18 August 2017

Fun with Tags

For the second consecutive Flickr Friday, we have a black and white photo -- the previous was A Chess Wardrobe -- but what do you expect from a chess blog?


Challenge © Flickr user S Demmer under Creative Commons.

With 294 views and 12 faves ('favorites'), the photo attracts attention, but why exactly? The start of a long list of tags says,

chess, game, King Richard’s Faire, renaissance, fair, ...

In King Richard's Faire, Wikipedia informs,

King Richard’s Faire is a renaissance fair held in Carver, Massachusetts, which recreates a 16th-century marketplace, including handmade crafts, foods, musicians, singers, dancers, [...another long list of 'tags'...], and the fictional King Richard. King Richard’s Faire is the longest-running renaissance fair in New England.

Getting back to the tags on the photo, another series mentions,

..., eye contact, candid eye contact, fun with tags, ...

After telling us, 'This photo is in 23 groups', the first group is candid eye contact. When it comes to chess, players probably make more eye contact with spectators than they do with each other.

***

While browsing the various chess photos published on Yahoo's Flickr during the previous two weeks, I was informed, Yahoo is now part of Oath:-

Yahoo is now part of ‘Oath’, a digital and mobile media company with more than 50 brands globally (including Yahoo, HuffPost, Engadget, TechCrunch, Moviefone and Makers), and a member of the Verizon family of companies working to shape the future of media

and

Yahoo and Oath plan to share some user information within the Verizon family of companies which will enable us to integrate our business, allowing us to coordinate more and improve your experiences.

Knowing that someone (or something) is spying on me won't improve my 'experiences', but there's not much I can do about it. Eye contact is better.

17 August 2017

Young Bobby and Sister Joan

Here are two photos of Bobby Fischer and his sister Joan (later Targ) that I hadn't seeen before.

Top: Chess Life, 5 October 1958; 'While Bobby's sister tells two Belgrade reporters her impressions of Europe, the U.S. Champ listens attentively to Yugoslav Master Janosevic, who met them at the airport.' (Portoroz Interzonal)

Bottom: Chess Review, February 1960; 'Fischer and fan: his sister.' (U.S. Championship; more photos ['by R. Echeverria'] of Fischer and other players on same page)

15 August 2017

Who Knows? Google Knows!

As soon as I finished last week's post on Prokopljevic's Cartoons, I performed my usual quick check on the final result to ensure that everything was OK. I was very surprised to see that the Google Adsense link was for a set of cards featuring Prokopljevic's cartoons!? (That's the ad just beneath the photo of my head.)

The related link for the ad went to Echecs: lot de 12 cartes postales 'Gens Una Sumus' de Jovan Prokopljevic (priceminister.com). Was this because the post was for Prokopljevic's cartoons -or- because I had been looking at the same Priceminister.com page earlier that day while preparing the post? When it comes to Google, who knows?

A few years ago, to help a friend who is not web savvy, I spent 30 minutes looking at web pages for robot cleaners of swimming pools. The pesky Adsense ads for robot cleaners are still following me. "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?" Google knows!

14 August 2017

Master Ratings and Master Titles

Between the publication of the second and third lists of USCF ratings (see the previous post in this series, USCF Rating Lists in the 1950s, for a chronology), the USCF grappled with a number of new issues provoked by the introduction of ratings. The following editorial was published in the 5 July 1951 issue of Chess Life, under the title 'Masters -- and Masters in the National Rating System'.

From letters recently received, it becomes apparent that many players are still confused regarding one phase of the National Rating System, and that they insist, despite all that has been written to the contrary, in considering that the Rating System does the one thing that it very definitely does not attempt to do.

Let us therefore repeat again, in the fond hope that this time our statement will be understood, that the National Rating System does not determine the permanent status of any chess player nor indicate how he will be ranked ultimately in the history of the game. The National Rating System does no more than indicate the current effective playing rank of a player at one particular period in his career, without regard to his achievements in past decades beyond the scope of the system and without prophesy as to his possible future attainments.

For a number of reasons which we will not catalogue at this time, there is a definite need for this current evaluation of how a player is actually performing at a given period. But the value of this current and transitory rating is sadly distorted when some misinformed chess players insist upon considering this current performance rating as conferring or withholding honorary titles. This the National Rating System does not do. and it was never intended to do. In the Rating System a player may shift from Senior Master to Expert classifications in the matter of a few years, according to his performances in current tournament play -- the fact that he may temporarily hold the classification of Master in the rating system does not actually make ham a Master in the honorary sense that the term has been applied in the past; the fact that another player, long considered a Master in the honorary sense, slips in more recent play to the Expert classification, does not deprive him of the many honors gained as a Master, nor the right to be considered as a Master in the honorary sense.

It is to be expected that even the most formidable player, if he continues to play tournament chess after his prime, will eventually lose rank in the National Rating System which can evaluate only current performances and cannot, except in a very limited sense, make exceptions for past heroics. If the recognised Master continues to play tournament chess long enough, in his final years he is almost certainly doomed to a reduction in his current performance ratings to an Expert classification. But this reduction does not actually make him any the less a Master in the honorary sense.

This was further explained by an example from baseball, showing how the performance of a great player can decline in the twilight of a career.

National Chess Ratings are merely the chess equivalent of the yearly baseball batting averages, and the confusion over them has arisen solely because some chess players insist upon considering them so much more than that.

However. since there has been so much confusion in players' minds between "Master" as an honorary title conferred for outstanding performance in the world of chess and the ”Master classification" in the National Rating System, CHESS LIFE will recommend to the annual meeting of the USCF Board of Directors at the Fort Worth meeting that the Federation create and recognize, outside of the scope of the National Rating System, an honorary classification of "Masters" in the same sense that the present FIDE titles of "International Master" [IM] and "International Grandmaster" [GM] are conferred for outstanding performances of the past as well as of the present.

