Wizolympics 2016: Super Colossal Wizard Chess
All Wizolympic athletes make sacrifices to bring honor and glory to their home countries, but no one makes a sacrifice as great as the players of Super Colossal Wizard Chess. Mournful bagpipe tunes echoed throughout Caipora Arena as the veteran chess champions filed in from opposite sides of the stadium, holding back tears and facing the most terrifying honor of the Wizolympics.
Only a country’s oldest, most talented chess players have the honor of participating in Super Colossal Wizard Chess. During a grueling week of qualifying games played using the Official Wizolympic Chess Set, Grand Masters from France and the Netherlands accumulated the most points, earning them a spot in the finals and a chance to show the world how much their country truly means to them. The United States racked up the third highest amount of points, so Selena Martinez will be accepting the Knut for her country during the medal ceremony later today.
Sofia Baas of the Netherlands had the highest score of anyone in the qualifiers, giving the Dutch the choice of which color they wanted to embody on the chessboard. Massive cheers erupted from the Dutch section of the arena as she took the king’s place on the white side of the board. She took a long deep breath and turned her steely gray eyes to French king Alexandre Leroy. There was no friendliness in this exchange of gazes, for the lives of their countrymen depended on the capture of their opposing king.
The lights in the arena dimmed, illuminating the glistening board, which was soon to become a black-and-white checked graveyard. A lone spotlight revealed the official’s tower, and referee Ilsa Burgewick raised her hands and recited the rules:
Each piece or pawn who is captured is sentenced to a death in line with the tactic used to bring them under enemy control. The piece or pawn responsible for the capture of an enemy unit is responsible for the execution of that enemy unit. Each player has an array of weapons in their uniform belts. When a king is put into checkmate, the conquering king is responsible for executing the enemy king. All other standard rules of wizard chess apply. May your suffering be little and your deaths come swiftly. Let the game begin!
The crowd burst into applause but silenced swiftly, eager to see how Baas would begin the game. She chose a Hungarian opening, creating a ripple of murmurs throughout the crowd, and Leroy responded quickly with an Indian defense.
The Dutch largely controlled the opening, giving Leroy no time to set up an attack plan, although his knights and bishops were poised to strike at the sign of Baas’s first misstep. The kings delayed losing their units much longer than they would have in a regular game of chess, but after the first ten moves, sacrifices had to be made.
Amy Koe of the Netherlands was the first to go, a pawn sacrificed to push a hole into the French defense. Caught in a fork, Roe closed her eyes as French knight Jay Roche pulled out his fork; he stabbed her repeatedly until she collapsed, the first casualty of the day. Wizolympic officials dashed up to the board, removing Koe’s still bleeding corpse and cleaning up the mess with the event’s official sponsoring product, Mrs. Skower’s All-Purpose Magical Remover. Pawn Quinn Raske began to weep – he had survived two Wizolympics with Koe up until this point.
Baas gave Raske his revenge when black queen Antoine Burnel came forward in a risky attack on white rook Robin Nagel. Raske moved forward in an attack on the queen, forcing him to retreat and giving white bishop Pieter Baak the chance to skewer Roche. Baak’s eyes went red with the rage of revenge as he drove his javelin through Roche’s sternum with a mighty crack.
Baas did an excellent job maintaining her advantage, exchanging pawns and knight Lieke Schermer for Leroy’s bishops and a few pawns. Her first major mistake came about when her queen Hendrik Rutten realized the game would require an exchange of queens; his urgent whispers made her second guess her planned route of attack.
This bad advice let Leroy move knight Mara Durand all the way across the board, checking Baas and putting her in a fork with bishop Baak. Baas had no choice but to sacrifice Baak, who unleashed a hideous scream as Durand plunged her fork into his abdomen. The game was neck and neck.
Baas and Leroy looked disheartened at the deaths of so many of their comrades. The tide turned when Baas saw a chance for pawn advancement. When Leroy threatened pawn Shannon Cuypers with two of his own, Baas let her be taken and moved pawn Johannes Kloet forward. Attacked by two enemies at once in an x-ray, Cuypers was killed by a blast of radiation from Louis Roux’s wand, reduced to a puddle of melted flesh and organs.
As Wizolympic officials cleaned up Cuypers’s mess, Leroy examined the board and realized he had let Kloet slip by. It was too late. Kloet was promoted from a pawn to a queen, pinning queen Burnel to the king’s side. White rook Maud Kool took out Burnel and put Leroy in check; resigned, Leroy stepped out of check, and white bishop Nagel made the final mating move.
As the referee shouted, “Checkmate,” Baas strode across the board, pulling her net out of her weapon belt. She tossed the net over his head; it tightened around him and Transfigured from rope into barbed wire, suffocating him before he could bleed to death.
The sound in the arena was deafening; roars of triumph were met with screams of grief. Ilsa Burgewick placed the victor’s crown on Baas’s head. The surviving members of each team congregated on their respective sides of the board, embracing and weeping over their fallen comrades.
Today, the Dutch victory will be celebrated during the medal ceremony. Sofia Baas will accept the Galleon, and rook Victor Martin will accept the Sickle for the French. A mass funeral will be held for all of the fallen before the closing ceremonies on August 21.