30 May 2014

How to Hold Chess Pieces

Regular followers of this blog know that, when it comes to videos, given the choice between highbrow and lowbrow clips, lowbrow wins almost every time.

Most Chess Pieces Held In Hands (1:10) • 'Eli held two chess sets in his hands minus the one missing Rook, 63 pieces. The diameter of the base of the Pawns is one inch.'

This is a record made to be broken. You don't even have to know how the pieces move.

29 May 2014

Unauthorized Psychedelic Opening Laboratory

Remember Alan Lasser’s Game of the Week newsletter (GOTW), last seen in On the Edge with a Tablebase? In the issue of 26 April, he had this to report:-

At the recent Vassar Spring Open I lost my expert rating again when I could only draw against Dr. Craig Fisher. My bad tournament actually began in the first round when I hung a piece by inadvertently playing the second move of a three move sequence first. I knew I had to win all my remaining games to have any chance of saving my title so I took a few risks, but in this game I just couldn't seem to turn the control of the open c-file into a point.

On that Saturday I clearly deserved the mathematical expulsion from the expert ranks; and so for now, I will enjoy the honor and distinction of the humbler, minimum title, the "ex-expert". Oh wait, there is a lower title; there is one appellation more trivial; that would be "chess journalist".

Ouch? No, because there is one appellation even more trivial: that would be 'chess blogger'. In the issue of 10 May, he confirmed this:-

For the reader who, thinking I had insulted chess journalists everywhere, emailed -- "The reason you're just a letter and not a web site, is; that if you had a blog, you'd have to put your picture on it!" -- attached is a recent photo of the psychedelic opening laboratory.

To prove you can't get any lower than chess blogger, let's put his picture on this blog -- an unauthorized copy, of course.

Psychedelic Opening Laboratory

How was the photo made?

I was playing around the Motion FX app (now a FREE download from the Apple App store) and making extreme grooviness when I discovered I could create a hilariously appropriate chess photo.

Who is higher than both chess journalist and chess blogger? That would be 'chess artist', and you can see samples of Alan's art on the wall behind the chess set. On the left is a poster with heart and on the right is a galaxy or something. For more examples of his unusual work, see blacklightmazes.com.

27 May 2014

Chess Game Stats in Pictures

Seen on User Profile: chessgames.com:-

'Here are the links' (RandalOlson.com):-

That first link echoes the Chessgames.com introduction.

A few months ago, Daniel Freeman from ChessGames.com generously opened his chess data set to me to analyze, which contains a huge collection of 675,000+ chess tournament games ranging all the way back to the 15th century. This will be the first in a series of blog posts exploring this data set.

More to come?

26 May 2014

Kasparov TMER: PGN

Continuing with Kasparov TMER: Last updated 2014-05-19, I added the PGN game scores to the underlying ZIP file. It can be found linked from the top of the index page Garry Kasparov's Tournament, Match, and Exhibition Record (1973-). The link text needs to be updated to describe the current content.

Also on the index page, the 'Mo' column should be set for all events through 2003 Linares and the 'Games (*)' column should be updated for subsequent events. As long as I'm on this project, I should also compare the TMER with Kasparov on Garry Kasparov, Part I. And what about those events on the TMER marked in blue?

25 May 2014

Another Najdorf

Maybe it's my imagination, or maybe it's because of eBay's security problems (as in eBay Hacked, Urges All Members to Change Passwords Immediately), but there was very little to choose from the last fortnight in Top eBay Chess Items by Price. Along with one more example of Capablanca Letters, this one going for US $1125 after 32 bids, I found one painting, pictured below.

The painting was titled '48" Vintage Mid century Modern Abstract Chess Oil Painting Najdorf King Queen', and sold for just over US $1600, 'Best offer accepted'. Other than being a pretty picture, there is not much to discuss here.

The description said only,

This is a very lovely looking old painting of the Queen Knight and King Chess pieces. The lovely dark colors with the contrasting white make this painting so very eye-catching and dramatic. The use of raised enamel like patterns add to the overall originality of this painting. It is signed Najdorf. Approx. 48 x 38 inches.

