30 May 2023

Youtube Yahoos

How do you follow an important chess news month like World Championship Yahoos 2023 (April 2023; see the footnote for an explanation of Yahoos)? The previous World Championship was held in November, so the following month we had Year-end Yahoos (December 2021). While I'm thinking about that question, let's have the usual Yahoo statistics.

At the end of the month of May, Google News served 95 stories about chess. Seven news sources accounted for two or more stories, as shown in the chart on the left.

As it has every single month since I started this monthly Yahoo series, Chess.com dominated the chess news. In second place for the eighth straight month was Chessbase. The chart shows five stories for Chessbase.com, but there were really six, with ChessBase India adding another story, just like last month.

Third place on the list went to a newcomer: YouTube. Of the five stories, the video title that caught my eye was:-

No, they're not talking here about the 'Dortmund Sparkassen Chess Meeting', which will take place at the end of June. The video description informed,

The Kenya National Chess Champions KCB Chess Club have begun their 2023 campaign on a high scooping 4 wins and a draw against Nacha Kings in the premier league opening match played at KCB Ruaraka Sports Club.

The German tournament in August will be the 'World Teams Championship'. I have more to say about this month's Yahoos, but first I have to attend to some important offline business. Yes, Virginia, there is a whole world offline.

[Yahoos (mainstream news stories about chess) are derived from Google News top-100 (or so) stories from the past month.]


Later: As usual, I'm going with the stories that interest me the most. Other people will pick other stories, but since I'm writing the post, I get to choose. The first story is the latest development on a dark theme reported in a previous Yahoos' post, Downstreamer Yahoos (March 2023):-

The second of my picks is related to a post on my World Championship blog, C30 Zonal Hybrid Events (March 2022), which itself was the culmination of a series of posts on hybrid tournaments:-

  • 2023-05-10: Hess Asks FIDE To Address Suspicious Rating Gains In Hybrid Events (chess.com) • 'The US Grandmaster and Chess.com commentator published a long post on Twitter regarding "hybrid" events, a format where games are played online, but the players themselves can be physically playing from a public place such as a club, federation headquarters, or a hotel, but supervised by an arbiter.'

The next story was the most interesting of the 44 stories that emanated from news sources with a single story for the month:-

  • 2023-05-30: In Forex Trading, Do Chess Players Have an Edge? (kiplinger.com) • 'Both require a significant amount of strategy and the ability to recognize patterns, manage risk and control impulses.' [Forex = Foreign Exchange; i.e. currencies]

Finally, my last choice was the start of a Chessbase series ('Wilhelm Steinitz') within a series ('Chess History in a Nutshell') within another series ('Understanding before Moving') that has been running on the site since late-2020:-

For the other stories in the same series, see Tag: Herman Grooten (ditto; 'Herman Grooten is an International Master, a renowned trainer and the author of several highly acclaimed books about chess training and chess strategy.').

29 May 2023

TCEC FRC6, CCC20 Rapid Finals; Both Underway

The previous report on the world's top two engine vs. engine competitions was Stockfish Wins TCEC S24; Engine Mysteries (May 2023). To summarize that post:-

TCEC: Stockfish beat LCZero +20-16=64 to win the S24 Sufi. The site then conducted the following events: S24 VVLTC Bonus, S24 Kibitzer Bonus, and S24 4k 2, It is currently running the 'S24 4k 2 Final' • CCC: The site ran two 'CCC20 Rapid' events, a 12-engine 'Main' and a 6-engine 'Semifinal'. The 'Semifinal' was won by Stockfish, ahead of Lc0 and Dragon. Stockfish qualified for the 'Final', while the other two engines will play a 'Challenger Match' to determine the second finalist. Then followed an interlude of a series of 'Mystery' matches. Mystery beat Koivisto by a wide margin and is currently leading Berserk.

The report mentioned 'a couple of mysteries', which I still haven't resolved. Following is a roundup of the current situation.

TCEC: In the 'S24 4k 2 Final', ice4 beat 4ku +5-4=15. The site then launched a chess960 event, 'S24 FRC6'. For more about the event, see TCEC FRC 6 and TCEC FRC rules. The event is currently in the 'First phase - League C', the third of four preliminary six-engine double round robins.

CCC: Mystery played five 100-game matches, beating Koivisto, Berserk, and Ethereal; then losing to Dragon and Lc0. In the 250-game 'CCC20 Rapid Challenger Match' Lc0 beat Dragon 129.5-120.5, and is currently losing to Stockfish by seven points in the 'Finals' after a little more than a quarter of the 250 games have been played.

