Friday, 27 November 2009

Obama Wins World Chess Championship (Chess Satire)

A satirical look at Barack Obama's recent Nobel Peace Prize - HERE.
"The World Chess Federation today announced that Barack Obama had become the world chess champion, nudging aside former undisputed champion Viswanathan Anand of India.

The news surprised some in the chess world, because Obama has never participated in tournament play. But FIDE officials said they felt certain Obama could become world champion if he ever decided to try.

Others were less surprised. Hungarian grandmaster Judit Polgar noted the world championship is just the latest in a string of triumphs for the American president. She cited his receipt two years ago of the Nobel Peace Prize. That award — for which Obama was nominated just a few weeks into his presidency, and a mere five years after he held the title of state senator in Illinois — was only the first in a series of accolades to come his way."

Continued ...
A true Renaissance Man!

On a more serious note - I do truly hope that Barack Obama can live up to the ideals that underlie this award.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

MouseMate - Chess Game Chimera (

An entertaining video by

Just imagine if this was a real board game.

HOW TO PLAY: (from Youtube)

1. Find a dramatically-lit room in which to play.
2. Set up a chess board incorrectly.
3. Hit yourself over the head with a bat until you've forgotten the rules of both chess and logic.
4. Go to town.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Bobby Fischer (1973) Philippines, Tokyo, Hong Kong

These are an amazing set of bobby Fisher photos from his trip to the Philippines, Tokyo and Hong Kong. Bobby opened the first Philippines International Chess Tournament in Manila in October 1973. They are owned by youtube user nirocal who has posted them in this video. Thanks very much nirocal for sharing them with the world.

Included in the photos are glimpses of the private side of the Marcos Family, and the blossoming Bobby's friendship with Miyoko Watai. The last image in the video is of Bobby Fischer, taken by Svetozar Gligoric, in Pasadena April 19, 1974.

The pictures remind us how vigorous Bobby was in his prime. It is sad that mental health problems should have so severely diminished Bobby's human potential, and also his grip on reality. Thanks to the Susan Polgar Chess Blog for bringing this video to my attention, and of course nirocal for the posting.

Video Concept List:
1941 - 1973 - 1974 - 12 Inch Mortar Battery - April 19, 1974 - Battery - Battery Way - Boat Trip - Bobby Fischer - Campomanes - Chess Game - Corregidor Island -Ferdinand Marcos - Florencio Campomanes - Girlfriend - Gliga - Gligoric - Guns - Hong Kong - Imelda Marcos - Japan - Japan Chess Association - Japanese Ladies - Kodak Instamatic Camera - Lillian So - Malacanang Palace - Marcos Family - Miyoko Watai - Mount Fuji - November 14, 1974 - November 20, 1973 - October 29, 1973 - October 31, 1973 - Pasadena - Philippines - Philippine Provinces - Polaroid Camera - President Ferdinand Marcos - Provinces - Shark - Sister - Sleeping - Sony Factory - Spassky - Sunset - Svetozar Gligoric - Tokyo - Yugoslav Grandmaster

Tags - Bobby Fischer -

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Checkmate! Wonder Woman - A Chess Playing Panelologist / Pannapictagraphist Dream

Wonder Woman Checkmate!

Checkmate! Wonder Woman - a chess playing panelologist or pannapictagraphist dream.

Panelology = the study of comics as a medium and an artform.
Pannapictagraphists = people who collect comic books.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

How Can I Beat Kasparov's Evans Gambit? - Search On AltaVista Apparently

A commercial for showing Garry Kasparov conducting a chess simul.

"How Can I Beat Kasparov's Evans Gambit?"

An improbable scenario but interesting nevertheless.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Can Tom Baker (The 4th Dr Who) Play Chess?

Tom Baker @ Book Signing:
[Who on Earth is Tom Baker? (ISBN 0-00-638854-X)]

I have just posted on 'ALCHEssMIST Chess' (here) the scene from Doctor Who where K9 plays chess against The Doctor (Tom Baker). Surprisingly, The Doctor makes an illegal move 1. Qd2-d4, as the white queen is pinned against the white king by K9's (black) queen on c2. The only legal move for the white queen is 1. Qxc2. See chess position below with white to move.

This simple error in chess rules is surprising. I suspect that Tom simply did as was suggested by the director. Then again, maybe the error was deliberate so as to provoke a response by the "anorak community". I was going to say "geek community", but the modern use of the term "geek" had not been invented 32 years ago (1977).

So Tom Baker can you play chess?

General Doctor Who fans, "The Sisterhood", chess anoraks, miscellaneous geeks and pedants would like to know the answer. A voice over answer on a future episode of Little Britain or further guest appearance on the quiz show Have I Got News For You would be ideal.

