December 15, 2006
i got my Christmas present early this year.. i live in brasil, and my bosses wife came dowm for the holidays.. my wife puts up with my chess craze, shes even learning the game.. she sat down to surf the web, find info and found a chess wallet.. she showed it to me and said she wanted to give it to me for Christmas.. who am i to complain.. to see the pics visit my blogger site
December 15, 2006
Palm Beach Post Columnist
Friday, December 15, 2006
The cash to fuel Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s political demise could come by way of Palm Beach.
The diminutive ex-KGB agent’s arch enemy, former chess superstar Garry Kasparov, has set up his world headquarters on the tony island. He’s getting ready to start fund-raising stateside for his oust-Putin cause and possible run for the presidency.
From a hole-in-the-wall office on the second floor of a Peruvian Avenue commercial building, Kasparov’s longtime agent, Owen Williams, tells Page Two he has set up a nonprofit, Freedom for a Democratic Russia, and is launching an English-language Web site to disseminate stories about how crooked the current Russian regime is.
Kasparov’s 1984 world championship match against Anatoly Karpov became legendary, but he quit chess nearly two years ago for politics. Now Kasparov, 43, who has been in Palm Beach four times in recent years, has gotten so deep under Putin’s skin that he expects to be arrested at an anti-Putin demonstration Saturday in Moscow, Williams said.
Police looking for “subversive literature” raided Kasparov’s Moscow office Wednesday.
“I’m transitioning from running Garry’s businesses to helping with his campaign,” said Williams, 74. “He’s made a modest fortune ($10 million) from chess, but politics are expensive.”
With some Putin opponents turning up poisoned these days, other tenants in the Palm Beach building have grown wary. Some said they’ve seen guys in dark suits and government cars hanging out, but FBI spokeswoman Judy Orihuela said Thursday she couldn’t confirm they were G-men.
Williams recently had his phones equipped with scramblers and his computers equipped with spy-proof firewalls.
“At my age, I’m not worried about polonium or spies,” Williams said.
December 15, 2006
yesterday i posted a bit about madness and mental illness.. fellow blogger nezha asked why the sudden interest.. no reason really, but out of the blue i see this:
Friday Dec 15 15:12 AEDT
A Russian man dubbed the Crazy Chess Killer has been charged with 49 murders but failed to achieve his goal of 64 – one for each square on a chess board.
Investigators say Alexander Pichushkin has confessed to murdering 62 people during a six-year killing spree.
But they have only been able to charge him with 49 counts of murder because Pichushkin can’t say where the rest of the bodies are.
He allegedly told police soon after his arrest in June that he planned to kill one person for every square on a chess board, but regretfully added there were a few “vacant” squares, and that he’d not fulfilled his goal.
Most of the victims were elderly men, with 14 bodies – including that of a co-worker Marina Moskaleva – found in the same Moscow park.
Pichushkin had worked at the same grocery store with Moskaleva and it was the discovery of her body on June 14 that led to his arrest.
Moskaleva had left her son a note with Pichushkin’s number on it before she was found dead.
When questioned, Pichushkin boastfully told police he had killed not just her but 61 others.
The murders Pichushkin described stretched across various parks and other locations across the city, starting in 2000.
With little in the way of age, gender or career linking the victims, investigators say the only pattern they have established in the deaths is that they were caused by a blow to the head.
Alexander Kshevitsky, a Russian federal investigations official, said medical experts would decide whether Pichushkin was sane enough to stand trial.
He said many bodies remained unaccounted for.
“In a few cases, there aren’t victims, but missing people,” Kshevitsky said.
December 14, 2006
December 14, 2006
i was surfing the web for some info on chess and mental illness and i found this post which i found interesting.. its still an interesting read..