[For further information from the various stakeholders in the engine-to-engine events, see the tab 'TCEC/CCC Links' at the top of this page. • NB: Leela = LC0 = LCzero; Dragon = KomodoDragon]

28 May 2023

Yes, It's Not About Chess

Is this song about chess? In all the years that I've been posting about The Sociology of Chess (November 2016), I haven't asked that question. Let's first have a listen.

Yes - I've Seen All Good People: Your Move / All Good People (6:55) • '[Published on] Apr 29, 2014'

The song's lyrics are in the video's description, copied here with a few corrections suggested by other sources:-

I've seen all good people turn their heads each day so satisfied I'm on my way [sung twice]

Take a straight and stronger course to the corner of your life
Make the white queen run so fast she hasn't got time to make you a wife

'Cause it's time is time in time with your time and
Its news is captured... for the queen to use!

Move me on to any black square
Use me anytime you want
Just remember that the goal
Is for us all to capture all we want

Don't surround yourself with yourself
Move on back two squares
Send an instant comment [karma] to me
Initial it with loving care

'Cause it's time is time in time with your time and
It's news is captured... for the queen to use!

Someone, not a chess player, once asked me the question, 'Is this song about chess?', and I said, 'No'. In retrospect, I'm not sure. Some of the references are to chess -- 'white queen', 'captured'/'capture', 'black square', 'back two squares' -- but they don't make much sense in the context of a real chess game.

There's a web page for just about everything, and a page for a discussion about this song is Yes - I've Seen All Good People: Your Move/All Good People Lyrics (songmeanings.com). One of the comments says,

There are references to chess, but the song is probably more about a life situation using metaphors with chess

I would agree with that. For more about the song, plus links to related topics, see I've Seen All Good People (wikipedia.org). The page informs,

The almost 7-minute song is in two parts; the first, titled "Your Move", was released as a single in 1971 which peaked at number 40 in the US, which helped the group build momentum. The second part is entitled "All Good People".

And, yes, there's a video restricted to the single: Yes - Your Move - single version (youtube.com), with other relevant comments. Chess is well represented in visual art, but not so well in music. What other examples are there?

25 May 2023

2023 CJA Awards Announcement

The May 2023 issue of Chess Life (CL) carried the annual kickoff announcement for the Chess Journalists of America (CJA) awards. The call for entries started,

The CJA awards recognize the best in all facets of chess journalism, both print and online. The best chess articles, columns, photojournalism, layout, and online writing are honored within their respective categories. Recognized annually by their peers, the public, and members of CJA, the prestigious awards showcase American works published in English between June 1, 2022, and May 31, 2023.

The list of award categories is online at CJA Award Categories (chessjournalism.org). The following comparison shows the categories behind the CL announcements for both 2022 and 2023.

2022 2023

What's changed? Two categories from 2022 have disappeared -- 'Best Twitch Channel' and 'Best Instagram Feed' -- while no new categories have been added. A few other categories have been redefined, where the new definitions are:-

- 'Junior (Under 21 at time of writing)'
- 'Best Tournament/Match Coverage (may be a series of videos)'
- 'Best Scholastic Coverage in State (may be multiple articles)'

Last year I followed the 2022 CJA awards in a series of five posts:-

Since I'm gradually winding down by blogging activity, I don't know if I'll post so many times this year, but I'll certainly do what I can. I always look forward to seeing the lists of CJA award winners and reviewing the related material.

22 May 2023

An 'Advice-taking' Chess Machine

While working on the recent post, May 1973 & 1998 'On the Cover' (May 2023), I discovered a full-page ad for Scientific American in the May 1973 issue of Chess Life & Review. The ad is pictured below.

'Who has white - the man or the computer?'

The first paragraphs promoted an article on computer chess.

The game shown here is between senior master Charles Kalme and an IBM 370/155 computer. Can you tell which player has white?

The game is reprinted from the article, "An Advice-Taking Chess Computer," in the June issue of SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN -- now on sale at leading newsstands. In the article, Albert Zobrist and Frederic Carlson of the University of Southern California explain their development of a whole new dimension in programming computers to play chess. Under the Zobrist - Carlson program a chess master can transfer his knowledge of the game to the computer. Their "advice-taking" chess machine, moreover, is capable of generalizing from its own mistakes.