Image Credit - crop of image by Phil Guest on Flickr (cc).

Posted by ALCHEssMIST.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Nietzsche - What Does Not Kill Him, Makes Him Stronger.

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900):

"What does not kill him, makes him stronger."
"Was ihn nicht umbringt, macht ihn stärker

This quote comes from - Friedrich Nietzsche's (1844-1900) last original book - Ecce Homo: How One Becomes What One Is (German: Ecce homo: Wie man wird, was man ist). Although Ecce Homo: was written in 1888, it was not published until 1908, a period of 8 years after Nietzsche's death. Nietzsche was a very influential 19th century philosopher and philologist from Germany, whose written works are well worth reading.

So why is ALCHEssMIST quoting Nietzsche?

Well, ALCHEssMIST wishes to give a heartfelt thanks to the "unknown agent(s)" [;^)] who recently created some problems with this site. As a result, ALCHEssMIST has learned a great deal about that which he did not understand before. Those readers who check this blog from time-to-time will note some changes. Some of these changes are as a direct result of the problems alluded to above. Other changes on this site reflect the multidimensional character that is ALCHEssMIST.

Posted by ALCHEssMIST the Gamesman.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Scholastic Chess, Reasoning and Training Executive Function

Scholar's mate - white to move.
[1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nc6 3. Qh5, Nf6]

What is the benefit of having a scholastic chess program in schools?

It seems to me that the beneficial effects of chess may simply be that it provides a positive stimulus to helping the child to learn how to learn. Binet and Simon in 'The development of intelligence in children' (1916), when writing about the definition of intelligence, come to the following conclusion:
... what they should learn first is not the subjects ordinarily taught, however important they may be; they should be given lessons of will, of attention, of discipline; before exercises in grammar, they need to exercised in mental orthopedy; in a word they must learn how to learn.
This conclusion seems just as important now as it was revolutionary back then (1916). The difference now is that we are developing a real understanding about the importance of the critical literacy skill, reasoning. This fundamental cognitive skill helps to integrate the other three R's - reading writing, arithmetic. The executive system is the theorized cognitive system that controls and enables reasoning and the other cognitive processes. Integration of executive function training into school curriculums must be an important priority.

Regarding chess training in schools, it is important that the learning focus should be around reasoning, problem solving, planning, and the application of falsifiability in decision making. Simply learning about openings, tactics training, and simple pattern recognition is unlikely to have any enduring cognitive benefit.

Related Posts:
ALCHEssMIST: Chess Research - Language Impairment and Visual Immediate Memory in Children
ALCHEssMIST: Playing Chess May Benefit Schizophrenia Patients

Posted by ALCHEssMIST .

The "Chess Wear Your Heart On Your Sleeve Award" Goes To - Garry Kasparov

To "wear your heart on your sleeve" means to express your emotions freely and openly so that all around you can see. In competitive zero-sum games it may be a liability to exhibit this behaviour particularly where the precipitant may not be obvious to your competitor.

Chess is an example of a perfect information game. In imperfect information games such as poker, it is very important that the player try and hide their emotions as much as possible. Even still, subtle emotional hints may leak out and be noticed by a skilled opponent. These subtle behaviour changes in the game of poker are known as tells.

The above game between Garry Kasparov and Vishy Anand, clearly shows the devastation felt by Kasparov after realising he had missed the strong previous move by Anand. This clip will go down as one of the all-time great examples of "wearing your heart on your sleeve".

In politics, it is best to remember the advice of Margaret Thatcher, ex-Prime Minster of the United Kingdom:
To wear your heart on your sleeve isn't a very good plan; you should wear it inside, where it functions best.
Margaret Thatcher

Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov to Play Match in Valencia (21st-24th September 2009)

Karpov & Kasparov (New York, 2002):

Good news via Kasparov and Karpov are to play a chess match from 21st to 24th of September 2009 in Valencia, Spain. The format of the 12 game match is apparently going to be 4 rapid (or semi rapid) games and 8 blitz games.

Scottish Chess Championship 2009 (Edinburgh City Chambers) & Past Winners

Edinburgh City Chambers
[Photo by © ronnie leask, Creative Commons]

The Scottish Chess Championship is the oldest continually running chess event in the world, with an unbroken link since 1884. The event is currently being held at the Edinburgh City Chambers (High St, Edinburgh) from 1th - 19th July (official site).

