Anime & Manga
I really can't stand bastards like you guys who think they can plan out every little thing!
— Aisha Clan-Clan, Outlaw Star
"Come on Ed, do you really think I've got the whole world on strings?"Film
— Roy Mustang, Fullmetal Alchemist'
It's like you're playing checkers... And I'm playing chess.
Everything that has transpired has done so according to my design.
Hook, line... and sinker.Literature
— Simon Gruber, Die Hard With a Vengeance
All warfare is based on deception.
—Sun Tzu, The Art of War
The Patrician disliked the word 'dictator.' It affronted him. He never told anyone what to do. He didn't have to, that was the wonderful part. A large part of his life consisted of arranging matters so that this state of affairs continued [...] Human nature, the Patrician always said, was a marvelous thing. Once you understood where its levers were.
Humans aren't chess pieces, they do after all have free will—to some degree—but a good player can still use them. In fact, playing humans is harder. Or maybe I should say it simply requires different skills.
Fancy what a game of chess would be if all the chessmen had passions and intellects, more or less small and cunning; if you were not only uncertain about your adversary's men, but a little uncertain also about your own; if your knight could shuffle himself on to a new square by the sly; if your bishop, at your castling, could wheedle your pawns out of their places; and if your pawns, hating you because they are pawns, could make away from their appointed posts that you might get checkmate on a sudden. You might be the longest-headed of deductive reasoners, and yet you might be beaten by your own pawns. You would be especially likely to be beaten, if you depended arrogantly on your mathematical imagination, and regarded your passionate pieces with contempt. Yet this imaginary chess is easy compared with the game a man has to play against his fellow-men with other fellow-men for his instruments.
— Felix Holt by George Eliot
"He is the Napoleon of crime, Watson. He is the organiser of half that is evil and of nearly all that is undetected in this great city. He is a genius, a philosopher, an abstract thinker. He has a brain of the first order. He sits motionless, like a spider in the centre of its web, but that web has a thousand radiations, and he knows well every quiver of each of them. He does little himself. He only plans. But his agents are numerous and splendidly organised. Is there a crime to be done, a paper to be abstracted, we will say, a house to be rifled, a man to be removed—the word is passed to the Professor, the matter is organised and carried out. The agent may be caught. In that case money is found for his bail or his defence. But the central power which uses the agent is never caught—never so much as suspected."
—Sherlock Holmes, "The Final Problem"
"Always keep your foes confused. If they are never certain who you are or what you want, they cannot know what you are like to do next. Sometimes the best way to baffle them is to make moves that have no purpose, or even seem to work against you. Remember that, Sansa, when you come to play the game."
"What... what game?"
"The only game. The game of thrones."
—Littlefinger and Sansa, A Song of Ice and Fire
The trouble, coz, with your playing the spider in the center of this web, pulling all the strings, is that sooner or later all the interested parties are going to converge back along those strings to you. You do realize that, don't you? And what are you going to do then, O Mastermind?Live-Action TV
—Cetaganda, Vorkosigan Saga
"Now you understand? Can you see the mind behind all these events that would seem to be entirely random? In our world, everything happens to serve an end. Everything has its reason and its logic. And those who won't move under these maxims only deserve to lick the boots of those who have reason in both hands. And if something as simple as a man, a woman and a book, put an end to all of your glory, then you are nothing. You have no power. You're not intelligent nor wise. You are not Materia nor important. Just a pawn in a good position."
— Lorenzo, Crónicas de un Mundo Perdido
Know your strengths, use them wisely and one man can be worth 10,000.
—Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish, Game of Thrones
David Robert Jones: Olivia beat us today. Clearly you don't seem concerned.
William Bell: Don't confuse a winning move with a winning game... In this game, the skill one must have above all else is patience. The board changes, but very slowly. The art of chess is knowing when a piece is most valuable and then, in that very moment, being willing to sacrifice it. For in the vacuum created by the loss of what is most precious, opportunity abounds. Influence is maximised, and desire becomes destiny.
Regina: This is your doing; isn’t it?
Mr. Gold: Most things are.
—Once Upon a Time, "Broken"
"...Either way the guy doesn't brush his teeth without an agenda."
— Danny Reagan on Yuri Denko, "Working Girls", Blue Bloods
Callen: When are you gonna stop moving us around like chess pieces!?
Hetty: I don't move pieces, Mr. Callen. I move the board.
