Strange News by Bradley
Spontaneous Changing Road and Intersection Names Reported
In August, of 1227, upon the death of perhaps the most ruthless
bloodthirsty chessplayer in history, known to many as the Universal Ruler, the Scourge of Islam, Ghengis Khan, secrecy was
the demon most worshiped.
Legend has it that thousands of mourners at the funeral were massacred.
The warriors that slaughtered the mourners were then slain by an imperial priesthood called the Mongke Dao (The eternals of
the way). That priesthood worshipped The Kahn as an almighty deity.
The Mongke Dao may still exist today, guarding his remains. For the preists
believe if his corpse is disturbed his soul will be destroyed as well as the powers it conveys. Also buried there may be the
greatest treasure the world has ever known, but more importantly his most valued chess set, known to the world by its name
the Suren of Chess.
One warning though, what they call a Burilgi-Icah Cahoring or destroyer
curse was put upon the grave site for those who disturb it.
History records the name of this site as Buddha's crown, somewhere
Oh, Ghengis the Kahn of Kahns had many names' and one was the shaman
of the road because he seemed able to bring his hoard of 100,000 men on horseback 2000 miles across the Asiatic Steppe in
With this background let Kamar Amin tell his story.
First let me thank you for hearing my story. I was born in Balkh
(Afghanistan) but I now live and work in Kabul (Capitol of Afghanistan). I am an accountant by profession.
Now that the Taliban stopped speading thier self righteous sheep dung,
better they should have used it as deodorant. Chess is back!
They banned it you know. We had to play in secret for fear of arrest.
Many tournaments are still conducted in secret. We possess some wonderful players here but I by far am the finest.
I haven't met a man I couldn't beat until now. This because I am
the follower of a secret ancient chess inculcation.
I follow the ancient teachings of the Balku Sufi mystic Jalal ad-Din
who once said, "To wit, to play chess with them by thyself. When Thou shalt become one entity with us and you."
I don't expect you to understand these words at first. It requires great
method and study.
By the way I was intrigued by your last Strange News because I
too travel looking for chess companions. But I am not rich enough yet to jet around.
Last month when, I attended a tournament in Mazar-I-Sharief I expected
an uneventful drive back to Kabul on the Salang Highway.
I followed all road signs but seemed to get lost. After a while
I drove by a encampment of tents, so I stopped to ask for directions.
I called out and a man with a badly scared face came out to greet
me. He pointed out where we were on my map and invited me in. I knew not to offend people so I came in for a drink.
He had the most beautiful ornate chess set I had ever seen placed
like a centerpiece for his tent. I couldn't take my eyes off it. So he asked if I wanted to play. I played him a few games
and let us just say I almost beat him in four moves.
It was a joke. So I decided to go on my way. He begged me to play him
again but I left. I continued on the road following every detail of the map but was still lost.
I tell you the road signs seemed to keep changing all by themselves.
I even changed directions a few times driving on the same road three or four times. Each time the road signs at intersections
had different names on them.
I kept thinking Da-sama-lara-na-da (No translation ?? It may be
a Pashtoon trans-literation of a common phrase for road confusion first attributed to George S. Patton "I would rather have
a German division in front of me than a French one behind me.").
After about two hours I noticed another tent encampment and decided
to ask questions. Well you guessed it the same man came out this time, with 10 other men, all with badly scared faces. I asked
him to point out where we were on the map. He did and invited me in. This time I declined and went on my way.
Well you guessed it, the same thing happened. I tell you one minute
a sign would say one thing but if I went back to it. It said something else. I was so tired after another two hours when I
reached the tent encampment again; I asked if I could spend the night.
Well hospitality abounds here in Afghanistan. I got a bed and my own
tent, as well as a great feast. I woke up that afternoon, walked around the camp only to find my host sitting by his chess
Since I was grateful I played him a few more games, always crushing
him. I asked how he and his friends were injured. He said that it was the work of Muhammad Khwarizm. I thought nothing of
it, there are so many warlords here.
Well I decided to take off again. Before I left, he asked me to tell
him my secret for winning.
I said, "no secret", I left on the road again. I eventually ran out of
A passerby decided to stop and lend me a couple of gallons. Well I ran
out of gas again, right in front of the tent encampment.
This time they fixed me up with a beautiful belly dancer, but,
I needed to leave. I needed gas but no one in the encampment had any.
Anyway after two weeks of playing chess and being fixed up with a different
belly dancer every night I was willing to trade my secret for a way home.
Before I could, Sheik Burns (as I called him) came in with an offer
to trade my secret for his. See, he and his men were ambassadors from the great Ghengis Kahn. He was the Kahn's friend and
Sheik Burns went on,"I had played on the great Suren of Chess.
Of coarse the rules were different then for example no castling made it easier for my adversaries. The Kahn trusted me because
all his other chess opponents ran away and I always lost to him. Entrusted to head a mission of peace for the great Mongol
empire, I was sent to Khwarazmian (the Persian empire encompassing todays Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran) to demand satisfaction
for theft of goods and mistreatment of Mongol traders.
Instead of reparations the Shah Muhammad Khwarizm set out a joyous feast
and then had us restrained and set our beards on fire. Laughing he then sent us home in humiliation.
This was not a great idea because my friend the Kahn had anger
management problems. In response the Kahn wiped out the Khwarazmiam Persian empire but also punished his embassadors. He did
not accept failure cursing us to guard the way of the roads forever.
One of these mystic roads leads to his remains, treasure and the most
valued great chess set The Suren of Chess. Mine is only a cheap copy of his.
The Kahn's is filled with Shaman magic and with it you could become the
greatest chess player in the world." He then shouted "Give me your secret and I will show you a map to The Suren of Chess".
We traded I showed him the Sufi teaching. It took another two weeks. When it was done he showed me the map.
I then thought, I mean the women in the camp are beautiful but
I'm married. We then toasted our trade and drank all night. When I woke up the next morning the tents were gone. A passing
caravan came by and gave me a ride back to Kabul.
I remember the maps and the location of the Ghengis Kahn's Tomb
but can't remember my secret to winning chess. I've been losing a lot of games since. I plan a trip to Mongolia next month.
Wish me luck. Perhaps if I find the Suren of chess I will remember my secret. Feel free to investigate the Road situation
Our editor Brad Zang refused to form an investigation committee,
he said, " This guys going to remember a map? He can't read a map. But good luck with your upcoming trip. I mean what could