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I had no intention to blog about what you’re going to read in this post. My intention was to blog about the type of chess player you might be – do you see yourself in one of the photos in the above image? –  and to put the question to you: What kind of chess player are you? Do you think carefully about your move…do you make the move instantly?…Are you a careless player? There are many more questions I could have asked you – I think you know them all. Maybe the picture ties in- in some way – with what I’ve found and which I want to share with you.

In my SEARCH  I came across this link and thought to add the information- for readers who haven’t read it before or haven’t read something similar on my blog before. The next question is: Have you got what it takes to be a chess player? [a serious chess player – I might add] Even children sometimes turn up in large groups very eager to play/learn and then discover that chess is actually not for them – or not what they thought it is all about. At the bottom of this entry you’ll find a link to an entry on my blog about Chess Personalities and a link to Brunel University about research they’ve done. Enjoy the reading from the above link quoted:

Traits of a Good Chessplayer
Quote of the Month: Not all highly intelligent people play chess well, and not everyone who plays chess well is highly intelligent (although if you ask them…!) A beginner often wonders if he has what it takes to become proficient at the Royal Game. The answer is that there are many aspects of intelligence and personality that correlate with the potential to become a good chess player. Almost everyone realizes that a lot of hard work will be necessary to climb the ladder of chess success, and few want to put in many hours of work with little prospects for reward. Knowing that you have some of the requisite talents is always helpful in keeping up your spirits. Several lists of applicable chess traits have been published, so I thought it would be fun to give it a Novice Nook spin. I have separated the traits into four groups:
“IQ” Aspects
Physical Traits
Personality Traits
Emotional Traits
…but there is quite a bit of overlap, so these are really just rough groupings. “IQ” Aspects
Memory – The ability to remember things is certainly a “no-brainer”, insofar as being helpful for chess. First there is the obvious ability to retain more chess patterns and what you know about them, including opening and endgame knowledge, tactical positions and ideas, positional maneuvers. In addition, there is also everything else you “know” about chess – including guidelines, how to handle a six-hour World Open game, and the information in Novice Nook. The better the memory, the better you can store the information and retrieve it quickly and accurately. It is also well documented that memory is not as sharp when you get older, so age does degrade this ability. Note: “Knowledge” is not an ability, but it is the information you retain better with a good memory. It is also worth noting that knowledge is not correlated one-to-one with your playing strength; for example, a player who reads more books and retains more knowledge is not always better than one who has read much less. As one of my chess friends once said, “Never confuse ignorance with stupidity” – the corollary being “Never confuse knowledge with intelligence.”

Spatial Relationships – I call the special vision which enables one to
understand what is happening on a chessboard “Board Vision”. But the
general ability to process spatial relationships is more than just that chessspecific skill; it is the capability to see and/or imagine what is happening in two or three dimensions. An example of how this is tested would be the type of IQ test question where they show you an unfolded cube and you are asked to fold it in your head and select which of four folded cubes could be created from the fold. The ability to visualize geometric patterns is valuable in chess when you are trying to look ahead and imagine a possibly occurring position. An example of an error using this ability would be a “retained image” – when you fail to see that a piece has moved off its square and you visualize it doing something on a later move when, in fact, if that line were actually played that piece would no longer be there!

Deductive Logic – This is the “If A implies B and B implies C, then A
implies C” type of logic. In chess you need deductive logic to figure out what
is forced and what is not. For example, during analysis of a position you need to be able to look at a move and deduce something like “Because of so-and so, if my opponent does not stop my killer move (or whatever), then I can do this, so he must make move A or move B to prevent it or else I win.” A common deductive error would be assuming your opponent will make a move that you think is forced when in fact another move is better. Of all the skills in chess, I believe that this one is perhaps the most popularly recognized by the general public. Your deductive logic is another part of the thinking process that slows as you get older.

Physical Traits
Concentration – Playing chess correctly requires a lot of thought(!) The
better able you are to concentrate and focus your thoughts on the task at hand, the better. If your mind is wandering – even thinking about a mistake you made earlier in the game – that can only hurt you. Lack of concentration
detracts from your ability to perform from the task at hand, which is usually
finding the best move in the current position within the given time available.

Stamina – This is the physical ability to sit and play without excessive
tiredness or fatigue throughout not just a long game, but possibly even a long series of games in a tournament or match. One of the problems older players have is lack of stamina; they get tired more easily. You can increase your stamina by eating and drinking correctly before and during a long game, getting proper rest, and entering the event in good shape. That is why it is helpful to have an aerobic sport, like tennis, jogging, or swimming, to
augment your chess lifestyle – these are beneficial for your non-chess
welfare, too!

Nerves – In the course of chess history, it has been stated about several toplevel grandmasters that were not serious World Champion candidates because they did not have the nerves for top-level play. Playing chess for fun is one thing, but playing for your livelihood – or your place in history – is quite another. It requires strong nerves to play chess at the highest level, but having “bad nerves” affects your play negatively at any level.

