24 March 2017

Posing for Euros

Once again, as in Sand Dudes Play Chess (June 2015), we are confronted with the deep philosophical question, 'What is this exactly' : a statue or elaborate makeup?

Chess and the Girl © Flickr user Juan Diego under Creative Commons.

Armed with the knowledge that the 'This photo is in 1 album: Madrid', plus the only information in the description -- 'Calle del Arenal' -- we learn that the calle 'is one of the 10 streets emanating from the Puerta del Sol Square' (gomadrid.com). This leads to the discovery,

Street performers must be permanent fixtures of Puerta del Sol. You might chance on one corner a motorcycle rider floating high with his bike, and on another a human statue playing chess. Others scatter all around the square as they act out the Predator, Edward Scissorshands, and various characters, mostly from Disney.

Each one is eager to get the attention of passing tourists. Be wary about taking their pictures, however, as it isn’t free. See to it that you have at least a euro to pay afterwards. (letstalkmadrid.com)

There's even another photo of the player wearing a hat: 2014, July ' a street performer at Puerta del Sol in Madrid, Spain (wikimedia.org); same table, same clock, different player, different position on the board. Don't forget to pay him a euro.

23 March 2017

Follow-up Closure

In my previous post, Chess in Conceptual Art, I wrote,

The upside about a category like Posts with label zFLUP (where FLUP = followup), is that it's always there when I need it. The downside is that, once in a while, I actually have to follow something up.

The downside is not just following something up, it's also about removing it from the list of things to follow up. Here are a few posts that required administrative closure.

Next step: Follow up something else.

21 March 2017

Chess in Conceptual Art

The upside about a category like Posts with label zFLUP (where FLUP = followup), is that it's always there when I need it. The downside is that, once in a while, I actually have to follow something up. Take the photo in A Lonely Knight (January 2017), for example, where the idea to followup was:-

Maybe it would help if I understood what 'conceptual art' meant.

Wikipedia says, 'not to be confused with concept art', and continues,

Conceptual art, sometimes simply called conceptualism, is art in which the concept(s) or idea(s) involved in the work take precedence over traditional aesthetic and material concerns. • Conceptual art

I think I get it. The idea behind 'Lonely Knight' is romantic loss, which makes the photo conceptual. Wikipedia continues,

History: The French artist Marcel Duchamp paved the way for the conceptualists, providing them with examples of prototypically conceptual works -- the readymades, for instance.

The name Marcel Duchamp is often attached to chess, as in a half-dozen posts on this blog. The most recent was Borrowing Leaves (December 2015; 'Marcel Duchamp and Larry Evans playing chess'). Getting back to 'conceptual art', what differentiates it from 'concept art'? Wikipedia again:-

Concept art is a form of illustration used to convey an idea for use in films, video games, animation, comic books or other media before it is put into the final product. • Concept art

While looking for examples of 'conceptual art', I became convinced that Google was confusing the term with 'concept art'. Wrapping the keyword in quotes ("conceptual") produced a different set of examples. I eventually found an entire category on deviantart.com.

Browsing Conceptual on DeviantArt

Where have I featured that site before? Oh, yes, in Chess on Your Mind (September 2009), which turns out to be another example of conceptual art.

20 March 2017

Korchnoi's Career 1946-1977, More Discrepancies

Let's continue once again with Viktor Korchnoi's Tournament, Match, and Exhibition Record (TMER; 1946-2015). In my previous post, Korchnoi's Career 1946-1977, Long Events, I identified a number of discrepancies in Levy & O'Connell's book (L&O) covering the first 30 years -- the Soviet period -- of Korchnoi's career.

Since a discrepancy can arise from a number of situations -- an error in the book, an error in my manipulation of the data, or an error in the TMER index -- each discrepancy needs to be examined further.

