14. b6 Cxb6
15. Nd5 exd5
16. Rfe1 Kf8
17. Ra3 Ne5
18. Rxe5 dxe5
19. Rf3 Kg8
20. Bh6 Qe7
21. Bxg7 Kxg7
22. Rg3 Kf8
23. Rf3 Kg7
24. Rg3 Kf8
25. Rf3

Poetry in motion, if I do say so.

All right, I do say so then!

And there is a prize too (it's a surprise) to whomsoever can identify first what game that is that I posted (and no "Chess" is not a valid answer---You need to provide the name of the players, the place and the year.)

(Oooops! Bad, bad, bad Dobby. Dobby will just have to punish himself, now.)

Anyway Chess is not only poetry in motion but also a great inspiration for poets, too:

---by FishOn

He lifted his arms,
"Mate soon!," he said
As he locked his fingers
Behind his head.

He considered the move
He was soon to make.
That would end the struggle.
This victory he'd take.

He arched his back,
Took a satisfied breath,
Then looked at me
Like the specter of death.

An impish smile
Stretched across his face,
And his eyes rolled back
In a pleased grimace.

"My rook goes here
And takes your queen,
Then my knight jumps to
Where your bishop has been."

I studied the board.
He was quite correct.
His analysis clear.
His calculations checked.

I searched my brain
For the right finesse
A subtle move that would
Display my best.

Then Cassia spoke
My muse! My rhyme!
I pointed to his clock,
"You're out of time."

"Out of time"!---Hmmm...I don't really like that poem.

The next one if more to my liking. Oh, well, to each his/her own, as they say :-)

---by Chandler Yergin

She makes her move and hits the clock
On my poor Kingside she's got a lock
Down the file her Queen comes like a truck
This time I think I'm out of luck
Her Blue eyes sparkle as she captures my Rook
She's playing so fast, it must be all Book
She think she's got me up a tree
Yea, guess she spotted that Mate in three
My clock is running Tick Tock, Tick Tock
I'm between the hard place and a Rock
A quick glance at her & I see her grin
She's ready to chalk up another Win
Flag is hanging, it's my move, and YES, by Heck
Now it's a Draw by perpetual Check!
I'm kinda glad I didn't win, I hate to be rude
But it is disconcerting when she plays in the Nude

"All right," will you say, "Francis, oh please, do tell, whence comest those fine and inspiring poems, you so delicately picked out for us?" All right, then, I'll tell you---just remember, you asked. Here it is, go there at your own risks: Chess Poems (and more :-)

So, anyway, where were we?

Oh, yeah, R U Game?

Do you know of any Chess related poem? Or have you written one of your own, maybe?


(Metallic voice) Shall we play a game?

I'll play Black

Make your move (in the comments section.)

====================== Art Work =======================

Illustration by James Warhola (1987)

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27 Apr 2003 @ 09:15 by martha : the game has begun
come one and all and join me in the muse.

(fisher and boris in the 1970"s in...)(I don't know what I'm talking about) (this is a vaxen question)  

27 Apr 2003 @ 10:37 by quidnovi : Martha? Are you suggesting ...
...that we invite Vaxen then?

Just for the record. I have NO RESERVATION about inviting anyone (or Pixie lead them, as the case may be :-) to this room. So, I'll just leave that to the collective will of the denizens of The Muse.  

27 Apr 2003 @ 10:44 by martha : not sure
if vaxen is good or not. What do you think?
Good question. The answer to that can be found in a new entry ("Faery Communication") that I'll be posting shortly ;-)

27 Apr 2003 @ 10:59 by invictus : I'd chess game you...
Except I've no idea how to do that notation stuff. Not that I couldn't probably learn it pretty quickly if I tried... but we all know time is not on my side (sort of like that poem... out of time, grrr). You're probably some kind of a master player, right Francis? I can play some, but I always make obvious dumb mistakes. Then I come back later in the game with sheer determination mwahaha. But I don't know much. All the moves with fancy names... I'm almost completely ignorant. And you're taking up all of my allowed NCN time with that funny transcript anyway...