Personality Traits
Carefulness – Of all the traits that make for a good chess player, one of the
most important is the ability to take your time on each move and try to find
the best one. And of the personality traits that support this ability, being
careful is the key trait. Interestingly, one can be too careful and, in that case,
you may even be afraid to move for fear of making a mistake. This fear
inevitably leads to time trouble, requiring fast moves and resulting in even
bigger mistakes than the ones you had been avoiding by taking 12 minutes
instead of 6. Therefore, the best chess players are the ones that are careful, but not pathologically so. It should be noted that players who are not naturally careful in life can learn to be careful in chess! I have seen several players who were able to overcome their natural tendencies, but of course to do so one has to feel strongly that it is worth the special effort!

Caring – This trait is different than carefulness, and is actually more closely
related to some of the emotional traits below. You want to care about your
move, your result, your rating, and your reputation, but not too much. If you don’t care at all, you won’t work to improve it/them, and if you take these too personally then chess becomes too involved with your personal image and you will find it hard to take the necessary risks to play and improve.

Determination – This is one area in which I score well. I will not stop at
something until I get it right. My wife thinks I am a little nutty because I once took almost a year on the same tough cryptogram – I would not skip it or take a hint or look up the answer. She is right, of course, but that same
determination paid me good dividends when I wanted to become an expert, a master, and get my FIDE rating (back in the days when you had to have a
FIDE rating of at least 2205 to get one). One should differentiate game-time
determination to obtain the maximal outcome (“will to win” or “fighting
spirit”) with the longer-term career goal determination to do whatever it takes to become the best player you can. During a simultaneous exhibition at a local high school, I once met a student who, when he found out I was a chess master, said “Really? Wow! That’s cool. I live for chess.” I was a little
amazed by this pronouncement, so I said, “If you live for chess, then why
don’t you play in tournaments? For example, come a few miles down the road and play in some of the big events at the Adam’s Mark Hotel.” His
disappointing reply, “Oh no! I couldn’t possibly do that!” I guess that makes
him like a kid who lives for baseball but cannot possibly think of playing in
Little League! His answer was not a mark of determination!
Note: “Killer-instinct” is not the same as “fighting spirit”. Killer-instinct is an
intense desire to either beat down the opponent, or at least finish off a won
game. Good chess players seem to have either one of two special traits: killer
instinct or expert problem solvers. Without one of those two traits it is hard to have the determination and perseverance to play hard each move, game after game. I am more the problem solver type – I want to find the best move each and every time and I am not trying to wound my opponent’s ego.

Perseverance – This trait is similar to determination, but it represents not the will to do well, but the ability to carry on that will despite whatever
roadblocks are presented: lack of time to play and study, unexpected and
unnerving losses, the skepticism of others, etc. Again, there is short-term
game-time perseverance and the more common long-term career goal
perseverance. Surprisingly, I find a lot of students who have the
determination (otherwise they would not hire me as their chess coach), but
lack the perseverance – they want quicker results than is possible, get
discouraged at the inevitable setbacks, and cannot maintain their chess
determination for the years that are required to reach their lofty goals. Since
extensive chess progress can only be measured in years, it is not surprising
that many players cannot persevere in what it takes to maintain improvement over that time period. Note: I did not forget “Willpower”, but it is mostly contained within determination and perseverance.

Capability to overcome natural shortcomings for the good of your chess
play – This is a special type of trait which enables you to not dwell or be held
back by any shortcomings you have, but to be able to rise above them due to your strong desire to play well and improve. Almost every player thinks, “I’m not this or I am not that.” Everyone has shortcomings in one area or
another. No one has a great memory and great deductive logic and great
nerves and everything else – even the Fischers and Kasparovs are not perfect (but they are a lot closer than the rest of us!) However, some players let their concern about these shortcomings hold them back. Further, in some cases, these shortcomings can mostly be overcome by will. For example, suppose you are naturally impatient or not very careful. It still may be possible, when sitting down at the chessboard, to say to yourself, “OK, I am naturally impatient (or not careful), but if I am going to play good chess I have to take my time on every move and be very careful on every move or else I can let the game slip away just by that one bad move.” If you are able to say this to yourself, you may be able to overcome your natural impatience for the good of your game. Once you get in the habit of consistently practicing correctly, then it becomes easier and easier, despite any natural tendencies otherwise.

Confidence – Like many of these other traits, either extreme is bad: too much confidence is overconfidence, which often leads to carelessness, or lack of respect for the opponent. On the other hand, if you play with lack of
confidence your results will surely suffer. Chess is a mental sport, and one’s
lack of confidence often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Let me augment
this observation with a brief story: As a teenager I had a friend who played
regularly and studied chess diligently. For example, in the openings he
learned the English and the Caro-Kann. But in tournaments his low rated
opponents did not play into his study lines and he suffered from very poor
results, getting an 1100 rating based on several events. He then quit playing.
Ten years later he had not played nor picked up a chess book, but asked to
play in one of my invitational round robin tournaments, filled with players
rated 1300-1500. Despite not having played in a decade and being the lowest rated player, he finished in second place with a performance rating of almost 1700. I asked him how this was possible. He said that maturity made the difference – he no longer worried about what his opponents were doing and just enjoyed playing. Whereas before he doubted his ability and was affected by his opponent’s weird play, now he was confident that he could just play well and do the best he can. So the extra 500 points or so of playing strength was almost all due to his new-found confidence and lack of worry.