That 'a chess master can transfer his knowledge of the game to the computer' isn't as surprising in 2023 as it must have been in 1973. These days the problem is the opposite -- AI engines have trouble transfering their knowledge of the game to a human master. That a 'chess machine is capable of generalizing from its own mistakes' sounds like a stretch back in 1973.

The next paragraph was a summary of the Levy wager. It's worth remembering that the 1973 interest in chess computers was taking place during the chess boom following the 1972 Fischer - Spassky match.

THE £1000 WAGER • International master David Levy of England has placed a £1000 wager that a computer, given until 1978. to prepare, will not survive a 10-game match with him. Mikhail Botvinnik, the top-ranked player engaged in development of computer chess programs, told Levy, "I feel very sorry for your money." William Lombardy, whose analysis of the Kalme v. computer game also appears in the June SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, writes, "My guess is that Levy will have his hands full in 1978."

I've already mentioned the SciAm article in a previous post: Scientific American's Computer Chess (January 2010):-

1973: A.L. Zobrist and F.R. Carlson, Jr.; 'An Advice-Taking Chess Computer'; Scientific American, Vol.228 no.6 (June 1973); p.92-105

Back to the question, 'Can you tell which player has white?' The game isn't available on The chess games of Charles Kalme (chessgames.com), so I entered it myself:-

[Event "Charles Kalme vs. IBM 370/155 computer; Who plays White?"]
[Site "Scientific American, June 1973"]
[Date "????.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "?"]
[Black "?"]
[Result "0-1"]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.O-O d6 5.h3 Nf6 6.Nc3 O-O 7.d3 h6 8.Nd5 Nxd5 9.Bxd5 Ne7 10.Bb3 Ng6 11.c3 Be6 12.d4 Bxb3 13.Qxb3 Bb6 14.dxe5 dxe5 15.Re1 Qf6 16.Be3 Bxe3 17.Rxe3 b6 18.Rd1 Rad8 19.Red3 Rxd3 20.Rxd3 Nf4 21.Re3 Rd8 22.Qc4 Qg6 23.Ne1 Rd1 24.Qf1 Rd2 25.Qc4 c6 26.b4 b5 27.Qb3 Qg5 28.c4 Qh4 29.Rf3 Re2 30.Qd1 Rxe4 31.cxb5 cxb5 32.Nc2 Qg5 33.Qf1 Rc4 34.Rg3 Qh5 35.Ne1 Ne2+ 36.Kh2 Nxg3 37.Kxg3 Rc1 38.f3 Qg5+ 0-1

A comment on the Chessgames.com page informs,

Dec-01-14 Petrosianic: I submitted a very odd Kalme game to the database once, but they never added it. It was from an advert for chess computers from the early 70's. The ad had a full game score between Kalme and a computer, but they didn't tell you who was who, and asked you to guess. I figured obviously Kalme was on the winning side (because if the computer had beaten him, they'd REALLY have bragged about that), and submitted the game. But it's not here.

I imagine Chessgames.com has a policy against having computer games on their database. As for the Levy wager, see Levy's Bet | Mastering the Game (computerhistory.org).

21 May 2023

The Lewis Pieces at Church

The last time we saw the Lewis chess pieces on this blog was a post titled, From Norway to the British Museum (February 2022). It started, 'The Lewis chess pieces are a recurring theme on this blog'. The embedded video on that post has disappeared ('This video is private'), but there are links to other posts about the Lewis pieces, the oldest from 2008.

Waterford © Flickr user Andrew Green under Creative Commons.

The description of the photo says,

Chess and Christ Church Cathedral

That is enough information to locate Christ Church Cathedral, Waterford (patrickcomerford.com; 'the finest 18th century church in Ireland'). The blog post starts,

Waterford is unique as an Irish city, not in having two cathedrals, but in having two cathedrals, one Anglican and one Roman Catholic, with the same formal dedication and designed by the same architect.

The post doesn't mention the giant Lewis chess set, but the blog does have a 'chess' category pointing to a half-dozen other posts. The most relevant to chess history is Hidden stories of Jewish Bratislava: 2, Richard RĂ©ti, chess grandmaster, author (December 2019). Along with many details of Reti's life, it includes a photo from 'an exhibition in the Museum of Jewish Culture in Bratislava'.

