Lurking in the background, hiding their identity, they seem mysterious, magical, beautiful. At first, they observed the game from a distance, but as centuries went by, women were drawn closer to the chessboard.
Why has a work by the African-American artist Fred Wilson -- an installation piece that riffs on the topic by assembling authentic slave shackles, slave chains and Revolutionary-era icons -- been such a sore point with critics? We must have struck a raw nerve.
For two long centuries, the Arab Middle East has struggled to meet the challenge of modernity, a task exacerbated by the lingering, and increasing, dissonance between the glorious past and the shameful present.
At 68, Dragoljub Velimirovic doesn't seem to slow down. Still teasing and provoking, he took part in the Czech Coal Match last month and was awarded a magnificent glass trophy for his entertaining play.
France may be in a slump, with a hyper-kinetic president intent on structural reforms to counter mounting deficits, but it remains the number one international destination for visitors offering more delights than can be fathomed on a 20-day visit.