Awareness – A player who can keep his awareness and be cognizant of what
is important has a big advantage. For example, when an experienced player
starts to realize that the time is running short and time management is
becoming a bigger and bigger part of the play, he has an advantage over an
opponent who either is not as aware of the importance of this change, or is so but does not change his priorities. Similarly, being aware of possibilities, such as unexpected opponent blunders, or sudden changes in the phase of the game, is a distinct asset.

Flexibility – In a similar manner to awareness, flexibility of plan and action is a big asset. If you are not flexible enough to adapt to the change in state, then being aware of that state is not much use. It is also very important to be
flexible in your learning. This flexibility is related to the next trait, openmindedness.
Open-Mindedness – The ability to listen and to consider new ideas (or
realize that the old ones you have are at least somewhat misbegotten), is very important. It is very difficult to learn if you “know” you are right or not open to new ideas, or possibilities of what you are doing wrong. A brilliant,
stubborn beginner probably will never get past the beginner stage since it will be very difficult to learn from his mistakes, even (or especially!) if they are pointed out to him. The good news is that in chess if you are not very openminded you tend to retard your own progress. Therefore, if you can recognize the cause of this lack of progress, it may jar you out of your complacency.

Emotional Traits
Ability to deal with losses as a learning tool – This is a very important
indicator of how good a chess player someone is going to become. Suppose a player take losses so hard and personally that you can’t speak to them and they don’t want to review or think about the game. Then not only will they not be able to optimally learn from those losses, but eventually the realization that they are going to lose thousands of games in order to become a good player will wear them down. At the other extreme we have someone who doesn’t care at all if they lose – they, like the tough loser, will also not review their games, because “it is just a game” and why should they spend effort to avoid repetition of their cause of defeat if it does not matter? These players are doomed to repeat their mistakes over and over and never get much better. The best outlook is somewhat in between: you cannot take your losses too personally but you have to be the type who vows never to lose the same way twice. A player who takes great interest in their shortcomings and studies them in such a way as to minimize the chance of recurrence will usually be much better than the players who are at each extreme.

Pride in your moves and your reputation – I think this trait is a little
underrated. Players who take pride in each move have an advantage over players who are don’t care that much about each move. These latter players are often surprised when I ask them about what considerations went into a particular move, as if to say “Why should you care? It is not that important to me” or “This is just a medium speed internet game – why should I try my best?” But almost all strong players share the concern that they put in the proper effort on each move (time permitting) and try to reach the correct decision, or at least do the best they can. Can you imagine Garry Kasparov annotating one of his games and writing, “I made this move without much thought – I really didn’t care if it was a good one or not”?!
Ability to deal with setbacks, bad moves – This is different than
perseverance, which enables you to maintain your will after setbacks of any type. Perseverance is therefore part of this trait, but not the only part. For example, the ability to maintain equanimity – not lose your cool – when things have gone wrong, is important. Players who get upset and let previous moves affect their judgment of the current move, or even think about the previous move instead the current move, are almost making a big mistake. Playing chess is fun – This is the most common trait shared by chess players. Humans who lack this trait may become good scientists, doctors, lawyers, engineers, golfers, bridge players, video game champions, businessmen, or whatever, but they won’t become good chess players. Studying chess is fun – This is the flip side of the previous trait: take random chess players at a chess club and hand them Capablanca’s Best Games and ask them to read it, a certain percentage will decline and the rest will gladly accept. The ones that accept almost always find that doing chess work is fun. Assuming they have not already read this book and that no extraneous factors are at work, the ones that decline usually like to play chess, but find the studying side tedious. When I work with beginning chess players of all ages, this is one of the first things I notice: everyone wants to get better, but only the ones who find doing the “work” side fun will ever have a chance of getting anywhere. No matter how much the others are determined to get better, they can never overcome the fact that doing the “unfun” work on a hobby like chess cannot last very long.

Coachability – Despite some fiction to the contrary, no one becomes really good at chess in isolation. Many factors, including some of the above, can contribute to this trait. A player might have many reasons they are less coachable: bad listening skills, stubbornness, know-it-all, doesn’t care enough, lack of maturity, or just believes that books alone can make him a great player. In any case, coachable players obviously have an advantage in the long run.

Conclusion
Next time you run into someone who says, “So-and-so is really smart – he would make a good chess player”, consider how well that person fits some of the above, “non-IQ” criteria. And how well did you score? If you were above average on most of the critical requirements, that may mean that you have a promising career ahead – assuming you are not damagingly low on a couple of others! A player is usually only as good as his weakest link will allow him to be.


Click HERE to read about Chess Personalities and research done by Brunel University. The link will open in a new window.

