The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 150

Odwar three squares diagonally to the right,
which placed the piece upon the Black Chief's Odwar's seventh. The move
was indicative of the game that U-Dor intended playing--a game of
blood, rather than of science--and evidenced his contempt for his
opponents.

Gahan followed with his Odwar's Panthan one square straight forward, a
more scientific move, which opened up an avenue for himself through his
line of Panthans, as well as announcing to the players and spectators
that he intended having a hand in the fighting himself even before the
exigencies of the game forced it upon him. The move elicited a ripple
of applause from those sections of seats reserved for the common
warriors and their women, showing perhaps that U-Dor was none too
popular with these, and, too, it had its effect upon the morale of
Gahan's pieces. A Chief may, and often does, play almost an entire game
without leaving his own square, where, mounted upon a thoat, he may
overlook the entire field and direct each move, nor may he be
reproached for lack of courage should he elect thus to play the game
since, by the rules, were he to be slain or so badly wounded as to be
compelled to withdraw, a game that might otherwise have been won by the
science of his play and the prowess of his men would be drawn. To
invite personal combat, therefore, denotes confidence in his own
swordsmanship, and great courage, two attributes that were calculated
to fill the Black players with hope and valor when evinced by their
Chief thus early in the game.

U-Dor's next move placed Lan-O's Odwar upon Tara's Odwar's
fourth--within striking distance of the Black Princess.

Another move and the game would be lost to Gahan unless the Orange
Odwar was overthrown, or Tara moved to a position of safety; but to
move his Princess now would be to admit his belief in the superiority
of the Orange. In the three squares allowed him he could not place
himself squarely upon the square occupied by the Odwar of U-Dor's
Princess. There was only one player upon the Black side that might
dispute the square with the enemy and that was the Chief's Odwar, who
stood upon Gahan's left. Gahan turned upon his thoat and looked at the
man. He was a splendid looking fellow, resplendent in the gorgeous
trappings of an Odwar, the five brilliant feathers which denoted his
position rising defiantly erect from his thick, black hair. In common
with every player upon the field and every spectator in the crowded
stands he knew what was passing in his Chief's

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