Grandmaster participants in this year's championship include:
  • Arakhamia-Grant, Keti (Scotland, Elo 2506)
  • Hebden, Mark (England, Elo 2468)
  • Markos, Jan (Slovakia, Elo 2555)
  • McNab, Colin (Scotland, Elo 2474)
  • Motwani, Paul (Scotland, Elo 2503)
  • Panchanathan, Magesh Chandran (India, Elo 2493)
  • Prasad, S. Arun (India, 2556)
  • Rowson, Jonathan (Scotland, Elo 2591)
  • Shaw, John (Scotland, Elo 2462)
  • Summerscale, Aaron (England, Elo 2454)
Past winners of the Scottish Chess Championship include:

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Sir Stamford Raffles - Singapore, Chess & London Zoo

Sir Thomas Stamford Bingley Raffles (1781-1826)
Zoologist & Colonial Governor (Portrait 1817)

The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) was founded by Sir Stamford Raffles in 1826. London Zoo was opened to Fellows of the Society (ZSL) in 1828, and became the first scientific zoo. Charles Darwin was a Fellow of ZSL from 1837. The first admission of paying visitors to London Zoo, to aid in funding, was in 1847.

Sir Thomas Stamford Bingley Raffles also founded the city of Singapore (the modern city-state of the Republic of Singapore), and he is known as the "Father of Singapore". Raffles is also famous-infamous for significantly contributing to the expansion of the British Empire.

The Raffles Institution is a boys’ secondary school, and a co-educational Junior College, in Singapore originally founded by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles in 1823. It was initially called the Singapore Institute, but was renamed the Raffles Institution in honour of it's founder. A number of Singapore's leaders, such as Goh Chok Tong (current Senior Minister of Singapore and chairman of the central bank of Singapore, also previous second Singapore prime minister) and also Lee Kuan Yew (first Singapore prime minister), have studied in the Raffles Institution. Students at this Institution have to undertake at least one Co-Curricular Activity (CCA) during their four years, and the performance in CCAs also contributes to the student's overall grades.

The Chess Club is one of the Merit CCAs available at the Raffles Institution. The Raffles Institution Chess Club was officially formed in 1960, and promotes chess playing amongst the pupil body. Grandmasters Yuri Averbakh and Josif Dorfman also came to the Raffles Institution, at the invitation of Singapore’s chess patriarch Professor Lim Kok Ann, following the 1978 World Chess Championship between Karpov and Korchnoi. Before Professor Lim Kok Ann took up the appointment of FIDE Secretary-General in 1981, he donated his entire chess book collection to the Raffles Junior College Chess Club / Raffles Institution.

A chess set has been produced by ZSL - further information about this chess set is available here.

Related Posts:
ALCHEssMIST - Zoological Society of London (ZSL) Chess Set

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

JK Rowling Harvard University Commencement Speech (June 5, 2008) - Lessons on Failure and Success

JK Rowling was the keynote speaker at Harvard University Commencement, June 5th 2008. She is the author of the Harry Potter series of books and subsequently films. In this video Rowling speaks passionately about how personal failure allowed her to let go and direct all her "energy into the only work that mattered to me ... to succeed in the one arena where I believed I truly belonged".

For chess players it is now well recognised that deeply studying personal chess game losses is one of the best paths to developing chess expertise. Also, strong chess players tend to use falsification in detemining potential future chess moves in games. Considering both of these points it would seem that skilled chess players may tend to be intrinsically pessimistic in nature. More about this in later posts ...

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Sir David Frost Interviewing Garry Kasparov - 5th December 2008 on Al Jazeera English

I have just recently seen this youtube clip showing Sir David Frost interviewing Garry Kasparov for the Al Jazeera English TV program 'Frost Over The World' on the 5th of December 2008. As per usual Garry speaks both eloquently and forcefully about his 'specialist subjects' - Russia, politics and chess.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Google Similar Books Link - A Very Useful Function To Have On Any Web Search (Even A Good Idea For The Competitor Search Engines)

Following on from my previous web posting where I discuss the usefulness of a "similar books link" on search engine query results, i.e. the Google search engine. The potential revenues from increased book sales ($$$) could be substantial.

Related Pages:
ALCHEssMIST - Chess Metaphor Watch - Diego Rasskin-Gutman - Chess Metaphors, Artificial Intelligence and the Human Mind

Chess Metaphor Watch - Diego Rasskin-Gutman - Chess Metaphors, Artificial Intelligence and the Human Mind

This book by Diego Rasskin-Gutman entitled Chess Metaphors, Artificial Intelligence and the Human Mind is definitely on my shopping wish-list. This title, by The MIT Press and due out on the 12th September 2009, has been reviewed on The MIT Press Site here:
When we play the ancient and noble game of chess, we grapple with ideas about honesty, deceitfulness, bravery, fear, aggression, beauty, and creativity, which echo (or allow us to depart from) the attitudes we take in our daily lives. Chess is an activity in which we deploy almost all our available cognitive resources; therefore, it makes an ideal laboratory for investigation into the workings of the mind. Indeed, research into artificial intelligence (AI) has used chess as a model for intelligent behavior since the 1950s. In Chess Metaphors, Diego Rasskin-Gutman explores fundamental questions about memory, thought, emotion, consciousness, and other cognitive processes through the game of chess, using the moves of thirty-two pieces over sixty-four squares to map the structural and functional organization of the brain.

