Some people like to compare politics with chess. Raphael Wong Ho-ming, the jailed former chairman of the League of Social Democrats, recently posted a Facebook message comparing his fellow pan-democrats to chess pieces on the losing side. I assume he was thinking of Xiangqi or Chinese chess rather than international chess. No matter; either game would work in his analogy. He is on the losing side, he wrote, and there are only limited moves available. Written in prison, it’s a melancholy post, almost poetic. I am afraid my translation won’t do him justice: “Are we not pieces on a chessboard? While we cannot be completely manipulated, the moves available to us from our positions on the board are limited. “With some moves, we thought we had won. For example, our victory with the 2019 district council election should have been followed by the Legislative Council election.” Why have Hong Kong activist groups fallen like dominoes? Wong was referring to the opposition’s landslide election wins in 2019, which they had expected to repeat the following year. But the government cited the public health threat of the Covid-19 pandemic and postponed the Legco election until next month. He continued: “But crushed by the plotter’s master plan, we ended up losing everything. Under the sword of the national security law and the blade of the Improving Electoral System overhaul, how could we have fought back?” Under the new electoral system, there will be 20 more Legco seats, but any opposition will be permanently consigned to a minority. “But even though the endgame is the endgame, it does not mean there is no chance of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat,” Wong said. “In the end, remember the endgame is not the end of the game. Between victory and defeat, it may look like the end of the road, but there is always light at the end of the tunnel. “This is not the end; we just haven’t found the road ahead yet.” One country, two systems healthier than ever There is a reason why it’s called the endgame, when players would just concede instead of wasting more time on it. The politics/chess analogy is a bit of a cliche. But let me borrow more cliches which I think fit Wong’s situation. He is hoping against hope. But hope is a dangerous thing. Like it or not, local electoral politics has been entirely overtaken. It is the end of the road for the opposition.