29 March 2024

CFAA's CMP : Another Look

It's been six months since I adapted my domain mark-weeks.com to incorporate Google's CMP. I documented the change in a series of Friday posts that ended with CFAA's CMP : Wrapup (September 2023; CMP = Consent Management Platform). How well has that change worked? I'll come back to the subject in a new series of Friday posts.

My preliminary analysis says there are rough waters ahead. So what happened? Has Google lost its touch?

28 March 2024

Real Yahoos (Sort Of) Spotted Again

Last month we fretted that Yahoo Zombies Want Chess (February 2024). This month they got what they wanted. For the first time since How Many for Carlsen? For Niemann? (December 2022), Yahoo.com delivered chess Yahoos ... two of them ... on consecutive days ... just after the zombies post.

Top: 'Is the United States overestimating China’s power? • Most Americans see China as the biggest threat to the US. But away from headline economic figures, China has a slew of challenges.'
Bottom: 'Speed chess, Soul Cycle, and push-up contests: Saturday Night Live parodies Joe Biden's age • The SNL skit also pokes fun at Biden allies and their claims of extreme abilities. "Behind closed doors, Joe is incredible!"'

For the nitty-gritty details, see the corresponding stories:-

  • 2024-03-01: Is the United States overestimating China’s power? (yahoo.com; The Conversation) • 'Which country is the greatest threat to the United States? The answer, according to a large proportion of Americans, is clear: China.' • The story is headed by a large version of the stock photo shown in the Yahoo thumbnail, a red chess King decorated with the Chinese flag towering over a map of the Arctic ocean (the large version also shows Alaska and Canada).
  • 2024-03-03: Speed chess, Soul Cycle, and push-up contests: Saturday Night Live parodies Joe Biden's age (ditto; USA Today) • 'Soul Cycle, speed chess and a push-up contest are just a day in the life of Joe Biden in the latest "Saturday Night Live" parody of his age, which added a new wrinkle to the bit - making fun of his supporters' denials that age is an issue.'

The second story didn't include a video of the scene. That means it's time to go rummaging around Youtube. Watch this space.

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


Later: Re 'The second story didn't include a video of the scene. That means it's time to go rummaging around Youtube. Watch this space.', I came up empty-handed on Youtube. It seems the SNL library has been moved to PeacockTV.com, where I get the message:-

For other international audiences: Peacock is not yet available in your territory.

The best reference I could find was:-

Even if it were 'available in [my] territory', I already have enough subscription streaming services. Watch this space some more?

25 March 2024

Hindu Gods Play Chess

You know that your blogging activity is teetering on the brink when you can only manage one post in a single week. Last week we had Real Chess Villages (March 2024), as the weekly post in a Monday series on AI comics. The prompt for the image in that post was 'Chess village Kerala' and I ended the post saying,

Although I'm no expert on [India], never having visited, the village structures and the villagers' clothing look to me to be decidedly Indian.

What to do a week later? Let's follow that up with some images related to Indian Hindu culture. Non sequiturs 'R' Us.

'Brahma and Vishnu and Shiva play chess'
AI Comic Factory

One of the parameters to control the look of the image is 'comic style', of which there are currently 13. For this image I chose the 'Flying Saucer' style. I'm not sure what comic series this refers to, assuming there was/is one, but it reminded me of a weird derivative of the UFO community, the Vimana (wikipedia.org). That Wikipedia page starts,

Vimana are mythological flying palaces or chariots described in Hindu texts and Sanskrit epics.

Flying saucer, flying palace, flying chariot. It all depends on what you consider normal.

18 March 2024

Real Chess Villages

This weekly series on comic software started with an imaginary chess village in the Catskill mountains, last seen in Chess Comics - Grids and Panels (February 2024). To explore the grids and panels,

I went back to the first comic page in the series, The Chess Village (January 2024), copied the prompt I used to make the image shown in the post, and re-entered the prompt into the software.