Rasskin-Gutman focuses on the cognitive task of problem solving, exploring it from the perspectives of both biology and AI. He examines concept after concept, move after move, delving into the varied mental mechanisms and the cognitive processes underlying the actions of playing chess. Bringing the game of chess into a larger framework, he analyzes its collateral influences that spread along the frontiers of games, art, and science. Finally, he investigates AI's effort to program a computer that could beat a flesh-and-blood grandmaster (and win a world chess championship) and how the results fall short when compared to the truly creative nature of the human mind.

I also particularly liked the endorsements for the book on The MIT Press review page, including the following by Fernand Gobet:
"In this highly original book, Diego Rasskin-Gutman weaves a complex but beautiful tapestry of ideas and emotions. Chess sacrifices mix with research on brain and the mind, and world chess champion Gary Kasparov meets Nobel Prize winners Eric Kandel and Herbert Simon. A winning move!"
The Google search engine currently has a similar pages link associated with each web page listed in a search query. For example my posting about Claude Shannon and the Shannon Number (here) gives the following related pages (here). It would be a very nice idea to have a "similar books link" (GM) link on the Google search engine page associated with each web site listed in a search query. Just imagine the number of extra books ($$$) that might be sold through having this function associated with the search engine. Remember Google you heard about it here first.

If a "similar books link" ever becomes a routine part of search engine function then this book by Diego Rasskin-Gutman is likely to appear with

Related Links:
ALCHEssMIST - Google Similar Books Link - A Very Useful Function To Have On Any Web Search (Even A Good Idea For The Competitor Search Engines)

2009 - AI - Artificial intelligence - Chess - Chess Metaphor - Chess Metaphor Watch - Diego Rasskin-Gutman - Emotion - Fernand Gobet - Google - Google Search Engine - Memory - Similar Books Link - The MIT Press

Zoological Society of London (ZSL) Chess Set

ALCHEssMIST has always had an appreciation for the natural world. He also, for a number of years, held annual membership at London Zoo. The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) is a charity devoted to the worldwide conservation of animals and their habitats, and is also responsible for both London Zoo and Whipsnade Zoo.

Zoological Society of London Chess Set:

This chess set (shown above), produced by the Zoological Society of London, is available for purchase (£50) from their website.

The chessboard (16cm square) is made up of silver and black squares. The animal chess pieces are also silver and black and identified as:
  • Lions are the kings.
  • Tigers are the queens.
  • Elephants are the bishops.
  • Horses are the knights.
  • Giraffes are the castles (rooks).
  • Cattle are the pawns.
Reference Links:
ZSL Chess Set -

Related Posts:

ALCHEssMIST - Sir Stamford Raffles - Singapore, Chess & London Zoo

Monday, 29 June 2009

ALCHEssMIST Celebrates First Birthday 28th June 2009

ALCHEssMIST was conceived on the 28th June 2008 as a hybrid of ALCHEMIST and CHESS. He first appeared on the internet here at At that time alchessmist was a unique word, never before found on the internet. ALCHEssMIST is a portmanteau word - meaning essentially the blend of two or more words.

The ALCHEssMIST Blog was subsequently commenced on the 18th September 2008, with a post entitled - Chess is the Drosophila of artificial intelligence.

In celebration of ALCHEssMIST's birthday a new blog has been started which will simply feature links selected by ALCHEssMIST about chess topics:

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Stuart Dreyfus on Mathematics, Chess, Expertise, Intuition, Intelligence and Artificial Intelligence

Stuart Dreyfus
Professor Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley
Ph.D. Applied Mathematics, Harvard University, 1964

