Tuesday, November 30, 2004

How the World is Like Chess

The Maverick Philosopher explains how the World is like Chess.
A wise saying about chess, often attributed to Goethe, but apocryphal for all I know, goes like this. "For a game it is too serious, and for seriousness too much of a game."

Something similar is true of the world....

Sunday, November 28, 2004

An engineer's dream

Colin Barnette points us to a chess set made out of RF connectors (whatever they are). As he puts it: "Geek level: off the chart".

Direct Link
RF connector chess set

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Chess Pie

From sugarfused.net's Thanksgiving Day Menu:

1 cup of melted butter
2 tablespoons water
6 eggs
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup flour
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup sugar

While mixing pie, melt butter. Beat sugar, flour, and eggs. Add milk, water, and lemon juice. Add butter last.
Pour into crust. Bake in a pre-heated 400-degree F. oven until pie is firm and golden brown. Recipe makes enough pie batter for a ten-inch pie or two nine-inch pies.

chess pie

No writing moves in advance at the US Championship!

From the rules and regulations:
Scorekeeping move-by-move except the player may write both his/her own move and the opponent's response at the same time but may not respond before completing the recording of the moves. Do not write the move before it is played.
US Chess Championship 2005

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

The ultimate sacrifice

As Thanksgiving approaches, a story that puts our individual concerns in perspective. One of our own ...
Lt Malcolm was a good chess player. He looked like any other young marines officer: skinny, shaven-headed, although with a quite beaky nose.

Anyway, you could always pick him out. Marine in combat (Falluja)He would be the one with the chess board placed on an up-ended box of MREs (Meal Ready to Eat), working out moves.

I got to know him a little bit, as his bunk was opposite mine.

I would watch as he gave chess tips to those of his men who had not completely given in to poker or hearts.

About five hours into the battle, Lt Malcolm was killed.

Using chess for geo-political analogies

It is interesting how often writers refer to chess in describing the great political events of the day. On the current political turmoil in Ukraine:
The chess piece that Russia desires for its new great game

Ukraine has been a chess piece in a strategic game played out by stronger regional forces since it was first mentioned in the fourth century BC.
Read the rest of this article.

Monday, November 22, 2004

A chess miracle

Here is a feel-good story from Down East courtesy of the Portsmouth Herald:

The game of chess has brought about a miracle in one mother’s child. A year ago, 13-year-old Jon Rousseau was uncomfortable in public. But on Saturday, Jon managed the first Turkey Quad chess tournament ...

Jon’s mother, Cynthia Rousseau, said that since her son began playing chess in the club, his social and intellectual capacities have shot from "zero to 100 percent."

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Put your pen down ...

... and slowly move away from your scoresheet.

Finally the FIDE rules committee has done the right thing by outlawing the practice of writing your move down before you play it. svidler keeping scoreI never understood how anyone could argue that this didn't constitute note-taking (though many did and I'm sure still will). Here is the new wording of the rule from Guert Gijssen's November 2004 "An Arbiter's Notebook" column on ChessCafe.com:

Article 8.1: In the course of play each player is required to record his own moves and those of his opponents in the correct manner, move after move, as clearly and legibly as possible, in the algebraic notation (Appendix E), on the 'scoresheet' prescribed for the competition. It is forbidden to write the moves in advance.

It is forbidden to write the moves in advance -- music to my ears! It will undoubtedly take time for this rule to work its way down through USCF and to local and club tournaments, but this is clearly heading in the right direction.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Chess, Personality and Madness

I found two items today that might get you thinking about the interrelationship of chess, personality and madness.

The first is an article from The Guardian, "Chess: the new rook'n'roll?". While primarily a puff piece about the role celebrities might be playing in a resurgence of interest in chess, the article also includes this intriguing quote:
As former British champion Bill Hartston said: "Chess is not something that drives people mad; it is something that keeps mad people sane."
To a certain extent this sentiment does resonate with me. this way lies madnessFor example, I returned to tournament chess in the mid-90's during a period when I was less than enthusiastic about my job/work life (come to think of it, when am I not less than enthusiastic about my job/work life?). I remember telling my wife that I needed that one night of chess per week to avoid going nuts.

This brings me to the second item -- an essay by Mr. Femi Oyekan of New Orleans reprinted in full on a weblog titled "Chess Underground". Mr. Oyekan takes the position that playing chess at a serious level actually leads one to develop off-center personality traits. Here are a couple excerpts:
Those of us on "my side" (read: serious chess players) may be a little more ... roundabout in the way we do things, ... at ease with unconventional thought patterns and ideas, ... comfortable with things that are "iffy". We often like to come at things from the side, rather than head on. ... you might also find that "my side" doesn't exactly dominate the top of the "kindness" and "easy to get along with" lists. Not to say that we are out and out assholes but we may have less of a tendency to be accommodating. We are slightly more difficult cases.

