Pawn Sacrifice features the game in which the titular Pawn comes from – chess. Surprisingly, it is said that it originates from India, which isn’t too far from Singapore. Doesn’t that make you wonder what chess pieces would have been named if the game had its origins in Singapore?

The powers would be the same, but they would take on a decidedly more Singaporean bent. After all, the current chess names have a distinctly European flavour to them. But in a country with no Kings or Queens, what exactly would our chess pieces be called?

King – The Gahmen

The different chess pieces. Credit: New in Chess

The different chess pieces. Credit: New in Chess

The highest power in the land and the most precious piece on the board, the King would most definitely be called Gahmen. Or rather, “The Gahmen.” There must be a “The” in the name.

Queen – Auntie

Aunties. Credit: Wikipedia

Aunties. Credit: Wikipedia

The most powerful piece you have would undoubtedly be named the “Auntie”. Have you seen an Auntie fail to haggle or argue her way through? Her powers are as versatile and far ranging as the Queen’s. Entering a negotiation without an Auntie is like playing a game of chess without the Queen.

Bishop – Merlion

The Merlion. Credit: Escape with Style

The Merlion. Credit: Escape with Style

With a diverse array of religions, no one religious title could replace the Bishop and yet still be representative of all Singaporeans. But of course, there is one icon that transcends faiths, which is the Merlion. On land, the Merlion would probably slither sideways to get to places – just like the diagonal movement of a Bishop!

Rook – Shopping Centre

nex. Credit: Kidlander

nex. Credit: Kidlander

The Rook, which looks like a castle, was the cornerstone of any medieval kingdom. It was a bastion of safety that all peasants would flock to. They were the most visible landmarks of the time.

In Singapore, we would call that a Shopping Centre. Complete with a Golden Village Cinema. And of course, the “castling” move would be called “shopping.”

Knight – Encik

Our army. Credit: Asia One News

Our army. Credit: Asia One News

The Knights of yore would be the Enciks (a polite way of addressing non-commissioned officers in the army) of today. The L-shaped movement of the Knight is also reminiscent of clearing SOC (Standard Obstacle Course), so an Encik would be the perfect name for this piece!

Pawn – Chiohbu

Chiohbus. Credit: Yahoo

Chiohbus. Credit: Yahoo

And finally, the Pawns would be called Chiobus. Just like the Pawns of the past, Chiobus are plentiful in Singapore. They can get a good start in life thanks to their feminine wiles, just like how a Pawn can move two squares in the first move. An experienced Chiobu will morph into an Auntie, like how a Pawn becomes a Queen when it reaches the end of the board. There’s no better Singaporean name for the Pawn than Chiobu!

Bobby Fischer (Tobey Maguire) ponders in Pawn Sacrifice. Credit: Golden Village

Bobby Fischer (Tobey Maguire) ponders in Pawn Sacrifice. Credit: Golden Village

And if chess had been developed in Singapore, we would be watching Chiobu Sacrifice instead of Pawn Sacrifice! Sadly, that isn’t so – but you can still catch Pawn Sacrifice when it opens on Oct 1!

Just mentally change the names of all the pieces to the Singaporean ones, and you’ll have a hoot everytime they talk about their Pawns!

Credits: New in Chess, Wikipedia, Escape with Style, Kidlander, Asia One News, Yahoo, Golden Village