BCH

CIPC #39: Alfred J. Kwak S1 E12, Alfred’s chess adventure

Alfred J. Kwak is an invention of multitalented Dutchman Herman van Veen.1 It is a show about an orphaned duck who was brought up by a mole and who, inevitably, gets into all sorts of adventures. The main difference between Alfred J. Kwak and other children shows is that Alfred’s adventures tend to be, perhaps, a bit more serious and more focused on a long-term plot. Such is not the case, however with the subject of today’s post. It is just a whimsical winter tale about a game of chess between Alfred and his foster father Henk. It starts of rather promising: there is a drawing of colours, and with remarkable speed the Polerio variation of the two knight’s game appears on the board. We cut to another scene and when we come back, we see this:

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BOBCH #4: Dely vs. Boey (1974)

By now, there are several thousands of games on this site. How is one supposed to find games that are interesting? The answer is that one is not. One can, from now, look at the Best Of Belgian Chess History posts to find some of the more interesting ones. One can even make suggestions to the webmaster. One is very lucky, indeed.

The scene:

It’s the beginning of the seventies. The chess world is in deep shock, for a Belgian has earned the IM title! Yes indeed, after convincing performances on Belgium’s first board in the 1970 and 1972 olimpiad, Boey has gained the master title. As if that wasn’t enough, he’s also doing very well in the correspondence world championship. People in the Netherlands have noticed this, too, and decide to invite him for the IM group of the 14th IBM tournament. For Boey, this is a unique opportunity, because international tournaments don’t exist in Belgium. The first round pits him against the experiences Hungarian master Dely.

The protagonists:

White: IM Péter Dely, 40 years old, rating: 2470

Dely had already had a distinguished career by this point. Just a few years before he had won the highly prestigious Hungarian championship. A regular member of the national team, he has helped it win a silver and a bronze medal in the European team championship. Among his most notable individual results were victories in the classic Reggio Emilia tournament, as well as in the Rubinstein memorial in Polanica Zdrój. As a curiosity, he had also won the first ever tournament to count for the official FIDÉ rating in Luxembourg in 1971. According to chessmetrics.com, Dely reached a peak of the 71st palce in the world.

Black: IM Jozef Martin Boey, 40 years old, rating: 2435

Boey was about as old as Dely and had about the same rating, but he had played far fewer international tournaments. He had mainly built his reputation in the olimpiads – he had already played six – and two zonal tournaments. This lack of international appearances was due to the fact that Boey never became a professional player. This is also why he focused on correspondence chess. In this discipline, he had already finished second and shared second in two European correspondence championships and was still in the running to win the world championship.

Why did I choose this game?

It shows Boey in superior form, wielding his favourite Chigorin defence as a terrifying weapon. His experienced Hungarian opponent gets a bit too greedy in the opening and is immediately squashed like a third-class player.

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CIPC #38: Mafalda

Which countries do you associate with comics? Perhaps you will immediately think of the American tradition, with superhero comics and Peanuts-style newspaper comics. Maybe the Japanese manga springs to mind first. Or perhaps the Franco-Belgian bande dessinée is your favourite. In any case, Argentina was probably not your first choice. Still, one of the most popular comic series from the sixties and seventies was created by an Argentinian author under the nom de plume Quino: La Mafalda, about a typical six-year old girl from Argentina. I don’t know much about the series, but it seems like Quino liked chess quite a bit. In the following strip,1 we see Mafalda on the right playing chess on of her best friends, Felipe.