For starters, since you are playing by yourself for yourself, you must trust yourself. A habit of constantly scrutinizing the ideas of others (hopefully fairly) is inevitably formed. In extreme instances, this can even lead to a "my way or the highway" approach, although that doesn't tend to sit too well with people. More regularly, a major distrust of pop culture and even society as a whole is often generated.
This is fairly provocative stuff. While I think that Mr. Oyekan does a good job of describing characteristics commonly seen in chessplayers, I would like to suggest an alternative hypothesis: Playing chess doesn't turn one into a "difficult case", but rather "difficult cases" are more likely to be attracted to chess. What do you think?

Friday, November 19, 2004

To live in a place where chess matters

A report from Only for the Headstrong on the chess scene in Switzerland:

What else…chess, I’ve been meaning to write about chess. Chess is huge here. Everywhere you go there are chess games in progress. In one of the squares downtown there is actually an outdoor chess board inlaid into the concrete. I’ve never seen it unused, and usually there are people clustered around it watching. The bar I’ve been visiting ("Oops Bar") has several regulars who watch for known chess players and will pounce on you as soon as you step in the place. Have to fend them off with a stick .... Other establishments are completely dedicated to chess, and make money off selling drinks (non-alcoholic) to players.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Visual representation of a computer playing chess

Thinking machine 4 - its chess playing is average, but it is often artistic in graphically representing all the alternatives it is evaluating.

(hat tip: Soap Box Blog)

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Pixar short film

Some of you will remember the Pixar short film about an old man playing chess in the park. Geri's Game won the Oscar for Best Animated Short in 1997. I found it posted on the Pixar site (not a great surprise, I suppose).

Geri's Game

Monday, November 15, 2004

How to Play Chess With Beer

Perhaps the tournament committee could look into this variant for a series of Friday night events?

beer chess

Update (11/19): This chess and drinking idea seems to be getting some traction in the blogosphere. Here is William Bragg's take.

BCC scenes from the mid-1990s

Bob Oresick's comment on the previous item seems worthy of its own post and a link:

Let me be one of the first to comment on the soft launch with a news item about the past: namely, I posted a set of photos by Steve Stepak on the BCC photo site about the 1990s at the club. A bit of nostalgia.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Open for Business (sort of)

We are soft launching the members' weblog today with an announcement on 2004 Boylston Chess Club Championship. A more formal launch will probably occur in December in conjunction with direct on and off-line marketing to the membership and a link from the BCC homepage.

It is with both anticipation and trepidation that we kick this baby out of the nest. Fly, little bird, fly!

Friday, November 12, 2004

Blog Problems - Open Thread

I've received a couple of reports that there are problems with viewing this blog. Unfortunately, I can't replicate these issues on IE or Firefox on my own machine. If you are experiencing a problem. Please leave a comment on this post with specific details about what you are experiencing and what browser/version you are using.

Come to think of it, please leave a comment also if you are not experiencing problems so I can judge how widespread this issue is. Thanks.

Update (2/20 10:00pm EST): Seems to be a problem with the sidebar in IE, but I can't replicate it. I sent a help request to Blogger Support; hopefully they will get back to me soon. In the meantime, you were meaning to switch to Firefox anyways - why not now?

Update (2/21 10:00am EST): Looks like the problem is confined to IE and operating systems other than XP. I made a couple of changes last night, so if you have this configuration let me know if you are still experiencing this problem.

Update (2/22 4:00pm EST): Logis was able to narrow the problem down to a single post. It should be fixed now, but I'm waiting for confirmation from him.

Get Firefox!

More Accolades for BCC Weblog

"...the center of the chess blogging universe..." - Kenilworth Chess Club

"[One of] our choices for the top chess blogs on the Web." - About.com

"...a welcome...addition to the local chess tradition. Readers...are in for a treat." - The Boston Globe

"...the best chess blog (and I mean it)..." - Chess News and Events

"Provocative and refreshing ... If blogs were dairy products, this would be the cream." - Sarah Beth

"...ever-excellent..." - Streatham & Brixton Chess Club

"I love your blog -- the postings are hilarious." - WFM Elizabeth Vicary

"...a goldmine! The Boylston Chess Club Weblog is a fantastic site. Not only is this a fantastic blog, but it is the premier site for chess blog links. You won't find anything better on the net." - Gambetto

