28 June 2018

June Yahoos

In contrast to last month's (No) May Yahoos, -- 'May Yahoos continue in June. If not, we'll have more Google News.' -- Yahoo chess stories for the month of June were a mixed bag.

2018-06-11: When it comes to the international chess game, Trump is a master (yahoo.com). That's the Yahoo version of the first headline, which continued, 'When Fisher made that move'... Any time a chess story mentions 'Fisher' in place of 'Fischer', it loses me immediately. As so often happens with Yahoo stories, it was just a stub leading to the original.

2018-06-11: When it comes to the international chess game, Trump is a master (thehill.com)

Bishop to e6. That was the name of the 17th move in what is commonly referred to as “The Game of the Century” when, on Oct. 17, 1956, 13-year-old Bobby Fischer beat chess master Donald Byrne, 26, and turned the chess world upside down. Fischer’s move offered a sacrifice of his queen, which Byrne accepted, but then Fischer followed with a series of planned, precise attack moves ultimately leading to a checkmate.

When Fisher made that move, those familiar with chess who were stuck in conventional paradigms, common strategies and established protocols gasped in horror as they clearly realized the young prodigy had lost his mind, his nerve, or both.

Sigh. 'Fisher' again, but at least there were references to 'Fischer' before the blunder, meaning that it was probably a typo. The rest of the article is a mangled metaphor, along the lines of:-

Since he has taken office, President Trump not only has metaphorically translated Fischer’s insightful, creative boldness into his foreign policy, he has done so in cascading tiles of fresh, previously unimaginable moves.

If you're interested in further speculation about Trump's ability to play chess, see last week's post Analyze Your Own Images. If you're interested in speculation about the events surrounding the referenced chess game, see Donald Byrne vs Robert James Fischer; "The Game of the Century"; Third Rosenwald Trophy (1956), New York (chessgames.com).

For the second headline, let's skip the Yahoo stub and jump directly to the real story. It echoes another Yahoo story that I used twice on my World Chess Championship blog: Hijab Hubbub (October 2016), and Hijab Hubris (ditto).

2018-06-13: Chess player pulls out of championship over Iran's rules. In 2016, the story's protagonist was Nazi Paikidze, the reigning U.S. Women's Champion at the time. This time it's an Indian player. Conscience knows no national boundaries.

A female Indian chess player said Wednesday she has decided to not participate in an Asian championship being held in Iran next month because she could not comply with an Iranian rule requiring women participants to wear a headscarf. Soumya Swaminathan, a former world junior girls champion, said she found the Iranian law to be in direct violation of her rights and the only way to protest that was to not go to Iran. The Asian Nations Cup Chess Championship is scheduled to be held in Hamadan, Iran.

The next story isn't a chess story at all, but it uses a chess image which I liked and which appears in the headline shown above. It's a stock photo from Getty Images showing stacked coins that resemble a chess piece. If the title of the story is any guide, it's a chess King. Even more challenging would be coins stacked to resemble a chess Knight.

2018-06-22: 5 Top Dividend Kings to Buy and Hold Forever (fool.com)

Let's suppose there had been '(No) June Yahoos'. What chess stories would I have used instead? Of the 100 or so headlines from Google News, I would have selected two stories about the three top American players, all of whom have reached the Candidate stage of the World Championship:-

I would have supplemented those with a story about a future Candidate for the World Championship.

  • 2018-06-25: Indian boy becomes world's second-youngest chess grandmaster (cnn.com; 'Praggnanandhaa missed out on the title of the youngest grandmaster ever by just three months -- a distinction that is instead held by Sergey Karjakin of Ukraine, who achieved the honor in 2002 aged 12 years and seven months.')

There are never enough stories in the mainstream press about world class chess players.

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