Self-worth versus your worth to others is a timeless theme. This theme inspired the story of Teddy and his imaginary kingdom, as well, this theme is witnessed in a reminiscence of tie-breaking in chess by Harry Golombek. Both Alden Nowlan?s ?The Fall of a City? (Elements of English 10, pp. 130-133) and Harry Golombek?s personal reminiscence ?Variations on a Familiar Theme? from the collection The Chess Player?s Bedside Book deal with this theme, but
from the viewpoint of very different characters: Teddy and Harry Golombek ? a young boy trapped within an imaginary world of kingdoms and battles, and a seasoned chess veteran who has witnessed many battles upon the chequered board of sixty-four squares. Both characters have experienced varying degrees of success: Teddy, within his imaginary world, has won many battles; Harry Golombek, on the chessboard, has also won many battles, sometimes even winning strong tournaments.
Although their preferred realities are quite contrasting, the stories lead the reader to the same conclusion: self-doubt can be experienced, even after the individual has achieved great success.
In both narratives, the main character describes the opponents he must face to attain a much-wanted, overall victory. King Theodore I, as Teddy was known in his imaginary world, first had to defeat the Duke of Anders. The Duke of Anders was representative of Teddy?s uncle:
?Teddy looked at his uncle?s round, florid face and reflected on his resemblance to Zikla, Duke of Anders? (132). Upon his defeat, ?The Duke of Anders was brought to Theodoresburg in chains and hanged in the city square? (131). ?King Theodore?s? next opponent was The Emperor Kang. ?The Emperor Kang was as evil and cunning as the Fu Manchu about whom Teddy had read in books? (131). No other opponents of ?King Theodore? were brought to...