I doubt that 'signed Najdorf' means the famous grandmaster Miguel Najdorf [Wikipedia], and the only artist reference I could find was Liba Najdorf. The few examples of her(?) work that I found don't match the style shown above. What more can I say?

23 May 2014

Graffiti Pieces

The following composite shows three of ten images uploaded as a set.

Melbourne Chess Club Mural by Prism © Flickr user Chris Christian under Creative Commons.

The Flickr.com link is to the bottom photo in the composite image and gives two further links: Melbourne Chess Club and Prism (street artist) [Wikipedia].

22 May 2014

Four Kasparov Mini-matches

Kasparov's record (*) shows that in the period 1984-1986, when he wasn't playing World Championship matches (as in Overlapping Cycles in the 1980s), he was playing short matches with some of the best players in the world and he was conducting simultaneous exhibitions. The following table shows four matches of six games; the first two matches were played between KK1 (Kasparov - Karpov first match) and KK2, and the last two matches between KK2 and KK3. The links are to the corresponding games on Chessgames.com.

      1 2 3 4 5 6  
1985-05 Huebner Hamburg 1 1 = 1 = = +3-0=3
1985-06 Andersson Belgrade = = 1 = 1 = +2-0=4
1985-12 Timman Hilversum 1 1 0 = = 1 +3-1=2
1986-05 Miles Basel 1 1 1 = 1 1 +5-0=1

In Child of Change (Hutchinson 1987, p.158), Kasparov wrote,

I was determined not to allow all these provocations [related to the termination of KK1 and the arrangements for KK2] to lead to a crisis that would prevent me from playing the match, since this was clearly the hope and intention of the other side. At the same time, I had to tell the world about these injustices, so that my enemies would know that I was not completely powerless and that every false step they took would be recorded for posterity. I decided to play two matches overseas in preparation for the Karpov encounter, and my opponents and the venues were both carefully chosen with the championship in mind. I would play Robert Huebner, the German grandmaster, in Hamburg and Ulf Andersson, of Sweden, in Belgrade. Both my opponents were like Karpov in that they were notoriously hard to beat.

Hamburg and Belgrade were chosen because they were located in the home countries of two central figures in the controversial termination of KK1, Kinzel and Gligoric. After winning the title of World Champion in KK2, Kasparov played the next two matches for other reasons.

My battles with Karpov had stimulated a new interest in chess around the world. I felt an obligation to respond to this enthusiasm and to keep the flame of public interest alight.

That Child of Change reference (p.180) goes on to discuss the Timman match. The Miles match, which was less political than the others, is mentioned on p.188.

How strong were those four opponents? The unofficial table on the left lists the world's top-25 players at the beginning of 1985. Timman was world no.3 at 2650 and the others fall in the range of no.11 to 20. No.9 at 2615 should be John Nunn, which shows why the list is unofficial.

(*) Garry Kasparov's Tournament, Match, and Exhibition Record (1973-)

20 May 2014

Staunton and the First World Junior Championship

My fortnightly series on Top eBay Chess Items by Price, last seen in Capablanca Letters, is a source of inspiration for all sorts of chess related subjects. For example, a few months ago I posted about autographs in 'Six World Champions on a Single Envelope', along with a list of other eBay items from the same fortnight that also featured autographs. One of the other items was

Staunton Centenary Chess Tournament Booklet England Autographed by Players 1951; $499.95; 1 bid

Its description said,

Staunton Centenary Chess Tournament and Junior World Championship Official programme booklet (pp12) autographed on title page by most of the 16 players in the main event plus C.H.O. D. Alexander and Herman Steiner who were visiting. [...]

Larsen participated in the World Junior Championship which was won by Ivkov, the other noteable being Olafsson. Brief bibliographies and one filled out crosstable (probably in Steiner's hand) along with most of the pages in the booklet are shown below in scans. [...]

While the $499.95 selling price was undoubtedly for the autographed page, pictured below, also interesting was the official programme booklet reproduced in the scans. Since there was much in the booklet that was new to me, I put the scans aside for a rainy day.