Something about the "Unicorn Variation", it is. A game between Tringel (the Unicorn???) and Martin (he was a human or something). I'm very confused. It would probably help if I could read Japanese. From what little I can guess, it took place in April, 1981. As for the place... I think there are three or four answers. It took place in "Unicorn Variation", written by Roger Zelazny. So it sort of took place in his head. But it was set in an old bar, I think. AND I think it was published in "Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine" (the April 1981 issue, of course). Is any of that right? I tried to find the story itself, but sadly our in house sci-fi library can't seem to provide on that one.

My references:

27 Apr 2003 @ 11:12 by quidnovi : Bingo , Andy! (Ooops wrong game...)
Roger Zelazny, it is, indeedy! Ok, I am impressed. The prize is almost yours. "Unicorn Variation" is a piece (a delighful one in my opinion) written by Zelazny (I'll have to tell you a funny story about that :-), BUT the game itself did not just take place in his head however. It is the transcript of a real game that really took place in the real world (or at least, what we like to think of as the real world, that is :-)

So? Who were the players, where did the game take place, and what year was it???  

27 Apr 2003 @ 11:19 by quidnovi : Maureen S. O'Brian, "Unicorn Variations"
The following lyrics were inspired by Zelazny's "Unicorn Variation."

A thousand thanks to Andy for finding this!

----Maureen S. O'Brien
Music: tto "The Unicorn Song"
Insp: "Unicorn Variations," Roger Zelazny

Once in a ghost town, away out West,
Martin started playing himself at chess.
So wasn't he surprised on that desert morn
When up to his board stepped a unicorn?
(And the unicorn said:)
"You killed the auk and the dodo and the smallpox, too
So Nature filled those niches with a mythical crew.
With our help, humans kill yourselves as fast as you're born
You'll soon be replaced by the unicorns."

(Well) It made Martin nervous, and he lost that game.
But Martin told the unicorn, "Play for funsie's too tame.
Let's make the stakes more int'resting for you and for me;
Let's play for the fate of humanity.
Just like the auk and the dodo and the smallpox, too
We're sure to go extinct without the help from you."
And he got a month between his moves, for sure as you're born,
A human's never beaten a unicorn.

So Martin hiked up to the woods to study that game,
And stared at his board, full of anger and shame
Till a old sasquatch came up to him for chess talk and beer
And said, "We play chess in our heads up here.
You got your griffins and kraken and the yeti, too
Your cockatrice and minisphinx, the mythical crew.
But we're the best at playing chess, as sure as you're born,
We give a handicap, playing unicorns."

So Martin played the sasquatch, and studied his moves
And used 'em on that unicorn with nothin' to prove.
And every month the mythic folk came out and got drunk,
And every month the problems of mankind shrunk.
He got the plagues and the famines, the death and the war,
A chance to turn to crops and cures, and treaties galore.
You might say that it wasn't fair, but sure as you're born,
Martin saved our chess from the unicorns.

So, Martin won a stalemate for mankind and then
Purely for fun, they played each other again.
Well, Martin was calm now; he had nothing to prove;
And he beat that unicorn in thirty-one moves.
You've heard of young Bobby Fischer, Capablanca too,
And Garry Kasparov and the rest of that crew
But when Martin wasn't nervous, he could play 'em to scorn
'Cause they never played with a unicorn.  

27 Apr 2003 @ 11:42 by quidnovi : Not a Chess Master...
...are you. Well, Andy, sorry to disappoint you, but neither am I.

I love the Game though :-)

I have an idea, you be Martin and I'll be the Unicorn.

What about that?

Playing online is the most perfect, relaxed way of playing Chess there is: Log in, note Black's move. Log out. Think about your response, consult whatever reference material you like (find yourself a Sasquatch to talk to about it---if you are so lucky :-) Log back in (one day, one week, one month later, whenever.) Write down your move. Log out. And so on. Easy! An infinity of moves, and an infinity of time to study them. It is also a rather pleasant way of working on one's skills (and certainly more fun than playing a computer---beside computers do not drink Guinness. Hmm...come to think of it, neither do you---but, hey, there is still hope for you :-)

Beside, who knows? If you manage to win that prize, there might be a book about chess coming your way.  

27 Apr 2003 @ 12:02 by quidnovi : A bit of trivia:
Chess is good for you (just like Guinness :-)

Chessplayers do score higher on the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking as well as the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal.

