by Brent Kenneth Cruz & Kazzandra Ysabel Baysa

Three, his purple robe falls gracefully on the royal carpet. Two, small hands fix his falling crown as he walks toward the balcony. One, the bells toll as he gazes at his city.

The clock strikes midnight, as the chess board grows smaller, the pieces opposite of his color coming into place in front of him – he was surrounded.


They were coming for him, the man with the crown. But he was witty, he was powerful – and he was selfish. With one stroke of his hand, his subjects got on their knees, and those who refused faced his iron fist.

They knelt in front of the black pieces, they covered their king with their crumbling white form. It was then when the definition of a leader changed. The one who was to serve was being served, the one meant to protect was the one being protected.   

And it was those below him that took the fall.


It came by swiftly. Like wind it was quiet, it was invisible. But then after the torn wrappers, after the sumptuous meals and the ecstatic greetings; after the party poppers and the promise of a better year – it struck hard.

Just a cough, just a fever, just a little tired.

It was just a slight complication, but no one knew. It was because of one random interaction, a touch, a breath, but after two weeks that’s where the trouble began.

Novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) tore through the world as the New Year opened, claiming lifted souls, breaking down families, and confining citizens inside their homes.

And it’s not just the sickness eating away each and every citizen as the threat sings the tune of danger and of death. There’s also fear. Gnawing at your bones, creeping in anticipation – making you wonder if one day you’ll be sick too.

What if one day, you’ll also think, it’s just a fever? Not knowing that it’s already COVID-19, not knowing that you’ll have to leave the life you have because all you can do is hurt the ones close to you.

Because you are merely a white pawn, and the black piece has already claimed you.


The first move, the first sacrifice.

Found in a successive stance, it moves forward, but can only capture the antagonist diagonally. Seems to be belittled but has one of the grandest responsibilities during this pandemic. The pawns are us, every individual breathing cautiously in circumspect academe and community. We may be inferior but our fate, the country’s fate is in our hands – wherein with least power comes with great responsibility.

We may be treated poorly, we may not be the priority in our government. But we must do what we can to take care of ourselves. In a poor country like ours, we are the ones that suffer the most. But just because we fall does not mean we don’t stand back up.

We may not be of high stature, but we are still a part of life’s cruel game. Think wisely, and act bravely, even pawns can be the reason for victory.


Whose motion is unpredictable.

He is a cavalier that move squares in one momentous step, forming an L-shape with his approaches. One that covers a lot of ground, one that looks at things not just through a single angle – a journalist. An underrated craft bearing an underappreciated duty for the people; this knight conveys nothing but the gratifying truth.

Since time immemorial, they were the objective eyes and ears of the public. Their role is to inform and reveal details about prevailing matters for everybody’s perception and awareness regarding significant affairs especially in the current pandemic. They are the ones that expose all speculations and rule out those that are false, the public looks up to them for transparency, and at times those in power look down on them in horror, in fear that one day the knights will divulge their darkest and dirtiest secrets.

But now every white piece looks for the knight.

They look for the transparency, for the clarity, and for the awareness. And it is the knight that will cover the ground to discover, it is the knight that will reveal the dangers and the warnings, it is the knight that will inform the public about the pandemic.

 And thus the knight answers the call. Armed with his sword, a parchment, a pen, a laptop, or a tablet; he wages into battle and joins the frontline. Armed with bravery and packed with the authenticity, the knight writes. Every letter arranging itself, every word leaving a mark on the paper. The knight fights on without rest, delivering the news on a daily basis, witnessing the tragedy to warn the nation on further catastrophes. And with the knight’s protection, the public is guarded with information.

With the knight’s verity, both kings and pawns trust their words that mirror their reality. Always remember, some may fight with medicine, with knives and guns, or with sheer power. But no weapon can equally rival that of the truth, and no warrior can be more trustworthy than that of the legitimate knight.


Whose movement has no limit.

One that moves diagonally, one who can go to the distance as long as it is of the same color. One that risks its position, one that plays a vital role in moving forward and guarding the frontlines with its versatility.

The firefighter.

Wrapped with their orange coats and their sturdy red helmets, the wailing sirens of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) or the Philippine Fire Service is the sound of comfort and reassurance.  But they are not only there to battle the raging flames and to brave the crumbling buildings, BFP also has two pillars built to uphold the nation’s safety during this pandemic.

There are those who wear white coats and use stethoscopes, there are those wrapped with protective clothing along with respiratory protection and use disinfectants.

The second pillar is composed of the Emergency Medical Services. They are the doctors, registered nurses, and trained EMTs that provide emergency treatment to patients and they also monitor the frontliners’ health. They are also responsible for transporting people who are confirmed or probable to have COVID 19.

With their bright minds they assess, with their steady hands they diagnose. With their warm limbs they gather, and with their hopeful hearts they deliver. And thus they contribute, braving the frontlines as footsteps approach and assist. It was the Special Rescue Unit.

