CIPC #147: Giving the devil her due, Vol.1

At the very beginning of Giving the devil her due, a webcomic1 by D. S. Newman and Magaly Abarca, a certain David gets run over by a truck. He dies, but before his death is finalised, he gets to play his traditional game of chess against Azrael, the angel of death.2 In a rare twist on this classical theme, the grim reaper himself promises to serve him for the rest of his life if he manages to win. This is where the real plot twist happens: it turns out that death, despite several centuries of practice against millions of opponents, is not very good at chess and he loses against our protagonist, who turns out to be a sixth grade state champion. At least that’s what he claims, but I don’t believe it.

Read more

CIPC #146: Wolfen

Wolfen is a supernatural thriller from 1981, mainly known for starring Albert Finney. The plot starts in a very standard fashion: people are being murdered in New York and when an extremely rich business magnate is killed, former police captain Dewey Wilson is called back out of retirement. The police collect some hairs on the crime scenes which are identified by a zoologist they consult as being wolf hairs. But since when are there wolves in New York? Has this perhaps not been staged somehow? They arrest a member of a suspected terrorism cell. We get a shot of him being interrogated through what is probably supposed to be a one-way mirror1 in front of which is a chess board:

Read more

CIPC #145: Chess book cover galore

It was a long time ago. It was a simpler time then and there was a certain sincerity to the world, born of simplicity more than of innocence. There was still a glimmer of optimism alive in your servant. Yes, in my previous blog post about book covers, I made a footnote that chess book were ‘obviously’ excluded. My reasoning was that chess books are usually written by people who are knowledgable about chess and therefore pick a reasonable position for their cover. In fact, most chess books are about openings and then you can just stick some tabiya on the front and be done with it. Alas, once again, I overestimated the care people put into their work.

Read more

CIPC #144: Rivron, Het caravan kookboek

It’s a — it’s a cookbook! When I started this blog, I was expecting many things. I knew there would be films, comic books, and TV-series. I expected there would be music videos, some book covers, the odd painting perhaps. What I most definitely did not expect was a cookbook. A cookbook! Cookbooks contain recipes, not chess scenes; pictures of cheesecakes, not chess boards. At least, that is what I thought, until Het caravan kookboek [originally titled Caravan cookbook]1 was brought to my attention. There, on page 110, to the left of a recipe for olives with garlic, chilli, and parsley, we see two pictures of some guys at a chessboard.

Read more

CIPC #143: Stone, Impending mate & Mated

Some twenty years ago, there was a regular contributor to the magazine Chess writing under the name C. P. Ravilious. He mainly wrote a column called Collectors’ corner, which had all sorts of interesting stories and pictures from the early history of chess, but sometimes he contributed standalone articles about similar topics and it is via one of those that I first encountered today’s subject: two engravings after pictures by Frank Stone. Apparently, these engravings were highly popular in chess circles somewhere around 1840. Why, I don’t know, because the art is nothing special and the pun is cheesier than a giant wheel of Gouda, but perhaps people were just so starved for anything chess-themed to hang on the wall of their club that they were willing to take anything.1

Read more

CIPC #142: Nero Vol.143, De dood van Bompa

Nero is, or was at least, incredibly famous in Flanders and completely unknown outside of it. It is a comic with a cast of colourful characters, like Adhemar, the baby who lectures at Oxford, Abraham Tuizentfloot, the long-bearded pirate who fought at Trafalgar and Abukir, Petoetje, an adopted Papuan prince who became a pop star after dancing on his head, and many, many more. It was the brainchild of Marc Sleen who wrote and mostly drew the series for over fifty years and for more than 160 (one hundred sixty!) volumes: enough to gain a place in the Guinness world record book for longest running comic series drawn by the same person. Volume 143, De dood van Bompa [Bompa’s death], is the last instalment of a trilogy about Nero’s grandfather. It deals with his dead and the war between good and evil for his soul. In strip 28 we see him stuck in limbo:1

Read more

CIPC #141: La Bayadère (bis)

‘Wait!’ I hear you exclaim, ‘La Bayadère? Didn’t you talk about that before?’ I did! In fact, it is the same Makarova adaptation of Petipa’s choreography that I’ll be talking about today – but this time it’s the Royal Opera House, with Ovsyanikov conducting and Rojo, Acosta, and Nuñez doing the dancing. Since the choreography is the same, there is also some chess but, of course, a different production means a different chess scene.1 This is what the second scene of the first act looks like this time:

Read more

CIPC #140: Final move

One thing I haven’t done yet this year, is commenting on a chess-themed movie. More than a hundred blog posts ago, I commented on Lang leve de koningin and shortly before that on Knight moves. And for today, I found another one! It’s called Final move, the tag-line is ‘your next move may be your last’ and the ‘i’ in ‘final’ is a white queen which has been shot in the head, as you can see below. There’s going to be murder, action, suspense, and most of all chess. The cover promises us David Carradine, of Kill Bill fame, and Matt Schulze, from The fast and the furious. Let’s do this!

Read more

CIPC #139: Miller advertisement

The image below can be found easily on the net. It is apparently from an advertisement campaign for Miller beer from, I think, the end of the fifties. The slogan of the campaign, not just this particular ad, was apparently the champagne of bottle beer. Obviously, their beer is ridiculously expensive, fizzy, and made from grapes. The other lines aren’t any better:

Ad: Distinctive in taste…

That’s probably also true of potatoes marinated in banana juice.

Ad: Accepted and appreciated by those who demand and expect the very best.

That’s the most clunky thing I have read in a long, long time. Also, those people probably ‘accept and appreciate’ pigs, but they sure as hell aren’t going to drink them.

Read more

CIPC #138: Blackadder II E4, Money

Blackadder is a serious contender for the title of best TV-series in history. The first season was perhaps not great, but from season two to season six it is top-notch comedy, with Rowan Atkinson giving a consistently amazing performance as the sarcastic eponymic nobleman and Tony Robinson as his filthy and stupid sidekick Baldrick. Throughout the series, people like Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie join the cast as supporting actors. In fact, in the fourth episode of the second series, we can see Stephen Fry as lord Melchett in a game of chess against none other than Queen Elizabeth I (Miranda Richardson).

Read more

Recently added tournaments