Chess villages are not all imaginary. Not too long ago I mentioned two in the monthly news post, This Month Features a Bottom Yahoo (September 2023).

Here's a story that taught me something I wasn't aware of: 2023-09-03: Here's why this place in Kerala is called the Chess Village of India (indiatimes.com). [...] Remember Schachdorf Strobeck?

First idea to test the comic software: Does it understand German? I entered the prompt 'Schachdorf Strobeck' -- only this and nothing more -- and received a page that had nothing to do with chess. I changed the prompt to 'Chess village Strobeck', looked at a few variations of the results, and decided that the village structures on the page looked typically German and the villagers' clothing was from different periods stretching back a couple of centuries.

Second idea to test the comic software: Does it know what Kerala is? One of the half dozen pages I created is shown below.

'Chess village Kerala'
AI Comic Factory

Although I'm no expert on the country, never having visited, the village structures and the villagers' clothing look to me to be decidedly Indian. The comic software appears to have passed my simple test.

17 March 2024

Conceptual Artist and Surreal Artist

Flickr displays this photo in portrait format. The Royal Academy reference below displays the photo in landscape format, so I did the same. It's more economical in its use of space.

Marcel Duchamp and Salvador Dalí playing chess during filming for 'A Soft Self-Portrait', 1966
© Flickr user dou_ble_you under Creative Commons.

The title of the photo is also the description. I found another copy at Dalí / Duchamp | Exhibition (royalacademy.org.uk; Royal Academy of Arts)

Take another look at two artistic giants: father of conceptual art Marcel Duchamp, and larger-than-life Surrealist Salvador Dalí. This is the first exhibition to throw light on their surprising relationship and its influence on the work of both artists.

Marcel Duchamp is frequently seen on this blog. His previous appearance was November 1968 'On the Cover' (November 2018; 'Marcel Duchamp died at 81 last October 1st, in Paris...').

I thought Salvador Dalí had also been seen, but a search on his surname returned, 'No posts matching the query: dali'. Through a bit of trickery I found The Plural of Pingu Is Pingus (July 2022), where his name is spelled 'Dalí' rather than 'Dali'. Accent purists take note.

11 March 2024

Comic Scholarship

The most recent post in the current Monday series on chess comics was Comics Scholarship, Not Necessarily Chess (March 2024). At the end of the post I wrote,

In the same Google search, the top result was The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship (comicsgrid.com). [...] I look forward to discovering the journal.

That was then, but this is now. The first article in the journal is currently Labra | Caught Between Manga and the Graphic Novel: Two Cartoonists' Trajectories in Contemporary Argentinian "National Comics" (comicsgrid.com). The abstract started,

What do Ignacio Minaverry and Ciro Berliac's trajectories say about comics in contemporary Argentina?

Without reading any further, I decided to look for something more at my level -- absolute beginner in comics scholarship. I searched the catalog of articles on keyword 'comic' (clever, wasn't I), received a long list of titles covering subjects that were all over the map, and decided to read Berube | Context is Everything: A Review of Comics Studies: A Guidebook (ditto; mentions 'Doonsbury' [sic]). The abstract started,

This article is a review of Comics Studies: A Guidebook, edited by Charles Hatfield and Bart Beaty (Rutgers University Press, 2020). This volume, ranging over the broad themes of Histories, Cultures, Forms, and Genres, provides an introduction to some of the major debates in comics studies.

Although this was more accessible than the first article, I still didn't advance very far on the learning curve. I decided that for my last attempt, I would look for something close to home, meaning Belgium, my adopted country. This time I chose Seago | The Ninth Art: A Review of Comics in French. The European Bande Dessinée in Context (ditto). The abstract started,

This article reviews Laurence Grove's Comics in French. The European Bande Dessinée in Context (2010; 2013). The review argues that this book can be seen as a handbook, or almost as an encyclopaedic introduction to be consulted in small parts as and when needed.

