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I really hate to us the word "warpaint" only because another chess skirt mentioned it on her site. However, as hard as I tried, I couldn't come up with another word for it. That's exactly what makeup and nailpolish is...war paint. Tell me, if it were socially acceptible for a guy to walk into the tournament hall painted blue with woad, ala Mel Gibson in Braveheart, wouldn't they? This is a game of war, now isn't it. Come on guys, admit it. You could substitute the word "checkmate" for freedom in just about every William Wallace speech in Braveheart.

I am (insert name here), and I see a whole army of my chessmen here in defiance of your rating. I have come to fight as a rating peer, and a rating peer I am. What will you do with that rating? Will you play?...

...Ay, play and you may lose, forfeit and you'll play another game. At least for a while. And dying in your beds many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance to come back here and tell those grandmasters that they may take my pieces, but they'll never take my right to make bad moves!!!???

With all that said, I don't see any reason why the skirts can't do what the men wish they could. Warpaint was used for many reasons. First, it was a ritual that was performed to get a man ready to give his life to his cause (or his god, or the maker of his favorite breakfast cereal...whatever he felt like dying for at the moment). Second, it scared the hell out of the enemy. These screaming warriors looked like monsters with their faces painted all sorts of colors. And it wasn't only colors. It was religious symbols that would help the warrior stay in touch with and receive the blessings of whatever gods or goddesses ruled the aspects of warfare, strategy, and death. You see it today during football know, those morons who paint their whole bodies and stand in -25 degree weather. They want the to scare the other team and appeal to the great god Footballus, hoping he will bring victory to his kinsmen on the field. Third, some of those paints, which were made from various herbs and flowers, when in contact with the skin, drugged the wearer. Nothing like going into battle stoned out of your mind. Hey, it cuts down on the anesthesia bill afterward. And finally, some paints, such as woad, had medicinal value. Woad is a very heavy astringent. Many believed it was used for closing battle wounds.

So, does any of that apply to chess and skirts? Not a heck of a lot. Only the part about ritual and frightening your opponent. Every Saturday morning I go through a warpaint ritual. The nails are polished according to my mood (see chart below), the face is painted, and the official warpaint is put on. What is my warpaint you ask? Glitter over my eyes. Not only is it my own personal superstition (it's a lot more sane than some of the other chess superstitions) but it blinds my opponents (since we play indoors I can't position my opponent facing the sun). They are mezmerized and fall into a deep trance like state wherein I take all their pieces. Well, not really. However, a few gentlemen at the club honestly believe that when I upset higher rated players, it's because of my "sparkles" (some of these men being the victims of my warpaint themselves).

So what about the nailpolish? Well, that's done according to my mood.

Red is the color of aggression. It's an extremely good color if you're in the mood for gambits, whether you play them as white or accept them or counter gambit as black.
Black is a color when you have decided to take charge of the game while playing the black pieces. This is an excellent color if you've prepared to play the French, Sicilian, or Caro-Kann. It's not the color for playing a responsive game as black. "Excuse me Mr. White, but I don't think you'll be choosing the opening here."
These colors are great when you play unusual openings like the Orangutan, Bird's, The Fred, etc... Not only will you get a "what the hell is with those nails" but you'll get "And what the hell is with that opening" too!
White is the color of purity. It's especially good to where when you plan on playing classical lines for either black or white. This color goes well with The Spanish, The Italian, The French, Knight's Opening, etc...
Yellow is a varient of white, so therefore it's a good color if you're preparing hypermodern openings. The English and Fiancetto Openings are often played by wearers of this nailpolish shade.

So, I know what you males are thinking. First the skirts take away our ability to paint our faces. Next, you're moving in on our game. What's next??? Well, if I had my way, the starting lineup for the 2001-02 Green Bay Packers would be the West Virginia Cheerleading Squad, but that's another story. Is nothing in a man's world sacred anymore, you say? Hey, you guys still have the ability to pee standing up. I don't think any skirt is interested in that sort of talent (although the writing your name in the snow thing is pretty cool...).

Braveheart image is copyrighted to the Twentieth Century Fox Film Corperation. This image is used as a reference tool. No copyright infringement is intended or implied by the author.