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|Jan-06-17|| ||Benzol: Richard here's a list of some of the celebrity deaths in 2016. I'm sure you'll know a great many of them.|
David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Dan Haggerty, Glenn Frey, Abe Vigoda, Paul Kantner, Frank Finlay, Terry Wogan, Harper Lee, George Kennedy, Nancy Reagan, George Martin, Keith Emerson, Greg Lake, Sylvia Anderson, Paul Daniels, Garry Shandling, Patty Duke, Ronnie Corbett, Merle Haggard, Victoria Wood, Prince, Billy Paul, William Schallert, Alan Young, Burt Kwouk, Muhammad Ali, Henry McCullough, Anton Yelchin, Scotty Moore, Michael Cimino, Marni Nixon, Jerry Doyle, Kenny Baker, Arnold Palmer, Bobby Vee, Janet Reno, Leonard Cohen, Robert Vaughn, Leon Russell, Florence Henderson, Fritz Weaver, Bernard Fox, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Rick Parfitt, George Michael, Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds and William Christopher.
I don't know how this compares to other years but 2016 really hit the entertainment industry very hard.
|Jan-07-17|| ||Richard Taylor: Ni <Benzol> Pop music doesn't interest me much. Bowie I knew something about and he had talent as did Cohen. But Cohen had a quite long life and created some great music, had some passionate affairs. No concern there. I don't know the others much until I get to Harper Lee. That was sad in a way considering the circumstances and the phenomena of her one book. Which I never finished I have to say, but my son read it and I got the "follow up". I dont know Kennedy, Wogan, Vigoda or Ginaly. Mor Martin. Of all those I know Muhammad Ali (who is probably better out of it considering he had Parkinson's, which isn't pleasant: I read the bio of Ali and liked his boxing over the years), I've heard of some of the others but they don't interest me. The entertainment industry passes me by Benzol! Most of them I have no idea of who they are. |
People in movies, sport and pop musicians by and large I have little interest in.
And I don't think I am going to mourn the death of anyone whose second name is Reagan for sure.
Unless death is one's own, or that of a close person, it is not important really. We are saddened by the many human tragedies but not much we can do about time and tide who wait for no man...
I know the names there but the one most significant to me were Cohen and Ali. The rest I am not much interested in. And as I say, Cohen was quite old and knew he was on the way out and went out bravely. Ali was knackered in any case. Great man in his own way opposing the barbarous US Vietnam war.
I thought 2016 was as good a year as any. My chess didn't shine much but things went fairly well. My eldest sister is getting old and has a heart condition. I am quite old now. I wondered if I might keep playing until 70. I find working out problems and playing over games and analyzing etc or watching YouTube things is better than too much opening study. There are so many opening lines.
I have a few other projects including another book and also am painting and repairing my house...also need a new stove, a WOF soon, and so on...but I should be good for take off on the 14th. I will aim for 50% and try not to make blunders!! I will try to play more aggressively than I have. So I will be attacking players I know fear attacks and playing "dull positions" for the sharpies, for any IMs or GMs the plan is to be active and complicate as much as possible...
I had a squiz at the Hasting tourney, with Bobby Cheng there and Stig Rassmussen who went down to the Indian IM who is 10 (the youngest ever!) (his name is impossible I will leave it off, he should shorten it, say it is Grangaganaggansmmanggup or something then shorten it to Grangaman. Grangaman. That has a World Champion ring about it! And it is a bit more catchy...Bobby Cheng and Rassmussen two of my sparring partners were in it!
|Jan-08-17|| ||Richard Taylor: <WaynePower> I hear your point. I am just not interested in those people. That said I have been interested in various people who mattered, shall we say, in my life. |
My point is that a bad year was, say, when, in 1987 my father and father in law died, and I had to make a decision to change my job or not and also I was having other problems, and so were my children and so on....and there have been other "bad" years but taken overall I think that we can learn from Montaigne, maybe no foolproof way, but we can learn to think of these events, not callously, but as things that are part of the total phemomena of life.
People of significance for me are not "stars" although of course I value what they do [not by the way that I think that human progress in any form, spiritual or material, is anything but an illusion, I am pleased to see that the rather curmudgeonly philosopher called John Gray concurs more or less with my view, although I think he overstates certain things].
So these events we think are significant now often are but not as much as those that affect ourselves. So I am doing a new book, it will be more wide-ranging that the other book and not simply poetry [by the way I dislike the term poet or poetry, I see my self more as a technician of ideas and language, and in my project, is incorporated potentially, everything...where I differ from some others such as some of the card-carrying postmodernists etc is that I don't come (these days) strongly from a Marxist point of view. I was at one stage but I don't believe one can eliminate religion, or Idealism as Marx would call it. So I cant take a naive "materialist" view...that said I like the ideas of the PMs but I also come with my own idea of multiplexity etc
Some of those musicians such as Bowie moved into areas that interested me.
