‘202 Checkmates’ is a story based on relationships, particularly a relationship between father and daughter.
Our narrator is a young girl living with her family who enjoys playing chess, despite losing every time to her father. Chess is mentioned and referenced multiple times throughout the story, and is the key o every conflict among the characters.
One of the side characters massively juxtapositions the father, he is young, his hands are soft, feminine even, and calm. The father works hard for his family, but is impulsive, and thinks that things will work out based on nothing but his own faith. This causes major issues with the Narrator’s mother, especially when he buys a marble chess board for the narrator’s birthday, which we learn they couldn’t actually afford.
This is another difference between the young man who acts as an alternate version of the father, whose relationship with the unknown woman who greets him at the end of each game, seems to be happy or at least alright with his relationship with chess, unlike with the Narrator’s mother and father.
The difference between the father and the young man could be interpreted as a mirror between generations, one who works hard but struggles with reality or concern themselves with the future, and another who doesn’t work in the same tireless way and thinks calmly about the future.