“Chess”

“Chess” Page 1, Treatment

Chess is the oldest game of skill played by over 700 million worldwide.

Over 8% of all the people in the world play chess.

As many as 200 million people play chess online.

“Chess is ruthless: you’ve got to be prepared to kill people.”  Nigel Short – British Chess Grandmaster.

Hall Lane, South London, Christmas eve 1989.

Pretty little twinkling lights decorate houses in Hall Lane as snowflakes fall in the wintry night air. Inside number 67, a little boy, Karl Ketch, 10, is cooking his father’s evening meal. On tip toes, he prods potatoes inside a steaming pan of water. The sound of a key fumbling at the front door lock and swearing turn’s Karl’s head. In stumbles Karl’s drunk father Hugo Ketch. Hugo takes off his coat and slumps into an armchair. Hugo is heavily built unshaven and mean.

Hugo has an eastern European accent and shouts “Bring me the vodka you lazy little bastard.” “Will do father, I have cooked you your favorite, pie and potatoes,” replies Karl. “Just bring me the fucking vodka you little prick,” blasts Hugo. Karl hands him a vodka bottle and glass which Hugo snatches from Karl’s grasp. Karl then serves his father’s meal.

Just like any other night the disgusting Hugo makes Karl play him a game of chess. Hugo wins and as punishment Karl is sent to his bedroom where Hugo beats him with his hard buckled belt. While other children are excitingly waiting for Santa, only the sad sound of a little child’s whimpering is heard on this Christmas night.

Present Day

The pawn is the weakest and most numerous piece in the game of chess, representing infantry or more particularly armed peasants or pikeman.

Colchester Army Barracks.

At Colchester army barracks, a car carrying two soldiers Paul Wilkes and Alan Wells drive through the raised barriers and out onto the open road. It is pouring with rain and in the distance they see a car has broken down with hazard warning lights flashing. A man wearing a fisherman’s coat stands in the way with his arm in a stop position. In the passenger seat army officer Allen Wells says, “go round him he’s broken down, he can get a fucking tow truck.”  They go to pass, but the man steps out at their car and nearly hitting him they stop with a slippery skid.

The man approaches the passenger window, and an unheard conversation takes place. We don’t see the man’s face. The man quickly draws a gun and fires. Two loud bangs followed by two more blasts. Splattered blood is on the front and far side window with both men dead inside the car.

Soon to retire detective Peter Stein is having a pint at his local pub called the Kings Head in Colchester town. He is talking across the bar with landlord Kevin about the murders of the two soldiers. “You must be on the case then Pete,” says Kevin. “Yeah,  I’m leading the investigation,” replies Peter. Kevin is worried about terrorism and squaddies not wanting to come into Colchester because they spend the money. To the side a television is showing live news pictures of the major clean up after a recent fire at Windsor Castle.

At Canterbury Cathedral,  Bishop Williams finishes his sermon. A man waits and then asks Bishop Williams whether he can discuss something with him in private. The Bishop agrees and leads the man into a side room. The man tells the Bishop about the beatings he took as a child whenever he lost a game of chess to his father. He says to the Bishop that  he decided to read about chess from the grandmasters and by the age of thirteen never lost to his father again.  The Bishop praises him saying, “that was indeed a very smart thing to do for such a young boy. You said your father was a superb chess player, could have been a grandmaster if not for drink. Why not become a well-known grandmaster yourself.” The man replies with “I do intend to be famous one day.”

The man asks the Bishop if he knew of somebody very famous murdered at the Cathedral many hundreds of years ago. The Bishop replies,” of course, archbishop Thomas a Beckett.” He then asks  if he knew the exact date Thomas a Beckett died. The Bishop is unsure. Karl says to the Bishop that King Henry II liked nothing more than eating and playing chess. After a disagreement with Beckett, King Henry sent four knights to kill him which they did with their swords. He then tells Bishop Williams that it happened exactly eight hundred and forty-four years ago to this very day.

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