But for me my focus is on myself! And my family. Love thyself as no other bastard is going to Wayne unless your mother is alive! Pretty lucky if she is ...at our age...
But I can see if people like movies and pop songs etc that is what they like: I like them also but they are not my main thing. I tend to default to Bach, especially his choral music or cello suites or I like contemporary music. But I liked Cohen in much of his songs.
I'm playing in the Zonal. Prepare to hear some crie de coeur! I wont do well. My aim in 50%.
|Jan-13-17|| ||Richard Taylor: I think people think that say, a year is "bad" when a number of events they recall in the media stand out. Frequently they are negative events. These stay in the mind, overall, more than positive ones. This is not for philosophical reasons it is, I think, simply the way we are conditioned or the way we are genotypically. It is part of a survival thing.|
Why are things in the media "bad" or they seem bad? In reality none of these things really affect us very much if at all. The earthquakes in Blenheim here in NZ hardly flickered on my mind. But that I made progress painting my house and fixing my fence was important to me. So were some Club Chess Tournaments. My results seemed bad (in the penultimate tournament I actually only lost one game, but I played badly, but did I? I recovered well from bad positions, all things said and done) and I dropped rating points. The previous year old Pat Young died, strangely, that was for me far more significant than the death of various pop stars or GMs or whatever. I used to korero with Pat late at night. I could sense the loneliness in Pat and we both wanted to share our games. Near the end, as he approached his 84th year, he was becoming ill, but was still as irascible as ever. He was a man I loved to hate or hated to almost love! Pat never had a computer. He used the old English notation and that was a terrible scrawl. He had this virtue, he tried in all positions to find what he said was "the best move". He was by now in the C Grade. He complained all the time about the time control (I agreed but I was a little more philosophical about it). But unlike Ewen Green he was someone I could actually TALK to. Communicate my results, and his opening gambit at the night's end was "Show me your masterpiece." We would go through all of my game and all of his. Everyone of my moves he would query. What did you do that for? He still relied on old books (Pat lived alone without a telephone but did have a television, he let I think only one person into his apartment). Pat was tallish, thinnish, a retired accountant. He was on the Committee. He frequently, due to his obsession for trying to check every move, got into time trouble in every game. After the game when we analysed our games (sometimes Bruce Wheeler would deign to add his pennyworth and the latter is very astute so often good insights were found, but Bruce is also one of these always trying to prove that I, especially, was always lost, except when I beat him with one of my best game ever in 2010!): but Pat and I would talk on and in the end I would have to go. By now there would be no one at the club except Ewen and Bruce, as indeed, the club rooms double as their home: something that goes back almost to 1966 when I. M. Mitchell, a "Russian" Communist supporter, who had been partly crippled from Polio (in Scotland, this illness my father who became a Committee member in his days, says was the cause of his bitterness. When I heard this wisdom I had no knowledge of these matters so assumed it was true. But Mitchell, the Secretary, Adrian Lentz, the equally eccentric and quite charismatic Treasurer (he was Dutch and had parachuted into Indonesia when the Dutch had tried to re-establish their colony in 1947 to 49 or so) also used to burn the midnight oil with Graham Mears with endless uproarious lightening games. One assuages the fear of death with such things, cutting deep into the night with games and some contact, some kind of distracting madness...
|Jan-13-17|| ||Richard Taylor: So the memory of these things (I had helped with my father to establish NZ's now largest and strongest chess club the ACC in 1966 when the Dominion Road Club moved from the corner of Dominion Road and Walters Road (opposite Valley Road) above a Butcher's Shop which we joined about 1963 or so connect me indirectly to my present membership and experiences back at the ACC (starting from about 2006). But it is people such as Pat and other "ordinary" chess players, my family, other people I meet who are often just local working class people of various nationalities and so on. All these people are significant to me.|
The reason that we recall the mostly bad news each year (and each year often seems worse) is that it is those things that are mostly reported. Not reported are the hundreds of hours each of us had dinner, went for a walk, enjoyed a sunset or a bit of gardening or a trip or an outing etc etc. These good and bad events in millions of peoples lives are not commented on. 'John Pederson of 64 Gresham Street had another happy day today, and his grandchildren visited, they also had a happy day!!' These aren't what editors want to see day after day in the headlines.