The booklet started with an introduction titled '1851-1951', describing the main tournament.

100 years ago • On the 27th May, 1851, there began in London the first International Chess Tournament ever to be held. Its organiser was Howard Staunton, then generally regarded as the strongest player in the world. Many of the most famous players of the day took part, including Anderssen, Kieseritsky, and Loewenthal. There were no clocks in those days and the tournament was played on an unsatisfactory knock out system, instead of the modern all against all. Staunton did not do very well; the winner was Anderssen, one of the most brilliant players who ever lived. Staunton was a forward looking man. He envisaged a Parliament of of chess masters who would codify the laws, and generally administer the affairs of chess throughout the world. In this he anticipated the International Chess Federation (F.I.D.E.). Now in 1951 the British Chess Federation is holding, under the auspices of F.I.D.E., an International Master Tournament which like its predecessor of 1851, forms part of a Festival of Britain.

Organisation • The organisation of a major tournament is beset with difficulties. The 1851 tournament was marred by a bitter dispute between the two leading London clubs of the day. In 1951 we have been spared internecine struggles, but we have had our own troubles. The first has been finance, tighter now than then. The tournament has only been made possible by the generosity of a few individuals and the three Corporations of Cheltenham, Leamington, and Birmingham, in which the tournament is being played. The second is the invasion of chess, the most international of games, by politics. This has disappointed our hopes of gathering together all the strongest players in the world.

Nevertheless, the masters who have come are splendidly representative of the best European chess. They include some names, such as Tartakower and Bogoljubow, who have been household words in chess for a generation, and others equally formidable who have come to the front since the war. The four selected British players, who inclde the present Champion and two ex-Champions, can be relied upon to provide stern opposition to anybody. There should be many memorable games, and a tournament in every way worthy of the occasion.

It then went on to describe 'The Junior World Championship'.

Birmingham is justly proud of its record in junior chess. Since 1930 the Junior Chess League has grown into one of the largest and most important in the country. The Annual Easter Congress commenced in 1935 and in 1937 and 1939 small international events for masters were incorporated into the Congress.

The League has given great attention to the widening of its congress events for boys and in 1947, when assisting in the United Nations appeal for children, conceived the bold idea of running an international tournament for boys. It worked so well that a more ambitious event was planned to celebrate the Warwickshire Jubilee in 1950 when 11 foreign and 9 British boys played in a tournament of the Easter Congress.

The success of these events convinced the International Chess Federation of the possibilities of Junior Chess, and permission was given for the league to organise this, the first Junior World Championship ever held. With generous aid from the local Council a fine entry of 18 nations has been received, and our own Boy Champion, Malcolm Barker, himself a Birmingham product, will uphold Britain's honour. Let us hope that in 2051 Birmingham will be celebrating another great centenary -- that of the Junior World Chess Championship.

Before this I had no idea that the great London tournament of 1851, often considered an unofficial World Championship, and the first World Junior Championship were somehow linked.

19 May 2014

Kasparov TMER: Last updated 2014-05-19

Continuing with Kasparov TMER 2003++ w/TWIC, I merged the table shown there with the previous version of the TMER, tweaked the formats to keep them consistent, removed the references, and loaded the new version to Garry Kasparov's Tournament, Match, and Exhibition Record (1973-); Last updated 2014-05-19

Comparing the results with a post I did last year, Kasparov at 50, reveals some gaps in the current version of the TMER. Along with looking into that, I have to merge the PGN for the new events into the files linked on the TMER page.

18 May 2014

Journal of Chess Research

In my previous post in the 'Chess in School' series, The Game at Chestes, I noted, 'Topics of current interest sometimes intersect in ways that could never be predicted'. Here's another example, this time from a Facebook friend: "Journal of Chess Research" launches this summer.

A new peer-reviewed academic magazine known as the Journal of Chess Research will be begin publication this summer with support from the Susan Polgar Foundation. As a result, empirical research that tests, extends or explores current theory concerning the benefits and scientific implications of the game of chess will be available in a single location.

The first issue isn't out yet, but the cover is.

