CIPC #64: Back to the future part III

This is going to be a huge disappointment. Just imagine: for more than a year, my fans1 have been waiting, silently fearing my blog would die before I’d get there, getting more excited the last weeks as the date was creeping nearer, and now it’s finally there: the 64th episode! The number of squares on the board! Fischer’s age when he died! There must be some special instalment! Nope. Nada. Zilch. Not one of the big ones everyone was waiting for, nothing deliciously obscure. Just a big ol’ dud. We’re focusing on a board which appeared in a scene of the third movie in the ostentatiously eighties Back to the future series.

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CIPC #63: The X-files S5 E20, The end

As far as I can ascertain, the X-files is more or less an adaptation of the Fortean times in which every uncanny or weirdly creepy story from the magazine happens to the same people: Dana Scully and Fox Mulder. One rather big difference, though, is that each the X-files episode was seen by around twenty million people while the Fortean times has a circulation of less than twenty thousand.1 Another, admittedly smaller, difference is that I am not aware of chess appearing in the pages of the Fortean times but I very much am aware of chess in the X-files. The end, the 20th episode of the fifth season, starts with a game between Gibson Praise, a young American prodigy, and Anatoly Klebanow, a Russian grandmaster.

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CIPC #62: Championship conflict

The history of the world chess championship is filled with scandals. Delicious, delicious scandals. Some of the more famous ones are the yoghurt incident (Karpow vs. Korchnoi, Baguio 1978), the famous 1993 split (Kasparow vs. Short, London 1993), and the bathroom controversy (Kramnik vs. Topalov, Elista 2006). Less well-known is that there has been an actual incident of violence. Not between the players, but between one of them and the arbiter. This happened quite a while ago in a match between Garry Kimovich Katsparow and Anatoly Yevgenyevich Karpaw. Here’s the footage:

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CIPC #61: The New Yorker Vol.52 No.28

Among literary magazines, the New Yorker takes pride of place, counting authors like Roald Dahl, Haruki Murakami, and Vladimir Nabokov under its contributors. On top of that, it’s the source of the expression “back to the drawing board”. This all sounds very promising. Maybe they, of all media, might be able to represent chess well? Maybe, but they also published Salinger’s work, so it might just as well be a disaster. Let’s have a look at the cover of the August 30, 1976 issue (cover art by by James Stevenson) to settle the question:

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CIPC #60: Kiekeboe Vol.89, De s van pion

Every now and then, some mainstream comic of tv-series features chess in one of its episodes; by now you might already be aware of that. Once in a blue moon it happens twice in the same series. On such a rare occasion, one would perhaps be inclined to expect that one of the people involved has a thing for chess and that, consequently, the chess is quite good. Alas! Once more, you’d be mislead into overestimating the general public’s knowledge of chess.

I already talked about volume 14 from the highly popular1 Kiekeboe series, today I’ll spotlight volume 89: De s van pion. This time, chess even made it into the title, which translated more or less to s like in pawn. In Dutch this looks sort of like a pun if you squint at it sideways, as adding the s to pion gives spion, which means spy.

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CIPC #59: Sargon series front covers

Long time ago, in this very galaxy, I wrote a post showcasing some chess-themes book covers. At that time, I expected I might be able to write a similar post with some more book covers, but I never expected to write one about chess software covers. After all, if you’re selling chess programs, your clients are probably going to be chess nerds – exactly the demographic which might be put off by unlikely cover art. Once more, I vastly overestimated the effort people put into these things: there are tons of computer engines with horrible front covers. There are so many, in fact, that I can fill a whole damn blog post with covers from the Sargon series alone.1

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CIPC #58: Existential comics No.215

I think I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: there’s some weird stuff on the internet. There’s a subreddit dedicated to unexpected factorials, there’s a website about Belgian chess history, there’s a website to take you to useless websites. Why wouldn’t there be a place for comics about philosophers? Of course there is! And there’s chess in it! Which is great, because I haven’t discussed any webcomics so far. In the first strip of the 215th instalment, we see Sartre playing against de Beauvoir.

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CIPC #57: The big fat quiz of everything 2018

QI, Only Connect… the Brits have probably the greatest quiz programs in the world. It is not surprising, then, that every year there is an extra long, extra special one: the big fat quiz of the year. Due to enormous popularity, there have been special editions about the seventies, the eighties, the nineties, an anniversary edition, and a few big fat quizzes of everything. Of course, this wouldn’t be an English tradition if there weren’t a few traditions within the tradition. One of those is that children of the Mitchell Brook primary school play out some event from history and the players then have to guess what event it was. These little plays are the whole reason I bring up this quiz. Just look what these children played in the big fat quiz of everything 2018. The panellists get to see a short clip, but we’re amongst experts here, so a still-shot should do:

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CIPC #56: Batman Vol.1 No.23

I have a confession to make: I know squat about American comics. Especially about superhero comics. Of course, there’s a lot of chess in them, just because there’s such an enormous quantity of magazines and issues, but they just seem so silly to me. It’s not a very original objection, for sure, but it seems to be a valid one. Why are they all wearing these ridiculous spandex suits? What’s with the strange adoption of both Norse and Greek legends? Someone gets bitten by a radioactive spider and as a result he shoots webs from his wrists? What?! The one person who escapes most of my criticisms is Batman and today we’ll have a look at one of his earlier issues, which features a chess game on the cover.

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CIPC #55: Gargoyles S2 E9 City of stone

Gargoyles is an animated tv series from the nineties and I have a serious problem with it. The writing is quite interesting. It blends Shakespearean themes with medieval legends and modern day industrial corruption. The animation, too, is perfectly alright. Unsurprisingly, as it is produced by Disney. The voice acting is not just alright, it’s really good. Especially Keith David gives a great performance as Goliath. So what’s my complaint? There are no gargoyles in it! Judging from their poses and the fact that they are never shown spitting water, it seems obvious that they’re grotesques, not gargoyles. However, we’re willing to forgive that if the chess makes sense. Let’s have a look.

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