October 9, 2006
It made news worldwide in May of 1997 when chess master Garry Kasparov was defeated by an IBM built computer called Deep Blue. It was news again this year as he took on another machine called Deep Junior. This six game match ended in a 3-3 draw on February 7.
Something shocking has come to our attention that even Kasparov does not know. The recent matches were a hoax, and so were the ones with Deep Blue in ‘97. He was really playing against another man, not a machine. When Garry Kasparov lost to Deep Blue, he cried foul. He claimed that the contest was a sham. Human players, not the computer, were making key moves. The Grand Master could never prove his allegations, but he was right to suspect something, especially since Deep Blue was promptly disassembled after the match. Bobby Fischer was the one who had really beaten him, and the machine was only a prop. This time around, his real opponent was Boris Spassky.
Why would such a hoax be perpetuated? One reason is that other chess masters are extremely jealous of Kasparov, and want to embarrass him. Another is that computer companies such as IBM, Microsoft, and smaller players in the industry hope to obtain government grants and private funding for research and development. Most of all, they want to land lucrative military contracts. Since chess requires complex strategy, much like an actual war, they are betting that the game will be a perfect way to draw the attention of the military-industrial complex.
We spoke with an avid chess player and computer enthusiast, who told us everything on the condition of anonymity. “Kasparov is such an arrogant man,” said our source, “he loves to intimidate his opponents by leering at them across the board. So many of us were dying to show him up. When IBM approached us about the Deep Blue hoax, we loved the idea, and agreed to help. The hardest part was getting Bobby Fischer on board. He is a recluse, and his mental state is way beyond simple eccentricity. We repeatedly pointed out that Kasparov had beaten many records he had set, and this was his chance to defeat Kasparov without having to face the public, or answer questions, especially those the US Authorities would have for him. Amir Ban and Shay Bushinsky, the men behind Deep Junior, are hoping to become giants in computer research. Both are brilliant men, but few outside the inner circles have even heard of them. They want to change that. This time, the chess players approached the computer experts. Although Deep Junior has beaten chess masters like Vladimir Kramnic, we were able to convince them that its programming was not quite right for Kasparov’s playing style. We came to an agreement: The computer people get their publicity, and we in the chess community get another chance to jerk Garry Kasparov’s chain. We got Boris Spassky to do the actual chess playing because we think his style will throw off Kasparov, and he can win. Besides, Boris has an off the wall sense of humor. He was amused by the way Kasparov lost his cool in 1997, and would love to see him really go off. If he were to start swearing, or kick over the chessboard, that would give us all a big laugh! This plan can work even if Kasparov wins, as long as he does not sweep it.” You read it here first.
October 8, 2006
INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE MOVES TO REIGN IN “CHESS GOONS”
LONDON. Francois Saint-Amant is known as “L’Enforcer” by his teammates on the Paris Blanc Chausettes, and he has the stats to prove it. He leads the International Chess League in penalty-minutes, high-rooking and other manifestations of a temper that causes opposing players to knock over their kings rather than face his furious “two-minute” endgame drill when he finds himself cornered without a queen.
“He deliberately put one of his bishops down on my right index finger, the one I use to play” said Max Euwe, who bats clean-up for the Serbia-Montenegro Wild Pigs. “I don’t mind rough play, but that’s going after my livelihood.”
Other players around the league agree that Saint-Amant stretches the rules of chess to the breaking point. “I opened up with a Scheveningen Variation against him in a home game last month,” said Mikhail Botvinnik of the Moscow Red Bears. “He gets this pissy look on his face and says ‘Scheveningen-schmenigen’. It disrupted my concentration.”
Because of the hardball tactics of players like Saint-Amant, the ICL says it will increase fines and penalties against chess “goons” in the upcoming season, which kicks off this season with its first national television contract on PBS. “A lot of players get a look at the tote bags and umbrellas they give away during public television pledge drives, and figure the stakes are a lot higher now,” said ICL commissioner Gary Duprovnik. “Throw in a ‘Three Tenors DVD’ and guys are willing to hurt somebody if that’s what it takes to win.”