Example sentence:-

There is much interesting material in this section: for example, the detailed discussion of the innovative role of the Journal de Mickey (1934) in redefining the BD and making it a commercial success allowing for artistic growth and innovation; a nuanced consideration of the ideological slant in collaborative journals such as Le Téméraire (1943–1944) while acknowledging their artistic verve, or the impact of censorship laws in 1949 preventing imported texts for children and creating a space which allowed for the creation of BD as a distinctive French art form.

This convinced me that I was fighting against the tide and wasn't going to get very far. What to do for this post? I went back to creating illustrations that involve chess.

'Tintin plays chess.'
AI Comic Factory

Maybe I'll come back later to the 'Journal of Comics Scholarship'. History says that I probably won't.

10 March 2024

Shiloh and Bros No.2

I thought this video looked familiar and, sure enough, I had already featured 'HCIRL no.1' from the same Youtube channel in Bond, Siblings Bond (June 2023). This second release was also good for more than a few laughs.

Human Chess In Real Life 2 (31:42) • '[Published on] Mar 1, 2024'

Everything I said in the no.1 post holds for this no.2 post, plus the channel has added another million subscribers. One of the top comments for no.2 said,

This channel has evolved. Once just a fun little family making jokes and having a laugh. Now, professional cinematography and a true story. Astounding.

All that and chess, too. Kudos to all involved.

05 March 2024

March 1974 & 1999 'On the Cover'

This post marks the tenth anniversary of the first 'On the Cover' post, which was March 1964 'On the Cover' (March 2014). For the first five years the posts showed the covers of the two leading American chess magazines of the 1960s.

The series changed direction in November 1969 & 1994 'On the Cover' (November 2019), shifting to the format showing both 50 and 25 years ago. For last month's post, see February 1974 & 1999 'On the Cover' (February 2024).

Left: '?'
Right: 'Troop Inspection (c) Jon F. Buckley'

Chess Life & Review (50 Years Ago)

No, this in not a tennis magazine. But R. Byrne and Spassky did use the courts during their San Juan match. See the games [inside]; full analysis next month. Spassky photo by Betty Marshall; Byrne photo by Burt Hochberg.

The 'full analysis next month', in the April 1974 CL&R, was by Lubosh Kavalek a member of Byrne's team in San Juan. Once again, I'll quote the March 'The Editor's Page - News & Views' by Burt Hochberg for the full, contemporary picture of that cycle's Candidate matches. For the crosstables, see 1973-75 Candidates Matches (m-w.com).

Ex-World Champion Boris Spassky took the first step towards challenging current Champion Fischer by defeating Robert Byrne in Puerto Rico. Spassky won the third, fourth and sixth games, the other three being drawn.

The second match to finish was Karpov's rout of Polugaevsky. The match lasted eight games, Karpov winning the fourth, sixth and eighth, with the others drawn. Now Karpov must play Spassky in April.

Soviet veteran Victor Korchnoi undoubtedly took great satisfaction in his victory against Brazil's Henrique Mecking. This match, held in Augusta, Ga., went 13 games. The Russian won games five and seven, but Mecking scored in game 12. The young grandmaster's elation was short-lived, however, as Korchnoi took game 13 and the match.

In the last match to finish, Petrosian defeated Portisch, three wins to two. Petrosian had won games five and nine, but Portisch caught up with wins in the 10th and 12th games. Then Petrosian won the 13th. He will be faced with Korchnoi in April.

By the way, draws do not count in match scoring. The quarter-final matches require three wins for match victory, the semi-finals (in April) require four wins, and the final match will go to the player who first scores five wins. A match is won by the player who is leading after a certain number of games (16 in the quarters, 20 in the semis, 24 in the finals), but if a tie exists after the game limit, the match is decided by fervent praying, followed by tossing a coin.

