Archive for September 17th, 2022

Project abandoned

I am sorry to say that I cannot continue any longer with the pinball-chess project. It was working brilliantly and some serious money was going to be pumped into it by investors but there’s a problem which can’t be solved. Everyone knows that pinball and chess are virtually identical, as we’ve said but in pinball you try to get a high score

No matter how hard I tried, this I can’t work with because in chess we win by checkmate and can’t get any high scores. I’ve come as far as I can go. The solution is to keep ramps and flashing lights with extra ball, and the exciting multi-ball option but without a high score in play. You can’t put high scores in chess no matter how hard you try. So that’s it. I am done with this project: it was good while it lasted. I know we all want multi-ball in chess, that’s obvious but I can go no further.

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The time for action is now

Having just read my last post, I am in agreement with myself, that now is the time to act.

I’m going to write a letter to my government, suggesting they set up huge bonfires across the country for chess players who want to see the end of their books. You will not have to pay money for this service I will tell them. One of which will be just outside the London Chess & Bridge centre, Baker St. London

If you could just fill in the form below, I will start petitioning pronto, just put a tick in the last column for petition one

Petition 1 (of great importance)

Name of club

Books you are keen to burn

Town you reside in

Tricked into this by McCready

Petition 2 (additional information)

Hat size

Inside leg measurement

Shoe size


What is your quest in life?

Petition 3 (naughty boy info)

Do you sniff glue?

Are you an alcoholic?

Smoke drugs?

Have you ever mugged anyone?

Petition 4 (manifestation of guilt…oops extra info…yes extra info, that was what I meant)

Been behind bars have we?

Do you carry shooters when you play chess?

Worshipped the devil during competitive chess play before?

Does anarchy rule supreme for you?

All names received all much appreciated, I shall get onto this right away.

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Have you become a loser recently? Losing most of your games are you? Well, are you? If you are a loser all the time, then come to me and read on –I have a lot of experience there!

What do you do to prop yourself up after scathing defeat? A cursory glance at your rating for comfort? Reflect upon decorative victories further along memory lane?

Or do you emancipate yourself from the literary genre encompassing our beautiful game and turn your attention inwards? Have you ever lamented in front of your opponent ‘It was those fucking books I’ve been reading, they said?’

Our soon forsaken literary genre is turning digital these days but still carrying presuppositions which are transcending it’s new found medium-and you are the one paying for it!

If you buy into the blurb, which chess literature is replete with you study for improvement -to become a better player, hence the multitude of publications being churned out on opening repertoire and middle game play. Not to mention all the apps they are bringing out. And although I can’t prove it, the word on the street is the boffins programming them are all drugged up when they do it and the GMs roped in can’t live with themselves because they can’t cut it at the highest level so resort whatever alternative means of revenue they can get their hands on -awaiting further proof.

But should you remove improvement from your motivations, replacing it with the pleasure principle -everything changes. No longer will you stand on your chair in the club, screaming out ‘Them thar books got me all discombobulated! I’ve lost again.

You wouldn’t have started playing chess if you weren’t fascinated by it. No one starts out wanting to improve, it’s love of the game that keeps you coming back for more. But then so many become lost thereafter mainly because there is no profit in writing about playing just for pleasure, so they get hounded out. My advice is to play on but play for pleasure and not improvement.

In prioritising pleasure over improvement, you should enjoy your chess more by becoming unconcerned by results the hits to your self confidence stop, and those soul destroying defeats no longer matter. And who doesn’t want to enjoy our beautiful game more. It may sound like a false anti-thesis in play here but the bottom line is competitive play is defined in terms of results and not how much you enjoyed your game -which is of no importance.

It’s quite simple isn’t it? Stop looking at one thing and look at another instead.

But then why do so many buy into the desire to become better by achieving better results? Looking the other way when you factor in all the effort needed, the pressure it puts you under, and the stress becomes entangled in the smallest of smallest minutiae. And what happens when you reach your very own plataeu and can go no further -what then? Sold into it enough to buy more books, looking for the answer there?

Trust me sweetheart -it’s really not worth it. And above all else, isn’t it you leading your own life. Isn’t it you who chooses who and what to listen to.

Just go back to the very beginning and decide that improvement is not important but the pleasure you gain from playing is, and stays so.

I’m not so great over the board -I’m really not. But I know all too well that being a club player I can put 200 ELO points on my rating quite easily if I put the effort in and slog away. Most, if not all of us could. But not all of us fall prey to the sales pitch that comes along with it…

In order to avoid the road to ruin, head for the path to pleasure and forget about how good you are.

You could argue that eventually it becomes inevitable anyway. Most who hit retirement have already abandoned the latest theory as they are in the process of winding down, and sooner or later we all wind down. As mentioned in a previous post, you may define yourself in accordance with the institute or playing premises you are a part of instead, and just keep it as that if you so wish.

There is no road to ruin down that path. No pressure, no stress, and nothing to lose also.

Since it’s your life, it’s up to you but you should be able to clarify why you play and what you want out of it. And that answer really ought to be personal, decided upon by you with your own decisions made. Rather than something espoused by a literary genre you attached yourself to unwittingly. Ultimately it’s your call, and how rationally informed your decisions are, only you can answer. All I can do is put a few pointers along the way.

You have choices although. You may not realise this but you do. The abandonment of improvement and the stigmata of it’s uncompetitiveness will, once overcome, point you in a different direction. Maybe then, just maybe, you might even thank me for the pointers in play here -as always it’s your call.

And should you define all this as a leap of faith, one which you do not feel ready for, seek out the members of your club who are not interested in studying chess, and bringing along the baggage of chess theory. See how they are in your club and learn from them. You might one day call them ;the happy bunch’

Lastly, Mark’s mystery question about that post:

There is a line in the post which is directly taken from this truly wonderful cover song. Can you guess what it is?


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Den Ken 13

Dear Ken, your on line agony uncle.

Paul, Harpenden

Dear Ken, thank you for reading my letter and taking the time to respond. Last week I played in a match in the Herts. league and during the game I tried to kill myself. I blundered in the opening, losing my queen’s knight. It was such a massive shock to the system, so I just sat there not thinking about the game. I got up, walked out of the club and stood in the middle of the road, waiting for someone to run me over and kill me but no cars or vans came, so I had to go back inside. But I couldn’t go back to my game because I was so ashamed of myself, so I just went to the bar, ordered a pint then glassed someone standing there. Blood everywhere there was. Massive punch up too and I won it, so now I am not sure what to do if I blunder again. Should I kill myself or just attack people instead?

Ken: it’s a messy league that you are in. By the sounds of it you’d be better off in the Beds. league. That’s got a much higher suicide rate than the Herts league, and the players are harder as well, so if you want to glass someone, you will need more practice to win any afters that go on there I can tell you. I suggest you learn how to box if you want to make a name for yourself in that league.

Paul, Hardenden, so what you are saying is I sound more suited to the Beds league than the Herts. league and should play there instead but take up boxing post haste if I do? Basically I should step in the ring before I step into the league clubs there?

Ken: yes, that’s about it. Don’t forget your gumshield on match nights.

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2 years ago.

The two pics below were taken on this day two years ago. It was around that time that I played the opening in question against GM Bogdan.

Petrosian V Spassky 66

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