BCH

CIPC #22: Mozart in the jungle S1 E2 Fifth chair

Mozart in the jungle is an Amazon original series based on a book of the same name. It focuses on an New York-based up-and-coming oboist’s struggle to make it in the world of professional orchestra players. The show is overall pretty good, with the main attraction probably being Gael García Bernal who plays the slightly eccentric conductor Rodrigo.1 In the second episode of the series, where our protagonist gets to play fifth oboe in Mahler’s 8th symphony, we see Rodrigo exploring his new home town New York. As part of this exploration he plays chess against a local hustler.

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BOBCH #1: Beyen vs. Filip (1971)

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:

In 1971, the European team championship was not held in a Swiss system, but rather with preliminary groups, much like in football. And lo! it came to pass that the strong Czechoslovakian team travelled to the distant city of Ostend, in order to make minced meat out of their Belgian opponents. The first day, the Belgian faced their formidable opponents and were crushed. Boey managed to snatch half a point against Hort, but all other games were lost. Then came the second day…

The protagonists:

White: Roland Beyen, 39 years old, rating: 2280

When this game was played, Beyen had been a national top player for quite some time. He represented Belgium in four olimpiads and countless matches. In the national club championship he was Ostend’s trusted first board. He is more well-known now as a correspondence player. He earned the IMC title, but that had not happened yet in 1971.

Black: GM Miroslav Filip, 43 years old, rating: 2510

Filip was a world-class player. He won the GM title in 1955, qualified twice for the candidates’ tournament and chessmetrics puts him as high as number 17 in the world in 1961. At the time of this game, he was still number 63 on the FIDE list. By then, he had won the Czechoslovakian championship three times. On the final of the previous European team championship, he had won the gold medal on board 2 before Korchnoi. Clearly, he is the upperdog.

Why did I pick this game?

Because of white’s 28th move: a magnificent tactical trick which, according to Tim Krabbé’s website, was really due to Dunkelblum.

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CIPC #21: Midsomer Murders S15 E5 The Sicilian defence

It doesn’t happen very often that a long-running television show dedicates an entire episode to chess, but when it happens – oh boy! Episode 5 of season 15 of British detective series Midsomer murders is just such an episode. It is called the Sicilian defence and is about a murderer killing members of the local chess club after the daughter of one of them has woken up from a coma. It is an hour and a half long and in this time it provides enough material to keep this blog going for a whole year, so I’m not going to expound every error and every unlikely position. Let’s just focus on one short scene of the camera panning over a series of chess boards in a supposedly important tournament. This is the first board we see:

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CIPC #20: Promofilm liga Antwerpen

What is the last place where you would expect an impossible position to appear on the chessboard? I don’t know precisely what my own answer to this question would be, but I think I would consider “in a promotional spot for a chess federation” a pretty good answer. First of all, you wouldn’t even expect such a promotional spot to exist. Secondly, you would expect a chess federation to take a more or less reasonable position for such a spot, even if it’s just out of habit. Not so, apparently. I was looking around on the website of the Antwerp league chess federation,1 and saw that there was a promofilm. Out of curiosity I decided to watch the full 45 seconds, and then I was confronted by this:

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CIPC #19: Lang leve de koningin

Due to enormous success1 the last time I commented on a chess-themed movie, I will do it again. This time, the focus will be on a Dutch movie, because focusing on obscure films in minor European languages is a sure-fire way to bring in more hits. It is called, as the brighter reader might have gleaned from this post’s title, Lang leve de koningin (which can be translated as Long live the queen2) and was written by Euwe’s granddaughter Esmé Lammers. It won a prize for best Dutch film of the year, but that’s like winning a concours d’élégance for Hyundai Matrices. Let’s see what it gives.

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CIPC #18: Hamilton watches advert

Watches, especially the high-end ones, have a very posh image. They’re supposed to be for the distinguished gentleman, evoking images of a quiet British club somewhere, with people in smoking discussing economics in an exceedingly polite fashion. “Wait a moment!” someone must have said in a meeting somewhere “That’s just like chess!” and lo! a new advertisement campaign was born. Chess and watches: could this be a match made in heaven? Let’s find out!

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CIPC #17: 1984

One sure sign of an author’s lasting success is when his phrases and his words become common parlance. Very few authors have achieved this in the English language1 , but one of those lucky few is George Orwell: big brother, newspeak, doublethink, have by now earned a permanent place in the vocabulary.2 Hell, even Orwellian is a word now. Of course, with an author this popular, movies3 abound. One of those is 1984 from. It features a chess scene (which I don’t remember from the book, but it’s been ages since I read that) as you probably guessed from the fact that there is a post about it on this blog.

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CIPC #16: Guust Flater Vol.5: Daverende flaters te koop

Guust Flater, or Gaston Lagaffe in the original French, is probably the most popular anti-hero of the Franco-Belgian school of comic books. The series, written and drawn by Franquin, features the various mishaps of the titular character, who terrorises his colleagues in the offices of the Spirou magazine with chemical experiments, cacophonic eruptions on his Gaffophone, and other types of typical office shenanigans. There is, as far as I recall, one panel featuring chess in the series, which you can see below. It comes from what might possibly be something like volume 5 of the series, but the entire series is the most chronologically confusing thing ever,1 so let’s just talk about chess.

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CIPC #15: Book cover galore

Chess, due to its symbolical connotations, is a popular motive for book covers, even if the book itself has nothing whatever to do with it. The idea is, no doubt, to invoke visions of scheming minds and intricately interwoven plots. Usually, this is restricted to an empty chess board or a single piece somewhere but sometimes there is a bit more to it. This week we’re going to talk about a few of the more interesting examples I know of. No, that does not include Breaking Dawn.1

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CIPC #14: Knight moves

Fourteenth instalment! Finally a nice round number!1 That deserves something special, I’d say. Something very special indeed: I’m going to watch a movie. More specifically, I’m going to watch Knight moves, an obscure 1992 film about a chess grandmaster getting mixed up in a serial killer case, and am going to write my impressions along the way. Clearly, there will be a good deal of chess to discuss, but this time I’ll try to pay attention to the plot as well. The main stars are Christopher Lambert, fresh from the enormous success2 of Highlander II, and one of the lesser Baldwins. What could go wrong? Let’s find out…

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