The publishing schedule indicates that the journal will be issued quarterly.

16 May 2014

Magnus Versus the Country of Norway

From Youtube channel Videos You Should See.

Chess Champion Takes on Entire Country of Norway (2:27) • 'Chess world champion Magnus Carlsen played a game of chess against the rest of Norway in a live TV show on [May 8] which ended in a draw.'

The description explained,

The Norwegian people were represented by a man dressed in red who was later revealed to be former cross-country skiing champion Oddvar Braa. People all around the country were able to vote on moves suggested by three grand masters. In turn, the grand masters were allowed to call on help from the chess computer Houdini making it even more difficult for the world's best chess player.

No information is given about the source of the video.

15 May 2014

Chess Comics No.7: Punch Animated GIF

Hot on the heels of Chess Comics No.6: Mad About Animated GIFs, here is the same idea on a cartoon from Punch's Almanack for 1921 (what, no page number?).

'The Stickers' by Peter Fraser

Like No.6, this No.7 was created with the help of gifmaker.me.

13 May 2014

Prince Dadian's Endgames

A few days in my eBay series I posted Capablanca Letters++, but there was another item on the short list worthy of attention. My main interest in it was the color plate, pictured below, which I couldn't find elsewhere on the web. The eBay title was 'E Schiffers, Fins de partie du Prince Dadian de Mingrélie' [Endgames of Prince Dadian], and it sold for US $1525 after four bids.

Prince Dadian

The eBay description added,

E. Schiffers, Fins de partie du Prince Dadian de Mingrélie • Kiev 1903; Title + 2 leaves + 7-215p; 102 full page diagrams in gold, red, blue and green; Red and gold leather binding; Hinges partly loose o/w as new; Only 50 copies printed; M Niemeijer in his 1970 Catalog: " A great rarity"; DeLucia´s Chess Catalog estimate 1000-1500 USD.

For more about Prince Dadian, see Prince Andrey Dadian of Mingrelia on Chessgames.com; 'Overall record: +38 -0 =0'. Also The Prince of Mingrelia, Part I on Chess.com, including 'Prince Dadian's Unknown Games' on the sidebar: a series by the popular chess historian once featured on this blog in Best of Batgirl.

12 May 2014

Kasparov TMER 2003++ w/TWIC

Continuing with Kasparov TMER 2003++, I added TWIC references and merged the result with the last two entries from Garry Kasparov's Tournament, Match, and Exhibition Record [TMER, 1973-; last updated 2003-03-17]. The results are shown in the following table.

Year Mo Event   X Res Score PGN File Gms
2003   Match vs. Deep Junior, New York       +1 -1 =4 A3A NEWY 6 / 6
2003   Intl. Tnmt., Linares     3-4/7 +2 -1 =9 A3B LINA 12 / 12

2003 09 ECC Rethymnon GRE         7 T465
2003 09 Rapid Match w/ Azmai Crete GRE         6 T466
2003 10 Belzberg Simul London ENG         5 T469
2003 11 X3D Match w/ Fritz New York USA         4 T472
2004 02 XXI SuperGM Linares ESP         12 T487
2004 03 Blitz & Rapid Reykjavik ISL         14 T490
2004 06 ARM-ROW Match Moscow RUS         6 T502
2004 08 450th An Simul Sao Paolo BRA         17 T518
2004 10 20th ECC Izmir TUR         6 T518
2004 11 57th ch-RUS Moscow RUS         10 T525
2005 02 XXII SuperGM Linares ESP         12 T540
2005 03 Retirement Linares ESP           T540
2006 08 Lichthof Champions Blitz Zurich SUI         6 T616
2008 03 VIP Game & simul Pasching CZE           T700
2008 03 VIP Game & simul Hluboka CZE         6 T701
2008 10 Corse Simul Bastia FRA         5 T730
2009 08 Champions Simul Zuerich SUI         2 T773
2009 09 Rapid Match w/ Karpov Valencia ESP         12 T777
2010 09 Staunton Mem Consultation game London ENG         1 T827
2010 11 UNAM Selected Simul Mexico City MEX         4 T837
2011 09 Kasparov in Clichy Clichy FRA         2 T880
2011 10 ChessFriends Simul Bratislava SVK         8 T884
2011 10 Your Next Move Blitz Leuven BEL         8 T883
2012 03 Kasparov Khaylitsha Simul 2012 Cape Town RSA         1 T907

Was there really no activity between March and September 2003?