Why do so many chess players wind up with severe mental illness? People have long noted connections between madness and a talent for math and logic; in his excellent book Engines of Logic — a history of the people who brought us conceptual framework of the computer — Martin Davis discovers that easily half the guys were wildly ill. But in modern times, it’s the ravings and antics of Bobby Fischer that pose the question most directly: Did chess trouble his mind, or is it simply that people with troubled minds seek out chess? Could it be that chess is a palliative? Does someone with that much logical talent literally need chess as a steam-release-valve, or a meditative focus for their brains? British chess Master Bill Hartston once quipped that “chess doesn’t drive people mad, it keeps mad people sane”. I’ve spoken with chess masters who describe their mental states in fascinating ways: “The chess pieces eventually just vanish,” as one once told me, “and you just see the board in your mind as vectors of force and movement, like the purest geometry ever.” He also told me that when he lies in bed he can’t get the images out of his head; this causes insomnia, which itself, of course, can trigger depression or manic episodes. Everyone who’s played a few hours of Tetris or Halo knows what it’s like to have that stuff stuck in your head; imagine how much more intense it is for people who think about chess for hours and hours a day. This question — whether the playing of serious chess can loop into a self-reinforcing spiral — is damn interesting, and Charles Krauthammer, of all people, recently tackled in it a Time column. He notes that while chess requires monomaniacal focus, so do sports like golf, and nobody’s worried about Tiger Woods going mad. Then Krauthammer makes his most intriguing points: Well, then, this must be monomania of a certain sort. Chess is a particularly enclosed, self-referential activity. It’s not just that it lacks the fresh air of sport, but that it lacks connections to the real world outside — a tether to reality enjoyed by the monomaniacal students of other things, say, volcanic ash or the mating habits of the tsetse fly. As Stefan Zweig put it in his classic novella The Royal Game, chess is “thought that leads nowhere, mathematics that add up to nothing, art without an end product, architecture without substance.” But chess has a third — and unique — characteristic that is particularly fatal. It is not just monomaniacal and abstract, but its arena is a playing field on which the other guy really is after you. The essence of the game is constant struggle against an adversary who, by whatever means of deception and disguise, is entirely, relentlessly, unfailingly dedicated to your destruction. It is only a board, but it is a field of dreams for paranoia. Research into the relationship of chess and mental illness will reveal some really cool things about the mind, I predict.
December 14, 2006
Soviet Union, 1925
Reviewed by Jeremy Silman
Watson Scale (0 being the worst and 6 being perfect): 5
|I’ve seen lots of chess oriented movies and television shows, but few really made much of an impression. Of course, being chess players we always hope that such films will affect us deeply, that someone will finally manage to properly portray the energy and artistry that is the chess experience – but some measure of disappointment is usually the result.
Aside from the amazing hour-long chess episode of LEXX (click HERE for a detailed description), which is a TV show and not a movie, I have found this twenty-eight minute, black and white silent film to be the finest depiction of chess passion I’ve ever encountered. Note the word “passion.” Instead of looking at the game as an intellectual exercise, which most renditions tend to push, this movie shows its addictive nature, and the passion that it imparts to those of us that love it.
CHESS FEVER is a comedy about a man who, though soon to be married, already has a mistress – chess. His bride-to-be, knowing nothing of the game but seeing that his heart resides on the sixty-four squares of the chessboard, freaks out and storms onto the snow-covered streets in hysteria.
The poor women – already over the edge – sees chess everywhere: on billboards, on the streets, and even played in an apothecary where she seeks poison so she can end the nightmare. What she doesn’t know is that a now famous tournament (Moscow 1925) is being held just blocks away.
Suffice it to say that Capablanca (yes, the real Capablanca!) saves the day, and film footage of Marshall, Torre, Reti and other legends makes this a must own for any true fan of chess.
It’s important to note that much of this classic film’s success can be attributed to the director, Vsevolod Pudovkin (1893 to 1953). Known as one of the greatest artists of Soviet silent films (French critic Léon Moussinac said: “Pudovkin’s films resemble a song, Eisenstein’s a scream.”), his movies and his writings (FILM TECHNIQUE combines his two books on film theory into one volume) continue to be studied in film classes worldwide.
Whether you’re a student of film history, or simply a man or woman in love with the mysteries and depths that make up chess, you’re in for a treat. Buy CHESS FEVER, or rent it, but do watch it!
December 14, 2006
chessbase.com is reporting..
Kramnik to play in Mexican World Championship
14.12.2006 It was not a foregone conclusion but up for debate: would Vladimir Kramnik, who had just won the reunification tournament in Elista, really be willing to put his title up for grabs just ten months later in an eight-player tournament? Yes he is, as we learn from FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov in this breaking news story.
December 7, 2006
nice piece from the “henry daily herald online” in northern georgia.. captures the spirt of those who learned to play with their fathers.. kudos to mr silliman..
My dad bought the set in Mexico, I think. He gave it to my uncle on Christmas and after they had assembled all the bicycles, opened all the over-packaged toys and added batteries where they weren’t included, my dad and his brother sat down to play.
The board was green, with squares of dark green stone flecked with white spots and opposite squares of white stone with green flecks. The pieces were onyx — a word I had trouble saying and tried to say two or three times before I was told onyx was just a type of rock — and I couldn’t see any way to tell one piece from another, how the different pieces moved, or what was the object of the game.
My six younger brothers, later, were always first fascinated by the pieces of a chess game. They like the horses and the castles, the kings and the bishops and the pawns which always got called “little men.” When I first saw the game I saw none of those things and I didn’t know to ask to play with the pieces that were killed and lined up off the side of the board.