So it seems like a number of "bad" events as people often live, and this seems to be increasing, not in what we might call 'the real' world, but in a fantasy [especially since them now via the internet etc] or what some modern or postmodern philosophers such as Baudrillard and before him Debord and perhaps Deleuze etc etc have called the "spectacle' or the Simulacrum. As Baudrillard said: "The Gulf War never happened. It was a fictive event.' (I've simplified and embellished a bit). And indeed, it was the first "Hollywood War". We were told about precision strikes. It was never really well discussed by anyone why there was a war. Kuwait (which is a tiny and irrelevant US colony was being invaded by the other US creation, Iraq, or "modern Iraq" set up by the CIA etc...) . Regardless of the rationaleof the war (i have to admit to wanting to see the Iraqi Scuds take out more of the arrogant Israelis, but this perhaps reflects my own participation in the Game, which is what it was like, a huge fantasy game of war, or seeming war:
the villains were Wogs, of course, where once they had been Chinks or Slopes in Korea and Vietnam (the Russian propaganda people are not so keen on this kind of thing so we don't know how they all see their "enemy" inside their empire), but who cares, it was all a game, and it was a war that never happened. It's all in Baudrillard and other writers...
Of course it was nonsense and it lead right up to the 9/11 fiasco, perhaps Hollywood's greatest triumph, or the CIA-Hollywood movie "5000 in Flames" starring Bush, Blair, Saddam, Osama Bin....[?] ...wait a minute, what was his name, he was a great actor...blast, cant recall, any way, he did well as a villain...and there were others...
|Jan-13-17|| ||Richard Taylor: Did anyone actually die in the second series? I forget. What was it all about? Well..., there was the Charge of the Light Brigade...Don't be so stupid that was the movie about Florence Nightingale and the Russian rapists, I mean, it was...bother, it is all rather confusing...Something happened in any case.|
So various bad things happened in the early 90s to me but some good things also. Meanwhile in 2016 it was just another year like all the other 68 years I have lived through. It was neither the worst or the best. It might have been the worst and best of times.
The most significant things we experience are those that centre on ourselves. The propaganda machines and the alarmists try to tempt us toward all their noise and crap. But my addiction is reading. I read to enrich myself. Well, it is part of what I do. I also eat etc.
What is good now? The weather here is surrealy beautiful. There is a kind of deep silence despite the city "noises". The sky in front of me is intensely blue, trees move, I went for a quick walk around the block, keeping an eye out for the ubiquitous dogs, but I cant get enough of being here on this earth alive here. There is no war here. Bad things there are. But let me for now not think of those. I am alive. We, those of us who are right now and who are healthy, are alive. As are the trees, the flowers, birds, cicadas, ants, and other people, young and old I see or have seen.
Our division of years and dates is a human obsession. There are, in reality, if that can be defined, no such markers of divides, probably no good or bad, right or wrong. Things just happen, and keep on happening. I advise those who are in a reasonably good place, to keep their heads down and hope, and to perhaps switch of television as I have done, limit the news of "bad" things (especially if they disturb you)...and to live moment by moment as much as one can. I am thus talking to and advising myself as this is also part of my own existential struggle to be...something like that.
Is there any significance or 'value' or meaning to any of it? I have no idea. Pat Young had no telephone, hardly any friends, he was grumpy and sometimes not likable, he had TV (mostly for sports etc), he refused entry to his house of his brother or anyone except one person who spoke at his funeral (re funerals i was told that Adrian Lentz stipulated that NO ONE come to his funeral and that nothing be said about anything at his funeral)...Pat was a person though, an "ordinary" person, one of the millions a Dickensian of Gogolian character....He has gone. He was once young but now he has died, as we all die. Even beautiful stars die (some get ugly!!). Some who were once on everyone's lips, are forgotten. What happened to...was it Magus Karston? And Migalaz Thial you say? Who was Thial? Thol? Or was it Tol? Who was Vitcheny Annieandar? Kalasporavskvy? Cammick? Carwana? Blobbi Fliescher? Mohammad Al? Cohallien? The Bittles? Eh? Who are or were all those names? Which fantasy game were they all in?
But I? What am I? I am just here, remembering and being.
|Jan-13-17|| ||Wayne Power: Hello Richard,
I, too, certainly have fond memories of all the card-carrying members of the "Larger Than Life Characters' Union" who were part of the early history of the Auckland Chess Centre, including, of course, you and your father Les who did his voluntary best to shore up the foundations and do the other necessary things on a shoestring. Ian Mitchell was the central character but Adrian Lentz, Graham Mears, James O'Hanlon, Alan Hignett and Richard Sutton were all around in those early days. The two Bobs - Gibbons and Smith came along a bit later. There was also Brett Hart, Dave Cooper, Merv Morrison, Bernie Sylvan and, of course, Ewen. Quite a number of the younger ones are still around. But I also remember the tragic deaths of Rodney Phillips and Roger Court (the latter from an asthma attack).