Amazing how easily the chess metaphors come to mind when you're running Division, isn't it?Music
—Percival 'Percy' Rose, Nikita
It's all about the game and how you play it
All about control and if you can take it
All about your debt and if you can pay it
It's all about pain and who's gonna make it"
You're one microscopic cog in his catastrophic plan,Radio
Designed and directed by his Red Right Hand!
— Nick Cave, "Red Right Hand"
The truth? Hex wants the truth. Where to start? The most important truth you never learned, Hexxie boy is that when the chips are down, The Doctor only ever thinks about himself. You see, it's just a chess game for him. He is the King — All clever and very impressive but very hands-off with the nitty-gritty. He sits at the back and sends everyone else rushing about, doing his dirty work, all those plans and strategies and tinkering, sending wave after wave of pawns to die while he keeps his conscience clean.
"I remember having this chat with Sylvester, probably during Season 25, where we said the Doctor is like a distant mountain range, mistily seen, an imposing power from a distance. A damn sight easier to plot, too. This version of the Doctor, I have a lot more respect for him. I always hated it when he was zapped on the head or knocked unconscious and tied up. I always thought that was demeaning to him. If he does get tied up, it should be that it was his plan all along."Tabletop Games
Everything happens for a reason, little one. And that reason is me.Theatre
— The "Voice of Tzeentch", Warhammer 40,000
"Thank God I'm only watching the game — controlling itVideogames
I don't see you guys rating
The kind of mate I'm contemplating
I'd let you watch, I would invite you
But the queens we use would not excite you"
— One Night in Bangkok, The American, Chess
All war is deception: when they think we are in front of them, we are behind them; when they think we are weak, we are strong; when they think we are few, we are legion. For there ever to be true balance, there must first be chaos, and chaos is ours to orchestrate. One word can equal the might of a thousand swords, and one sword can obliterate a thousand lies. Everyone and everything has a purpose and a path, if only as a ruse or a diversion. Everything can manipulated into usefulness by those who truly understand the nature of things: we understand; we create chaos in order to achieve balance.
The two most powerful warriors are patience and time. We are Dragon... and we have both.
— The Dragon faction trailer, The Secret World
"Success depends on forethought, dispassionate calculation of probabilities, accounting for every stray variable."
Mr. House, Fallout: New Vegas
"Righting the discord of the universal opus is what's given my people purpose when, by all rights, we as a race sure would have collapsed in upon ourselves. It is in such moments that species find their greatness, or settle back into the muck that spawned them. For myself, I have purpose of only to correct one particular stray note in the symphony run amok. Win or lose, this battle already is my victory, my triumph. It is now fate which decides whether I am there to celebrate that fact, or not."Web Original
— Farseer Taldeer, Dawn of War: Winter Assault
Glon: I'm just going to go put into motion a chain of events that will rock the very foundations of the seats of power from here to the outer edges of the North Realm.
Maula Bloodhand: Is this fueled by any aspirations for your own advancement or are you doing it for the good of the many?
Glon: Oh, neither. I'm enjoying the sheer beauty of chaos. But if any doors happen to open my way...
Maula Bloodhand: That's my boy
— Yet another Fantasy gamer comic
Life is essentially a chess game.
You have to plan and calculate and
I am so lonely.
Magneto: [stops The Juggernaut] In chess, the pawns go first.Western Animation
Mike: [as Magneto] Whereas in Hungry Hungry Hippos you all go at once.
Kevin: Where are we now with Magneto's chess metaphor?
Bill: I think these guys are mostly Backgammon pieces and pegs from Battleship.
Magneto: Not yet!
Mike: So, are these still pawns, or are we up to bishops now?
Kevin: I think he's trying to castle, a move I never fully understood.
Mike: [as Magneto] And now the queen comes into play!
Bill: Enough, Magneto!
Mike: [as Magneto] Chess!
Danny: "I don't understand..."
Vlad: "What? That I used two fourteen-year-old pawns to turn a knight and topple a king? It's chess, Daniel. Of course you don't understand. But then, you never really did."
The Lieutenant: We just got word. The Council defied your threat. They're keep the Pro-Bending arena open.
Long Feng: You've beaten me at my own game.
Azula: Don't flatter yourself. You were never even a player.
—Avatar: The Last Airbender, "The Crossroads of Destiny"
"Ah, my ridiculously circuitous plan is one-quarter complete!"
The Robot Devil, Futurama