CHESS LIFE will recommend specifically that the honorary rank of "Master Emeritus" be conferred upon all chess players of the USA who may be deemed to have at any time in the past earned the right to the title of "Master" before the operations of the National Rating System became effective, and whose present standings in the current performance ratings are below that of the "Master classification"; that the selection of those players entitled to such recognition be placed in the charge of a special committee qualified to judge and assess past records of tournament performance.

CHESS LIFE further will recommend that it be provided that in the future any chess player in the USA who has held a "Master classification" in the National Rating System for a period of years (exact length of tenure to be determined by the Board of Directors) automatically becomes a Master Emeritus upon dropping in the current performance ratings to a classification lower than that of "Master".

CHESS LIFE will also recommend that the Board of Directors make full provision for conferring the title of Master Emeritus upon such qualified chess players who have won recognition as "Masters' in European events and have since become Americans, whether they participate actively in tournament play in the USA or not, provided that they contribute substantially to the promotion of chess in the USA.

CHESS LIFE will further propose that the list of recognized Masters Emeriti be published in connection with the semi-annual printing of the National Ratings.

Montgomery Major

For a discussion of FIDE IM and GM titles, see Early FIDE Titles (November 2014).

13 August 2017

The Imagery of Chess, St. Louis

What's the connection between sociology and art? The Wikipedia page Sociology of art is little more than a stub that says, 'Studying the sociology of art throughout history is the study of the social history of art, how various societies contributed to the appearance of certain artists' and 'This article needs attention from an expert in Sociology.'

The phrase I've highlighted appears to be an independent topic, but only redirects to Wikipedia's History of art, a subject large enough for a college degree. The 'Sociology of art' page also points to Art in Cyberspace — Sociology of Art (sociosite.net), a huge page that starts,

The creation of works of art, their distribution and their effect on people are processes which can observed all through history. They represent a universal phenomenon of human society in action. As such they are open to sociological examination and imagination. They are the object of a sociology of art.

The connection between chess and art, while also too broad to be easily digested, can be reduced to bite-size chunks. Here's one.


Living St. Louis | The Imagery of Chess: St. Louis Artists (4:35) • 'A diverse group of St. Louis artists and musicians interpreted the game of chess for the exhibit, "The Imagery of Chess: St. Louis Artists" at the World Chess Hall of Fame.'

World Chess Hall of Fame chief curator Shannon Bailey explains,

It was inspired by the Imagery of Chess that took place in 1944 in New York City. It was arranged by three art enthusiasts and artists, Julien Levy, who owned the Julien Levy Gallery where the exhibition took place, Marcel Duchamp, who's one of the most important artists of the 20th and 21st centuries and was an avid chess player, and Max Ernst, a very famous artist.

For more about the exhibit, see World Chess Hall Of Fame Chief Curator Shannon Bailey On New Exhibition (alivemag.com; February 2017). I once wrote about a previous exhibition with the same name, Elsewhere on the Web : The Imagery of Chess Revisited (archive.org -> chess.about.com; January 2006).

Chess and art have their closest relationship in the 32 pieces of wood, glass, or just about any other material used to make chess sets. The Imagery of Chess Revisited, one of the current exhibits at the Noguchi Museum, Long Island City (Queens), New York, is the latest look by the art world at that relationship.

The artist featured in the video, Martin Brief, mentions Yoko Ono's white chess set. I covered it in another post, Chess Sightseeing (March 2014).

11 August 2017

GM Confession Booth

Top GMs Nakamura, Svidler, Wesley So, Caruana, and Aronian confess their worst childhood sin at the chessboard. As for Carlsen, 'In Norway, kids are very well behaved'.


2017 Sinquefield Cup: Worst Behavior as a Kid? (2:05) • 'Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez talks with the 2017 Sinquefield Cup players about their worst behaviors as kids playing chess.'

Who exhibited the worst behavior? The least worst? I'll go with Nakamura ('quite a few instances') and Wesley So ('sleepless nights').

10 August 2017

Prokopljevic's Cartoons

A few weeks ago, in The Fifth Entry, I ended a post about Jovan Prokopljevic with an action.

Several collections of Prokopljevic's cartoons have been published, but I wasn't able to catalog them in the time available for this post. I'll save that for another time.

I tackled the material again today, and again ran out of time. Prokopljevic's cartoons have been published and re-published in so many different editions that I can't get a grip on them. For example, the 13 caricatures of the World Champions, shown as a collage in the 'Fifth Entry' post, have been published as postcards with the Chess Informant logo over a short game by the featured champion and in a book 'Black and White Evergreen' with Informant style annotations of famous games by the champions.

What to write about in this post? I noticed that Prokopljevic's non-chess cartoons are even more well known than his chess cartoons, because they often use political themes. The following is a good example.


Source: Serbian Cartoon Show Banned Ahead of Polls (balkaninsight.com; February 2014) • 'Serbian caricaturist Jovan Prokopljevic says his exhibition was abruptly pulled, apparently because of sensitivities about the March 16 elections.'

The article mentioned,

Prokopljevic has been as a caricaturist for his entire working life. His work includes more than 15.000 cartoons and has won him many domestic and international awards.

How many awards? According to another Serbian source, Jovan Prokopljevic awarded for the 101st time (inserbia.info; March 2013),

Architect Jovan Prokopljevic, one of the most awarded Serbian cartoonists, has recently received his 101st caricature award. Prokopljevic, full-time caricaturist at Serbia’s oldest daily Politika, has won three awards over the last month at international competitions in Iran, China, and Turkey exceeding the number of 100 international and domestic awards.

I might come back to the chess cartoons another day, but I have no reason to believe that I will be more successful.