Archive for August, 2022


The 44th Olympiad has come to a close in Chennai with a young team from Uzbekistan winning the gold medal. My home nation England faded towards the end and didn’t make it into the top ten.

Of the 188 teams registered to play, Laos finished in 177th place, which is better than what I feared last week when they were losing match after match.

So now that the spectacle is over, there is less to watch during the day. In any event it matters not as I have reached the point where I have to become fully focused on the upcoming weekend as my location will change and I have to say goodbye to my daughter for a while. Despite how well things go, life always has these changes it enforces on you from time to time, and just making yourself ready for them can be an ordeal in itself. Anyway, I hope you admired my rooting for Laos and all those odd little tales I threw in also. I’m prepared to admit that if you asked me which direction this website is going in, there are times where I don’t even know myself. I just know that I like writing… .

Anyway, well done to Laos for sticking at it, and let’s hope we see them again next time. Here’s a link to the final standings:

Mark. J. McCready, 12.14am, August 10th

The very quiet and dark room I know as home right now,

Laksi, Bangkok

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I will need to modify content and remove certain elements from my posts as I have put my finger on what it is. My social media habits are crossing over onto this site, meaning I think I am being listened to when I write. I am reaching out to people who aren’t there and that has to stop straight away. Content has, in places, become far too personal and I now know why. Okay, just reign things in a bit and should be fine.

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Curious state of affairs and it’s always a shame to see one of the great guys of the game go wrong. What the footage doesn’t show it that we are all human thus prone to error, and he had been playing for many hours already. A great shame for a result to come about like that although you could argue he’s already lost.

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There’s an awful lot of things I cannot do in this world, and come to think of it, there’s not much I can do either…oh this is not a good start to the post, oh dear. Well anyway, I’ll be here all day if I start thinking about all that so let’s wrap it up by admitting I can’t dance (among many other things!). If I listen to A Flock of Seagulls whilst alone, I kinda can…well there’s this jive I’ve got with the headphones in. But honestly, I can’t dance on the dance floor and I know that, it’s always been like that. But I can tell when others can and cannot dance and so I must tell you that the link below has evidence that some chess players can dance and some cannot. I don’t want to say some of the video is embarrassing because it’s great to see people expressing their happiness but with regards to the stage being set on fire, erm, that’s not the phrase I would use. It’s more likely that the person who wrote that was on drugs at the time of writing. There’s nothing like that going on, in fact there’s not really much at all going on except people dancing. Well anyway, have a look and decide yourself but if you ask me, the person who wrote that was on something…well its either that or since it’s from Chessbase India, and there’s an Indian song playing, its bias in play. In addition, fashion police must have been busy that night methinks!

Dead can Dance -well you couldn’t to their music as it was too chilled for such a thing.

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Facing the mighty Mauritius, Laos have secured a 2-2 draw. Even on board one there was a rating difference of over 700 points, and that was with the only rated player they had. It’s a very good result as they were huge underdogs. Laos: the dogs that don’t go down are climbing up the table. It might just be that they won’t finish bottom now, as was feared a few days ago. What’s next for these dogs I wonder? More dogged performances we could do with, maybe I might just give them an electronic bone for their performances. Those in their hill tribes scattered across the land might just be suitably impressed whilst they are breaking up stones or making sticks or squatting near bushes with smiley faces for reasons which cannot be ascertained, especially when belting by on your bike.

Are they interested in the Laotian chess team’s exploits?
Giving the dog a bone albeit an electronic one!

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Skill shot

As we know, the world’s most popular form of entertainment is pinball, with an estimated 172 billion players worldwide. In some countries you are legally required to have a pinball machine in your house and would face arrest if you didn’t. I can’t remember the last time I spent less than 12 hours in a day playing pinball, it must have been some twenty years ago, if not more. Usually we start a game of pinball off with a skill shot and this is something we will find difficult to incorporate into chess. How are we going to do it? What we could do is on the first move we could have all the squares on the third and forth rank flash randomly, and the player with the white pieces, stops them flashing by pressing the clock, and so whichever square it stops on, he must move a pawn there. That might work. Black would have to do the same but we have the fifth and sixth ranks flashing squares randomly. It would have a significant impact on opening theory, almost destroying it but we can let that go. The important thing is to get it in and not worry about the consequences even if it angers some players because it’s your speed in the skill shot which will determine which pawn moves first and not current trends in opening theory. I will admit that will anger some players but there’s a lot of money to be made here and skill shots are a good test of reflexes and hand-eye coordination, two vital chess skills.

