Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

“I can hardly think of anything more civilized”

May 20th, 2013 by Vader

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May 20th, 2013 08:55:45

Zukertort Revisited

March 26th, 2012 by GST

All of you Mormon chess history enthusiasts will recall our last discussion of Johannes Zukertort, a leading chess player of his day, and his sojourn among our people in 1884. He tangled with some Pratts at the Alta Club, jawed with President Taylor, and then decamped for San Francisco.

I’ve since heard from GM Stuart Conquest, former British champion and a Zukertort authority. He’s written about his efforts to restore the final resting place of Zukertort in Brompton Cemetery, London, which has fallen into disrepair. The undertaking is done with the support of the Polish Heritage Society of the UK (he was a Pole), but he also needs our help. Mr. Conquest’s very interesting report, with pictures, is in Chessbase here.

It would be nice if Mormon chess fans could take an interest in Zukertort and contribute to this effort in recognition of the interest he took in us. Please contact Mr. Conquest at sconquest@hotmail.com if you’re inclined to do so.

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March 26th, 2012 23:16:42

Fischer and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir

May 09th, 2011 by GST

I do try to note here for your edification on any links, however tenuous, between Mormonism and chess. This past weekend reading Frank Brady’s new book on Fischer I was pleased to find that the teenager, living alone in his Brooklyn apartment while his mother traipsed around the world, liked to listen to religious programming on the radio. (Page 119.) This included Music and the Spoken Word, featuring the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. He preferred, however, the radio show of Herbert W. Armstrong and subsequently became engaged with his Worldwide Church of God.

I’m not aware of evidence that he exhibited any further interest in Mormonism.

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May 09th, 2011 11:03:34

Taimanov in ChessBase

February 16th, 2011 by GST

There is an interesting retrospective interview with Mark Taimanov in ChessBase on the occasion of the former top grandmaster and concert pianist’s 85th birthday.

He is best remembered for having been steamrolled by Fischer in the 1971 World Championship Candidates match in Vancouver. Fischer’s result against Taimanov, 6-0 (six wins, no losses, no ties), was virtually unheard of in that level of chess. Daniel Johnson recounts in his wonderful book that Taimanov was reduced to a babbling psychological mess who could only repeat, “Fischer knows everything, Fischer knows everything…”

The Soviets were unwilling to accept that there was not some sort of political explanation for that kind of result, and stripped Taimanov of the considerable privileges the state afforded its top chess players. The pretext was a samizdat copy of Solzhenitsyn found in Taimanov’s baggage as he returned to Russia. But the fact that they even looked in his bags meant that they had decided that he no longer merited the kind of special treatment they ordinarily gave their grandmasters. He was later rehabilitated when it became clear that Fischer really was sui generis.

He’s also notable for having been a creditable concert pianist. Again, unlike in the West, in Soviet Russia, a top grandmaster didn’t really need a second career unless he wanted one.

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February 16th, 2011 12:57:41

The Secret to High Birthrates

February 01st, 2011 by G.

Georgia (the furrin one) got 20% more births after its Archbishop promised to personally baptize every family’s third child, fourth child, fifth child, and so on. I will do him one better. (more…)

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February 01st, 2011 15:16:56

Kubrick v. Nabokov

November 28th, 2010 by GST

I just read something interesting in British Chess Magazine. “Kubrick’s Rubric” by Antonio Gude: “The odd thing was that, despite them both [Kubrick and Nabokov] being chess aficionados, there is no report if them playing chess. Nabokov was a scriptwriter on the film [Lolita, from his novel] and surely must have come into contact with Kubrick. If they ever did play, we have no record of games played between them.”

We know that Kubrick did play on set against George C. Scott, Shelley Duvall, and Arliss Howard.

