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“ ‘And now,’ he continued, getting more heated, ‘it’s time you knew the facts. You should know that chess pieces are much, much older than people. Humans were created many centuries after chess pieces, and they are gross imitations of pawns and bishops, kings and queens. Even their horses are imitations of ours. Then they built towers to imitate what we had. After that, they did a lot of other things, but those are superfluous. And everything that occurs among human beings, especially the most important things, which one studies in history, are nothing more than confused imitations and a hodgepodge of variants of the great games of chess we have played. We are the exemplars and governors of humanity. Those things I told you before concerned the other images, and I feel sorry for them, but we are truly eternal. And we, effectively, are in charge of the world. We are the only ones who have a raison d’être and an ideal.’ ”

(Massimo Bontempelli, The Chess Set in the Mirror, trans. Estelle Gilson, pp. 49–50.)

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