Stuart Dreyfus is Professor Emeritus in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research at University of California, Berkeley. Stuart is also the younger brother of Hubert Dreyfus, philosophy professor at University of California, Berkeley. In 1986, the two brothers co-wrote Mind Over Machine: The Power of Human Intuition and Expertise in the Era of the Computer. In this book they discuss the 5 stages of skill acquisition (Novice / Advanced Beginner / Competent / Proficient / Expert). Stuart Dreyfus recalls "... what it is to think like a competent chess player, as he is stuck at that level."
I was always good at mathematics and took up chess as an outlet for that analytic talent. At college, where I captained the chess team, my players were mostly mathematicians and mostly, like me, at the competent level. At this point, a few of my teammates who were not mathematicians began to play fast chess at the rate of five or ten minutes a game, and also eagerly to play over the great games of the grandmasters. I resisted. Fast chess was no fun for me, because it didn't give me time to figure out what to do. I found grandmaster games inscrutable, and since the record of the game seldom if ever gave principles explaining the moves, I felt there was nothing I could learn from the games. Some of my teammates, who through fast chess and game studying acquired a great deal of concrete experience, have gone on to become masters.
It is interesting seeing this assessment by an accomplished mathematician, as it does reinforce the point that being good at mathematics does not necessarily imply increased chess expertise. That being said, mathematicians do seem to be over-represented in the youthful, and also not so youthful, chess playing fraternity. On Stuart Dreyfus' Berkeley webpage their is also the following quote:
"Expertise is pattern discrimination and association based on experience. It is intuitive. There is no evidence you can reduce it to rules and theory. Hence, Artificial Intelligence probably can't be produced using rules and principles. That's not what intelligence is."
I now become confused when considering the chess skill of a computer program such as Fritz or Rybka. Clearly these programs are expert at playing chess but it is not the same as the expertise of a human chess player. The expert human chess player is very intuitive in their play, whereas the expert computer chess program is very heavily analytical in it's approach. Maybe we need a different set of terms for the skilled expert computer program.

Mind over machine: The power of human intuition and expertise in the era of the computer.
Hubert L Dreyfus (Author), Stuart E. Dreyfus (Author)
Hardcover: 231 pages
Publisher: Free Press; First Edition edition (1986)
ISBN-10: 0029080606
ISBN-13: 978-0029080603
[Amazon link]

Friday, 19 June 2009

Logic Quote - Semantics and Mathematics

If your thesis is utterly vacuous
Use first-order predicate calculus.
With sufficient formality
The sheerist banality
Will be hailed by the critics: "Miraculous!"

If your thesis is quite indefensible
Reach for semantics intensional.
Your committee will stammer
Over Montague grammar
Not admitting it's incomprehensible.


Montague Grammar
Predicate Calculus

Logic - Mathematics - Montague Grammar - Predicate Calculus - Quote - Semantics -

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Josh Waitzkin on "Tackling the Multi-Tasking Virus"

Young Josh Waitzkin

I recently came across this online article by Josh Waitzkin entitled "Tackling the Multi-Tasking Virus". He gives some very sound advice and work-around solutions to the current multi-tasking culture which has gripped the youth of today. The whole online article is well worth reading.

The key points Josh makes can be summarised as:
  1. Do what you love.
  2. Do it in a way you love and connect to.
  3. Give people a choice and they become engaged.
  4. Release a fear of failure.
  5. Build positive routines.
  6. Do one thing at a time.
  7. Take Breaks.
Josh Waitzkin is the President of the - JW Foundation.
Josh Waitzkin is the author of - "The Art Of Learning"

Josh Waitzkin is also the subject of the book and film - "Searching for Bobby Fischer"

Related Posts:

ALCHEssMIST - Josh Waitzkin - Psychology Today Interview With Scott Barry Kaufman

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Chess Art - Outdoor Bronze Chess Sculpture by Lloyd Lillie - John Marshall Park Washington DC

The Chess Players by Lloyd Lillie
[Photo by kimberlyfaye, Creative Commons]

The sculpture shows 2 seated male figures playing a game of chess on a granite bench ledge. The artist is Lloyd Lillie who modelled the older figure on the sculptor's father and the younger figure on the sculptor's son.

Location of sculpture:
  • John Marshall Park, Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC
  • Just North of Pennsylvania Ave. at 4th St NW
  • Between Canadian Embassy & US Court House
The park was dedicated in honor of John Marshall, Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court from 1801-1835. He was also a great admirer, and biographer, of George Washington. Marshall was at one time a resident at this park's location. The park has a bronze sculpture of Marshall dressed in long judicial robes and seated in an arm chair.

View Larger Map

Chess Position From Sculpture
[r3kb1r/p1pp1ppp/q4n2/7Q/1p1NPP2/1B6/PPP3PP/1NB2K1R w kq - 0 1]

Further images of the sculpture are available here.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Chess Photography - Chess Is A Sensual Game - More A Dream Than Reality?