11 May 2014

Capablanca Letters++

Today being Mother's Day, this current edition of Top eBay Chess Items by Price could have featured something like last year's Crystal for Mom, but none of the items sold over the past fortnight struck the right chord. Instead I decided to run a composite listing, like Delucia's Chess Library from a few months ago.

The last time I featured a Capablanca autograph was Capablanca Signs His Feet in 2012, so I was pleased to see a number of recent Capablanca items. Five of them are pictured below.

The four items on the center and left of center, all apparently from the same seller, were titled 'Jose Raul CAPABLANCA Cuban World chess champion signed letter' and sold 'Best offer accepted'. The two items in the top row each sold for somewhere between US $4615 and $3175. The two items in the bottom row sold for $500.

The fifth item, shown on the right of the top row was titled 'Jose Raul CAPABLANCA signed 1924 original autograph'. It sold for $999 after a single bid.

The five items together fetched around $10.000. Perhaps some day we'll hear more from the buyer(s) about the content of the letters, all written in Spanish.

09 May 2014

Sidewalk Simul

Homeless in Lyon?

Play chess with a homeless © Flickr user Pierre Sibileau under Creative Commons.

The photo's tags say Lyon, France. Looks to me like a pedestrian street, but there are too few clues to identify it. Just because the fellow is playing in the street doesn't mean he's homeless.

08 May 2014

Chess History Archive

It's that time of year again, when the Chess Journalists of America announce the categories for their annual awards: 2014 CJA Awards Program. As usual, 'Best Chess Blog' is at the bottom of the list, but don't let that stop you from entering if you have a blog. In past years the blog category hasn't attracted many entries, which substantially increases your chance of winning. In 2013 there were no entries, but the group still managed to announce a winner. For details see my previous post on the CJA -- Cutting the Mustard -- and follow the links.

The most recent number of the CJA's flagship product, The Chess Journalist, Winter 2013, carried an announcement that I've been waiting years to see.

The World Chess Hall of Fame (WCHOF) is pleased to announce the development of an online Chess History Archive, containing digital collections that will eventually include photographs, tournament records, historical books and periodicals, academic research on the benefits of chess, a timeline of chess history, and other similar items.

Later we learn more about the plans.

In Phase 1, which we anticipate will be live by the end of 2013, we decided to focus on American chess -- specifically, the documentation of the locations, participants, and results of the U.S. and U.S. Women’s Championships, as well as the digitization and compilation of state chess periodicals into a single online location.

In additional phases, we will add new focuses, collections, and resources. Over time, we hope that the Chess History Archive will be established as the first stop for chess historians and aficionados seeking information on an obscure tournament, player, or bulletin, as well as more general inquiries about chess's rich history.

While writing this post I checked the site Worldchesshof.org, but there is nothing available yet.

06 May 2014

Assault on the Throne

Chesscafe.com's latest book review, Game of Thrones, discusses Carlsen's Assault on the Throne by Kotronias & Logothetis. The reviewer notes,

Carlsen's Assault on the Throne is billed as "the ultimate book on how Carlsen became the 16th undisputed World Champion."

That 'billing' sounds like a quote from the back cover of the book, a fact nearly confirmed by the publisher's site: Quality Chess sales page.

In 2013 chess returned to world headlines. The energetic Norwegian prodigy Magnus Carlsen was front page news and his fans were not disappointed: the World Number 1 won the World Championship.

Carlsen’s Assault on the Throne gives an inside view of Carlsen’s dramatic journey: from one of eight challengers in the London Candidates tournament, with the near disaster in the final rounds, ending with triumph in Chennai.

With behind-the-scenes stories and top-level analysis of the games Kotronias & Logothetis have written the ultimate book on how Carlsen became the 16th undisputed World Champion.