With their keen perception and their strict regulation, they go back and forth like the bishop that they are, disinfecting all the white squares they cover in the chess board. With their Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear knowledge and skills, the follow through with their decontamination protocols and rescue operations.

Alas, the bishop receives the King’s call. He gazes at his target, processing its elimination as he steps up. The frontlines are almost complete now, the pieces are in play.

I wonder, will this be enough to conquer that of the opposite color?


The undaunted warrior.

Unstoppable, unrelenting, uncompromising. It travels vertically and horizontally, claiming the black pieces in his way. Equipped with load-bearing equipment, Kevlar helmet, weapon, gears, and assault pack, the military officers, soldiers, and policemen march as they guard the frontlines.

They barge in, their presence unmistakable as they flaunt their camouflage attires and their ocean-painted uniform, and as they reflect the tactical representation of their duty; they reassure the people of their strength, yet they balance the public with their authority and rigidity. Military executives and policemen generals are patrolling the streets, guarding the checkpoints and protocols, serving other entrants, and with their steel-like defense, every second in the clock is assured to be watched over.

With their combat skills and piercing weapons, the heroes – the rooks – spearhead against the opposite color through their excellence and bravery. And no, the rooks are not focused on the bloodshed, the killing, and the wars. Right now, in this pandemic, they’re focused on protecting – and through their protocols, the nation’s safety is shielded and upheld.


The power to heal.

The Queen, the protector, the mother. And a mother’s love is greater than all the other forms of love. Wearing protective white gowns, safety helmets, eye protection, gloves, safety footwear and harnesses, they stand upright, ignoring the risk and fighting against all possibilities.

The greatest sacrifice.

With their restless pace, the medical frontliners were hailed as the real-life superheroes, saving and motivating their patients from endlessly.

The doctors, the scientists, the nurses, and the pharmacologists, they are our queens of the day and night, ruling in the riskiest places with their medicals tool in hand, clashing the opposite color. And as the clash begins, it was inevitable that they were doomed one by one. And yet they choose to be the backbone of our country; they choose their own limbs connect with the sick, they choose to risk their lungs and inhale the disease.

They are the conquerors in PPEs and the champions of time; doctors, nurses, paramedical staffs, laboratory technicians, and scientists. Amidst all the risks of their profession, like the queen, they move in multiple directions. They study, they protect, and they are what makes up the unswerving piece.


The most significant of them all.

Branded as the most important piece among all, it must be protected at all costs. The black pieces menace the luxurious king, which moves in merely one square. With the superior white piece’s purple robe, grandeur is reflected; and the King is made up of all the branches of government – especially the great president himself.

They assess the situation, they come up with countermeasures, with their plans and budget they take action. Although they are criticized for incompetence, although they are haunted by their own mistakes, the King still stands tall.

The crown may slip from the King’s head, but it still belongs to the head of the white piece in the purple robe.

They are the lieutenants bearing the glaring crown, battling the enemy; they improvise to provide, they make mistakes and errors. But they learn when they lose, and they change what they can. Being serene, cautious, the men and women of titles explore aisles of breakthrough; it is the elite that is most protected, but it is still the King doing his best to reverse and control the damage.

With a damaged reputation and criticized actions, the King shoulders the weight of his white pieces. He watches as his whites are slowly being outnumbered by the blacks.

Is this how it ends? The frontlines grow thinner. Is this how I lose all my pieces?

The King covers his face as he inhales.

No, not yet. For my pieces; for my people.


The King lets out a war cry as all his exhausted pieces hear his shout.

The clock strikes midnight, as the chess board grows smaller, the pieces opposite of his color coming into place in front of him – he was surrounded.


It was at this moment when the queen blocked the alleyway of the opposite color, wherein there’s no turning back and an even move to escape. With the bishop moving back and forth, crossing over the chessboard, and the rooks clearing out his lanes, the knight stands in the way, protecting the pawns and the kings.

The King’s call was heard, the black pieces have fallen, and through unity and perseverance, the greatest comeback of the new decade was completed – truly, nothing tastes sweeter than glorious glitters of victory.

Finally, the battle is done, the king and his white pieces won; arraying the golden medallion that represents the triumph. They were in the progression of one goal, they won as one, and they were crowned as one too.

It is not harsh words and criticisms that will get us through this pandemic, nor is it incompetence and unwise decisions. It is unity, it is understanding, and it is cooperation; to know what is needed, to know what must be done and to have the courage to do it. Remember, the pawns, the knights, the rooks, the bishops, the queens, and kings of our chessboard – of our nation, have their own skills and capabilities.

Remember, your pieces are more than enough, use them wisely and you will have your victory.


  1. With unity, we can settle the pandemic.
    Staying home will keep you keep safe.
    Pls read the full article and you will discover what real unity is…
    Thank you brent and syempre proud ako ulit sa prinsesa kzy ko…

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