Duprovnik says players will be charged a pawn for the first instance of unnecessary roughness in a match, loss of a turn on the second infraction, and automatic ejection thereafter. Taunting will be punished by a five-yard penalty, meaning some matches will take on the air of “go fish” game rather than the customary contemplative atmosphere of the game that was founded in India around 600 A.D. when members of the Brahmin class learned that the cable guy wouldn’t show up for another fourteen centuries.
For his part, Saint-Amant says he’s just playing hard and that opponents who complain about him are “les wimps”. “Eeef I reely wanted to hurt somebody,” he says, “I’d grab him by le baguette.”
October 7, 2006
one of my favorite saturday night live moments..
Profiles In Sports
Donald Ramp…..Jim Belushi
Announcer: Chess. The thinking man’s sport. For over half a century, dozens of world grand masters have come out of America’s high school chess clubs. Most of the credit for that belons to the unsung hero of chess – the high school chess coach.
[ show Chess Coach Donald Ramp yelling at his players during a match ]
Donald Ramp: Pawn to Rook 4! Pawn to Rook 4! Nooooooo!! Get up, get up, get up!! [ starts kicking chairs around ]
Announcer: Donald Ramp, of Rodville Center High, dedicated to turning raw kids into chess champions.
Donald Ramp: You call that castling?! Come on! Why don’t you just give him the king?! Give it to him!
Donald Ramp V/O: A lot of people think that chess games are won on brilliant moves. They’re not. The match is really won or lost long before the pieces are set up.
Donald Ramp: Next Saturday: Wheaton High. Big match, tough school. They’re using a Sicilian defense. How do we counter? Simple. [ draws chess board on the chalk board, filling in the individual squares ]
Donald Ramp V/O: The fundamental thing about chess? Knowing the rules.
[ show Donald reviewing strategy with a student ]
Donald Ramp: When you go over there, move the knight..
Student: [ confused ] The knight?
Donald Ramp: Yeah.. the horsey thing, the horsey thing! Come on!
[ cut to another interaction ]
Donald Ramp: Move it, movie it, movie it! Move the bishop!
[ cut to Donald reviewing film footage of an earlier chess match ]
Donald Ramp V/O: Sure. I am hard on the guys. But I’m just as hard on myself. Most nights, I’m in the office ’til midnight, watching game films.
Announcer: But Ramp’s lust for victory can lead to controversry, like the furor surrounding his overseas recruiting trips.
[ SUPER: "Andrei Zhubarov, Chess Team Captain Class of '85" ]
Andrei Zhubarov: I love to play for Coach Ramp. He was like a father to me, he bring me to this school in my shuffleboard years.
[ cut to another tense chess match ]
Donald Ramp: You call that a jump?! His [ bleep ] bishop wasn’t anywhere near the [ bleep ] queen!
Announcer: Ironically, it was during the filming of this profile that Coach Ramp expeirenced the most regrettable incident of his career.
[ Coach Ramp knocks down one of the opposing player's chess pieces, a riot ensues. Members of the opposing team jump him, screaming, "Hey, you can't do that!" etc. ]
Donald Ramp V/O: Some people say I lost control that day. But when you’re down two pawns, you gotta do something.
Announcer: For inciting the brawl, the American High School Chess Confederation branded Coach Ramp with a lifetime suspension.
Donald Ramp V/O: I’m really not sure what I’ll do. For now, I’m looking forward to spending more time with my family.
Daughter: Pass the salt, Daddy?
[ Coach Ramp lifts the salt shaker, then moves it about the checkerboard table around other shakers, simulating chess moves ]
Donald Ramp V/O: The only thing I miss are the matches, the excitement, the adrenaline.. The rest of it, I can live without. Still.. I guess the game never really leaves you..
October 7, 2006
I’m gonna scour the web, searching chess news and other blogs and bring it all in one spot. Slowly but surely I hope to build a following. At the very least, a site where one can get his or her chess fix and find other interesting chess sites on the web.