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Fritz & Chesster

Fritz & Fertig

Actually, out of humbleness, I shouldn’t even talk about it – but, I just can’t help it – I am proud! No other project has enjoyed such worldwide success and has won so many prizes (the most recent being the first German Computer Game Prize for best children’s game) as has Fritz & Chesster. Even the first CD-ROM was a huge hit in the United States and has since been produced in over 20 different countries (maybe even 30 - I’m not sure). Now, there is a whole line of CDs, a Nintendo game and two books. They’re all based on the same idea: to explain a  supposedly complicated King’s game in simple words and pictures, so that immediately, the game becomes child’s play. That’s the surprising thing about it: chess is not just for geniuses. Through simple practice, anyone can learn how to play. The most important element, though, is fun. If learning isn’t fun, children won’t want to do it. That’s why I have added the craziest stories I could think of, to go along with the guidelines provided by my co-author, Björn Lengwenus, in order to put a little spice in the soup! Because without a little spice, chess is no more fun than a pie fight without pie!

Fritz & Fertig

A chapter from 'Fritz & Chesster - Learn to Play Chess'

The outbreak of the pie fight is recorded in history: it all started in the early afternoon on  King Green’s birthday, upon which, he had invited all of his royal neighbors. King Brown, King Clodhopping, King Colorless and all the rest. Unfortunately, King Slobbery-bib had come, too, although he hadn’t actually been invited. And there he was , slobbering all over the place in such a nausiating way that King Clodhopping lost his patience, picked up a pie and smashed into King Slobbery-bib’s face.

Some of the pie landed on the face of King Silversight’s queen, who thought it had been thrown by (the completely innocent) King Sloppington. As an act of revenge, smash went half of a Blackforrest Cherry pie into his face. The other half, which had missed its mark, landed in the face of King Crisscross and in the lap of his queen, who was wearing her best dress. "What gall!" she cried and there began the wildest worst pie fight in history. One on one, two on two, and all on all. They smeared, they smashed and they bashed – it was simply horrible.
They were almost out of amunition, when, exactly at that moment, in walked King Green’s  subjects carrying the whole next round of goodies: creamy pudding, cream puffs, freshly baked Bee-sting pie with egg liqueur and all sorts of other cakey stuff. Whomp and now they, too, with pie in the face, were caught up into the fight. Deftly assisting their King, throwing chocolate cake, strudel, cherry-liqueur cream dessert, meringue, icing, and pails full of vanilla sauce. Now, the others were not about to be outdone and so, they called their own subjects, and soon it was war between kingdoms, king against king and royal suite against royal suite and everyone against everyone.
It was a retched squalor: like snowflakes in a storm, the pies flew, pralines hailed down, royal garments were soaked and reeked of rum. If a pie wasn’t handy, then they tripped each other up to be felled face-down into the gloppy slop. This deplorable first battle ended only when no-one knew anymore who was who in all the mess.

Fritz & Fertig

Yet, the very next day, they were back at it again: with Brittlecream cake, apple pie, and Sacher Torte. Urgently, the kings ordered their bakers to provide fresh supplies. The bakers baked like crazy, and so it came to pass, that The Pie Wars (as they later would be called) spread like fire, embroiling kingdom after kingdom until the entire world was in danger of turning into one huge creamy, sloppy buttery mass of muck. Only King Banana had no time to get involved because he was decorating. Banana peeling after banana peeling, he pasted his walls, until all the rooms in his palace shone a glowing yellow. "How do you like it?", he proudly asked his wife.
"Nice color," the queen praised him, "but, don’t you think it smells a bit funny?"
"Oh," said King Banana, "now that you mention it, I can smell it, too. Smells a little like banana."
And he opened the window to air out the room. Still, that didn’t work and not before too long, the whole palace smelled foul and King Banana began to think that maybe, he should have used regular wallpaper. The banana peelings began to stink so unbearably, that everyone had to move into the summer house. Yet, even there, it was so insufferable, that, as was mentioned earlier, King Banana had to tear down his beautiful new palace.

Fritz & Fertig

Sitting sadly at the ruins of his palace, he figured out that these Pie Wars bore the entire blame for his misfortune. And in order that something like this should never happen again, he decided out of a mixture of revenge, a bad conscience, and good will to do something about this mess.
And so, he had the stones of the destroyed palace cleaned and on the same spot, had something else built there – something grand, something new, and it would be the most exciting structure of the times. In the middle, there was a downsized version of the baking sheet world. All around it, the viewing stands rose to the highest heights. In the center, for reasons of cleanliness, King Banana had a tile floor laid down which consisted of eight huge tiles in a row, in eight rows - and since he didn’t do it himself, it turned out excellently. He had already come up with a name for his new construction, namely, Arena. And it was in this Arena where they would play chess, the other kings, instead of throwing pies at each other.

© Jörg Hilbert 2017