24 April 2014

Chess Comics No.6: Mad About Animated GIFs

The piece I featured in Chess Comics No.5: Mad About Chess? wasn't the only chess related drawing in Mad Magazine, September 1958. One of the four articles in the 'Don Martin Department' was 'The Chess Game' (p.23). Rather than copy the entire page, I split it into frames to create an animated GIF.

'The Chess Game' by Don Martin

After splitting the original cartoon, I used the web site Free Online Animated GIF Maker - Make A GIF Easily to create the final composite image. It's far from perfect, but I think it still works.

22 April 2014

Ahzee King

This music video has more chess action than I've ever seen in a non-chess clip.

Ahzee - King (Official Video) (3:31) • 'Aprés son tube BORN AGAIN - Découvrez le nouveau single d'AHZEE'

The translated description says, 'After his hit BORN AGAIN - Discover the new single AHZEE'. • 'Le Clip du Jour...!!' from Happy Music France.

21 April 2014

Monday, Monday

My most recent Monday post was a short filler:-

It followed a series on upgrading my basic tool set:-

Now it's time to get back to 'Tournament, Match, and Exhibition Record' (TMER) projects:-

The first stop is:-

I searched the TWIC PGN database for Kasparov games played since the last update, and found about 150 games. I also have a list of corrections++ to the published file that needs addressing. More to follow...

20 April 2014

An Easter Postcard

Today would normally see a post on Top eBay Chess Items by Price, but having just returned from vacation, I don't have the time. Besides that, it's Easter Sunday, so the following postcard, also seen on eBay, is appropriate.

The title was 'Easter Greetings Chicks Playing Chess on Egg Shells Antique Postcard', which was also the only useful information in the description. The card sold for US $63.61 after eight bids, which must be high for a postcard and a record for a card showing a chessboard with 5 x 17 squares.

As for date and origin, the back said 'Printed in Germany' and carried an address in Warren, Rhode Island. The stamp area said, 'Domestic one cent, Foreign two cents', which was the rate at the beginning of the 1900s.

Other than that, have a Happy Easter!

11 April 2014

Play for Your Life

Seen on Youtube channel Brilliant Ads:-

Jail Chess Cup - Russian Chess Federation Online Ad (1:16) • 'The headline in Russian has a play on words: the first meaning is 'outplay your life' and at the same time it means 'change your life'.'

The description explained,

The Russian Chess Federation, with the support of Anatoly Karpov and the Federal Penitentiary Service of Ryazan have come out in support of prisoners already on the road to rehabilitation and hosted a chess tournament between several prisons. The finalists have been given a chance for early release. [more++]

Brilliant indeed!

10 April 2014

'Something I Always Wanted To Do'

Last month, in GM Capital's Patrick Wolff, I posted about a Barron's article on a former U.S. champion who had moved to the investment world. Later in the month I discovered another Barron's article (*) about a basketball star who had taken up chess: Carmelo Anthony: Chess King; 'While Contemplating His Future, Knicks Star Reveals Affinity for Game'.

Anthony recently found the courage to admit, 'I'm a chess player'.

Asked about his chess-playing, Anthony said he'd spent considerable time reading about the game in hopes of being able to teach himself how to play. He said he has most frequently found himself locked in competition against family friends at off-season dinner parties.

"Just over the last couple years," said the 29-year-old forward, who posted an Instagram photo of famous chess player Bobby Fischer earlier in the month. "It's something I always wanted to do, but after a while I figured it was so complicated that I'd never be able figure it out. I still don't have it down pat to where I'm some expert. But I've figured out the basics to where it's something that I'll have for life."

What sets Anthony apart is the age at which he chose to pick up the game. According to figures compiled by the United States Chess Federation [USCF], the average player is between 9 and 10 years old when he or she joins the organization.

While I'm not sure about the comment that the 'average player is between 9 and 10 years old when he or she joins', I am sure that sports stars who play chess are not so unusual. A few years ago I put together an image gallery about a football star, Chess and Shaun Alexander at Madrona Elementary School, Seattle [about.com -> archive.org]. And let's not forget the Klitschko brothers.

(*) This Barrons.com article redirects to WSJ.com; both publications belong to the same group.

08 April 2014

Thinking about Chess

I guess I have a soft spot for certain types of chess books. Last year I posted about them in Chess Psychology/Philosophy. A recent post, 'Chess in School' : Three Studies, had another list, repeated here without the original author's commentary:-

There are several manuscripts related to chess theory that are worth reviewing.
  • Think Like a Grandmaster, Kotov
  • Judgment and Planning in Chess, Euwe
  • Chess Psychology, Krogius [aka 'Psychology in Chess']
  • Lasker's Manual of Chess, Em.Lasker
  • Chess: The Mechanics of the Mind, Pfleger and Treppner
  • Psychology of Chess, Hartston and Wason
  • How Chessmasters Think, Schmidt
  • Winning Chess, Chernev and Reinfeld

Since I already had five of those titles, I set out to see if I could find the other three. Two of them were available in digital format and the third is available online for free and offline for a price: W. R. Hartston & P. C. Wason - The Psychology of Chess (Scribd.com). I've always been wary of this site, so I'll leave it alone for now.

Back to 'Three Studies', a look at Robert Ferguson's Educational Benefits of Chess, the author wrote, 'Lasker presented a lucid description of the three basic methods of chess thinking in Lasker’s Manual of Chess.' Ferguson explained the three methods in his section 'Definition of Terms':-

Positional Thinking. Lasker (1947) portrayed the positional thinker as one who has the general plan to build a strong and familiar position. In the opening of the game, the positional thinker avoids violent moves, aims for small advantages, accumulates them, and, after attaining these, searches for a solid attack. The positional player tends to be more defensive. He conceives chess as a scientific discipline with definite guiding principles.

Tactical Thinking. Lasker (1947) wrote that in chess the tactical thinker is a combinational thinker, combining the force of his chessmen (pieces) to create advantages; he is an adventurer, who feels comfortable being the aggressor. This type of thinker thinks forward; he or she starts from a given position and tries to find the forceful moves. The tactical thinker’s conceptual ability is especially evident in the middle segment of the game, when the pieces create a great variety of possible moves. Tactical thinkers are reflective thinkers. The chess position creates the problem, the selection of move creates the observational mode of thought, and the chosen move is the solution. Tactical thinkers have highly developed powers of creative imagination and the ability of far reaching concrete calculation.

Eclectic Thinking. Lasker (1947) defined this method of thinking in chess as a harmonic union of both the positional thinker and the tactical thinker. Krogius uses the term “universal” to describe the eclectic thinker (Krogius, 1972, p. 13).

The split into positional and tactical thinking shouldn't raise too many eyebrows, but 'eclectic thinking' is a strange term; ditto for 'reflective thinking' which is defined separately. Ferguson had one other comment about Lasker (p.64), an observation he repeated later (p.156).

Krogius, in his book Chess Psychology, indicated that Lasker’s classification of styles of thinking needs more investigation (p. 15). According to Krogius, more considerations are needed regarding the qualities of chess thinking and the structure of the thought process in the selection of a move.

All of this thinking about thinking in chess is making my mind spin. I think I'll go play for a while.