Fifty years ago it was not acceptable to decide a match with a shorter time control than was used in the match games, i.e. rapid or blitz tiebreaks. Today it is the norm. 'Fervent praying', however, is still with us.

Chess Life (25 Years Ago)

Okay, it's a stretch, I admit. But when you read IM [now GM] Larry Kaufman's article "The Evaluation of Material Imbalances," you will see a connection to Jon Buckley's "Troop Inspection," our cover. The troops have been inspected, evaluated, and promoted (for the most part), so that you can make intelligent decisions over the board. • © 1998 Jon F. Buckley

Don't overlook the report on the Eastern Open. We're very lucky to have two games annotated by GM Lubomir Kavalek.

A black and white version of the 1999 CL cover illustrated the Kaufman article. I once featured the ground breaking Kaufman analysis in a series on Practical Evaluation (February 2013); see '2013-01-15: Kaufman's Material Imbalances * Kaufman 1999'

Buckley's artwork was also seen in August 1973 & 1998 'On the Cover' (August 2023). Will we see more in future 'On the Cover' posts?

04 March 2024

Comics Scholarship, Not Necessarily Chess

Wobbling on with this weekly, Monday series, the previous post was Chess Comics - Grids and Panels (February 2024). At the end of that post, I gave myself a direction:-

How should I use the different grids to create a more interesting series of pages? I really have no idea. [...] Maybe I should spend some time on this subject.

As usual, the time I used was spent badly and I have only the following composite image to show for it. The left, colored portion is an excuse to use another AI generated image on this chess blog.

Left: 'comic artist draws chess'; AI Comic Factory (aicomicfactory.com)
Right: Google search on 'comic grid' -> 'People also ask'

The right, B&W portion is an example of my favorite section in Google search results, the 'People also ask' section. It's a great way to get up to speed quickly on any subject. The first question, 'What do you call comic squares?', is answered,

A panel is an individual frame, or single drawing, in the multiple-panel sequence of a comic strip or comic book, as well as a graphic novel.

The same answer leads to Panel : comics (wikipedia.org), which opens Pandora's box on the subject of comics, whether short or long or in-between. See, for example, Wikipedia's ensuing page on the 'graphic novel'.

In the same Google search, the top result was The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship (comicsgrid.com). If, like me, you have a STEM education, you might think the phrase 'Comics Scholarship' is an oxymoron. Nothing could be further from the truth and I look forward to discovering the journal.

03 March 2024

Polgar Plus Seirawan GT Nakamura

A few months ago, also for the long-running series Top eBay Chess Items by Price (March 2010), we saw Chess Rookie Card (November 2023). I recorded the basic info for that auction as,

The item pictured below was titled 'Hikaru Nakamura #390 American Chess Equipment Ultimate Card Auto'. It sold for around $500, 'Best offer accepted'.

For this month's post we have two more cards in the series, both pictured below. The titles of the auctions are large enough to be readable, but I'll copy them here for the benefit of the search engines:-

  • Susan Polgar #390 American Chess Equipment Ultimate Card Auto - NM
  • Yasser Seirawan #256 American Chess Equipment Ultimate Card Auto - NM

As you can see, the Polgar card sold for $299.00 'or Best Offer' and the Seirawan card for $299.00 'Best offer accepted'. Since the cards were displayed one over the other in a list sorted by descending price, I suppose they sold for close to the same amount.

The description for the Polgar card added,

This is an extremely rare American Chess Equipment card. The card is hand-numbered and signed by Grandmaster Susan Polgar.

The Seirawan card had identical text -- other than the name -- as did the earlier Nakamura card, so I suppose all three cards were from the same seller. The various abbreviations used in the auction were explained in the Nakamura post and I won't repeat them here.

In that previous post I wondered about the original selling price of the Nakamura card. Thanks to an anonymous comment I was informed, 'The Hikaru cost $8.00 at the time' along with a URL to the original product page. I'll leave it to interested parties to locate the two cards mentioned on this current post.