But, Richard, before the waves of nostalgia build up too much: Good Luck for the Oceania! I'll drop by at least once.
|Jan-13-17|| ||Richard Taylor: Thanks Wayne, yes all those characters! There are a lot more, one was Barry Menzies, Fred Foulds, Barry Howard, Dave Cooper of course, Ken Hartley, a kind of tactical genius, Burry, George Trundle, Simon van Dam (he and I used to sing as we played our games with Goon Show voices!!)....many others....I remember Clarke, saw him with Glen not long before he exited stage left...Glen was is a character also. I see David Notely a more recent character is playing ....but do you know what happened to Peter Green?|
|Jan-14-17|| ||Jonathan Sarfati: Well done on the draw with Ben Hague, and with Black too!|
|Jan-14-17|| ||Benzol: <Richard> Congrats on drawing with Ben Hague. I might try and pop in today and have a look at the tournament.|
|Jan-14-17|| ||Wayne Power: <Richard> Ditto congrats! At first I thought it must have been the "Fake News" brigade working overtime and still (Sunday morning) not being able to download any of the games or see some of them live doesn't help.|
|Jan-18-17|| ||Richard Taylor: Thanks all! I thought I was a gonner. I shouldn't have taken his N on f5 also I would have been better to swap his N earlier I think. I was trying to avoid the Schevenigen and say a Keres Attack. I had a good win against Leighton Nicholls a couple of years ago using the Classical. Leighton has improved his rating.|
No Wayne it was real, near the end it was close to a win for Black but looks as though White can survive. Of course he overlooked my tactic which, as he is very sharp, was a rare event. I have played Ben before and in those games I missed things...hmmm...but he has a fairly wide repertoire I suppose he wanted very much to have a chance to stay in the top level. So I apologise in a way, of course, that is what chess is, unfortunately, but Ben should get another chance. Can he still win? Probably not as the Aussies are pretty good.
The game Alphaeus Ang versus Rains was really exciting to watch! Rains was lost but found a mating net threat and an ingenious defence that should have been a draw, but in time pressure, Alphaeus went off the subject and lost.
Bruce Wheeler did well to beat Wastney considering he hasn't player much...
|Jan-18-17|| ||Richard Taylor: They fixed the live games now. But no one is doing the PGNs except some of the top boards....the idea is to mail the PGNS in but I haven't had time.|
|Jan-19-17|| ||Wayne Power: <Richard> Good luck for the last day! I'd say, what with two rounds today and every alternate day, it'll feel good when you stop.|
|Jan-19-17|| ||Richard Taylor: Thanks Wayne...It is tiring. I think I have done my dash at chess and now will probably sit on the sidelines. |
I miscalculated yesterday and paid the consequences....such is chess and life!
|Jan-20-17|| ||Richard Taylor: I won today. I played quite quickly and got a kind of King's Indian then I made two temp sacrifices in a row to win two pawns. Then I slowly put pressure on my opponent and finished off with a Queen sacrifice which forced a win. There were easier ways to win but I couldn't resist it! I also won one of the 4 shortest checkmate prizes....As I got 4.5 from 9 I qualify to be a Canditate Master (if I pay my NZ$100.00 before the 31st of March). It is, Alex Huang told me, mainly for those over 2200 or round there but they offered this as an incentive to get players into the tournament. I didn't really think about it. My main motivation was to win or at least not lose...play good chess. In any case I achieved 50% which was my target...And I drew with an FM, who is NZ's strongest active player.|
|Jan-20-17|| ||Jonathan Sarfati: Lots of new FMs, which is leading to title inflation because some are well below FM standard of 2300. I don't mean Leonard McLaren who has been almost that standard for decades, or a couple of others who had >2300 performances in this zonal. Rather, this zonal will produce several more "soft-FMs" rated <2100.|
It's reasonable that Layla T. gets WIM title from such a clear-cut tournament win.