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Extra Ball

Ok, so we are on track and it’s full steam ahead. We’ve agreed that since chess and pinball are virtually identical let’s take more features from pinball and put them into chess. We’ve said all chess boards must now be electronic, table-based and themed. They must have ramps, flippers, bumpers and flashing lights, this we’ve agreed is the new future of chess. We’ve got multiball into the game but what about ‘extra ball’. You know that extra ball you get when you’ve used your three balls up. I’ve got it, when you’ve had three pawns captured you get an extra one but we’ll call it extra ball instead of extra pawn. But normally you have to lite up the extra ball feature in pinball so what we could do in chess is lite up extra ball by positioning the pawns and pieces carefully on their squares by using J’adoube tactics. When they are all positioned perfectly, then the extra ball feature can be lit. So that’s multiball and extra ball in. We are getting there. I know of two people who are going to pump ¬£50 million into this, so it’s looking good. It’s estimated it will bring over 2 billion pinball players into chess and will be a big hit with the kids. It’s a win win situation as it stands.

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Was it a dream?

Early this morning I was drifting off and suddenly had images of chess clubs deep in the Soviet Union where players sit around tables. Then in bursts a bear and mauls a 1. d4 player. It got me thinking.

In modern day Russia, there must be clubs in the countryside where players are mauled by bears more than others but which one is the worst? Is it just 1. d4 players they go for, are they more likely to maul someone playing with the black or white pieces.

Bears aside, which animal attacks chess players the most? Are any famous incidents regarding them?

My money is on dogs being the worst but they are not mentioned in the FIDE rule book, so I don’t know. Do you get extra minutes on clock if you are attacked by an animal during a competitive game…what about insects? Is there a definitive guide listing the animal or insect and the time increments granted for these unwarranted attacks.

FIDE makes chess players feel unsafe. There is no code of conduct regarding creature habits and fending them off. Something should be done about this. For example:

Wasp 25 second increment

Vulture 30 second increment

Sealion 35 second increment

Leopard 2 minute increment

Hippo 5 minute increment

Something like that to get the ball rolling, what do you think? Should I contact FIDE about this? I might not get a reply. It’s just a thought and maybe it was just a dream after all. To some this is all just fantasy, to me it’s humour. No matter what, it’s my life.

Mark. J. McCready

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Chess must be changed. It’s got to have multiball in like in Pinball. What we could do is make chess sets all electronic with a themed table, then when the multiball feature kicks in, just have balls fired across the chess board. They don’t become part of the game itself, they just jazz it up. Have a few steel balls flying around, make it look more attractive. It would attract a lot of kids to chess if we could.

It’s got to be done.

That could be adapted into the resemblance of a chess board

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This morning I read that in the premiership this season they will introduce ‘multiball’, which is 10 balls around the pitch. They will speed up the game when a ball goes out of play. Initially I thought it was the pinball version of multiball where you get three or sometimes five balls on the table at the same time, which would indeed make football a lot more interesting if they implemented that one.

Then it got me thinking, what can chess take from pinball and implement? We could use ramps and build them into the chessboard. Pinball tables always have ramps on them. We could have bumpers around the side of the board, and put lights on them to make it look more flashy. And I think we could implement the ‘extra ball’ option somehow. If we lost a pawn three times, we get an extra one at the end of the game or something. And chess boards could be fitted with a tilt function, so that if anyone moves the board lights start flashing and everything goes into lock down, making it impossible to play. The great thing is that chess and pinball are almost identical to one another, so there probably are more options available. One last question, should we make all chess boards electronic and in need of highly trained mechanics to fix them if they go wrong down the pub?

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