26 February 2017

Correlating Chess with the 'Real World'

In this series on The Sociology of Chess (November 2016), I've been using art to illustrate some of the most obvious themes, as in the previous post, Chess in New York Parks. Another avenue to explore the connections between chess and society is video. I touched on this in World Championship Sociology,

Surprisingly few of those [World Championship] videos show the spectators, the everyday people whose collective interest makes the event worth playing and worth broadcasting.

but there is a richer mine of information in videos that document the efforts of chess players/instructors to use chess as a positive force to change people's lives. Here's one example.

How a simple game of chess can break through stereotypes (7:56) • 'To Lemuel LaRouche, chess is more than a game. By getting young people from different backgrounds to engage in the game of chess, you can alter bad perceptions, stereotypes and mistrust. Special correspondent Charlayne Hunter-Gault sits down with LaRouche for a conversation.'

PBS NewsHour (from Athens, Georgia):

This is one of Lemuel LaRouche's day jobs, teaching graduate students at the University of Georgia's School of Social Work. But LaRouche is a man of many parts, one who doesn't separate town from gown, especially the parts of town populated by troubled youth.


These kids are looking for opportunities, looking for a way out, bouncing from foster home to foster home. [...] Chess is such a metaphor for life. When I teach chess, I try to teach it from the perspective of, how do you take this game and correlate it with the real world?

For a full transcript of the video, see How a simple game of chess can break through stereotypes (pbs.org).

24 February 2017

Blogging @ Chess.com

Have you ever wondered how to blog at Chess.com?

Using Chess.com: How To Blog (4:43) • 'Chess.com Vice President Danny Rensch explains how to blog on Chess.com.'

The follow-up video is:-

The list of most recent blog posts by top bloggers is at:-

A few years ago I tried blogging at Chess.com and found the tools a bit clunky. Things look much improved since then.

23 February 2017

A Personal Category

A couple of personal posts over the past year -- Still There After All These Years (January 2016) and Photographic Proof of Presence (February 2017) -- left me needing a suitable label to categorize them. Otherwise I might repeat the same story in a future post. I changed the category 'Label "MW's CC games"' (CC = correspondence chess) to Label "MW's games" and the problem was solved.

21 February 2017

Photographic Proof of Presence

While gathering background info on last week's post, Joop van Oosterom (1937–2016), I flipped through old copies of Europe Echecs (EE) looking for stories about early editions of the Melody Amber tournaments. The second edition, held in March-April 1993, was the first to use the Amber formula of one rapid tournament and one blindfold tournament. Before I found its writeup in the May 1993 EE, I looked at earlier issues of EE, where the photo shown below caught my eye.

Europe Echecs, March 1993

'Aubervilliers : Computers among the GMs'
'Nearly 850 players, that makes a crowd! A partial (!) view of the tournament'
(Photo: Alain Fayard)

'I think I played in that tournament', I said to myself. At the time I was working and living in Paris from Monday through Friday, then commuting back to Brussels on the weekend. On one particular weekend I had to stay in Paris -- I can't remember why -- and decided to play chess. Friday evening at the local chess club someone mentioned Aubervilliers and told me how to get there, so the next day I took the metro, found the tournament site, and played.

Because it was a rapidplay time control I didn't record my moves and I have no record of the event in any of my chess papers from that period. Back to the photo, that's me in the third row of tables from the bottom, third player from the left, facing the camera.

I have a vague memory of a young Michael Adams at the tournament, but his name isn't mentioned in the EE report. If someone told me I dreamed the whole thing, I wouldn't argue. But there's that photo.

20 February 2017

Korchnoi's Career 1976-2000, Major Events

The previous milestone on Viktor Korchnoi's Tournament, Match, and Exhibition Record (TMER; 1946-2015) was Korchnoi's Career 1976-2000, One View, where at the end I noted the next step:-

Assign months to the various events. At the same time, create a list of external references for the events.

I started to look up events one by one, noting the month the event was played and the best reference I could find. This was a slow process until I found Chessmetrics Player Profile: Viktor Korchnoi. The page is a summary of the major events in Korchnoi's career that were played at slow time controls. Some older events are missing the month played, but I was able to cover around 75% of the events already listed on the TMER.

Next step: (1) Tackle the incomplete events for 1976-2000. (2) Use the Chessmetrics.com data on events played before 1976.

19 February 2017

Chess Boards, All in a Row

Given how much I like paintings here on Top eBay Chess Items by Price, has it really been more than three months since I last featured one? Since Which Is the Original? (January 2017) was more about copying than it was about the artwork, then Focused on the Game (November 2016) was indeed the last painting featured.

The auction for the painting pictured below was titled 'Magnificent 1950's O/C Painting of "Chess Game" by Allen Wadsworth'. It apparently asked US $1200 and sold for $1000, 'Best offer accepted'.

The item's description added,

This is a magnificent 1950's oil on canvas painting of showing two men playing chess. It has a wonderful subject, detail and design. It used to belong to The Brand Library in California. It measures 30" by 24" framed and 24" by 18" unframed. It is signed by the artist on the lower left.

By coincidence, I found the same painting on a page titled Allen Wadsworth took skills from 1970s Ajijic straight to Hollywood (sombrerobooks.com), which gave some biographical info about the artist.

Allen Wadsworth, born in about 1939, had at least two exhibitions in Ajijic in the 1970s and honed his carpentry and painting skills in the village prior to embarking on a long and distinguished career in Hollywood as a set painter and scenic artist for major movies and TV shows.

The setting, with chess boards neatly arranged on adjacent tables, would appear to be an outdoor chess tournament or maybe a simultaneous exhibition. A week ago, in Chess in New York Parks, I featured artist Louis Wolchonok for the latest post in a series about The Sociology of Chess. Could it be that any painting showing chess in a social setting is worthy of that series?

17 February 2017

Max Euwe, Max Euwe

A strong feeling of deja vu told me that I had featured the 'Max Euwe Centrum' in a previous edition of Flickr Friday, but I couldn't find a relevant post. Maybe it's because I visited the center many years ago on a trip to Amsterdam. It was well worth the visit.

Max Euweplein © Flickr user C.-04 under Creative Commons.

What's the connection between the Euwe center and the photo? The giant chess set is located next to the entrance; Max Euwe Centrum (maxeuwe.nl, 'An institute unparallelled in the world of chess'):-

Max Euwe Centrum
Max Euweplein 30a
1017 MB Amsterdam

This is not to be confused with the Monaco-based 'Association Max Euwe' sponsored by the subject of yesterday's post, Joop van Oosterom (1937–2016), although it wouldn't surprise me to find a relationship between the two main Max Euwe groups.