“The Rules of Chess” by Jane Beal

My creative nonfiction piece, “The Rules of Chess,” now appears in The Right Words 9 (2020), 5-6.

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The Rules of Chess
by Jane Beal

Chess teaches patience, strategy, history, culture, civility, persistence, and how to effectively engage an opponent in an intellectual arena while maintaining an emotionally or socially warm relationship. Chess teaches emotional self-control. It teaches players to recognize, value, and utilize their resources. It teaches hierarchal thinking and symbolism. It reinforces powerful values. These are the rules of chess:


  1. Open well.
  2. Control the center.
  3. Pay close attention to the present position of the pieces on the board AND never forget your goal.
  4. Do not move the same piece twice in a row. Think in terms of maneuvers and combinations.
  5. Be patient. Every move counts. Consider every possible move. Consider every possible response.
  6. Keep in mind the relative value of the pieces — king, queen, castle, bishop, knight, pawn — ALWAYS but especially when making sacrifices.
    • The King is the most valuable.
    • The Queen is the most powerful.
    • The Rook is essential for the endgame.
    • The Bishop and the Knight are of equal value, but they move differently.
    • The pawn has the least value of all but can become the most powerful piece on the board, a Queen, if she can make it to the other side of the board.
  1. Protect pieces as they advance.
  2. Avoid mistakes. Take advantage of the other player’s mistakes. Festina lente.
  3. Learn from every game.
  4. Read about chess, and practice every day.

If you follow these rules, you can not only win at chess but become a chess master.

“The board is set and the pieces are moving.”
~ Gandalf, The Lord of the Rings


Photo by Jessica Wilson

“Descanso Gardens at Christmas” by Jane Beal

My haiku series, “Descansco Gardens at Christmas,”
now appears in Fireflies Light 17 (December 2019), 30.

Descanso Gardens
at Christmas

Hutton’s vireo!
little spirit of pure joy
flitters by water

the dark-eyed juncos
three wise-men on a journey
to bow down to Love

carols from treetops!
music reveals angels
swooping over earth

the woodpecker’s beak
hammers at the old oak trees

sweet, spotted towee
preparing her gentle breast
the virgin-mother

step back, look and see
I kneel down quietly
in silence and awe

light shines through the oaks
on the antlers of the stag
Jesus, Prince of Peace


A Stag in Descansco Gardens - Dec 2019

La Cañada Flintridge

Three Haiku from “In Search of Tuna Canyon Labyrinth” by Jane Beal

Malibu Beach Near Tuna Canyon

Three of my new haiku, from my haiku series “In Search of Tuna Canyon Labyrinth,” now appear in The Asahi Haikuist.

the rear-view mirror
reveals the snow-capped mountains
as we drive away


sliver of white moon
shining in the deep blue dark
a broken seashell


we look for the maze
but didn’t find it today
the music played on


Two Haiku by Jane Beal: “Sun-Diamonds Spangle” and “A Tiny Bird”

My haiku, “Sun-Diamonds Spangle” and “A Tiny Bird,” now appear in The Asahi Haikuist (30 November 2018).

sun-diamonds spangle

the bright blue, wetland waters

brown pelicans nod



(Photo: David Pereksta, USFWS)

tiny bird hidden

in mountain mahogany

a vanishing song