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I’m not feeling well, all week. I feel rotten today and have a flu/cold since Tuesday. Many colleagues absent too this week and I’m just in a mood to sit and soak up some opera music – to suit my mood! First you can listen to The Coachman of Lonjumeau sung by South African Tenor, Gert Potgieter. Next video – Gé Korsten sings Di Quella Pira from Il Trovatore – The Troubadour. I hope it’s not too depressing for you…lol. If you’re an opera lover and you want to listen to heavenly music, do a search on Mimi Coertse on youtube and you’ll find plenty videos of her to listen to. She’s got the perfect voice! She’s a soprano. Make sure you listen to: Caro Nome from Rigoletto sung by her. Don’t forget to listen to Werner Nel too.

En ja! Wie sal nie die berge mis nie!

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Londonchessclassic 2010

London Chess Classic 2 – Date: 8-15 December at Olympia. I attended the London Classic I last year in December and will definitely not miss this one too as Anand [my favourite] will be playing!You can read my entry about the 2009 Classic HERE on the 12th December 2009.

Image: londonchessclassic

Heading the line-up is the world chess champion, Viswanathan Anand from India; the teenage sensation who currently outranks him on the world chess rating list, Magnus Carlsen from Norway; and Anand’s immediate predecessor as champion, Vladimir Kramnik from Russia.

Vishy Anand is the one addition to the field that contested the first London Chess Classic in December 2009. Though undisputed world champion, Anand is currently not the highest rated player in the world, but he recently wrested back third place from Kramnik, so is considered the man most likely to stop Carlsen making it two London triumphs in a row. Anand has recently stated that his ambition is to regain his number one status, so it sounds like he already has plans for his clash with the prodigiously talented Norwegian in London.AnandKramnik

Kramnik and Anand

London Chess Classic 2010 lineup

Carlsen, Magnus NOR 2826

Anand, Viswanathan IND 2800

Kramnik, Vladimir RUS 2780

Nakamura, Hikaru USA 2733

Adams, Michael ENG 2728

Short, Nigel D ENG 2690

McShane, Luke J ENG 2657

Howell, David W L ENG 2616

Click here for entry forms – to take part in the tournamnet [yes, you can play there too] and here for tickets.

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I not the kind of person that like to showcase awards, medals, etc. but don’t have the option to hide this blog award Vlam has passed on to me, which I really appreciate. Her motivation for the award was: she sees me as a busy boddy and never depressed. [borrellend besig en nooit bedruk – in Afrikaans] I think she’s hit the nail on its head with both, but honestly, must say that with what was going on in my home country the past week, had me quite upset and depressed and it was hard to stay positive about South Africa when getting news about pasients dying in hospitals due to the strike of medical staff! Then, on the positive side, I do read Annie’s blog for quite a time now and have found a lady of great inspiration. Annie is an American living in Pretoria and it’s amazing what she’s always doing. I do salute Annie 70×70 for the work she’s been doing and also in the past week she volunteered at a hospital and cheered pasients up with her humorous personality. I need to pass this award on to 5 other amazing people and Annie is definitely on the top of my list. Next is Kyker for his beautiful photos of places around the world. The scenes and places are always thoughtfully selected and you will enjoy his photograpy when visiting his neatly laid out blog. I think he’s an example of perfection. He’s also writing his own poems and if you can read Afrikaans, you will definitely enjoy his poetry too. Thirdly I would like to award Madele  for always being positive in her views and always taking other people into consideration. Madele only started blogging quite recently and has already shown she’s a person of great inspiration too, an open person who’s truly honest and someone you can trust.  Recently, Roer has started blogging again – after silence of almost a year – and I appreciate her determination in her decisions and pushing through with ideas when she’s decided to do things in life, despite of what other people are saying/thinking. Lastly, but not the least, I would like to pass this award on to Connie for his great blog he’s started recently about Chess in his area/province, which is the Northern Cape – in South Africa. He’s always uploading some great pics of  children taking part in tournaments across the country/province.  He also keeps his followers/readers informed about tournaments and always has details at hand. I got to know Connie through the chess.com-site and he’s a great Chess player too – as his twin-girls! Keep up the good work, Connie.

Part of receiving the award is naming three things I like. Well, that is quite difficult as there are many things I really do like. I like it when people are honest/fair and have an open mind about things in life, thinking logical about things that make sense to us all. I appreciate the beauty of nature, the wild and would love to be on a farm for the rest of my life. Lastly, I like reading and poetry and would love to have all the time in the world just to read. When I was little, I even read every single advertisement in the newspaper or every single label on bottels etc. I always thought I was going to miss something…silly billy me…lol…Now, the last part of my task – as part of the award. I need to upload a photo of a place/something I like. Well, it wasn’t difficult to decide as my first choice will always be the Drakensberg Mountains – this mountain range stretches from the north of the country to the far south and in this photo you can see Mt Aux Sources – the highest peak in South Africa – which is about 4300 m. The actual highest peak – Thaba Ntlenyana – is in Lesotho – an enclaved country in South Africa. -an enclaved country is a country within [surrounded by]  another country. Thaba Ntlenyana means beautiful little mountain. I was 15 when I was on top of Mount Aux Sources with a school trip. There are two chainladders to go up before you reach the summit. A great experience if you like hiking or the outdoors!