16 May 2023

May 1973 & 1998 'On the Cover'

If last month's 'On the Cover' -- April 1973 & 1998 'On the Cover' (April 2023) -- was 'USA all the way', then this month's is 'all the way with USA national champions'. The fellow on the left won the title six times; the little guy on the right five times (and counting?); the first titles for both players were after the respective cover dates.

Left: '?'
Right: 'Hikaru Nakamura the Youngest Master Ever'

Chess Life & Review (50 Years Ago)

GM Walter Browne, who won the National Open in Las Vegas on tiebreak over GM Laszlo Szabo of Hungary and Master James Tarjan of California. Story next month. Photo by Burt Hochberg.

Skipping ahead to 'Story next month' in the June 1973 CL, the story was titled '7th National Open Sets Record'. It started,

Back where it all began in 1965 -- at the Stardust Hotel in Las Vegas -- the 1973 National Open set a new record for attendance with 246 players. Average attendance in the six previous tournaments was 124. Yes, Victoria, there is a chess boom!

Grandmaster Walter Browne is threatening to make the National Open his tournament, In 1971, a 6 1/2 - 1 1/2 score put him in a 7-way tie for first. He improved his score to 7-1 in 1972, good enough last year for a 2-way tie for first. This year, 7-1 produced a 3-way tie between Browne, Laszlo Szabo of Hungary, and James Tarjan of California. However, Browne took the Championship Trophy on Median Tie-Break. By the way, Walter came up a winner in more ways than one. Just before the tournament, he wed the former Raquel Facal of Argentina.

Chess Life (25 Years Ago)

Not much to explain here. Just a nice father and son pose. A proud father, Sunil Weeramantry (of both Asuka and Hikaru) and a delighted son, Hikaru, who just happens to be the youngest, at 10 years and 79 days, to achieve the rating of Master. As happens often to youngsters, he didn't keep the rating very long, but he bounced back with a vengeance. Ask Arthur Bisguier. • Cover photo by Jami L Anson.

Nakamura was spotlighted in the same issue as 'Player of the Month'. The reference to Arthur Bisguier is for that column, which included a game where the GM lost in 21 moves playing White against Nakamura. Following is the entire column.

Boy. doesn't he have anything better to do with his time? First he becomes the youngest to beat an International Master. And three months later, he breaks two more records. At the tender age of 10 years and 79 days (February 26, 1998), he earned a master's rating of 2203 - which he promptly lost. However. it didn't take long to get that rating back up to 2201. And on April 5, he pushed that rating even higher. by beating a Grandmaster -- another record for the 10 year old -- and peaking at about 2250. For now.

He's got a good start on breaking the record for National Scholastic titles, with three under his belt already: the 1996 3rd Grade (Terre Haute), the 1997 4th Grade (Parsippany), and the 1997 K-3 Championship (Knoxville). He is also the 1997 New York State K-3 champion. Not bad for someone who started playing in February of 1995!

According to his mother, Caroline, there were four things which influenced Hikaru during his climb to master-status: his brother Asuka, his father Sunil Weeramantry, Fritz 4, and the 1995 U.S. Open skittles room. Hikaru didn't play at the U.S Open in Concord, but he spent most of his time in the skittles room, observing at first, then playing a little, then playing a lot, under the wing of Oscar Tan and other skittles room habitues.

And lest you think that chess is all he follows, his favorite teams are the Yankees, the Rangers, and the Knicks, and he is finally starting to practice the trumpet, as he should.

As Andy Soltis has often said. "Never underestimate anyone under four foot tall." The following games should drive that point home.

For Browne's previous 'On the Cover', see November 1972 & 1997 (November 2022; 'Grandmaster Walter Browne after winning the 1972 U.S. Open in Atlantic City'). Nakamura doesn't have a previous cover, although I expect we'll see him on many future covers. For his numerous previous mentions on this blog, see Showing posts sorted by date for query 'nakamura'.

15 May 2023

Stockfish Wins TCEC S24; Engine Mysteries

For this post on the world's top two engine vs. engine competitions, four weeks have passed since the previous post: TCEC S24 Sufi, CCC20 Rapid - Both Underway (April 2023). Here's a summary of the engine action reported at that time:-

TCEC: Stockfish won the 'DivP Playoff' with an undefeated score; LCZero finished second to qualify into the S24 Superfinal (aka Sufi). After 40 games in the 100-game Sufi, LCZero has a slim one point lead. • CCC: The 15-engine OpenBench event, titled 'OpenBench Interlude #8 - All Hands', was won by Berserk. This was followed by the first stage of the 'CCC20 Rapid' event, renamed from 'Newcomers' to 'Entry League', which was followed by 'Qualifier #1' and 'Qualifier #2'.

