Corona Gambit, the MiddleGame

In chess, a game undergoing somewhat of a revival thanks to a popular broadcast series The Queen’s Gambit, the “middle” game is the part between the opening moves and the endgame. Between two well-matched opponents, the middlegame is, in effect, most of the game. This article takes a look at some middlegames in the UK.

In ‘sovereign’ politics, trade, and, particularly in Britain’s financial square mile, the UK is playing a ferocious endgame with the European Union of which it once formed a part. Sacrificed pawns include truck drivers, consumers and Britain’s “fucked” manufacturers. Tory negotiators are willing to risk all but Britain’s real royalty: it’s investor class. As the brinkmanship of Britain’s endgame with the EU causes more suffering, the UK, feigning sovereignty, planned to resort to last-minute strategic retreats, sacrificing its seas. Surprise surprise.

There are many games of chess being played in London. None seem to be going quite as planned. Like many others on this pandemic planet, the UK is also playing a high stakes game against the corona virus (or rather viruses) a family as deadly as the Kingdom’s royal family themselves. Vaccine salesmen hawking only US and EU products, had all but convinced a fearful public (and medical staff fighting to save their lives) that technology would come to the rescue to bring this deadly game to a swift close. A victorious endgame? Not to be; at least not yet. The viral opponents in this deadly game have instead counter-attacked in multiple middlegames.

As 2020 draws to a close, these misread opponents have changed the game. Rather than one losing vaccine endgame, COVID chess is N-dimensional and may be a far more level playing field than we thought. There are many boards, on each board the UK faces off against a COVID-19 viral opponent but they keep multiplying. Novel ‘novel’ corona viruses counterattack puny vaccines.

In The Queen’s Gambit the world chess champion is a Russian called Borgov; played in real life by a confident stand-alone former Empire, now called the UK. Borgov sports many powerful pieces, pressing on toward an imminent success against the young upstart. But Borgov suddenly finds himself facing multiple new opponents, each will test his skills to different limits. The longer the game, the longer the list of natural viral opponents, and the more pieces will fall in innumerable games on multiple boards in ICU wards and old people’s homes across the UK.

To prevent panic the SARS-II plague was called the COVID-19 pandemic. Her reputation thus softened, she plays many ruthless middlegames, laying out multiple boards testing each vaccine played with a infinite set of new viral combinations. COVID is now plural, she has changed the rules of the games multiple times and she keeps opening new games, she is so much more than she seems.

This one year old upstart is hammering Britain’s affluent South East. ‘Tis the season to be jolly, the markets are closed and the Lords of Finance planned their homely feasts replete with imported organic cranberries. No trips to the chateau in Provence this season.

Increased viral prowess, a product of diversification of more than 4000 COVID strains, shall continue their chess games with 196 human nations and about 13 new virus candidates in phase three testing, none with sufficient manufacturing capability for seven billion pieces. This virus has not thrown in the towel if you’ll pardon the mixed metaphor.

The endgame has been pushed out. Nature has re-balanced the middlegames between human ingenuity, our fetish for technologies versus this ever evolving and deadly upstart. The Queen’s Gambit is far from over, the games have changed and will continue to do so.

It ain’t over till the almond-eyed ladies sing!