Earlier this year, in Counting the World Champions, I managed to reduce the number to 17, but where does 16 come from? Here is Mark Crowther on the day that Carlsen drew the last game and won the match.

Carlsen (22 years and 357 days) is the 16th undisputed World Chess Champion and the second youngest behind Kasparov (22 years and 210 days). The split between Kasparov and FIDE in 1993 makes all numbers in this area controversial, the Indian press release of champions names the maximum 20 champions in which case FIDE's 2002 champion Ruslan Ponomariov would be youngest at 18 years old. • Magnus Carlsen is the new World Chess Champion [22 November 2013 ]

Writing on the same day, Peter Doggers gave the complete rundown of champions.

Magnus Carlsen is the new World Champion of chess, and follows Viswanathan Anand's reign as undisputed world champion between 2007 and 2013. From the traditional lineage of chess players who won or defended the crown in a match, Carlsen is the 16th champion after Wilhelm Steinitz, Emanuel Lasker, José Capablanca, Alexander Alekhine, Max Euwe, Mikhail Botvinnik, Vassily Smyslov, Mikhail Tal, Tigran Petrosjan, Boris Spassky, Robert Fischer, Anatoly Karpov, Garry Kasparov, Vladimir Kramnik and Viswanathan Anand. If we include FIDE World Champions Alexander Khalifman, Ruslam Ponomariov, Rustam Kasimdzhanov and Veselin Topalov, Carlsen is the 20th Champion of the game. • Magnus Carlsen World Champion of Chess

Topalov has been lumped in with the FIDE Knockout World Champions, apparently because he never 'won or defended the crown in a match'. In fact, he did the defend 'the crown' in the 2006 Unification Match against Kramnik. He defended unsuccessfully, but he defended. I suspect this method of counting is another way to punish him for his behavior in that 'Toiletgate' match. The chess world has forgotten how popular he was after winning the 2005 San Luis World Championship tournament.

Future winners of World Championship tournaments beware. Your victory only makes you World Champion after you *successfully* defend the title in a subsequent match.

05 May 2014

Kasparov TMER 2003++

After the brief detour for FIDE Election: Time for a Change, I returned to the current project for Monday, Monday, i.e. Kasparov's Tournament, Match, and Exhibition Record (TMER). Since its previous update on 2003-03-17, I found 154 games on TWIC, distributed as shown in the following diagram.

There are certainly many exhibition events missing, but this list will do for a start.

04 May 2014

The Game at Chestes

Topics of current interest sometimes intersect in ways that could never be predicted. For example, while I was working on 'Something I Always Wanted To Do', a Barron's/WSJ article with a focus on chess, I decided to look at other chess-related articles from the same publishers. One of these was The Prince's Man, a review of 'The Book of the Courtier', which was 'an international best seller from its publication in 1528 until the end of the 18th century'. It's not a title I remembered seeing before.

"The Book of the Courtier" is in part a manual of advice on such subjects as seduction, the behavior required of women at court, practical jokes, how to keep love secret, why it is a mistake to learn chess, and more.

A mistake to learn chess? This sounded like an opinion with an impact on my 'Chess in School' series, last seen in 'Chess in School' : Three Studies.

The chess ['chestes'] passages are found in 'The Second Book of the Courtier'. The centuries old spelling might create difficulties for non-native English speakers, but the meaning shines through.

Me thynke, aunswered Syr Fridericke, we have geven the Courtier a knowledge in so many thynges, that he maye well varye his conversation and frame hymselfe accordynge to the inclination of them he accompanyeth hymself withall, presupposyng him to be a a good judgemente, and therewithall to guyde hymself. And according to the time otherwhile, have an eye to grave matters, and sometyme to pastimes and games.

And what games? quoth the L. Gaspar.

Syr Friderick aunswered: Lette us aske counsel of Frier Seraphin that daily inventeth newe.

But in good earneste, replied the L. Gaspar, doe you not thynke it a vice in the Courtier to plaie at Dice and Cardes?

