Monday 29 January 2018

Picture post

Take a look at this image. When you see it, what do you think? (It's a still from this video, which I saw here. Or see the final photo here.)

While you're thinking about this, let's talk about Gibraltar, a tournament I'd like to play one day. (I never have, partly because the timing's not convenient for work and partly because though I live in Spain, it's probably easier to get to Gibraltar from any given point in England than it is from my house.) Hell of a good tournament, and also one that makes much of its commitment to women in chess.

That's all good, and more than fair enough, and to the tournament's credit. Now let's go back to our image. An old guy surrounding himself with much younger women.

If you're anything like me, you might think that image wouldn't be happening if he wasn't the guy paying for it to happen.

Wednesday 24 January 2018

Tal order

There was a series on the old blog, Bad Book Covers. I came across this yesterday, and had it been out back then, it would have been on it.

[Elk and Ruby, 2017. Published in Russian in 2016.]

Tuesday 23 January 2018

Tell a knight from a bishop

I was working last week in a school not so very far from here and found an old chess book in a cupboard.

I nearly wrote odd rather than old, but it wasn't the oddest thing I found by any manner of means: still, I doubt too many British primary schools have copies of endgame textbooks on the shelves, and if they do, they might be a little more junior-friendly than Rey Ardid's work.

Come to that, you didn't have to be a junior to find it difficult to handle. I'd been looking at this position for a couple of minutes

before I realised that the White king is not in check and I was looking a position where a queen draws, not against two knights, but against two bishops.

Thursday 18 January 2018

Past and present

Jon Manley has something that raised an eyebrow, from Inside Chess in 1991.

Actually there's a fair few eyebrows you could let loose on this one, not least the ones that ask "where's Kasparov?", but I found myself looking less for the absences and more at the presences, of which there were a lot bearing the letters ENG, not least Mark Hebden at an intriguingly high world number thirteen. (Miles, at four, was in his USA-representing period.)

After him in the top fifty come Hodgson, Nunn, Speelman, Chandler, Norwood and Mestel. And then, in the right-hand column, the first English player to appear is....


Who's Saleo?

Saturday 13 January 2018

Chess and war

Goya's cycle The Disasters of War has been on display round my way. It's great, if not greatly cheerful - perhaps my favourite in the series, Yo Lo VĂ­ (I Saw It!) is a little unusual in that the atrocity is outside the frame of the picture.

I went more than once, my last visit yesterday morning, and on my way out I saw there was another exhibition in the building, and one advertised with a portrait of chessplayers. So here's Ricardo Delgado's Jugadores de Ajedrez.

As far as I know nobody was harmed in the making of this picture, and after a couple of hours of Goya, that's a start at any rate.

Sunday 7 January 2018

Merenzon and on and on

Would you believe that Ilya Merenzon has been telling enormous lies about chess again?

Course you would.

No, that's not one of them. It's cobblers, obviously, but not a lie as such.

This is a lie though.

This is a whole series of quite important and dangerous lies.

And this is more than one lie at once.

This is fair comment.

But of course it's worse than nonsense, it's a whole collection of very familiar lies.

I imagine we're going to be hearing them all year.

Saturday 6 January 2018

Back story

Sorry for the long radio silence. Hope you caught Martin on David Sala's Zweig. Fresh piece by me tomorrow. But here I am this morning on the London Review of Books blog.