A lot can happen in a month, but the TCEC and the CCC both leave plenty of trail markers to follow their evolutions. Following is a summary of the past four weeks, including a couple of mysteries.

TCEC: Stockfish beat LCZero +20-16=64 to win the S24 Sufi. How many wins in a row does this make? If we go back to the previous Sufi, TCEC S23, CCC19 Rapid : Stockfish Wins Both (November 2022; 'Stockfish beat LCZero +27-10=63 to win its sixth straight Superfinal'), and add one, we get seventh straight Superfinal.

After the S24 Superfinal, the site conducted the following events (the links are to posts on this blog for the the previous iteration of the same event):-

  • S24 VVLTC Bonus, 'Very Very Long Time Control'; see TCEC More Interludes; CCC19 Bullet Underway (December 2022; 'Stockfish won the VVLTC, then drew the two-game SVVLTC with LCZero')
  • S24 Kibitzer Bonus; LCZero dag-master-[...] beat Stockfish master-[...]. The purpose of this match is a mystery.
  • S24 4k 2, TCEC: 'Engine maximum size is 4 kiB (4096 bytes)'; see TCEC Cup 11 Underway; CCC19 Bullet in Semifinals (January 2023; 'Engine ice4 won the S23 4k tournament ahead of 4ku and three other engines')

The site is currently running the 'S24 4k 2 Final' between 4ku and ice4, the engines that finished 1st and 2nd in the six-engine 'S24 4k 2'. With one game left to play, ice4 has a one point advantage. The next scheduled event is 'FRC 6'.

CCC: After the 12-engine 'CCC20 Rapid Qualifier #2', the site ran two more 'CCC20 Rapid' events, a 12-engine 'Main' and a 6-engine 'Semifinal'. The three engines promoting from 'Qualifier #2' all finished in the bottom half of 'Main', while the top half promoted to the 'Semifinal'. The 'Semifinal' was won by Stockfish, ahead of Lc0 and Dragon. Stockfish qualified for the 'Final', while the other two engines will play a 'Challenger Match' to determine the second finalist.

Before the last two 'CCC20 Rapid' matches, the site conducted a series of 'Mystery' matches. These were described as:-

Mystery vs ... Berserk? Ethereal? Dragon? Lc0....? Until losing.

Mystery beat Koivisto by a wide margin and is currently leading Berserk.

[For further information from the various stakeholders in the engine-to-engine events, see the tab 'TCEC/CCC Links' at the top of this page. • NB: Leela = LC0 = LCzero; Dragon = KomodoDragon]

14 May 2023

St. Regis Hotel, Astana

The past month's most-watched Youtube chess videos were dominated by the World Championship taking place in Astana, Kazakhstan. On my short list for this post I had a few interesting videos on the event, but decided to feature this one from ChessBase India. Good background is always in short supply.

A Complete Tour of the World Chess Championship 2023 Venue | The St. Regis Astana (9:09) • '[Published on] Apr 27, 2023'

The description said,

We give you a complete tour of the wonderful venue of the World Chess Championship 2023. Set at one of the most stunning locations in Astana, the St. Regis Hotel is hosting one the most intense World championship in recent times. Watch the tour and enjoy the entire venue.

As for other WCC videos from Astana, I'll feature these on my World Chess Championship Blog, label C30: 2021-22. 'C30' is my shorthand code for the current WCC cycle, the 30th in FIDE's history.

09 May 2023

Freckles and Diamonds

5 May 2023 • WALLINGFORD - From Gerry's children:

It is with very profound sadness, and extremely heavy hearts, we inform you that Geraldine Weeks took her last breath on May 2, 2023. She passed in the presence of adoring children after succumbing to a struggle to recover her natural vitality and vibrancy.

On September 4, 1930, Gerry arrived as the second child of Arthur Byron and Nina Pearl Backensto (nee Lichtenwalner) in Troy, NY. She shared her childhood, and early life, with her older brother Arthur (Art) Backensto, Jr.

She attended public schools in Troy, NY and graduated from Russell Sage College, with honors, in 1952.

On June 8, 1952, Gerry married the love of her life Ensign Robert Hart Weeks (Bob). Bob and Gerry soon after began to develop their family; Mark (1952), Rick (1954), Carol (1955), Dean (1958), and David (1960).

