The Chess Board

by Basir Kazmi

The Chess Board, a play in four acts, was originally published in Pakistan (1987) and was widely appreciated. Set in olden times, the princess will only marry someone who can beat her at chess. Son of a famous Urdu poet, the late Nasir Kazmi, Basir Kazmi has now translated The Chess Board into English.

"The chess match should be seen as emblematic of the eternal struggle we have with ourselves and between men and women. The beauty and, I believe, the success of Basir Kazmi's play is that both the main characters see the futility of this struggle but this does not guarantee their happiness."

Basir Kazmi uses language which is metaphoric and beautifully precise at the same time.

There are pronounced Shakespearean cadences in this philosophical yet entertaining play. It is remarkable that a writer who has spent most of his life in Pakistan and for whom English is a second language can produce such a fine piece of literary drama in English.

Basir Kazmi has recited his poetry all over Pakistan, Britain and Norway. In 1992, he received the prestigious Writer-in-Residence Award from the North-West Playwrights' Workshops. His plays have been staged at well-known theatres in Greater Manchester and Liverpool, including the Green Room, Contact Theatre, Coliseum, Octagon and the Unity Theatre.

Born in Pakistan in 1955, Basir Sultan Kazmi studied and taught English and Drama at the Government College, Lahore. In England, he completed his M.Ed in 1991 and a PCGE in English in 1995.

Basir Kazmi has assisted on the BBC's Greater Manchester Asian radio programme (1990-91), conducted Drama/Poetry workshops in Oldham (1992) and has written and produced many plays. He translated The Chess Board into English in 1992 and Dr. Martin Thom reviewed the translation.

Basir Kazmi's work has also been published in national Urdu magazines and newspapers in both Pakistan and Britain. His collection of poetry, Talasm-e-Khayal and his dissertation, The Education Of Women in Pakistan are in the process of being published.

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