I thynke it none, quoth Syr Fridericke, onlesse a man apply it tomuch, and by reason of that, setteth aside other thynges more necessary, or elles for none other entent but to get money, and to beguile his felow, and in his losse, fume and take on so, that it might be thought a token of covetounesse.

So dice and cards were acceptable as long as they weren't played for money or beguilement. No bluffing allowed! How times have changed. Nowadays covetousness is considered more of a virtue than a vice. And chess?

The L. Gaspar answered: And what say you to the game at chestes?

It is truely an honest kynde of enterteynmente and wittie, quoth Syr Friderick. But me think it hath a fault, whiche is, that a man may be to couning [too cunning] at it, for who ever will be excellent in the playe of chestes, I beleave he must beestowe much tyme about it, and applie it with so much study, that a man may assoone learne some noble scyence, or compase any other matter of importaunce, and yet in the ende in beestowing all that laboure, he knoweth no more but a game. Therfore in this I beleave there happeneth a very rare thing, namely, that the meane is more commendable, then the excellency.

The L. Gaspar answered: There be many Spaniardes excellent at it, and in many other games, whiche for all that bestowe not muche studye upon it, nor yet lay aside the compassing of other matters.

Beleave not the contrarye aunswered Syr Fridericke, but they beestowe muche studye upon it, although feiningly.

Better to learn a 'noble science' than to be more than mediocre at chess. To summarize the passage using the section headers from the Courtier book:-

  • Dice and Cardes.
  • The play at Chestes.
  • The meane [simple] knowledge is best in the play at Chestes.
  • Spaniardes dissemble their study in the play at Chestes.

Another story later in the chapter tells us:-

  • An ape plaied at chestes.
  • To lose at chestes vexeth men.

But this was no ordinary ape:-

Then spake the L. Cesar Gonzaga: It must needes be that this ape was a Doctour emong other Apes and of much authoritie: and I beleave the commune weale of the Apes of India sent her into Portugall to gete a name in a straunge countrey. At this every manne laughed, both for the lye and for the addition mande to it by the L. Cesar.

In conclusion: It's OK to teach teach chess to children; just don't try to make them play well.

02 May 2014

Giving Something Back

The previous edition of Video Friday, Play for Your Life, featured a semi-serious prison theme. This current edition features the same theme, but much more serious. The introduction to the film says,

In Uruguay, long term incarceration often results in re-offending within the first year of prison. Luis has spent most of his life behind bars with little education or support. Chess has been his escape and he is hoping it will be his path to independence.

'Chess, Private Lessons' a film by Ines Grah and Javier Hayrabedian.

Viewfinder - Latin America: Chess, Private Lessons (24:58) • 'One former inmate hopes to use chess to gain employment in the outside world, and to give something back in Uruguay.'

Dialog in Spanish, subtitled in English. From Youtube channel Al Jazeera English.

01 May 2014

May 1964 'On the Cover'

May Day 2014 marks both the anniversary of this blog -- see Another head? [1 May 2006] -- and the enduring tradition established in last month's April 1964 'On the Cover'.

Left: 'Amsterdam Interzonal'
Right: 'TV Goes Benko'

Chess Life

The 1964 Interzonal Tournament began on May 20 in Amsterdam, Holland. Twenty-four players will remain locked in battle for more than a month and one of the 24 may well go on to become the next Chess Champion of the World.

Chess Review

At the WMAR TV studios in Baltimore, grandmaster Pal Benko gave a simultaneous display against 60 chess enthusiasts. He won 53, drew 3, and lost 4. Prior to his performance, Benko was granted honorary citizenship of Baltimore by Mayor Theodore R. McKelden. Highlights of the videotaped program were telecast the day after the exhibition.

Benko, by the way, is engaged in a match with Arthur B. Bisguier, in April. If he wins, the USCF has cleared it for him to take Bisguier's place in the Interzonal.

That last paragraph reminded me of my page on the Zonals 1963-1966 (C06), where U.S. participation in the 1964 Amsterdam Interzonal was problematic. For more, see 1962/3 US Chess Championship by Graeme Cree.