Anyway, I always make sure and have a Guinness before I do my Creative Thinking. (Whatever do you mean, you can tell??? And,, I don't own any stock with the Guinness Brewry Company, why do you ask? And what kind of a question is that?)


27 Apr 2003 @ 13:12 by invictus : I looked and looked....
And looked and looked...  

27 Apr 2003 @ 13:13 by invictus : And then I went ahead and looked...
Some more. After that, more looking. Does the information I am seeking exist on the internet? I've spent way too much time on it today; maybe I'll try again tomorrow. I *love* a challenge. (*Love he said... hmm... love might not be the right word...*) This one site with this huge library (, I think) didn't list any games that I could find that matched the criteria (draw, C65 Berlin Defense opening, 25 moves); none of the games matching that description had the moves posted above. And I looked lots of other places... *gasp*! Where is it? *Pulling hair out* ; )  

27 Apr 2003 @ 13:28 by swan : oh goody, I just
discovered the unicorn and here she is...Chess..I know nothing about....stretching....again  

27 Apr 2003 @ 15:50 by quidnovi : He he he
You had a good lead there, Detective Andy. Your best bet might yet be to get your hands on the original "Unicorn Variation" story by Zelazny.

Clue: It was also published in a paperback edition (a collection of stories by the same author) with the catchy title of..., yes, "Unicorn Variations" (plural.) might be a good place to start---just know that the book is out of print though (On the positive side, it probably means that you can get yourself a used copy of it for just two bucks or so :-)  

27 Apr 2003 @ 15:53 by quidnovi : Oh, com'on now, Swan...
...Chess is easy!

We could even make our own game, with unicorn and swan pieces.

(Hey, here is an artwork project idea for you, if I know one. Right! Like, I am sure that's what you need right now, more projects :-)


27 Apr 2003 @ 16:53 by quidnovi : Martha,
Chess can also be such a wonderful inspiration for quiltmaking, don't you agree?


This is a quilt Dianne made 10 years ago. She made if for me, but, as you can tell, obviously Phil thinks it's his.  

27 Apr 2003 @ 17:37 by invictus : There's an idea Swan...
With some of the artwork you do, I'll bet you'd be able to do an awesome chess set.

*A looong, grin with a couple of eye roles* . Yeah, that's what I figured. That I'd have to find the story. Lucky for me, I'm going to Denver to do job "hunting" tomorrow. Without spending money, it would be pretty hard for me to get my hands on a copy of "Unicorn Variations". Much travel involved. HOWEVER, the friendly downtown branch of the Denver Public Library seems to have "The Hugo Winners, Volume 5", which just happens to contain the story in question. So hopefully I'll tell you tomorrow : ) .  

28 Apr 2003 @ 12:52 by invictus : Well that didn't help much...
Grr. Good story though : ) . If I'm going to have to get my hands specifically on "Unicorn Variations", it'll take some time. The book I read it in was edited by Asimov; in his forward, he said that he didn't know whether the game was a real one or not, and that he'd leave it to the readers to figure out and send to him (care of something or other publishing). *Sigh*... some kind of subtle hint in the story? A name? Got to say, either I missed something terribly obvious or I had the wrong book. I did love this though:
[Martin asks Tlingel]"Don't you people ever make mistakes?"
"Whenever we do they're sort of poetic."
Hee hee... my kind of creature.  

28 Apr 2003 @ 14:17 by invictus : Humph... never mind.
Alexander Halprin VS Harry Nelson Pillsbury, in Munich. The year was either 1900 or 1901, depending on who you trust. {link:|Zelazny himself said it was 1901}. However, {link:|} says it was 1900. Who knows? Actually, the winning search was a Google on "used Chess Game 'Unicorn Variation'". So I didn't even need to read the story. Still, beats looking for a job any day : ) . It turned up the site; it has the whole story and everything. Wonder why none of my earlier searches turned that up, because you can bet that I looked to see if it was on-line before I went to the library. My Moody Goblin has turned all the search-engines moody too, I shouldn't wonder.

It was the bloody opening; if it hadn't been for that, I would have found it yesterday. I'll never trust a Japanese site that tells me someone used the Berlin Defense (C65) again when it was really just a Ruy Lopez (C67) thing! Doh! Oh, I see now. They're the same, except that C67 goes a move further with the castle and stuff. Gotcha. Anyway, happy?
I am impressed :-)


What'd I win?

