Thursday 30 November 2017

Here we go again

This is obviously false.
So is this.
And this.

But this is obviously true.

EDIT: also of course these goons would have closer to six million followers than six thousand.

Friday 24 November 2017

Kasparov Studies

Ever worried about nature versus nature? Fret no more. Garry's on it.

Precisely what Garry thinks is meant by "proving", we are not told, nor do we get to find out which studies achieved this proof. Still, for all I know, the relevant information is all in Garry's book: regrettably I have inherited an insufficient degree of work ethic and can't be arsed to find out for myself.

Would it be worth it? This isn't Garry's first foray into the world of studies and what they prove.

How did that one go?


Or this one (thanks to Jonathan for reminding me).

Tuesday 21 November 2017

Good, but not true

Not such a good piece in the Guardian last Friday, an interview with notorious sacked-by-Google engineer James Damore. Why being sacked for insulting your co-workers merits worldwide publicity and a Guardian interview several months on is a question I'll not be trying to answer on a chess blog: our subject of interest today is this paragraph

which is curious both for what it says and what it doesn't say.

The what-it-doesn't-say curiosity is that Damore has previously made some large claims for his chessplaying abilities that don't stand up, notably that he achieved the title of FIDE Master. As this claim was patently false, when challenged on it he was obliged to make more unikely claims

for instance that he had held a FIDE rating of 2205 - most unlikely for a player for whom there appear to be no extant games - and that he hadn't "maintained my FIDE membership", which doesn't even make sense since there is no such thing for individuals.

Monday 20 November 2017

True, but not good

Decent piece in the Telegraph yesterday: an interview with Tania Sachdev by Alex Preston. Lots to like - and a little not to. Like this:

Now it's not the first time we've come across comments about sexist comments, and how they can drive women and girls out of the game. Which is odd, because according to the President of the English Chess Federation
There is no such thing as sexism in chess.
None at all, Dominic. None at all.

Friday 17 November 2017

Streatham Strolls West: Home Again!

This expedition, conducted under the banner of chess, has taken us (in previous episodes here, here and here) to Cornwall to investigate the parallel universe of draughts - a once thriving tradition in that remote region. We found, in a number of places, that the paths of the two pursuits crossed, and indeed - and not surprisingly - there were many practitioners of both diversions. We are now hot on the heels of one such of Cornish extraction, who ended up where we started - back here in Streatham. He was Carus Colliver (1862-1954). We introduced him last time. He seems to have been a serial draughts/chesser, devoting himself to draughts first (and achieving some prestige in the game), before moving on to chess after World War I. In that respect he differs from parallel practitioners such as Pillsbury (who we met last time), and someone who we will meet at the end of this episode: a member of Streatham and Brixton Chess Club of more recent vintage.

Thanks to Colliver's "Family History and Reminiscences", which he dictated in 1945, we can admire his many sporting achievements - in many diverse disciplines beyond the board. These were reviewed in the previous episode, when we also discussed his draughts-manship: now we turn attention to his chess, beginning with the account dictated by the man himself.

Thursday 16 November 2017

Rock festival

Doing anything special this coming weekend? Why not go to the Gibraltar Literary Festival?

They've got some interesting speakers. Or perhaps I mean some interesting choices, as speakers.

Like this one for instance.

You recognise him even without the name, of course, though if the publicity photo was still the same one they were originally using, you probably wouldn't recognise him even with it.

Wednesday 15 November 2017


The new BCM is out! Hey, that looks like an interesting article.

This is the one. Let's have a look...


Sorry, when I said "interesting" I meant "the sort of bilge we've seen far too many times before".

Why does the BCM still exist, when it's full of trash?

Tuesday 14 November 2017

Letters and words

It says here that Allan Simmons, one of Britain's leading Scrabble players has been banned for three years, accused of cheating.

Which is particularly interesting, seeing as Simmons is
a regular columnist writing about Scrabble for The Times newspaper.
So what has that newspaper done about it?

Stone me:

Well I can only conclude that putting back letters is a serious offence in the eyes of the Times, but stealing words is not.

Eh Ray?

Friday 10 November 2017

A game like that

If you're a football fan, you've probably seen this clip before.

If you've not, it's from a celebrated documentary called Orient: Club For A Fiver, which follows Leyton Orient football club through part of their disastrous 1994/5 season (not quite as bad as last season, mind).

The unfortunate John Sitton was manager for the period covered by the show, of which the clip above is the best-known passage: having difficulty coping with the impossible task he had been given, Sitton (and it wasn't the only time) loses it with his players and offers a couple of them out, two against one. However, also of interest for our present purposes is the moment near the start of the clip when, unusually for a half-time team talk, Sitton takes the opportunity to sack the experienced Terry Howard, right there and then.

The documentary effectively finished Sitton's short-lived career, the bloke having made a public fool of himself. Over the two decades since, a certain amount of sympathy for his fate has developed - you can for instance read a defence of him (with which I don't necessarily agree) here - not because he's perceived as having behaved properly, but because few people who know football think he was particularly bad by the general standard of football managers.

Anyway, that's neither here nor there. To get to the point, the reason the Sitton speech suddenly occurred to me last Monday was that I was so unimpressed by Luke McShane's abject performance against Ference Berkes, I wanted John Sitton to pop up midway through the game and sack him on the spot.

Tuesday 7 November 2017

Garry and Barry

You'll recognise the guy on the left of this photograph. You might not recognise the guy on the right, but Garry does and that's why they're shaking hands.

His name is Grover Norquist.

They met a couple of weeks ago at the Goldwater Institute, named for the subject of Garry's speech, Barry Goldwater. Garry sets out this reasons for admiring him here.

That's an interesting summary, which, either because Garry doesn't know, or doesn't care, leaves out that Goldwater was an fierce opponent of federal attempts to desegregate, at a time when segregation and the effort to end it was a central issue in American politics. Goldwater's strategy (one employed by the Republican Party ever since) was to rely on racism in the South and elsewhere. If Garry Kasparov doesn't know that, maybe somebody should tell him.

Goldwater lost badly in the 1964 Presidential election, not least because he was viewed as a fanatic who had every chance of bringing about a nuclear war, of which this early attack ad is a famous reminder.

I'm guessing that Kasparov is more aware of this aspect of Goldwater's politics, and has no problem with it.

Monday 6 November 2017

Studies fail to repay scrutiny

Tens of thousands of them.

So claims popular chess bullshitter Susan Polgar.

A likely story.

Friday 3 November 2017

Streatham Strolls West: Inward

On the outward leg of this Streatham Stroll West we got to St. Just, on the Penwith peninsular in Cornwall - almost as far as you can go before you fall off the end. Then there was a hiatus. But now we can press on.

The 1950s photograph of the "West Penwith Club" draughts team which instigated this excursion (here it is again, from Chess November 1950)...

...will now start us on the return leg. However, in best Magical Mystery Tour tradition we have a...mystery: the appellation given by Chess. "The West Penwith Club". Who were they?

Wednesday 1 November 2017

The Mummy

Peter Cushing has a position he wants to be looking at....

.... but he has other things on his mind, as The Mummy is about to crash through the window.

Spotted while watching telly on Halloween night. Dunno that it's really significant enough to be an actual chess scene, but at any rate Chess In The Cinema hasn't got it.

Has Basalla?

[Village of the Damned]