All writers in Op Ed are here to inform and acknowledge issues of importance to our communities, however these writings represent the views and opinions of the authors and not necessarily of The Advertiser.

By Linda Nidiffer

When Tom and I were in college he tried to teach me to play chess.  Please put emphasis on the word tried.  To this day I don’t know what he was thinking.  We were just dating at the time and I am sure he thought he knew me well but obviously the attempt was a total bust.  

First of all there were too many moving pieces that moved in crazy ways.  Give me a game of checkers that is a game that I can keep track of all the moving pieces.  Next was the thinking time between moves.  A player could actually die of old age just waiting until his opponent makes a move!  I brought my knitting to “play” chess.  I suffered from information overload.  He tried to teach me the history of the game, the strategy, the names of the pieces, the way the pieces moved, blah, blah, blah.  And finally, how much time did he think I could invest in learning this game?  I was taking 20-21 hours a semester. I was doing a LOT of reading and writing. I had no time to learn a complicated game.  As I said, he tried.

He learned that my mind doesn’t work that way.  However, I enjoyed the book and the movie about the young woman chess player who wowed the chess playing world.  That was a fun read even though I skimmed over all the technical stuff.  These past few weeks I feel that I am watching a different kind of chess game and it is making me very uneasy.  My “player” doesn’t seem as skilled as the others.  

My chess “player” doesn’t seem to be qualified to play in middle school tournaments but he is playing on the world stage. My “player” can’t seem to play his own board very well when he is up against immigration, inflation and crime to just name a few. Our southern border is so porous that an arrest warrant is permitted as a form of identification!  I am hearing that our northern border is equally porous and it is being used by white refugees who would be more noticeable at the southern border.  Yes, that is a racist statement, but it is the reality of what is going on.

My “player” is up against the most accomplished players of Russia, China, North Korea, Iran and Iraq.  These dictators have been in power for a very long time and have been playing world chess before they became world leaders.  My “player” is viewed as the weakest the most inept player so, of course, the other players are flexing their muscles.  I wake up every morning and read the news with a sense of impending doom.  Where will war be declared?  When?  Who? The why really doesn’t matter. Our men and women will be sent into harm’s way because our “player” is viewed as the weakest we have had on the board in years. I am despondent.