A Quick Game Of Chess [link]
[Image by is a belle, fickr Creative Commons]

A nicely composed cloned photo - and certainly more "interesting" than the usual chess portraits.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Should Christians Play Chess? - A Satirical Look at Religious Objections to Games

The following passage was posted by ELEPHANTCITY as a satirical poke at the article Should a Christian play dungeons and dragons? The author is also happy for this article to be used on other sites - "if anyone's worried about copyright, i formally grant permission for whole or partial quotes of this page". (page link)


The Subtle Sin

Never mind the well-addressed question Should a Christian play dungeons and dragons?

A better question would be:

Should Christians play chess?

It has an obvious theme, in the traditional White against Black sides, good versus evil. The symbology of the good guys is obvious:

King - Secular Leader, but with the Church close on his side (King's Bishop)

Queen - All the King's secular forces combined into a powerful tool of his administration. Starts at his side, to show His dominance. Straight and Diagonal movement shows the ability to apply to all problems and situations.

Bishop - liaison between Man and God, the administration of the House of the Lord on Earth. Keeps to one color, to show that the church has limitations in its applicability, BUT there are TWO Bishops, one for the Church, one for the Congregation, and between the two of them, they can get anywhere. Shows the transparent MYTH of Separation of Church and State.

Knight - The Special Forces, able to attack from unseen angles, and retreat across obstacles. The 90-degree component seen by many to symbolize the duality of God's Might and Man's Will.

Rook - Portrayed in most modern sets as a castle, examination of early structures leads many to conclude it is actually a church, historically. Either way usually exemplifies a building made of Stone, and "On this stone I shall build a church."

Pawn - All the multitudes of Man, serving God best by stepping blindly forward.

Of course, the Black side, the Evil, has the same components. Considering that the Dark One has his followers and his Bishops, we know what God has stated about False Religions: "As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."

This makes it seem that someone playing chess, especially on the White Side, is acting out a morality play, attacking the forces of Darkness and crushing them under his heel. There lies the trick that ensnares millions of innocent souls every year.

Evil has, mathematically, as much of a chance to win as Good. The only restriction between the colors is that White moves first. In reality, The Good side should have more power than the evil, for the Lord has said, regarding HIS believers: "Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you." Unfortunately, the 'powers' given to the individual units of a chess set are evenly matched by their direct opponents.

Anther problem is the power of the Queen. She is clearly portrayed as the King's wife, but granted greater power and maneuverability. She travels and works independently of the King, if nominally at his 'bidding.' This directly conflicts with MANY biblical verses, to wit:

  • "...and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee."
  • "But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God."
  • "Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church."
  • "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing."
  • "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord."
  • "Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing."
  • "Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands."

A further heresy implicit in the play of Chess, is that of returning lost souls to play. If a simple pawn makes it unmolested to the final rank of the enemy's side, he can be transmuted to any other piece of the game. In this manner, lost pieces can be regained. The bible clearly shows that there is only one event of importance following an individual's death, and that is the judgement. After that, the soul is sent Heavenwards or dropped into the Lake of Fire. Reincarnation is the devil's idea.

In addition to problems with the rules, certain conventions of game play are offensive to any True Christian that has seen the Truth. It is possible, if care is not taken, to move the Knight in such a manner that the outline of a Pentagram is described on the board, an incontrovertible sign of Satan.

Most frighteningly, throughout most of the game, the mechanism of capturing a piece results in removal of the lost piece. In the final move, of EVERY chess game, the King is not captured. Instead, the losing player lays his King down on the board, mimicking a ritualistic HUMAN SACRIFICE!

Does it still sound like a simple 'Game?'

For Further Consideration:

Chess is so addictive that prisoners and isolated individuals have been known to carve their own sets out of random materials at hand.

The forces of Darkness have managed to get introductory chess books into almost EVERY school library in the entire country! Our children are ENCOURAGED to take up the Devil's Pastime! They often play it in pairs, unsupervised by any responsible adults.

Unlike more traditional games, like Monopoly or Yukon Solitaire, chess does not stop at a mere Winner/Loser concept. Implicit in each game of chess, at least ONE person HAS to die before the game can be over.

And finally, in various times and places, people have been known to dress up in costumes and actually 'Act Out' a chess game! A game that encourages people to see themselves as carved and painted pieces of wood deserves at least a little more scrutiny!

At the best, it's origins are lost in pagan antiquity, and not easily subjected to objective Christian scrutiny for unbiased analysis.

At the worst, Satan eased it into place in anticipation of the reaction to AD&D. Think of that the next time you tell you children "Why don't you play chess, instead?"

Bobby Fischer Pasadena Storage Unit Chess Library Auction (Bonhams, New York) 10th June 2009

An auction of Bobby Fischer's chess library from the Pasadena storage unit will take place on the 10th of June 2009 at Bonhams, New York. The manuscript material mostly centers on Fischer’s preparation for his World Chess Championship match with Boris Spassky in 1972. The auction estimate for the lot is around $50,000 - $80,000. More information here.

