Archive for December, 2012


To everyone: I would like to wish you a Happy New Year and hope all your dreams will come true during 2013. May you be blessed! You may have recognised my ‘creation’ of last year, which I have now ‘spruced up’ a little bit for this year. If you are a chess player, I hope you enjoy more chess games in the new year! 

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When I followed a link on Twitter, I came across this article, which reminded me of a draft I’ve saved a few years ago! By further ‘investigation’, I found this article much more interesting than the start I made on some chess terminology. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did. Happy New Year – again!

Here’s a headline that was in USA Today a few days ago: Obama, Boehner continue stalemate on ‘fiscal cliff’.

Anyone who knows chess terminology knows that headline makes no sense.

A “stalemate” happens at the very end of the game, when neither side has a legal move, and so the game is tied. There is no way to “continue” a stalemate.

And the headline writer presumably was not trying to imply that there were literally no more options in the discussion. In fairness, lots of people misuse stalemate.

That being said, chess offers up a wealth of nice terminology that can spice up your writing if you use the terms correctly. Anyone who writes professionally, whether as a journalist or analyst or anything else, could benefit with some knowledge of chess terms.

So as a service, here are a few terms, what they mean, and how they might apply to the news.

Alekhine’s Gun — When your queen and both rooks are all along the same file, they can be incredibly powerful. This orientation is named after the chess master Alexander Alekhine. This is a great term to use to describe any time you have a bunch of heavy hitters all lined up together, focusing on a single target.


 — This is the most common opening move in all of chess, as it involves moving your king pawn out two squares. Bobby Fischer famously called this opening move the “best by test.” When a politician makes the most predictable possible announcement (such as when Obama started the Fiscal Cliff talks by saying he wanted everyone to freeze taxes on incomes sub-$250K) that was the E2-E4 of political moves.Bad Bishop — In chess, you have two bishops that move along diagonals, each of which only occupies one color throughout the whole game. The bishop that starts on a white square can never occupy a black square. In a game where all of your pawns on light squares, your white bishop becomes a “bad bishop” as it becomes hemmed in and impotent. In politics, you see assets misused all the time, as their vantage point makes them particularly ill-suited to bring a certain case. A Wall Street CEO coming out as a spokesperson for later retirement? That’s a bad bishop.

Five-Piece Endgame — A very common endgame scenario in chess involves one side having a king and a rook while the other side has a king, a rook, and a pawn (five pieces total). Usually the side that is a pawn up can win, but not before an extremely drawn out and predictable fight that leaves little room for error. Any scenario where the finale is obvious, but the process of getting there is drawn out might be characterized this way.

Kibbitzer — Kibbitzers are those annoying folk who stand behind you while you play, whispering or even outright commenting on the game in progress. Pretty much everyone on twitter is a kibbitzer.

Knight Fork — Due to the knight’s unusual L-shaped moves, it can be used in clever ways to attack two other pieces at once. Anytime a politician or business attacks two far apart things in one blow, the term applies.


Wikimedia Commons

White’s pawn on C-7 is on the verge of advancing and becoming a queen.

Queening — A pawn that makes it from its starting point all the way to the other end of the board gets promoted into being a queen. After taking the lead on budget issues, Paul Ryan got queened when Mitt Romney made him his VP selection, essentially making him one of the most powerful people in the GOP.

Simul — When a master demonstrates his skill by playing several simultaneous games at once with amateurs. Any executive who has to multi-task and address several different issues at once could be said to be playing a simul.

Theory — Because there have been so many documented chess games, almost every possible opening sequence has been played several times over. Grandmasters have a huge library of these openings memorized, and can play them rote without much thought. As long as a game is going according to some previously played sequence, it’s all going according to “theory.” Eventually every game deviates, at which point the real game begins.


Wikimedia Commons

A chess clock. Each side starts with the same amount of time. After each players move, they hit their button, their clock stops, and the other players begins to tick down.

Zeitnot — In competitive chess, the players use a chess clock, which alots each player a certain amount of time to make all of their moves. As the endgame draws near the need for speed causes the players to make worse moves because time is running low. That time pressure is Zeitnot. That could be used to characterize the Plan B fiasco.

Zugzwang — This is a state that occurs usually near the end of a chess match, when it becomes advantageous for the other side to make a move before you do. This might happen if you have a perfectly secure position, but you’ll inevitably weaken your position by moving. When John Boehner is calling on the Senate to move next, you know the fiscal cliff talks are in zugzwang.

Zwischenzug — An “in-between” move. If there’s an obvious play, but the player decides to delay that move for whatever reason, this is a Zwischenzug. Again, Plan B might have been a Zwischenzug.

Bottom line is that chess offers a wealth of cool terms with unique definitions that can spruce up writing. No need to stick to tired terms like stalemate or checkmate.

Read more:businessinsider.com/chess-terms-that-every-journalist-needs-to-know-2012-12

Enjoy this song and listen to the words

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I’m in control, I promise [not] – 5000 words! It’s a lot to write! Happy New Year too! Moving house is also not a joke, whilst 5000 words are waiting. Things are happening against Africa time at the moment – new internet connection can only be established by the end of January. Meantime… mobile internet via a dongle…this is serious now. I’m not a procrastinator…I’ll prove you wrong…someday. Yeah


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winter (1)
Picture: ecopreneurist.com

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

This entry is basically meant to be in Afrikaans – only.
What you see in this picture, is what almost hit me in my face about two weeks ago. I was travelling on a road and when driving round a bend, this popped up in my face. Barrels of numbness washed over me, as I watched in awe and admiration, wishing I could sit on a bench and just enjoy the scene for hours without end. Everything was just so… white! I then realised that Winter is also ‘special’.