It depends...  

28 Apr 2003 @ 22:03 by quidnovi : Claim here:
Pick a door :-)

|[]} {link:
|[]} {link:|[]}  

29 Apr 2003 @ 07:00 by martha : francis
Phil is wise. My cats (when I had them) loved all my quilts and especially the ones I kept in "that" room they weren't allowed to go in. I didn't think my customers would appreciate the cat hairs. Needless to say whenever I went into "that " room, regardless of where the two of them were (hunting, sleeping, bird watching, etc,), they would be there when I left "that" room and often tried to slip in. Imagine that! And they never ever listened to me. It got so I would have to be bending down as I opened the door to catch the intruder and then the other would still weasle in. LOL I had the quilts spread on a bed to keep them flat and had sheets over them to protect them from cat hair. My cats would sneak under the bed knowing I couldn't get them out. after I left sure enough they had a nice nap on the sheets until I tossed them out. Problem was one of them took to sleeping under the sheets! And don't get me started on claws and stretching. Bad girls but I do miss them anyway. Kept things interesting around the house.  

29 Apr 2003 @ 07:05 by martha : hey andy
the frenchman is weasling on your prize just like the french weasled on the war for "Iraq Freedom". Oh sorry the pig just popped up.  

29 Apr 2003 @ 11:55 by invictus : I picked door number two.
This isn't going to be one of those things where you tell me which one it's not and we get into this big thing about how I should change my pick and stuff... is it? I'd be okay with that too. Anyway, door number 2. "The Amateur's Mind: Turning Chess Misconceptions into Chess Mastery". Now what does that mean?

Martha... I'm shocked that the pig would suggest such a thing. Francis would never weasle, honorable man that he is. His "people" helped us in the Revolutionary War, after all. : ) Ahh, and I know only too well of these things you say about cats sleeping under the sheets. You really have to watch it when you get on the bed. I like the ones that sleep on the pillows.  

29 Apr 2003 @ 12:09 by quidnovi : Hmmm - jealous are we, Martha?
My, such lack of trust! Promises are not a thing I take lightly, Martha. Andy won fair and square---and with a persistence and a determination that I find most amazing. So, no trickery here.

Wherever do you get such ideas???  

29 Apr 2003 @ 12:46 by martha : what's a lake of trust francis?
andy...that darn pig shows up most unexpectantley sometimes. Imagine making a slur against francis fries. And thanks for reminding me about the Revolutionary war. What would we do without francis to teach us how to cook buffalo wings, learn chess history or about cat antics, etc.
The pig just popped up in the campfire with vax. Well to be fair it is easy with him.  

29 Apr 2003 @ 13:01 by quidnovi : Thank you for asking, Martha
The lake of trust is about those ripples we are all creating from the shoreline, each one of us, from our own neck/nook of the wood/hood, wondering what happens to them and whether any of them ever make it to the other side.

Very much a NCN process, or so I heard...

[Addendum: No, Martha is not losing her marbles (or not in this instance anyway), the "lake of trust" to which she is actually referring had to do with a typo that appeared in one of my comments above, "lake" instead of "lack", and which has been corrected since then (for reading comprehension purpose.) It was---ah, how would Tringel put it, again?---such a "poetic mistake", that I just could not pass it up. Thank you for that one, Martha ;-)]  

29 Apr 2003 @ 13:23 by quidnovi : Door number 2, eh?


Coming your way...  

29 Apr 2003 @ 19:56 by swan : The Art of Chess.$2.95
That is what was behind door number three. Thank God, I was afraid it would lead me to one of those crazy psychological tests again and I would discover who I really am. Like last week.  

29 Apr 2003 @ 20:30 by martha : well swan
now you know not to take any tests. Us indigo/violet/blue's don't fit well in the profiles. Too much energy.  

30 Apr 2003 @ 09:12 by quidnovi : Errr...Swan? Martha?
Actually THIS was all really a test, you know?

Thank you for playing! The energy was just fine and I think we all did rather well on this one ;-)  

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Juegos gratis, minijuegos online y multijugador. Juegos sociales y con logros en internet, juegos en flash y Unity 3D para pasarlo genial. Con y sin registro.  

15 Jan 2016 @ 13:01 by 20160116caihuali @ : 20160116caihuali  

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