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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CIPC #54: The black cat

They know. They all know. I’m convinced of it. All these directors, painters, marketeers – they all knew that, one day, a supreme weirdo would rise from the swamp.1 Someone who pauses movies whenever a chess board appears on screen. Someone who’ll read a comic book because two people play chess in one of the panels. Someone who stares at an ad and forgets which product it’s praising because he’s trying to figure out which piece is which. Me. In response, a whole arsenal of tricks was developed to avoid getting one’s work dissected on this blog: one can keep the board in the background, one can show it only form afar, or only part of it. Or one can hide behind low resolution.

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CIPC #53: Highland queen advertisement

“The good old days.” What rot! Rarely has such a huge amount of bullshit been concentrated in one sentence.  In the old days, people died of smallpox, people were famished, people dropped dead en masse before they were fifty. There were no computers, there was no internet, there were no billions of cat pictures available at a single keystroke. No, the olden days were lousy.1 One thing I must admit, though, is that they were classy. Just look how booze used to be advertised:

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CIPC #52: From Russia with love

You know what? No. I’m fed up with it. Week after week I look at the infantile doodlings of some guy who has never seen a Sicilian dragon in his life, like a trained pianist who has to listen to an eight-year old grope his way through Petzold’s1 minuet in G. This will not stand. I want a break. I want to look at a proper chess game for once. Luckily, there is one movie which is famous for featuring a real chess game. One movie which every chess blog ends up talking about. That movie is From Russia with love.

In the, admittedly quite small, circle of CIPC connoisseurs, it is common knowledge that the game between Kronsteen and McAdams is really a game between Spassky and Bronstein. Here is the position as shown in the movie:

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CIPC #51: Lucky Luke Vol.35, Jesse James

Who’s the greatest cowboy in popular culture? John Wayne, maybe? Clint Eastwood? Jonah Hex? If you ask me, the correct answer is Lucky Luke. Introduced by Morris in 1946, he has become one of the most popular and recognisable figures in Franco-Belgian comics. He’s semi-officially known as “the man who shoots faster than his own shadow”1 and he is indeed an amazing gunslinger, but there’s much more to him than that: he’s smart, strong, and resourceful. Plus, he’s got the coolest horse ever.

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