Background History:
  • Library of books and documents derived from the Pasadena storage unit.
  • The Pasadena storage unit was where Bobby Fischer’s belongings were held after 1992.
  • Fischer had defied the U.N. embargo against travel to Yugoslavia for his re-match against Boris Spassky in 1992.
  • Bobby Fischer never returned to the U.S. following the rematch with Boris Spassky.
Contents include:
  • Around 320 volumes on chess including a few match results, various places and languages (including many Soviet imprints), 1889-1992,
  • Around 400 issues of chess-related periodicals, including - “Magyar Sakkelet”, Overboard, Revista SAH, Sahovski Informator, The Chess Player, and “Waxmatbl”.
  • 9 personal floppy disks.
  • 3 sets of proofs for Fischer’s My 60 Memorable Games (published 1969).
  • Robert Wade's manuscript research on the match history of Boris Spassky (4 volumes of bound typescript, with commentary).
  • Games of Mark Taimanov and Tigran Petrosian in manuscript notebooks with notations (from the 1950s-1970).

Chess Quotient (CQ) of Youngest Grandmasters in History by Paul Muljadi

The Chess Quotient (CQ) is a simple idea based on the Intelligence Quotient (IQ). CQ is calculated as the Elo rating of the player divided by their age (16 years or younger). Paul Muljadi has published a CQ list of the youngest grandmasters (ELO rating over 2500) in history (here).

Elite CQ List by Paul Muljadi

Bobby Fischer ..... 161
Judit Polgar ...... 162
Koneru Humpy ...... 165
Hikaru Nakamura ... 165
Peter Leko ........ 174
Etienne Bacrot .... 177
Ruslan Ponomariov . 179
Teimour Radjabov .. 179
Bu Xiangzhi ....... 180
Magnus Carlsen .... 188
Sergei Karjakin ... 199

Thursday, 4 June 2009

James McQuillan Loses The Apprentice Endgame - A Knight Is No Competition Against 4 Potentially Queenable Non-connected Passed Pawns

James McQuillan "The Apprentice Legend" and alleged child chess champion was fired by Sir Allan Sugar last evening after the "trial by job interview" episode. The job interviews were illuminating as it became clear that some of the things written in James' CV were placed there for dramatic effect. I suspect the child chess champion assertion may have also been inserted with an element of hyperbole. For those of you who haven't seen James in action - here are some youtube clips.

Related Posts:
ALCHEssMIST - Alan Sugar Chess - James McQuillan "Owns" Alan Sugar
ALCHEssMIST - The Apprentice 5 - James McQuillan - Really A Child Chess Champion?

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

News Watch - Passing Exams Could Be Child's Play For Boys

Chess in the Park (New York City)
[Flickr Creative Commons, photo by dlkinney]

Poor performance amongst boys at school is a real problem. This article, from The Independent newspaper (3rd June 2009), reports recent research that encouraging boys to be involved with games and sports has a positive impact on their academic performance. Chess was one of the activities shown to have been beneficial.
Study claims schoolchildren who play sport are more likely to succeed in the classroom.
By Richard Garner, Education Editor

Leading academics and policymakers have pondered long and hard about the problem of how to overcome the poor performance of boys at school.

Now it seems, according to new research published today, the answer may be quite simple – just get them to play more games and the exam passes could take care of themselves.

Continued here ...

Political Chess - Obama Chess Metaphor Update

Barack Obama
[Flickr, Creative Commons license]

Since my last Obama chess posting (here) there have been a number new Obama chess metaphor articles, including:
Related Posts:
Political Chess - Obama's Chess Presidency - Strategy Over Tactics
Political Chess - Barack Obama (Chess) vrs Hillary Clinton (Checkers)

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Chess Photography - Fifi The Chess Chimp - London Zoo 1955

This link shows a photo of a young girl from Brighton playing a game of chess with Fifi the chimpanzee at London Zoo (13th October 1955) (Photo by William Vanderson/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Bob Dylan Talks Chess And East Orange New Jersey

Bob Dylan talking about a chess playing coffee house, and a surreal chess dream, in East Orange New Jersey. [From the Minnesota Tapes]

Related Posts:
Musical Chess - Bob Dylan Interviewed By Bono (U2) 1984
Musical Chess - Bob Dylan - Only A Pawn In Their Game

Saturday, 9 May 2009

The Game Of Learning - Elizabeth Barrett The 17 Month Old Reading Prodigy-Phenom


Elizabeth Barrett was 17 months old at the time of the 2 embedded videos here. Her parents Katy and Michael Barrett are both speech pathologists. Even with the knowledge about the parents professions, Elizabeth's ability is still quite remarkable.