Nou lê die aarde nagtelang en week
in die donker stil genade van die reën,
en skemer huise en takke daeliks bleek
deur die wit mistigheid en suising heen.
Dis alles ryk en rustig van die swaar
geheime wasdom wat sy paaie vind
deur warm aarde na elke skeut en blaar,
en ver en naby alles duister bind
in vog en vrugbaarheid en groot verlange;
tot ons ’n helder middag skielik sien
die gras blink, en die jong graan teen die hange,
en weet dat alle rus die lewe dien:
hoe kon ek dink dat somer ryker is
as hierdie groei se stil geheimenis?
-N P van Wyk Louw

Winter is koud. Winter is naar en ongenaakbaar, maar dan is daar ook ‘n misterieuse ‘stilte’ rondom Winter. Winter laat my soms dink aan ‘n gesprek wat jy met jouself het. Winter laat my dink, beplan – of soms herbeplan. Ek dink Winter probeer iets doen, maar is nie seker hoe om dit te doen nie, daarom verkies hy om in ‘stilte’  dinge te doen. Hy bekruip jou en ‘pynig’ jou met sy koue. Winter is soos ‘n ‘boelie’ wat mooi is, so mooi dat jy hom vergewe dat hy jou ‘boelie’. Geniet die Winter – as jy in ‘n land is waar dit nou Winter is! Geniet die sonskyn waar jy nou Somer het! Geniet die liedjie van Johan van der Watt: Straatfluitjie wat so bietjie ‘warmte’ gee met sy pragtige stem.

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Sunday afternoon mood

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Images: Official site of London Classic/Ray Morris-Hill

Players left  to r: Luke McShane, Hikaru Nakamura, Mickey Adams, Vladimir Kramnik, Viswanathan Anand, Malcolm Pein Tournament Director, Magnus Carlsen, Judit Polgar, Levon Aronian and Gawain Jones




Jason Kouchak – during the Opening Ceremony of the London Classic 2012

Jason Kouchak is a widely-acclaimed concert pianist who plays popular music and jazz as well as classical music. Jason was born in France and studied piano at the Royal College of Music in London, and at Edinburgh University. He has performed in major concert halls in London, Paris, St Petersburg and other venues in Europe and Asia. He has recorded five albums, including his own compositions, and appeared on BBC TV and the Japanese NHK channel. He has made regular guest appearances with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and recorded and performed with Julian Lloyd-Webber. Jason’s tastes and talents underline the long-established link between chess and music. He is a committed and enthusiastic competition chess player, and played in the 2011 London Classic Open and 2009 Gibraltar tournaments as well as in other domestic chess competitions. Visit his site: Jasonkouchak.com 



Anand Images: raymorris-hill.smugmug

It’s the London Chess Classic – again! It started today and I hope to attend it next Saturday, as my favourite – Anand is playing. The link of the official site is on the side bar – with the logo of the London Classic. Today’s games started with a small opening ceremony. There were a couple of musicians to entertain the group of spectators in the auditorium. Chess is free at the classics for children! On this  LINK you can read my entry about the classics in 2009. You can see my photos of the 2009 event. For the 2011 classics I had tickets, but unfortunately fell ill and couldn’t go. How sad.

This is a ‘cento‘ which I wrote a little while ago, by using Shakespeare lines.  A ‘cento’ is a poem written by using lines or passages of other authors in a new form or order. I used different plays of Shakespeare where he quoted something about the game of chess.

A Game of Chess
Sweet lord, you play me false
For a score of kingdoms you should wrangle
and I would call it fair play
How fares the king?
His hour is almost past

A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!
And I have horse – will follow where the game makes way.
I have his horse!
Give me another horse!
So, the good horse is mine.
My day’s delight is past, my horse is gone.
The rascal hath removed my horse.

Are the knights ready to begin their triumph?
A wandering knight?
I am undone! The knight is here!
Great shouts within all cry ‘the mean knight!’
Great is the humour of this dreadful knight.

I dare thereupon pawn
My life I never held but as a pawn
I have not pawn’d to you my majesty?
I pawn’d thee none!
I’ll send some bishop to entreat
The bishop will be overborne by thee
Wat says my bully rook?

There stands my castle!
His queen, it was his queen!
Queen of queens, how far dost thou excel?
Come hither, come! Come, come, and take a queen
Sir your queen must overboard!
Will take your queen
Farewell sweet queen!

I’ll move the king.
The skipping king, he ambles up and down
This may gall him for some check
No mates for you!
We’ll draw!
My lord, your son drew my master
Where’s the master? Play the men!
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown 

Enjoy a some classical music – Haydn’s symphony nr 101 in D – the clock part 3- one of many favourites and Villar Rides.  Unfortunately, not the whole track, but at least 3/4 of the track.

Another to enjoy

Villa Rides


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