Of the 10 discrepancies I flagged, one occurred because Korchnoi's result in an event was recorded incorrectly in the book's summary of his career. All of the others were due to an error in the index of the book : a wrong year, a wrong venue, or a game missing completely. I learned so much from the exercise that I prepared a similar overview of the next tranche of tournaments : where Korchnoi had between 11 and 15 opponents. Once again discrepancies in the number of games are flagged in square brackets ('[]').

A new curiosity is that five events are missing completely from the book's summary, which was also the original source of my TMER. These need to be investigated separately. While working on all of this, I noticed that L&O includes the month played for many events and days played for many individual games. I'll compare these with the TMER as soon as I get a chance.

19 March 2017

Lasker's Manual Autographed

As far as I can tell, the last time I featured Em.Lasker on Top eBay Chess Items by Price was Beating Dr.Lasker in a Simul (February 2013). The item pictured below was titled 'Chess book signed by Emanuel Lasker 1932 autograph' and sold for $400, 'Best offer accepted', down from an initial asking price of $600.

The item's description said,

Hard Lasker's Chess Manual 1932; The Printing-Craft Ltd., London; 349 pages with 308 black & white illustrations. • This chess manual has long been considered one of the most significant works on chess ever written. First revised edition. Lasker's Chess Manual is presented in a unique style and has great historical significance. Typical for Lasker, the focus is on general principles that can be used in a variety of situations, rather than lengthy analysis of a single line or position. First English edition was published in 1927. • A very good copy with an extremely scarce dust jacket. Signed by Emanuel Lasker.

Lasker's Manual is an occasional source of inspiration on this blog. See, for example, Lasker on Computer Chess (April 2012), and Thinking about Chess (April 2014).

17 March 2017

Hijab Wrapup

Remember Hijab Hubris (October 2016)? Here's the final result.

Interview and Press Conference Women's World Chess Champion 2017 (13:59) • 'Congratulations to Tan Zhongyi'

For an overview of the event, see World Chess Championship (Women) : 2017 FIDE Knockout Matches.

16 March 2017

A Short History of CCL

Last year, in Chess and Social Trends (October 2016), I kicked off the ongoing 'Chess and Sociology' series with a post about a huge Facebook group.

Chess Club Live (CCL) currently accounts for about half of the traffic to this blog -- I know this because the RSS feed breaks from time to time. I'm looking forward to delve further into its mysteries and into the overall sociology that surrounds chess as a global cultural phenomenon.

The founder of the group recently shared some facts about its history, including a related video.

Michael Chukwuma Mkpadi: The story of Chess Club Live was way back in 1996 I developed a chess page I called Michael's Chess Page. This was inspired by a chess page I used to browse in 1993-95 called Steve Pribut's Chess Page.

Later I created a chess server based on the WebChess open source code, called WebChess X. It sucked big time, but I learned a lot and got a loyal devoted fan base. Then in 2007 I joined Facebook and created a page for it, calling it the Facebook Chess Club. Facebook almost sued me and told me to rename it which I did to Chess Club Live. My friend Carina Jørgensen joined it when I was about to abandon the whole idea, convinced me it was a good idea, and allowed me the use of her chess art to use to promote it and make it cool.

It worked because we grew and then I decided to make something of permanent value we ought to share, but allow people to share on our page. We first shared content with Onlinechesslesson.net now iChess. They posted on our page and then we invited other pages and content creators.

I developed a chess RSS news feed for Chess Club Live using ideas invented by Aaron Swartz, then later created a social media network Social Chess Club Live. The founder of Lichess, Thibault Duplessis, saw it and agreed to allow me to integrate Lichess on every page, so they became our chess server widget. The rest, as they say, is history.

Here's the video on Vimeo.com.

Team Chess Club Live from Chess Club Live on Vimeo.

For more about the origins of CCL, see A story of Chess Tech (facebook.com/ChessClubLive; 3 November 2015). [Will this link work for non-Facebook visitors? I'll find out as soon as it is posted...]


Later: Re 'Will this link work', the video plays along with a message: 'To see more from Chess Club Live on Facebook, log in or create an account'. There are no other links.