Thursday, April 30, 2009

Endgame Clothing

Years ago, during the long casual games that overtook the Comet on chilled Tuesday evenings. Before all you can eat bacon, when the idea for Knightskewer was still frantically swimming upstream. We talked about making Tshirts related to chess that wouldn't inspire the general public to swashbuckle over and make our pupils dance to the rhythm of the reverberations inside our skull. Oh, we had ideas. Post work, over caffinated ideas that would make Kasparov blush. But we never found the right combinations. Our beakers were left half full at best, if not exploding blue bubbly chemicals altogether.

While we were daydreaming, a new nexus was forming in California that could give the average chess player a symbol, a flag, something that inspires head nods and knowing looks. Someone was actively tailoring fantasy into reality. Someone who weaves fashion and chess with the testosterone laced fibers of ultimate fighting. Someone that can advertise chess without inspiring brutality. Who's beakers commingle with Bunsen burners like they were born to be together. My friends, its here.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Rook of Jungle Healing

Ive written about the healing power of chess before. While reading Out of Captivity: Surviving 1967 Days in the Colombian Jungle I came across another smirk producing passage. One of the captives spent a year carving all 32 pieces and was able to scrounge a piece of cardboard to put them on. The piece carving and the marathon games took their minds away from the brutal imprisoning by the FARC. It did what it always does to the human mind.

"Eventually I got so immersed in chess that I would skip lunch if i was in the middle of a game so that I could study the board and plot my next moves. During our marathon, day long matches, the guards who had gone off duty at the start came up to us later in the day for an update. These titanic struggles between the master and the pupil loomed large in everyone's imagination. I was grateful for the distraction the games provided; they helped me take my mind off of Ingrid and the others. I prayed for her nightly and hoped she was well."

Monday, April 06, 2009

Its like imagining a time without sandwiches.

The beginning/middle of a game my brother and I are currently entrenched in. I slacked. Leaking knowledge. He won the last four games. But I can feel it returning. When the doors open up in your mind and the water rushes out, like its been waiting, but it had to because it wasn't the right time. The Colle System felt right. The rust had to be scraped off eventually. He tends to get spiderwebbed in conservative games, while I get hosed on the open Field finding complications where their are none and missing the path of trampled grass aiming for the king side. What to do now? I don't know. He is on a short vacation. But it will be mindful. And if I lose their is always a fallback:

1. d4 d5
2. Nf3 Bf5
3. e3 e6
4. Bd3 Bg4
5. Nbd2 Bd6
6. O-O Nf6
7. Re1 O-O
8. e4 dxe4
9. Bxe4 c6
10. h3 Bh5
11. a3 Nbd7
12. c4 Rc8
13. b3 Bb8
14. Bb2 Qc7
15. g3 Rcd8
16. Kh2