|Jan-20-17|| ||Jonathan Sarfati: Well done on CM qualification. A couple of my clubmates in my old Aussie club got them too.|
|Jan-20-17|| ||Benzol: <Richard> Well done on getting the CM qualification. I wasn't able to look in as there a few things going on at the moment. Dad is in hospital again. Hope the PGN's of some of the games will be available soon.|
|Jan-20-17|| ||Wayne Power: <Richard> Ditto congrats on your CM qualification! It was a very strong field and you did better than many younger and better coached players.|
|Jan-21-17|| ||Richard Taylor: Thanks Wayne Jonathan and Benzol. I have to pay $100! But the getting of it is good, it was offered this year. Stan Yee told me to offer a draw but Alex Huang told me after our game, that I lost, that he had to win! His fear was he might be playing someone in the next round on 3 and 1/2 whereas Stan (who took two short draws) assumed his opponents would be on the same score and want the CM...he put this all to me. |
I could see his point but in the last round I had and interesting game arising with 1 e3! I ended up sacrificing twice (temporarily) then near the end I decided to sacrifice my Queen but I had to see that he didn't have a perpetual (he didn't as his second check meant I could check him with my rook checking him with a discovered check! But I had an easier way to win but I couldn't resist sacrificing my Queen even if it was fairly sure to work...(there was another danger though, a stalemate if he sacrificed his Q!)....
|Jan-21-17|| ||Richard Taylor: Last round game:
[Event "Oceania Zonal 2017"]
[Site "Waipuna Lodge Auckland,NZ"]
[White "Kevin Shen"]
[Black "Richard Taylor"]
1. e3 d6 2. c4 g6 3. d4 Bg7 4. Nc3 Nc6 5. f4 Nf6 6. d5 Nb8 7. e4 Nbd7 8.
Be3 O-O 9. Bd3 e6 10. h3 exd5 11. cxd5 Re8 12. Qc2 Nb6 13. Nge2 Nbxd5 14.
Bd2 Nb4 15. Qb1 Nxd3+ 16. Qxd3 Nxe4 17. Nxe4 Bf5 18. N2g3 Bxe4 19. Nxe4 d5
20. O-O-O Rxe4 21. Rhe1 Rd4 22. Qg3 Rc4+ 23. Kb1 Qf6 24. Qb3 Qf5+ 25. Ka1
b6 26. Rc1 Rxc1+ 27. Rxc1 c5 28. Re1 Qd7 29. Qf3 Rd8 30. g4 f5 31. g5 b5
32. h4 d4 33. h5 d3 34. hxg6 hxg6 35. Qh3 b4 36. Rc1 Qd4 37. Rb1 c4 38. Be3
Qxb2+ 39. Rxb2 d2 40. Bxd2 Rxd2 41. Qh1 Rxb2 42. Qa8+ Kh7 43. a3 Rb3+ 44.
Ka2 Rxa3+ 45. Kb1 Ra1+ 46. Kc2 b3+ 47. Kd2 b2 48. Ke3 b1=Q
I missed a quicker win with 43. b3! which avoids stalemate and forces mate in three more moves. But I was quite nervous and excited by this dramatic finish! I actually miscalculated thinking that after 43. Qxa7 (which I knew prevented most discoveries) I had a way to pick up his Q and win...I did but I had a 'retained' image or illusion I still had a rook! Otherwise I saw that he was pretty lost in any case! As it happens if 43. Qxa7 I knew when i got there that the pawn ending was going to be won.
|Jan-21-17|| ||Richard Taylor: Here is the position I (mis)-visualised:
click for larger view
And now I had (wrongly)
So calculated I could play:
1. Rb3+ Qxg7+ 2. Kxg7 wins as the pawn goes or if
...1. Rb3+ Ka2 2. Rxa3+ picks up the pawn and Q leaving me with, somehow I further 'hallucinated' a R up (no, surely at least I knew it was B as I recall it was a fork)...
But the whole thing was wrong as this was an impossible position, I had mixed up the Qxa7 with his other move a3
So this position (below) is, fortunately as I saw when I got there, a won ending by one move!
click for larger view
It is White to play.
I had reached the time control and could have spent more time checking the position but I really wanted to sacrifice the Queen so I had worked the moves out before he played Be3, so I did a bit more checking and then crashed and exploded into b2 in a chessic charge of the Light Brigade, except my charge had a bit more rhyme and reason to it!
So much for cautious play ensuring a win or ensuring I got the CM title! I didn't think of the title much at all. I had forgotten about it completely until Stan mentioned it...
|Jan-21-17|| ||Richard Taylor: Actually I think from inspection that it is won by two moves but I started the sacrifice blissfully ignorant of it!!|
|Jan-22-17|| ||mckmac: <Richard> Belated Congratulations on qualifying to become a Candidate Master. It's great to see you playing so well and flying the flag for us 'seasoned players'. One of the special characteristics of our sport/art/game/science is that we are never too old to achieve a result. I know that neither of us are really that old*, but boy, some days I feel it. Regards, Matt|
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