Jan 13

So that's why they make large chess in parks!Click for full image

Tom Noir’s Ari Direction: Right, it’s called, “Chess With A Dragon.” Here’s my cover idea: there’s a bloke playing chess… wait for it… with a dragon. Tell me what I’m paying you people for again?!
Published 1988

Actually, that cover IS a classical work of art!I would touch it without protective gloves.I've seen worse. Far, far, worse.Interesting, but I would still read it in public.Middlng: Neither awful nor awfully goodWould not like to be seen reading that!Awful... just awful...That belongs in a gold-lame picture frame!Gah... my eyes are burning! Feels so good!Good Show Sir! (Average: 7.06 out of 10)

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24 Responses to “Chess with a Dragon”

  1. Scott B Says:

    Looks like the dragon’s already eaten the guy’s feet. That sucker’s dangerous!

  2. THX 1138 Says:

    The dragon obviously has the advantage, how is its opponent supposed to pick up and move the larger pieces? Result? We’re doomed again.

  3. SI Says:

    Ah and the great follow ups that came after:

    Checkers with a minotaur
    Yathzee with a yeti

    and of course

    Guess Who with a Hyper Intelligent race of Ferret People.

    Who could forget such classics.

  4. Dave Van Domelen Says:

    Well, what would *you* suggest for a cover? 🙂 And at least it wasn’t some piece of generic on-spec dragon art cheaply composited with a photo of a chessboard.

  5. Michael Toland Says:

    30 years ago I’d’ve bought this based on this cover. Even if the human is footless. Seriously, that’s bizarre. Did no one look this over after the artist handed it in?

  6. Simon Says:

    I think he should have made the dragon play with a chessboard that was to his scale. Then see how the dragon got on. ‘Oh dear you’ve knocked your king over. I take it you concede?’

  7. Tom Noir Says:

    Editor: for the record I have never directed ‘Ari’ in my life!

    Although certainly some of my best friends are Jewish.

  8. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    Looking at the cover text, the author also wrote the self-explanatory “Encounter at Far Point”…which, if memory serves, was about an encounter which took place at a far-off point called Far Point. I expect his autobiography to be titled some like, “David Gerrold’s Autobiography”.

    Question: is that the dragon’s wing in a different shade of green at top left? Back cover, please?

  9. Yoss Says:

    I knew Roger Moore starred in lots of Bond films, but I don’t even remember this one.

  10. Tom Noir Says:

    That’s not his wing. There’s a sexy cat woman fanning him with a giant palm leaf off to the left.

    OK, I made that up. Sadly I don’t own this book and can’t check the back cover.

  11. Dave Van Domelen Says:

    I think the idea is that he’s in some sort of holographic communication device, so his footlessness is due to the level of the chessboard being slightly above the level of his actual floor. The artist could have made this clearer by having a chess piece intersecting the guy’s leg or something, though.

  12. Phil Says:

    The chess pieces look like old deactivated brass robots. Isn’t that Dot Matrix from Spaceballs?

  13. fred Says:

    If the C in SPECTRE stood for chess then I have an idea for the greatest James Bond movie ever. And that dome really should be a stadium filled with spectators.

  14. Alessandra Kelley Says:

    He has got feet. You can see the back of his shoe on his forward leg; it looks like a black suede chukka, a strange contrast to his faded grey formal uniform. But his right leg is really, really short. Judging from the pants wrinkles on his left leg, the knee there is at a normal level, so it’s just his right leg.

    The gold chess pieces look like robots clutching their heads in dismay.

  15. Tom Noir Says:

    I have to confess that I love this cover. The ridiculous juxtaposition of the monstrous dragon and the comparatively tiny human hero on a chess board is wonderful. It’s quite nice that the dragon has agreed to settle their differences with a board game rather than by, say, gobbling up the man in one bite. The sardonic expression on the dragon’s face suggests that he appreciates the irony.

    This is likely the best cover a book called “Chess With A Dragon” could possibly have.

    But would I take it on the bus? NO.

  16. A.R.Yngve Says:

    Now re-released under the title THE CHESS WITH A DRAGON TATTOO.

  17. A.R.Yngve Says:

    One wrong move and the human race will be clueless as how to win a game of chess with a dragon… forever?

  18. Scott B Says:

    I see what you mean, Alessandra, that the shoe’s going behind the chess piece. But the way the piece blocks it right at the edge of his pants, combined with the fact that his right leg looks really short if that’s his shoe (as you point out as well), made it look to me like the cuff of his pants rather than his shoe.

    PS: A.R.Yngve at #16 wins the comments thread.

  19. Jerk of all Trades Says:

    At least when he loses the man will be able to dress one of the pawns in his clothes and hide while the drag— you know what that’s just dumb. This cover is making me dumb.

    Goodness knows what the book would do.

  20. Anti-Sceptic Says:

    Unbeknown to the human he didn’t realize that he was playing according to dragon rules, which state that anyone stepping on the board automatically becomes a pawn in the game…

  21. bent Says:

    Should I admit I own this book with this cover? It’s an okay read. The wing on the front is actually in bright light. When you see the back cover it makes it clear that the underside of the dragon is darker. The back cover also shows two giant rats in hooded cloaks and a pair of over-sized praying mantises. For some reason they left out the ammonia slug creatures.

  22. Tom Noir Says:

    Why does that fellow even have a sword? In the event of a checkmate I doubt sticking a pin in a beast of that size will have much of an effect.

  23. Anna T. Says:

    I bet you if the dragon starts losing he’ll incinerate that guy. Seriously, don’t play chess with dragons as bad-tempered as that one looks.

  24. Perry Armstrong Says:

    @Anna T: always let the dragon win.

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