Dankie, Vlam vir die toekenning! Ek waardeer dit, komende van jou – net so borrellend besig en bedruk? Nee, nie van wat ek weet nie! Jy’t my ook voorgespring met Skoor natuurlik – hehe… sjoe, hoe lus het ek vir cupcakes as ek so na hierdie pienk prentjie kyk – lekker eetbare prentjie. lol

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Natural

This is what I call:
1. Natural talent
2. Natural beauty
3. Acting Natural

To watch a full version of the above video, listen to what Gamu herself is saying, click here – plus Simon’s comments. The link will open in a new window.

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Photo: Sarah Raal

A people are what its women are. The woman is the conscience of her nation as well as the measure of its values. The moral life of a nation is controlled by the women and by the women can we measure the moral condition of the people. – Postma

I have a very famous poem of a very famous South African poet to celebrate Women’s Day in South Africa. “Die Vrou” – in English “The Woman”. She translated some of her works in English/German/Italian/French and Hebrew and won many prizes in South Africa and in the Netherlands. She was born in 1915 and died in 2007  in Amsterdam. Sarah Raal [picture] was one of those strong women during the South African/British War [Boer War] and she fought alongside the Boer Soldiers. You can read this book written by her:

Die vrou

Somer en herfs en winter trek in wye
onafgebroke wisseling deur die land,
maar sy bly draer van die lente want
liefde het haar verhef bo die getye.

Haat en verwoesting plant hul lamfervlae
in honderd stede en oral sink die nag;
vir háár op wie ook bloed en worsteling wag
klink nog die lied van vrede en welbehae.

Die uitgeteerde ruiter neig sy sens
en aarselend voor die klaarheid van haar blik
erken selfs hy sy heerskappy se grens:

in haar wat die onsterflikheid bewaak
ontkiem die toekoms in die flou getik
van lewe wat voorwêreldlik ontwaak.

Elisabeth Eybers

Tomorrow,  9th August, South Africa celebrate’s Women’s Day. I’ve decided to create a special entry on Women. I have for you photos from family – both sides – dated back just before the 1800’s.

I agree with the above quote from Postma. Women are  the anchor of a nation and if women are not taking the lead when it comes to morals and values, well, then its tjaila-time [like we say in South Africa] for a nation. We as women need to conduct ourselves in a way that our children can look upon us, be proud and so be proud adults too. I’ve come across a very interesting piece of writing and copied part of the article here. The complete article can be read on the given link at the bottom of this entry. The photographer of the first image was Mosely and the picture was taken in Lydenburg, SA. Unfortunately no exact date on the picture itself.

 

British colonization and its positive, beneficial effects dominated nineteenth-century South African historiography written in English. Dutch settlement, as well as the Great Trek and the founding of the Boer republics, was regarded as peripheral to the saga of British settlement and government at the Cape. Works by Noble (1877) and Wilmot and Chase (1869) remained the standard source material on South African history until G. M. Theal began to publish research based more closely on archival material, during the latter part of the century. The writings of Noble and of Wilmot and Chase portrayed Boers settlers outside the Cape Colony as ignorant, illiterate and cruel, as ‘living on the margin of civilisation’, their ‘moral condition … scarcely higher than the Hottentots or slaves who were household companions’.

During the last quarter of the century, especially after the mineral discoveries and the Boer victories during the Transvaal War of Independence (1880-1), such criticism began to be countered by an apologist approach to the Boers in both English and Dutch historical writings (the latter emanating from the Netherlands as well as the Boer republics). Historians such as Klok, Van der Loo, and Du Plessis took great pains to paint a positive picture of Boer society, drawing close parallels between the Boers and their exemplary European heritage.

In the new historiography Boer women received greater attention. They were described as extremely courageous  and, owing to their sufferings in the past, were considered by some writers to be ‘the greatest patriots’. ‘Taking all the sufferings a mothers and daughters during the early days into account, it is indeed no wonder that it is amongst the female sex, especially amongst the older generation, that the greatest patriots are found’. These authors painted a detailed picture of the simple and unassuming Boer lifestyle, which was presented as an overt sign of a classless and egalitarian society. At the same time, their ordered and structured society was emphasised, by way of countering the negative images mentioned above. Van der Loo, in his work De Geschiedenis der Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek aan het Volk, lavished praise on Boer women. Despite their contact with ‘wild barbarians’ and their isolation from civilisation, they remained true to their traditions of ‘virtue, moral sensibility’ political independence and free institutions’. An added dimension was their purported racial superiority and purity. Symbol of her racial purity, the white complexion of the Boer woman – despite exposure to the African wilderness – was highlighted by Lion Cachet, who maintained ‘a Transvaal woman is, for Africa white’ . This feature was likewise stress Klok in his description of Boer women. He also paid attention to their lips, implicitly contrasting them with Negroid features: ‘thin lips, a round chin and a white neck…. Seldom does one see ugly, that is, really ugly women’.