While Bob pursued his career in the U.S. Navy submarine service, Gerry focused on applying her acquired secretarial and business administration skills. One of her most memorable, and unique, experiences was in the mid-1960's as the personal secretary and archivist for Admiral Husband Kimmel (U.S. Navy) as he prepared his defense for command failures during the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Gerry took great pride in supporting Admiral Kimmel's effort.

As her husband's naval career progressed, Gerry was very often confronted with having to relocate her children, moving the family into their new homes, getting each of the children into new schools, and seeking new career opportunities for herself. Between 1952 and 1976, this effort spanned locations such as: Connecticut (four occasions), Virginia (two occasions), Hawaii, Washington DC, and Stuttgart, Germany.

Among the most memorable locations Gerry resided in were Hawaii from 1962-63, Connecticut 1965-71, and southern Germany 1971-74.

Hawaii was her paradise, but she never relinquished her family obligations and personal pursuits. She, with her family, enjoyed what Hawaii had to offer (including the jellyfish and tsunamis).

In Connecticut, Bob and Gerry engaged a local contractor to build a custom home that ideally suited a large, young family. The family moved into the partially finished home in late 1965, and it served as the family homestead for the next five years. It was a remarkable playground for the children, and a phenomenal location for Bob and Gerry to entertain their frequent guests. Gerry lamented having to part with this homestead.

In 1971, Bob's assignment to support the U.S. Navy's strategic nuclear objectives with NATO relocated the Weeks family to Stuttgart. This location provided tremendous opportunities for the family to travel extensively throughout Europe. The family learned downhill skiing in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland; and trips throughout Italy, Spain, Britain, and France. In 1973, the family travelled to Berlin, Germany and experienced the misfortunes of a divided city within a divided nation. Gerry found this profoundly unsettling. As she expressed then, "People need bonds, not walls".

Embedded in many of her family relocations was managing them while Bob was deployed on at sea. The typical Navy submariner's duty cycle was 3 months at sea, then 3 months home-based for training, repeat....

While Bob was deployed, Gerry focused all available attention on her children. This was an extraordinary effort on her part as she also continued pursuing her own career aspirations. During the 60's and 70's these were not unusual circumstances for the wife of a "military family"; ...Go where your husband must go, raise the children, and then address personal aspirations.

Gerry admirably managed all the obligations of being married to a career military officer. When Bob and his crew were deployed, Gerry very capably, in addition to family and career obligations, accepted the added role of being a focal point providing social and emotional support to the wives and families of Bob's shipmates. She was regarded by so many as a "great lady" for her efforts in helping others. This is a sentiment that many have expressed and continue to do so to this day.

Despite her husband's career advancement, with a small dose of her personal mirth, Gerry would periodically remind family and friends that during her time in Stuttgart, Germany, her secretarial position with the U.S. Army afforded her a higher security clearance than that of her husband, who had been the commander of a nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine.

Upon his retirement from the Navy in 1976, Bob and Gerry purchased what they would affectionately call the family homestead in Wallingford, VT. By this point most of their children were independently pursuing their own callings. This afforded Gerry the opportunity to pursue her calling more ardently. Over the course of the ensuing years, she engaged with a local dental practitioner to help him establish his practice in Wallingford; volunteered at the town's public library; and also assisted local, county, and state political organizations to promote efforts for the benefit of area constituents.

In October 2008, her beloved husband passed, but Gerry steadfastly committed to remain a resident and contributor to the Wallingford community. In this regard, her commitment persisted to her last day.

Gerry is predeceased by both her parents and her brother. Sadly, she is also predeceased by the love of her life... Captain Robert Hart Weeks (U.S. Navy) ...Bob.

Lamenting her passing are her survivors: Mark and wife Martine (Linkebeek, Belgium), Rick and wife Laura (Orleans, MA), Carol and husband Dan Murphy (Pawcatuck, CT), Dean and wife Sherry (Olive Branch, MS), and David and wife Leeanne (Proctor, VT); their children and their grandchildren. At the time of her passing, Gerry had been blessed with five children, nine grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

Gerry was a loving, caring wife, an exemplary mother, and an excellent grandmother and great-grandmother. For many, she was so much more than a great lady.

She is already greatly missed.

For all who were a part of her life, thank you for being so.