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CIPC #37: Chloë Howl, Rumour

Long, long time ago, when October was but a sparkle in the eye of winter, I wrote a blog post about the music video for some pop song. Since then, I have not revisited the genre. Why is this? Two reasons come to mind. First, my knowledge of pop music is restricted to the vague notion that, at some point, some people from Liverpool became somewhat famous for there endeavours in this line of work. Second, pop musicians are perhaps not terribly attracted to the chess. I can only assume that something went wrong in their upbringing – the same thing that led to them become pop stars, I guess. Still, I stumbled upon a second entry in the short list of chess-themed musical videos: Rumour, by the aptly named Chloë Howl.1

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CIPC #36: New Scientist No.3144

In der Beschränkung zeigt sich der Meister. In our days of niche studies and absurdly specific website, Goethe’s quote is more poignant than ever. Still, when I started a blog discussing unlikely depictions of chess in popular culture, I thought I had a market cornered. I thought I had a pretty safe monopoly, not because of the superior quality of my product, but simply because nobody else wants in on it. Yet here we are, less than a year later, and people are already treading on my turf.1 You see, New Scientist has dedicated its cover to a cartoon depicting Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un playing a game of chess, and Macauley Peterson has published an article about this on ChessBase. Am I still relevant? Should I surrender my position? Should I close my blog? Let’s investigate!

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CIPC #35: Age of Empires II

Age of Empires II was in its heydays the most popular real-time strategy game in the world and this popularity has lasted. The original game was released in 1999, but as recent as December 2016 a new expansion pack came out and a remastered definitive1 edition has been announced. Millions of players all over the world have been attracted by the widely different but well-balanced unit trees, the easy to understand but difficult to master gameplay, the careful crafted solo missions, and the worldwide multiplayer mode. One player2 has been attracted by the opening cut scene of the game, wherein we see two kings playing chess.

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CIPC #34: The Simpsons S28 E14 The cad and the hat

Thirty-three episode long have I managed to avoid it, eight months have I put it off, but today I finally give in. Today I accept the inevitable. Today I talk about the Simpsons. This show has run for twenty-eight seasons by now and has, out of sheer necessity, dealt with almost everything. As a consequence, it works as a rather strange attractor for blogs dealing with popular culture.  The episode we will talk about was first aired on February 19th 2017, making it the most recent subject of this blog. We see the Simpson family walk among a few chess board.

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CIPC #33: Suske en Wiske Vol.245 De 7 schaken

Imagine, if you will, that you are a chess-obsessed kid in Flanders. A bleak prospect, perhaps, but try to entertain it for a little while longer. Chess is pretty much invisible to you: nobody cares about it, nobody mentions it – certainly not kids. Suske en Wiske, on the other hand, is omnipresent. It is perhaps the most popular comic books series, spawning several spin-offs and adaptations, it can be read in daily instalments in the newspaper – you cannot avoid it. Obviously, when you learn that there is a Suske en Wiske volume called De 7 schaken, you get excited. Chess is even in title! You don’t rest until you’ve got your hands on a copy. From there, things go downhill with the speed of an avalanche in a Ferrari.

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CIPC #32: Mystery science theater 3000 S5 E5 The magical voyage of Sinbad

Mystery science theater 30001 might just be my favourite television show ever. As far as I’m aware, it only ever aired in the United States, so I’m guessing most readers are not familiar with it. The basic premise of the show is simple: making fun of really bad films is amusing. MST3K, as the show is abbreviated by its loving fans, is about a guy who has been shot into space by a mad scientist in order to be subjected to really cheesy B-movies. Together with, Crow T. Robot and Tom servo – two robots he build to keep him company – he tries to hang on to his sanity by making fun of such cinematic masterpieces as Eegah, The incredibly strange creatures who stopped living and became mixed-up zombies, or The magical voyage of Sinbad.

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CIPC #31: The unbearable lightness of being

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that every single book with good reviews, must be in want of a movie version. Hence, with the inevitability of a parakeet going tweet, the unbearable lightness of being was made into a film. The book is by Czech-French author Kundera,1 the movie is not. Instead, it was directed by Kaufman and come into (unbearably light) being in 1988.  Rather close to the beginning of the film we see the protagonist in a swimming pool. As is apparently not uncommon in eastern Europe, some people are playing chess in the water:

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