In the projects of these men there is a clear convergence between the development of the ideal of the volksmoeder and the rise of Afrikaner nationalism. In 1918 Postma (then retired because of ill-health) was requested by two Afrikaner organizations, the Nasionale Helpmekaar4 and the Kultuurvereniging of Reddersburg, to write a book entitled Die Boervrouw, Moeder van Haar Volk (The Boer Woman, the Mother of her Nation). The timing of this publication was important. It followed on the unveiling of the Vrouemonument, the Rebellion of 1914 and the termination of the First World War. The war was a significant event in the history of Afrikaner nationalism, for it was during this time that secondary industry, in particular labour intensive industries utilising mainly cheap female labour, began to flourish in South Africa. At the same time, a population explosion in the Afrikaner community, coinciding with the impoverishment of the rural areas, resulted in a massive influx of young, mostly unskilled Afrikaner men and women to this labour market in the urban areas. The presence of these unsupervised and unattached young men and women in the cities gave rise to grave concern for their moral safety in state, church and welfare organisations. In this social context, the characteristics of the Boervrouw as enumerated by Postma gained particular relevance for reformers, cultural entrepreneurs and concerned Afrikaners in general. His book was both an articulation of the already established image of the volksmoeder and a glorification of Afrikaner women, aimed at the instruction of Afrikaner youth and young girls in particular. In his writing the volksmoeder ideal was propagated as a role model for a new generation of women. This involved the emulation of characteristics such as a sense of religion, bravery, a love of freedom, the spirit of sacrifice, self-reliance, housewifeliness (huismoederlikheid), nurturance of talents, integrity, virtue and the setting of an exam others. Of particular significance is that Postma extended the prevailing notion of ideal womanhood to include their nurturing of the volk as well. For the first time the Boer woman’s role as mother and central focus of her family was expanded to include the concept of Boer women as mothers of the nation: The motherhood of the Boer woman extends itself to her volk just as it does to her child’ (Postma, 1918 164; translated). To substantiate his argument he cited the demonstration of Afrikaner women at the Union Buildings in 1915, when a delegation marched to Pretoria to protest against the capture imprisonment of General Christiaan de Wet as a rebel. The idea of demonstration had originated with women suitably connected prominent men and thus well qualified to be regarded as mothers of the nation’ – Mrs. Joubert, wife of the famous Boer general, and Elsie Eloff, the daughter of the late President Kruger. Yet the way in which Postman saw the demonstration taking form portrays a revealing disregard for the women’s initiative: ‘In true womanly fashion the call was complied with, without delay, not taking account of expense or trouble. Love called, love obeyed’ . The limitations of Postma’s perception of the women’s action are evident in these words: women did not argue, they did not stop to consider the consequences and they did not calculate the cost or the trouble of their actions. They were motivated irrationally, solely by love. But having disregarded any political significance in the women’s action, Postma weeded to link the moral strength of the Afrikaner people to that its women: ‘A people are what its women are. The woman is the conscience of her nation as well as the measure of its values. The moral life of a nation is controlled by the women, and by the women can we measure the moral condition of the people’ .

…. In it many of the characteristics already outlined by Postma emerge: Afrikaner women had a purifying and ennobling influence on their menfolk; they would sacrifice much for their families and were loyal housewives and tender nurses, earnest in prayer, sage in advice, with sat love of freedom and steadfastly anti-British. Stockenstrom maintained adamantly that Voortrekker women were ire of their calling as volksmoeders: ‘The women profoundly realised that they were the mothers of the future Afrikaner nation, and were fully conscious of the fact that their children and grand-children could never develop into a virtuous and glorious nation unless they were absolutely independent and free’.


Please click
HERE to read the complete article.

Photo: A Teacher and her class – 1913, this image is from the same site as the website where you can read about Elizabeth Russel Cameron [next picture]. She was a remarkable lady and her history is a must read! You can read how she obtained the right to vote in a time in South Africa when women were not allowed to vote, but that was not the reason for what she’s done. 

Image:http://www.mpumalangahappenings.co.za/pilgrimsrest_characters.htm

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Image: Wikimedia – Philidor

I’ve read a lot about Philidor the last couple of days as he was – as  a chess player – also a great composer of his time. [Of course, if you don’t know it, it was Philidor who said…‘The pawns are the soul of chess.’] I’ve thought to create an entry about research that was carried out about chess and music – and have found some useful information, but very basic and I think we all know that already, but also came across an interesting article…and  you can read an extract of it and the complete article on the given link – which is more about Steinitz. So many beginners think about the Pawn as just a piece to move if they don’t know what to move and I sometimes struggle with students not to move their Pawns unless they have to. I think Philidor was a bright spark! He composed beautiful music and played some brilliant chess. The info from Wikipedia is quite interesting. Read why he died in London. Chess is also a game full of strategies which you can apply to your everyday life – as we all know, but there are now companies making use of Chess players to support them in their business and training their staff in Chess strategies in order to excel in the company. The following quotes about Chess were found on one such Chess Consultant’s site. If you have a Twitter account, you can follow jacobm – as he is such a consultant and these quotes are from his site.