Memorial services for Gerry will be held at the Wallingford First Congregational Church, 189 South Main St, Wallingford, VT at 11:00 AM on Tuesday, May 9th. Immediately following the memorial service Gerry will be reunited with Bob at the Green Hill Cemetery, 322 South Main St, Wallingford, VT.

In lieu of flowers, her children would appreciate your consideration to make donations, in memory of Geraldine (Gerry) Weeks, to the following organizations: Gilbert Hart Library 14 South Main St, PO Box 69, Wallingford, VT 05773; Wallingford Rescue Squad 99 Maple St, PO Box 246, Wallingford, VT 05773; Wallingford Volunteer Fire Department 17 Railroad St, Wallingford, VT 05773.

Source: Geraldine Weeks


See also I Lift My Eyes to the Hills (October 2008) and My Favorite Uncle (May 2015).

07 May 2023

Eerie Tops Strange

As far as I can tell, the last time we saw a comic book on Top eBay Chess Items by Price (March 2010), was Strange Adventures on eBay (August 2020). I recorded the vital statistics for that item, noting,

The item pictured below was titled 'Strange Adventures #35 CGC 8.5 OW-W DC-1953 Chess Cover'. It sold for US $643.93 after 26 bids from 12 bidders.

The vital statistics for the item pictured on this post below were not so clear. The title, 'Eerie Adventures #1 Ziff Davis Comics 1951 Golden Age Skeleton Chess Cover', was clear enough, but the 'Best offer accepted' price was not. In the list of top items by descending price, the item appearing just above it was listed at '$20.06 Buy It Now + $1,029.86 shipping'. The item appearing below it was listed at '$975.99 or Best Offer + $64.00 shipping'.

The 'Eerie Adventures' comic was listed at '$1,000.00 Best offer accepted + $47.59 shipping'. Whatever the real selling price, it was considerably more than the 'Strange Adventures' comic.

The description repeated the title and added only,

This comic has bends, tears, and creases. Small piece out of right side of cover.

I searched my collection of past eBay images and found four instances of the same comic. I don't keep vital statistics for most eBay images -- they are only important if I use the item in a post -- but I do keep descriptions. The best description was from the first instance of the item, recorded back in December 2001:-

Eerie Adventures #1 by Ziff-Davis in the Winter of 1951. THIS ONE HAS IT ALL! Artwork by Bob Powell and Bernard Krigstein; used in Seduction Of The Innocent (SOTI); headlights, bondage, and painted "Good Girl Art" cover; and a CHESS game cover for the enthusiasts of that game! Solid complete glossy copy with supple creamy pages. Would grade higher than g/vg but for 1" corner off top right, 1/2" tear outer edge at girl's neck (see scan). Guide range is $40/120/325.

Two more descriptions, both from 2006, provided a few more details:-

One of the all time best chess cover ever ! Two great Bob Powell stories inside. • Photo size is 7 by 9-3/4 inches.

The 'Eerie' cover lists the price at ten cents. What does a newly published comic cost today?

02 May 2023

Geraldine (Gerry) A. Weeks (1930-2023)

'Ring, ring'. On Saturday afternoon my wife and I were standing at the front door of my Mom's house in Wallingford VT. We had flown into Montreal the previous day, had spent the night at an airport hotel, and had driven from Montreal to Wallingford on Saturday morning. My sister answered the doorbell, holding Mom's small dog.

'Hi, Carol! Where's Mom?' • 'She's in the hospital.' • 'The hospital? What's she doing there?' • 'When I arrived yesterday I found her sitting on the floor of the kitchen. I called an ambulance and they brought her to Rutland Regional. She spent the night there and has been undergoing a series of tests. She's in a private room now.'

My sister gave me the hospital room number and my wife and I left immediately. The private room turned out to be a studio apartment for palliative care. Mom was lying in bed, 'sleeping', according to the nurse who explained her current situation, but it looked to me like she was in some kind of a coma.

A few years earlier she had signed an 'Advance Directive', specifying that if she could no longer eat or drink on her own, she would not be force-fed food or liquid. While we were visiting her that day, hospital staff delivered a full meal, but she did not even see it, let alone touch it.

Mom never came out of the coma, although she occasionally wiggled her toes, perhaps in response to the quiet conversation going on around her. She died three days later, 92 years old. They say there is no *good* age for a child to lose a parent and 'they' are right.

[See also Robert H. Weeks, Captain, USN, Ret. (1930-2008), October 2008.]