The study of child prodigies is very interesting, with every example shedding further light on this phenomenon. With Elizabeth, according to parents, it is plausible that being taught sign language from an early age was a major learning catalyst.

The early signs with Elizabeth included:
  • A large verbal and sign vocabulary emerging by 6 months of age.
  • Pointing to and approximating words in familiar books by 8 months of age.
  • Early pretend-play skills before she could walk.
  • Alphabet recognition before her first birthday.
The clear indicator of Elizabeth's amazing ability was at the age of 13 months when without warning she proudly read out aloud, and also signed, the word "corn" from a cereal box. It is notable that there was no picture of corn on the cereal box. Later that night Elizabeth repeated her skill by reading almost every word presented to her from books and the TV program Signing Time known to her, including Corn, Baby, Horse, Grapes, Purple, Stream.

Despite the delight at their daughter's ability the Barrett's were still concerned about the possibility of a phenomenon called "hyperlexia" which essentially means accelerated reading ability. Hyperlexia may be a "splinter skill" (an isolated enhanced ability) associated with Asperger's syndrome or other autism-spectrum conditions. Thankfully, Elizabeth is "exceedingly social and well-rounded", and the medical opinions have been that she is otherwise a normal little girl who happens to be bright.

Elizabeth and her parents live in Lubbock Texas, which is coincidentally the current home of a previous child chess prodigy - Susan Polgar [Susan Polar Institute of Chess Excellence, Texas Tech University, Lubbock].

The parents have set up a website about Elizabeth -

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Talchemist and Talchessmist - Mikhail TAL "The Alchemist from Riga"

Mikhail Tal has a special place in the hearts of most chess players. Tal deeply loved the game of chess and believed that "Chess, first of all, is Art."

Tal was also known as "The Magician from Riga", because of his extremely powerful and imaginative attacking playing style. Personally, I believe he should also be known as "The Alchemist from Riga" as he was frequently able to transform apparently simple chess games into works of art, much as an alchemist would attempt to transmute simple metals into gold.

When lists are made of the best chess games of all time - Tal's games have unusual prominence. In fact some authors, rather than listing individual Tal games, just simply say, "The games of Tal". The Mammoth Book Of The World's Greatest Chess Games (by Burgess, Nunn, and Emms) cites more games by Tal than any other player.

Tal's play was often very intuitive, rather than deeply calculated. The autobiography of Mikhail Tal gives an amusing hypothetical conversation between a journalist and himself touching on this point.
Journalist: - "It might be inconvenient to interrupt our profound discussion and change the subject slightly, but I would like to know whether extraneous, abstract thoughts ever enter your head while playing a game?"
Tal: - "Yes. For example, I will never forget my game with GM Vasiukov on a USSR Championship. We reached a very complicated position where I was intending to sacrifice a knight. The sacrifice was not obvious; there was a large number of possible variations; but when I began to study hard and work through them, I found to my horror that nothing would come of it. Ideas piled up one after another. I would transport a subtle reply by my opponent, which worked in one case, to another situation where it would naturally prove to be quite useless. As a result my head became filled with a completely chaotic pile of all sorts of moves, and the infamous "tree of variations", from which the chess trainers recommend that you cut off the small branches, in this case spread with unbelievable rapidity.
And then suddenly, for some reason, I remembered the classic couplet by Korney Ivanovic Chukovsky: "Oh, what a difficult job it was. To drag out of the marsh the hippopotamus".
I do not know from what associations the hippopotamus got into the chess board, but although the spectators were convinced that I was continuing to study the position, I, despite my humanitarian education, was trying at this time to work out: just how WOULD you drag a hippopotamus out of the marsh ? I remember how jacks figured in my thoughts, as well as levers, helicopters, and even a rope ladder.
After a lengthy consideration I admitted defeat as an engineer, and thought spitefully to myself: "Well, just let it drown!" And suddenly the hippopotamus disappeared. Went right off the chessboard just as he had come on ... of his own accord! And straightaway the position did not appear to be so complicated. Now I somehow realized that it was not possible to calculate all the variations, and that the knight sacrifice was, by its very nature, purely intuitive. And since it promised an interesting game, I could not refrain from making it."
Journalist: - "And the following day, it was with pleasure that I read in the paper how Mikhail Tal, after carefully thinking over the position for 40 minutes, made an accurately-calculated piece sacrifice".


Burgess, Nunn, and Emms (2004)
The Mammoth Book Of The World's Greatest Chess Games
Robinson, London

Mikhail Tal (1997)
The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal

Everyman Publishers; 2nd Edition