FEATURED STORY
RECENT STORIES
STORIES BY TOPIC
NEWS
SUPPORT DSF
Make the universe a better place! Join Daily Science Fiction for only $15 / year, support us via Patreon, or donate any amount.
TRANSPORTER
Take me to a...
SEARCH
Enter any portion of the author name or story title:
For more options, try our:
SUBSCRIBE
Sign up for free daily sci-fi!
your email will be kept private
TIDBITS
Get a copy of Not Just Rockets and Robots: Daily Science Fiction Year One. 260 adventures into new worlds, fantastical and science fictional. Rocket Dragons Ignite: the anthology for year two, is also available!
KINDLE
Kindle Edition
DSF stories are available in monthly digests for Kindle!
SUBMIT
Publish your stories or art on Daily Science Fiction:
If you've already submitted a story, you may check its:
DAILY SCI-FI
Not just rockets & robots...
"Science Fiction" means—to us—everything found in the science fiction section of a bookstore, or at a science fiction convention, or amongst the winners of the Hugo awards given by the World Science Fiction Society. This includes the genres of science fiction (or sci-fi), fantasy, slipstream, alternative history, and even stories with lighter speculative elements. We hope you enjoy the broad range that SF has to offer.






Chess

Mark Budman is a first-generation immigrant to the US. An engineer by training, he currently works as a medical interpreter. His fiction has appeared in Catapult, Witness, World Literature Today, Mississippi Review, The London Magazine (UK), McSweeney's, Painted Bride Quarterly, and elsewhere. He is the author of the novel My Life at First Try, published by Counterpoint, and co-editor of immigration-themed anthologies published by Ooligan Press, Persea, and University of Chester (UK). Visit him at markbudman.com.

Volo's house stands at the very end of a dead-end street. No one comes over except for the postwoman and Amazon delivery, but they leave as soon as they can. Even the neighborhood kids avoid the house.
And if someone does come, once or twice a year, no one sees them leaving.
Volo plays chess when he doesn't work, and he works rarely. The pieces and the board are Italian marble, and his thick finger caresses each piece before lowering it on the board. He hates winning because it would upset his opponent. He hates losing because it would upset him. So, he plays against himself, and it's always a draw.
He puts away the board after yet another aggressive but fruitless game. One day, he will play against someone called Non Volunt from a civilization in the galaxy far, far away. People over there are so psychologically and morally advanced, they understand it's not the results that matter, but interaction between the gamers that makes the game possible. He will learn to understand that as well.
That's how peace starts. With mutual understanding.
Once that happens, Volo'll stop killing visitors.
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, April 21st, 2022


Author Comments

Chess is an ancient game, and I thought it would be hard to write something original about it. So I accepted my own challenge.

- Mark Budman
Become a Member!

We hope you're enjoying Chess by Mark Budman.

Please support Daily Science Fiction by becoming a member.

Daily Science Fiction does not have a paywall, but we do have expenses—more than 95% of which are direct payments to authors for their stories. With your $15 membership, less than 6 cents per story, we can continue to provide genre fiction every weekday by email and on the website to thousands of readers for many years to come. You may also choose to support us via patreon.

Rate This Story
Please click to rate this story from 1 (ho-hum) to 7 (excellent!):

Please don't read too much into these ratings. For many reasons, a superior story may not get a superior score.

3.8 Rocket Dragons Average
Share This Story
Join Mailing list
Please join our mailing list and receive free daily sci-fi (your email address will be kept 100% private):