Dear all, this is from GUT SYMMETRIES by Jeanette Winterson. This is a description of the bar at the Algonquin Hotel. The bar was a chessboard of couples manoeuvring Martinis, and waiters high-carrying chrome trays. I moved in black knight right angles across and cross the lines (*) but apart from a few appreciative businessmen there was no one who seemed interested in me. The first (blue) part of the sentence is vague. I understand it this way. (1) The bar with its rows of tables (it is clear from (*) that there were at least 2 rows) resembled a chessboard. Waiters [like chess-pieces] walked to and fro along the rows. Couples sitting at the tables [as if playing chess, from time to time] rearranged Martinis. (2) Probably another interpretation is possible: the bar was a chessboard for (or used by) couples and waiters to play [some game]. Do you think any of the aforesaid is correct?