“Knights are the curvy pieces that bring a circular aspect to an essential linear game.”
– J. Rowson, Scottish Grandmaster

“The handling of the Rooks demands a great understanding of the strategy suited to a particular position.”
– L. Pachman, Czech Grandmaster

“Whenever you have a Bishop, keep your pawns on opposite color squares.”
– J.R. Capablanca, Cuban World Champion 1921-1927

“The game of Chess is not merely an idle amusement; several very valuable qualities of the mind are to be acquired and strengthened by it, so as to become habits ready on all occasions; for life is a kind of Chess.”
– Benjamin Franklin

“When the chess game is over, the Pawn and the King go back into the same box.”
– Italian proverb

“Every Pawn is a potential Queen.”
– J. Mason, 19th Century Irish chess master

“The handling of the Rooks demands a great understanding of the strategy suited to a particular position.”
– L. Pachman, Czech Grandmaster

“What do you want to achieve or avoid? The answers to this question are objectives. How will you go about achieving your desired results? The answer to this you can call strategy”
– William E Rothschild

THE HISTORY OF CHESS AS WE conceive of it today  can be safely assumed to start with the composer (of music) François-André Danican Philidor (1726–1795). His undoubted status as a ‘founding father’ stems mainly from the famous sentence that everyone associates with his name, ‘the pawns are the soul of chess.’ That ‘pawns are the soul of chess’ is the fundamental law of chess theory. It is the identification and elaboration of the fact that pawns are heavily limited in their movement, so that the structure of pawns is much more static and rigid than that of pieces; this, coupled to the fact that an advantage of a pawn is usually enough to win the game (if the endgame, where pawns are potential queens, is reached), gives the handling of pawns an importance and a difficulty that goes beyond that of pieces. The consequences of a pawn move are lasting, and cannot generally be pondered by ‘concrete analysis,’ the sheer calculation of variations. Moving pieces always involves of course the risk of mistakes and blunders that immediately ruin a game—but these can be calculated and avoided. Moving pawns means a much more subtle risk, for relevant negative consequences might appear a long time afterwards; there is no need for blunder to lose a game because of a pawn move. This distinction between pawns and pieces is at the core of the distinction between ‘strategy’ and ‘tactics,’ the two branches of chess theory, training, education, etc. (Strategy is the identification of the general long-term ideas and plans of the game, usually based on the configuration of pawns reached after the opening; tactics refers to the actual moves and short-term variations that execute the plans, and it usually focuses on the action of pieces. ‘Tactics consists in knowing what to do when there is something to do; strategy is about knowing what to do when there is nothing to do,’ Tartakower is reported to have said.) In this sense, the discovery of strategy, and with it the birth of chess theory as such, is essentially linked to the name of Philidor. Thus (and I choose the following source for no other reason than having it at hand—assertions to the same effect are easily found in any book on chess strategy), It was master Filidor, the luminous French musician and chess player, the first to understand, already at the end of the eighteenth century, the importance of pawns in chess; it is actually with him that the game’s positional strategy is born. This is what the name Philidor means for chess today. He plays the role of the symbolic point of reference, the recipient that contains the essence and the primary source of chess theory. But, as usually happens with such figures—think of Thales as the father of philosophy, Pithagoras as the father of mathematics, and even of Aristotle as the father of empirical science—, he himself is exiled from his name, and what he actually thought or understood is ignored in favor of what we think and understand. Historical fact is of little importance for the role of the figure—just as Homer, and more recently as Saussure, he is defined by us as the author of his works, rather than his works being defined for us as the product of his efforts. In fact, ‘the pawns are the soul of chess’ is a corruption of what Philidor really said. (The fate of this sentence is similar to that of other myths like Newton’s apple or Galileo at the Tower of Pisa: dubious recollection of facts modified by tradition to suit its fancy.) The actual quotation from Philidor’s foreword to his 1749 Chess Analysed or Instructions by Which a Perfect Knowledge of This Noble Game May in a short Time be Acquir’d (his own translation of the Analise des E´checs) reads. My chief intention is to recommend myself to the public, by a novelty no one had thought of, or perhaps ever understood well. I mean how to play the Pawns. They are the very life [not ‘soul’] of this game. They alone form the Attack and the Defence; on their good or bad situation depends the Gain or Loss of each Party. And then, immediately: A player, who, when he had played a pawn well, can give no Reason for his moving it to such a square, may be compared to a General, who with much practice has little or no Theory. Philidor’s wording (Attack, Defence, Reason, Theory) reveals that ‘strategy’ and ‘tactics’ are not part of his conceptual net. When ‘the pawns are the soul of chess’ is interpreted today, what it brings to mind is the classification of pawns into weak pawns (isolated, doubled, hind pawn) or strong pawns (passed pawns), some especial configurations (chain of pawns, hanging pawns), and the concept of weak and strong squares. All this obviously remains at best inarticulate in Philidor’s book. As Cecil Purdy says, “in Philidor’s system of play, it is not at all evident to a mediocre player even if experienced why ‘on the good or bad situation (of the pawns) depends the gain and loss to each Party.’ ” Follow this link to read the complete article, the link will open in a new window. -[ it is a PDF-document]

http://www.fedegarcia.net/writings/steinitz.pdf
François-André Danican Philidor (September 7, 1726 – August 31, 1795) was a French chess player and composer. He was regarded as the best chess player of his age, although the title of World Chess Champion was not yet in existence. Philidor’s book Analyse du jeu des Échecs was considered a standard chess manual for at least a century. He was commonly referred to as André Danican Philidor during his lifetime.