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November 28th, 2010 17:15:25

Remembering composers killed in the Gulag

November 13th, 2010 by GST

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November 13th, 2010 20:44:23

Zukertort meets President Taylor

November 05th, 2010 by GST

Johannes Zukertort (1842-1888)

Zukertort was the main rival to the first official world chess champion Wilhelm Steinitz. Reading a bit of the history of the Mechanics’ Institute chess club in San Francisco, where I sometimes play, I came across a reference to Zukertort’s visit to the western United States in 1884. It is reported in Volume VI of The Chess-Monthly, edited (and presumably written) by Zukertort himself:

(more…)

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November 05th, 2010 10:52:41

World Championship neck-and-neck

May 04th, 2010 by GST

Topalev evened it up to 4-4.

FYI, here at the Junior Ganymede club, we’re rooting for Vishy Anand to retain the title.  That’s our official position.

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May 04th, 2010 23:59:12

Magnus in Der Spiegel

March 15th, 2010 by GST

World Number One in the chess rankings (which is not the same thing as world champion) 19 year-old Magnus Carlsen gives an interesting interview

A highlight:

SPIEGEL: Mr Carlsen, what is your IQ?

Carlsen: I have no idea. I wouldn’t want to know it anyway. It might turn out to be a nasty surprise.

SPIEGEL: Why? You are 19 years old and ranked the number one chess player in the world. You must be incredibly clever.

Carlsen: And that’s precisely what would be terrible. Of course it is important for a chess player to be able to concentrate well, but being too intelligent can also be a burden. It can get in your way. I am convinced that the reason the Englishman John Nunn never became world champion is that he is too clever for that.

SPIEGEL: How that?

Carlsen: At the age of 15, Nunn started studying mathematics in Oxford; he was the youngest student in the last 500 years, and at 23 he did a PhD in algebraic topology. He has so incredibly much in his head. Simply too much. His enormous powers of understanding and his constant thirst for knowledge distracted him from chess.

SPIEGEL: Things are different in your case?

Carlsen: Right. I am a totally normal guy. My father is considerably more intelligent than I am.

Also covered: impact of computers on training, Kasparov, work ethic, family, and girls.

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March 15th, 2010 11:22:41

1931 Haardt-Citroën Autochenille Trans-Asia Expedition

January 22nd, 2010 by GST

From Philip Cala-Lazar, K9PL, in the excellent K9YA Telegraph newsletter (.pdf; free subscription required), we get a wonderful report on the amateur radio aspects of this off-road romp across Asia in French half-tracks

No word yet on whether any chess was involved.

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January 22nd, 2010 19:32:12

SECORRCC and manliness

January 08th, 2010 by GST

On the recommendation of Mike Lief, I visited the web site The Art of Manliness.  I was particularly interested to note the article 45 Manly Hobbies

#1: Chess.  #2: Ham radio.  #12 Camping. 

This was particularly interesting to me because about a year ago I started the Society for the Establishment of Competitive Off-Road Radio Chess Camping.  (Join the Facebook group!)  In doing so I apparently created the manliest hobby in the history of man.  You’re welcome.

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January 08th, 2010 18:52:42

Geopolitical “fool’s mate”

January 05th, 2010 by GST

[Thanks to James.]

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January 05th, 2010 13:23:07

1.e4 testify!

January 04th, 2010 by GST

Sister Blah2 kindly alerted me to this item, in which Daniel Peterson announces his project of putting up a web site containing the testimonies of LDS gospel scholars.  He suggests similar ventures in other fields: “I think there ought to be similar on-line collections of testimonies from athletes, executives, farmers, housewives, morticians, retirees, chess players, stamp collectors, everybody.”

Unfortunately, I am not aware of any LDS professional chess players.  If I’m wrong, and you’re an LDS top grandmaster, please post your testimony in the comments.

(more…)

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January 04th, 2010 00:55:44

Proper chess neckgear

November 19th, 2009 by GST

Now that Magnus Carlsen is known to be training with Kasparov, he has appeared not his customary teenager habit of hooded sweatshirt, but in an ascot.  This form of dress has been favored by Kasparov.  We approve.

Does this look okay?

"Does this look okay?"

No.

"No."

"Better?"

[Chessbase on the Tal Memorial.]

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November 19th, 2009 10:31:54