Knight Moves in Zuccotti Park

Two Occupy Wall Street protesters play chess in Zuccotti Park.

| March/April 2012

  • Playing Chess
    Zugzwang is a chess term for a position in which every move you have is a bad one. Once you’re in zugzwang, things like having more pieces than your opponent don’t matter anymore. Often players who find themselves in zugzwang simply resign.

  • Playing Chess

It’s 6:00 a.m. in Zuccotti Park. Quiet hours started at 11:00, but that isn’t stopping the kid behind me from playing Bob Dylan’s greatest hits on his guitar. I politely tolerate it until he starts “Rainy Day Women.” That cinches it.

“Knock it off, it’s quiet hours.”

He scowls at me as he puts his guitar back in its case.

I’m usually more patient than this. Maybe I’m feeling punchy because in one hour the police are supposed to show up and arrest us all. More likely it has to do with the fact that I’m down two pawns going into the endgame.

I got here around 3:00, right after the rainstorm quit, after getting several emails and texts that the cops were planning to storm the park at 7:00. I packed my bag with clothes and comic books, wrote the National Lawyers Guild phone number on my arm, kissed my wife on the forehead, and told her I was going to go get arrested. She mumbled “good luck” and rolled back over to sleep.

When I arrived, people were trying to settle in and get some rest. It had been a rainy night that likely kept a lot of Occupy Wall Street protesters away. There were only a couple hundred people here.