Chess career
Philidor started playing regularly around 1740 at the chess Mecca of France, the Café de la Régence. It was also there that he famously played with a friend from ‘New England’, Mr. Benjamin Franklin. The best player in France at the time, Legall de Kermeur, taught him. At first, Legall could give Philidor rook odds, a handicap in which the stronger player starts without one of his rooks, but in only three years, Philidor was his equal, and then surpassed him. Philidor visited England in 1747 and decisively beat the Syrian Phillip Stamma in a match +8 =1 -1, despite the fact Philidor let Stamma have White in every game, and scored all draws as wins for Stamma. The same year, Philidor played many games with another strong player, Sir Abraham Janssen, who was then the best player in England, and with the exception of M. de Legalle, probably the best player Philidor ever encountered. He could win on an average one game in four of Philidor, at even terms; and Philidor himself declared that he could only give to Janssen the pawn for the move.

In 1754, Philidor returned to France, after nine years of absence spent mostly in Holland and England. He was now a much stronger player, having successfully played with opponent of the calibre of Philip Stamma and Abraham Janssen, but, as G. Allen reports in The life of Philidor, it was not until his match with de Legal in 1755 that he can be considered the strongest player in the world.

“When Philidor left Paris, in 1745, although he had for some time been playing even games with M. de Legal… he had not ceased to recognize his old master as still his master and superior. But nine years of practice, with a great variety of players, had authorized him to look for neither superior nor equal; and when, in 1755, a match was arranged between the pupil and his master, who was still at the height of his strength, the result placed the crown firmly and indisputably upon the head of Philidor.”

In 1771 and 1773 Philidor made brief stays in London to play at the Salopian coffee-house, Charing Cross and at the St James Chess Club. In 1774 the Parloe’s chess club, on St James street, in London, was created and Philidor obtained a remuneration as a Chess Master every year, for a regular season from February to June. Philidor stayed faithful to this agreement until the end of his life and he was replaced by Verdoni only after his death. It is rightly in this place Philidor encountered Mr. George Atwood, famous mathematician and physician, lecturer at Cambridge University. In an article of J. J. O’Connor and E. F. Robertson [1], devoted to George Atwood, there is the following passage:

” Atwood was a renowned amateur chess-player and among other opponents played games against the famous French player Philidor, who was regarded as the unofficial world champion.”

H E Bird records :

“Of the players who encountered Philidor, Sir Abraham Janssens, who died in 1775, seems to have been the best, Mr. George Atwood, a mathematician, one of Pitt’s secretaries came next, he was of a class which we should call third or two grades of odds below Philidor, a high standard of excellence to which but few amateurs attain. One of most interesting features of Atwood as a chess player is that he recorded and preserved some of his games, an unusual practice at that time. These records have survived, among them the last games that Philidor played which were against Atwood at Parsloe’s Club in London on 20 June 1795.”

In England, Philidor astounded his peers by playing three blindfold chess games simultaneously in the chess club of St. James Street in London on 9 May 1783. Philidor let all three opponents play white, and gave up a pawn for the third player. Some affidavits were signed, because those persons who were involved doubted that future generations would believe that such a feat was possible. Today, three simultaneous blindfold games would be fairly unremarkable among many chess masters. Even when he was in his late years, when he was 67 years old (1793), he played and won two blindfold games simultaneously in London.

Philidor, both in England and France, was largely recognized in each of this fields and got a lot of admirers, protectors and also friends, like were the French philosophers Voltaire, Rousseau and the famous English actor David Garrick (1717–1779).

In December 1792, however, when he was then age 65, Philidor had to leave definitively France for England. He was fleeing the French Revolution (1789–1799), because his name figured on the Revolutionary banishment list, established by the Convention nationale. This was not probably due to his ideas (indeed it seems Philidor was rather reserved about his opinions apart from music and chess), but very likely in view of the traditional attachment of his family to the King’s family service [2].

Andrew Soltis writes that Philidor “was the best player in the world for 50 years. In fact, he was probably about 200 rating points better than anyone else yet alive—set apart by the mysteries of the game he had solved.”

It was said that the reason why Philidor emphasized the pawns in the chess game was related to the political background during the eighteenth century of France, and that he regarded pawns as the “Third rank” on the chess board (citizens were regarded as the third rank of the society before the French Revolution started in 1789). He also included analysis of certain positions of rook and bishop versus rook, such analysis being still current theory even today. He is most famous for showing an important drawing technique with a rook and pawn versus rook endgame, in a position known as the Philidor position. The Philidor Defense(1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6) is named for him. Philidor’s book was the very first (1) that gave detailed annotations on how to play the middle-game, (2) that presented chess strategy as a whole, and (3) that presented the concepts of the blockade, prophylaxis, positional sacrifice, and mobility of the pawn formation.

Philidor joined the Royal choir of Louis XV in 1732 at the age of six, and made his first attempt at the composition of a song at the age of 11. It was said that Louis XV wanted to listen to the choir almost every day, and the singers, while waiting for the king to arrive, played chess to relieve their boredom; this may have sparked Philidor’s interest in chess.

Listen to the music of Philidor.

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