Twenty-five years ago today, on 10 February 1996, world chess champion Garry Kasparov apparently lost the first game of a six-game chess match against an IBM computer called Deep Blue.
Although it is too late to write this one up as an anniversary piece for this year, chess can still play a big part in both fiction and non-fiction. There’s even a play about it! And a TV film. And it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t tie-in with any dates.
In a story, chess can feature as a central theme. The hero(ine) can be a mega-chess champion. Or, they can be putting on a production of Chess. Or it can form a bond between two characters.
For articles, there’s all sorts to be going on with from the history of chess to the different styles of chessmen to the various chess champions. There are giant chess boards at places of interest all over the place, and even on beaches.
Are there any giant chess boards near you? What’s the history behind them? What else is there to see there? Do you know anyone local who’s a bit of a mean chess-playing machine? How about a spotlight on them for a woman’s magazine if it’s a woman, or your local newspaper, or special interest magazine.
So, taking just that one word, ‘chess’, off you go …
St Valentine’s Day
This coming Sunday, it’s St Valentine’s Day. This one isn’t just an evergreen, but it also falls on the same date every year. That means you can start thinking about next year’s right now, or you can start planning something that is book-length.
There is a lot you can find out about St Valentine. (There were actually two Valentines, apparently.) Plus there are all the customs and celebrations that are held on this day each year, all around the world.
You can write articles or short stories, or even poems, based on this topic alone. And even book-length material using it as your launch pad.
And don’t forget all of those love stories … or not, as the case may be …
This one is another evergreen, but the date does shift every year, depending on when Easter falls, etc. Next year it falls on 1 March, which is also St David’s Day, so daffodils abound.
For food articles, there are: 5, 7 or 10 top toppings for pancakes; sweet v. savoury pancakes; how pancake recipes differ around the world.
For other articles, there is: the history behind Pancake Day (or Shrove Tuesday); how Shrove Tuesday is celebrated in religious circles; pancake races in almost every English village, and probably further afield – what do they do in your village/town/city/country?
Or start planning a short story around Pancake Day (or Shrove Tuesday).
Over to you …
… and don’t forget to come back and let me know if and what you did, and how it fared.