"Love your blog by the by. I read it every day." - Don (Man de la Maza)

"...one of my absolute favorite chess blogs..." - BlueEyedRook

"BCC Weblog is 'Chess Blog Central.' ...you can find all the best chess blogs - and lot's of great posts that are very entertaining and informative (and often very witty and amusing)." - Rook Van Winkle

"Alex Cherniack's A Knight's Tale... [is the] ...best chess article I've seen so far this year." - The Chess Mind

"...the guru of the chess blogosphere..." - Chessdom

"...dinâmico e importante blogue..." - Ala de Rei

"...the Boylston blog keeps me informed on local issues." - GM Larry Christiansen

"...I again marvel at the integrity and beauty and concision of your blog, so artfully done with Thoreauian economy of metre and form. Bravo." - DK transformation

"...the chess universe nexus..." - J'adoube

"...the Mother Ship." - Hisbestfriend

"There's a wonderland of chess material here." - OnlineChess.ca

"...one of the premier chessblogs in North America." - Chessdad64

"Chessninja, Boylston and Chessmind are the top 3 chess blogs." - Clint Ballard

"A Great Chess Blog" - Wagle’s World

"One of the best chess blogs on the net. It also holds the BEST link directory for other chess blogs on the net by far!... Must see!!!" - Gambetto chess blog links

One of USCL Commissioner Greg Shahade's top five chess-related websites.

"This blog is the top of the bill...for chess...outside the official news." - Logis

"Als je naar het centrum van het schaakblog universum wilt moet je bij de Boylston Chess Club zijn..." - Duveltje's Schaakweb

"...a punchy and well done blog..." - The 64 Square Jungle

"...surprised and pleased...to be linked to by this blog." - Maverick Philospher

"Good job breaking this [story] before ChessNinja and ChessBase!" - Howard Goldowsky

"The Boylston Chess Club's web blog ... is excellent. I highly recommend this site to any and all chess hounds." - Central Oregon Chess Journal

"...not just ... useful but also pleasurable to read..." - Chess Tyro

"The written word is still the most supple medium of communication, and DG wields it well. His coverage and analyses were superb." - Tom Panelas

"...really a good site and very extensive....a must to check out..." - Chessalee

"Me gusta este blog y me gustaría seguir viendo blogs de este estilo, donde los clubes aprovechen internet para darse a conocer." - Genios64

"GPCF Link of the Week" - Greater Peoria Chess Federation

"I have never been to the Boylston chess club, so I dont' know terribly much about it, but boy... can they do a website. I can't say enough good things about this site. It's ultimately one that with a) much more time; b) much more computer skills; and c) much more creativity, I would like this blog to emulate. I think it rivals (and thoroughly beats!) many of its more corporate/commercial competitors." - BlueEyedRook

"...really works hard at keeping us honest. Does that guy ... get any sleep or what?" - Pawn Sensei

"Keep up the good work here..." - Chess-In-Chicago Webmaster

Rules & Regulations

  1. The Boylston Chess Club (BCC) is a part of the Boylston Chess Foundation (BCF).

  2. Boylston Chess Club Weblog is a service provided to members of the BCC. It provides an interactive extension to the BCC website where members can post on chess-related topics (e.g., games, news, tournament experiences, anecdotes, announcements, results, etc.).

  3. Members who want to post to the weblog should send an e-mail request to BCC Admin. You will receive a reply e-mail which contains an invitation and instructions on how to join the weblog.

  4. At their discretion, BCC Admin may invite select non-members to post to the weblog, e.g., a non-member may be attending an event of interest to the membership.

  5. Posts must be on topic (i.e., broadly chess-related) and must not contain any inappropriate language, content or links. BCC Admin (at their sole discretion) reserve the right to edit and/or delete any posts deemed off-topic or inappropriate. BCC Admin (at their sole discretion) may remove the posting rights of a member for flagrant and/or multiple violations of the posting rules.

  6. BCC Admin may also edit posts for format in order to maintain the integrity, look and feel and/or navigation of the weblog.

  7. The weblog is publicly available and members and non-members alike may leave comments. BCC Weblog maintains a no tolerance policy regarding comments which might be construed as offensive, off color, inappropriate or which contain personal attacks on others. These type of comments will be deleted and inappropriate "commenters" may be banned from leaving additional comments. BCCAdmin (at their sole discretion) may choose to edit comments which contain any inappropriate language, content or links.

  8. This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License. All posts and comments to this weblog are available for public use and distribution according to its terms.

  9. These rules may be modified at any time.

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