BCH

CIPC #219: The Da Vinci code

Here’s an interesting observation about pop culture in 2021: there hasn’t been a book craze in quite a while. Some twenty years ago, there was the Harry Potter of course, then the Twilight series, the Hunger games trilogy but nothing seems to have captured the public’s imagination since then.1 One thing that did, smack dab in the Harry Potter period no less, was Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci code. It has plot holes big enough to hide an aircraft carrier in and the writing ain’t great, but it was huge. Naturally, a movie was made.


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CIPC #218: Frauenarzt Dr. Prätorius

Sad news for the lovers of early music: we’re not talking about the iconic German music theorist and composers from around 1700. Instead, we are talking about a German movie from 1950 based on a play by Curt Goetz who also plays the main role. It’s about a gynaecologist. One of his patients is pregnant but unmarried which is a big problem, as this is the fifties. He decides to go see her father, comments on his well-maintained roses, gets invited in and bam! Chess!

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CIPC #217: Agatha Christie’s Poirot S9 E2, Sad cypress

Long, long time ago, when this blog was still in its infancy, Agatha Christie’s Poirot was a recurring guest. It’s been more than two years now since I wrote about him, but that does not mean that I have covered all the times chess appeared in the series. There is also today’s subject, for example. A young couple gets an unpleasant anonymous letter and, naturally, Poirot gets involved. While he is studying the letter, his involver is sitting in a comfy-looking chair at a chess table. No, not a chessboard, an honest to god chess table. Here it is:

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CIPC #216: Suske en Wiske – korte verhalen – schaken

Everybody in Flanders know Suske en Wiske. There are well over three hundred issues in the comic book series, there have been a couple of films, some video games, a musical. All of this is well-known and deeply dull. Less well-known is that there is a YouTube channel dedicated to the series. I’m not even sure how legitimate this channel is, because I can’t find a trace of it on the official Suske en Wiske website. Then again, nothing has been uploaded there in years, so perhaps they forgot about it as well.

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CIPC #215: The tempest

Shakespeare — a name to conjure with! Yes, the immortal bard is finally appearing on my blog. That he was going to appear was pretty much inevitable, because one of the most famous references to chess in all of literature occurs near the end of his career, in the final act of The tempest. In it, young lovebirds Fernando and Miranda and playing chess in the primitive abode wherein Miranda dwells with her father. It could look a little like this:

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CIPC #214: Dracula A. D. 1972

There are very few stories that have been adapted to the big screen as often as Bram Stoker’s late nineteenth century gothic horror novel Dracula. Our subject today isn’t one of them. Instead, it picks up a century after Dracula’s demise, with a bunch of useless tweens holding a black mass to bring ol’ pointy teeth back to unlife. The official reason is that he’s Johnny Alucard, descendent of Dracula’s trusty servant, but I suspect it’s mainly to see Christopher Lee reprising his title role. Peter Cushing happens to be the grandfather of one of the tweens, so it promises to be a cosy reunion. Especially when this shows up.

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CIPC #213: System of a Down, Lonely day

You know what’s been a long time? A music video blog post! So let’s have a look at today’s subject. System of a Down1 is a pretty big name, but for those who haven’t heard of them: they’re an American rock band, formed all the way back in the nineties and still — or rather again — active today. You probably know their single Chop Suey from 2001. Even if you think you don’t. We will be talking about Lonely day, though, which was released in 2006. According to Wikipedia, it reached the top twenty in Denmark, Finland, and New Zealand. In the official music video, which can be found on the band’s official YouTube channel, we see this:

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CIPC #212: Cheerleaders in the chess club, Season 1

“Relatively recently, there was a series in which a chess club played a very important role” is how I was planning to start this blog post. This was supposed to suggest that I meant Queen’s gambit. I would then have revealed that the readers had been tricked, backstabbed, and quite possibly bamboozled because I actually meant Cheerleaders in the chess club. Then I realised that the title give it all away. Being of a lazy disposition, I decided to just add quotation marks and make do with this odd self-referential introduction.

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CIPC #211: 8×8: A chess sonata in 8 movements

We have encountered Marcel Duchamp before on this blog, seated on a roof somewhere in Paris, playing chess with Man Ray. Today, we are dealing with him again. This time, he is director of a film, together with Hans Richter1 and Jean Cocteau. The title of the film, 8×8: A chess sonata in 8 movements, suggests that there will be a lot of chess. This is partly a false promise, but there’s still enough to warrant a blog post. For example, there is the following strange scene:

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CIPC #210: Futurama S3 E14, Time keeps on slippin’

A couple of years ago, I wrote a blog post about The Simpsons. It still remains, and will probably remain forever, one of the most lamentable, lacklustre, lackadaisical things to have ever flown out of my pen. Today, I try to redeem myself. My subject will be Futurama or, in other words, The Simpsons — IN SPACE! It is an animated comedy series which is widely — and rightfully — considered as one of the pinnacles of the genre. The lasting popularity of the series is perhaps evidenced best by the enormous number of memes based on it. In some episodes, there is a futuristic board game which, at first glance, looks a bit like chess, but it is played on a round board with unidentifiable pieces. Luckily, in the fourteenth episode of the third season, doctor Zoidberg can briefly be seen behind an actual chessboard.

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