The thing that captured my imagination was the picture of these two men, brothers, intensely staring at a board, looking and looking like there was something to see even though obviously there were only 34 pieces on a small square board, and then carefully, slowly, moving a hand to pick up a piece and move it.
My father, when he moves a piece, moves slowly. He holds his hand on the top and lifts his arm to look at the board again, double checking.
My uncle looks longer, waits another second, and then takes a piece from the side, the piece my dad was looking for and didn’t see, and picks it up and moves it into the center and kills my dad’s thing.
My uncle plays to the center, trying for control of the middle of the board. My dad plays to the sides, always trying to work a combination into the weaker edges and move from the edges inward, eating away at the pieces.
We played a lot of games, when me and my brothers and sister were little. We played board games and ball games, real games and made-up games and games with the rules changed around. Of all of those, though, it’s chess that really captured me and which I most remember playing with my family in those all-day unstructured tournaments we called Saturday.
My oldest brother and I learned to play at about the same time, learning the way the pieces moved and being befuddled by the way dad would always waste our checkerboard armies. We learned the way the pieces worked together, in combinations, and would watch, frustrated, while he moved behind our lines, holding a finger on a piece to look around, and saying slowly, “Checkmate.”
We learned, finally, theory — how to evaluate the board and plan an attack and calculate the strength of a position and we watched (finally!) while dad’s side of the board crumbled under our attacks and his king would be pushed into a losing corner.
I loved those days and those games and I’m only slightly joking when I say that when I retire I want to move to a city park and play chess all day.
They call it the game of kings. It’s just a game and I’m just an amateur, but it’s a great complication of 34 pieces on an eight-by-eight checkered board.
I spoke to my dad on the phone the other day. We were just talking, like we do, and he started laughing.
“Hey,” he said, “guess what your youngest brother’s doing?”
“He’s on the Internet. Playing chess. He’s only four, but apparently he’s playing online.”
“Tell him,” I said, “to take control of the center of the board.”
Daniel Silliman is the crime reporter for the Clayton News Daily. His column appears on Thursdays. He can be reached at 770-478-5753 ext. 254 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
November 30, 2006
via a comment on susan polgar’s blog, i found this interesting item
They may look like worn pieces of an old cardboard chess set, but these little discs contain a prisoner of war escape kit.
When prized open a white bishop from the ‘Ajax Chessmen’ reveals a tiny compass hidden inside.
And a silk map is believed to still be concealed in the cardboard tube.
Even the innocent handwritten message on the tube which contained the 32 pieces chess pieces is in code.
The chessmen sets were sent to POW camps throughout World War II by MI9 and government department CT6 to help prisoners escape their German captors.
In Colditz kits helped 316 escape attempts which saw 32 men make it all the way home.
Very few of the kits from the early 1940s still exist. This set, which does not contain a board, is being sold at Bonham’s auction house in Oxford on December 12.
‘These sets are very rare for obvious reasons,’ said Robin Lucas, Bonham’s resident expert on militaria. ‘They are not made of very durable materials so it is amazing that the pieces have survived.
‘If there was a board included it could have contained a map, or there might be a silk map still hidden within the tube. But we cannot find that out without X-raying the cardboard or breaking it open.’
It is the first time a cardboard chess set like this has come up for auction in Britain.
Mr Lucas said: ‘We know of packs of cards being sold which had different pieces of a map on the back of each card – when assembled they made a complete map.
‘There were all different kinds of escape kits smuggled in. Blankets were sent with clothes patterns drawn in invisible ink. These would become clear when soaked in water.
‘This meant prisoners could stitch together civilian clothing to wear once they had escaped.
‘Monopoly boards and the boards of other games were often used to conceal maps in – when the top was peeled away it would reveal a map underneath.’
POW camps would often have an officer in charge of the escape kit being smuggled in. They would comb parcels to find the games which contained escape aids.
Charles Fraser Smith of government department CT6 and Christopher Clayton Hutton of MI9 where each responsible for designing the methods by which escape kits could be sent to camps.
They never tampered with Red Cross parcels because of concerns the Germans would stop these reaching the prisoners if they did discover items hidden in them.
Instead they sent the games from fictitious London addresses, including buildings which had been destroyed by bombs.
Messages written on the packages and printed labels would carry clues for prisoners.
On this kit the name ‘Ajax’ alludes to the ‘Trojan Horse’. Another sign of the escape aids contained was the phrase ‘Patent applied for’ and a large full stop point.
Three kisses in the message ‘Many happy hours, all my love Dorothy xxx’ which was written on the tube, could have indicated the compass was hidden in the third piece inside.
It is not know which camp this game was sent to or how it ended up back in Britain. Bonhams is selling the set for a private seller.
They are estimated to reach up to £500, but are likely to go for much more.