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Count Wedgemore
Member since Oct-02-17
"Books are not absolutely dead things, but do contain a potency of life in them to be as active as that soul was whose progeny they are; nay, they do preserve as in a vial the purest efficacy and extraction of that living intellect that bred them. I know they are as lively, and as vigorously productive, as those fabulous dragon's teeth; and being sown up and down, may chance to spring up armed men. And yet, on the other hand, unless wariness be used, as good almost kill a man as kill a good book. Who kills a man kills a reasonable creature, God's image; but he who destroys a good book, kills reason itself, kills the image of God, as it were in the eye. Many a man lives a burden to the earth; but a good book is the precious life-blood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life. 'Tis true, no age can restore a life, whereof perhaps there is no great loss; and revolutions of ages do not oft recover the loss of a rejected truth, for the want of which whole nations fare the worse."

--John Milton


To follow my current chess game vs <morfishine>, click here:

User: morfishine


I am a proud Norwegian, from a relatively small town not far from Oslo, our nation's capital. My name is Bjørn (not an easy name to pronounce for the non-natives), which means 'bear' in English. In Old Norse: Biǫrn. It's a really old name here in Scandinavia, dating back to the Viking Age. I've never really liked my name, it's too common for my tastes, because I like to be extraordinary in everything I do. But I am proud of the Viking connection: our great ancestors were superior warriors and shipbuilders:

I am honored to be the 12th Chessgames Chessbookie Champion of the World. Here is my name in the illustrious Hall of Fame, forever recorded in the glorious annals of Chessgames History:

ChessBookie Hall of Fame

I plan to win more Chessbookie World Championship titles in the future, since my not so very modest goal is to be the best Bookie player ever. As you may rightly suspect if you read this, I may come across as a bit full of myself sometimes..but there's nothing wrong with that if one has a reason to (like I have!)..right?

Norway is the new powerhouse of chess. After all, we have the reigning undisputed World Champion (Magnus Carlsen), the 2017 Junior World Champion (Aryan Tari), and the 2018 Chessbookie World Champion (Yours Truly)!

I love chess, it has been a lifelong passion for me. But it has been very much a private matter for me: I played a couple of minor tournaments when I was a teenager and I won two scholastic tournaments when attending the Norwegian equivalent of 'Junior High School'. Scholastic chess was (and still is, I suppose) a rare phenomenon in Norway. The only reason that my school had it was because I organized the tournaments myself! And won, both times. But this was a long time ago, nowadays I only play chess online.

When serving in the Norwegian Armed Forces, I met and befriended GM Simen Agdestein (the 2nd best Norwegian player of all time, our country's first GM and an early mentor for Magnus Carlsen), who came to our camp in Northern Norway to play and promote chess, this was back in the 1980s and not long before he had finished 2nd at the World Junior Championship. We played only one game against each other, a Ruy Lopez that ended in a draw after Simen, uncharacteristically, misplayed a completely won endgame. So my overall score against Simen is 50%, I'm content with that. He is also a really, really great guy:

I've never played (not yet anyway) chess with our beloved Champion, Magnus the Magnificent, but I do have a small personal letter from him where he wrote me some encouraging words (long story). It is one of my most prized possessions. I guess you could say that I'm an avid chess collector: I have a relatively small, but alluring collection of chess books, and some other minor stuff, some rare chess sets, a postcard signed by Karpov (which one of my daughters procured for me), you know, that sort of things.

One of my interests for many years has been memorization: I've been a National Champion in memory sports. For those who are unfamiliar with the concept of memory sport you can read about it here:

A pet project of mine in recent years has been cryptography: I've been working on inventing a form of code that can be quickly learned by a human and easy in practical use, but difficult (or, perhaps rather optimistically, impossible) for a computer to crack/decode. You can read more about cryptography here:

Another great interest of mine is old radio shows, primarily US shows, but also some British and Norwegian shows. I love collecting and listening to shows from The Golden Age of Radio, OTR as we call it (Old-Time Radio), a broadcasting era that lasted throughout the 30s, the 40s and the 50s..

I also love classic TV shows (50s, 60s, 70s), mostly US shows, but also some Canadian and British shows, and I have recently discovered the magical and wonderful world of Film Serials! So not so long ago I started to collect them as well (I love collecting things just as much as I hate throwing things away). Here is Wikipedia's article on Serial Film:

And I am a big Sherlock Holmes fan, so naturally I collect Sherlock-related stuff also! Now, the problem is that my wife also loves to collect stuff, like me, all kinds of stuff: books, perfume, boxes, you name it, so naturally we no longer have much space for all of our things! Oh well..

My wife and I both have a lifelong affection for books. Like her, I used to read 100+ books a year when I was younger. Today my poor eyesight prevents me from such excesses. I prefer listening to audio books nowadays.

Another interest of mine is Geneaology, the study of family lineage and history, an interest I developed from my grandfather who was a leading researcher in the field back in the day. My username is partly due to the fact that I actually have some noble ancestry (which is not so common in Norway as it is in many other European countries), going back to British nobility, even royalty (although most of my nearest ancestors were farmers and fishermen).

Since I am a non-native English speaker I sincerely apologize for my numerous grammatical errors. I do, however, speak several languages. My wonderful wife of almost 25 years is from Italy (although she has lived in Norway for about 30 years now), so naturally I learned to speak in her beautiful native tongue, the most romantic language in the world. We watch a lot of Italian television together. I love Italian movies, TV shows, Italian cuisine, everything really.. I also speak a little German and I learned some basic Russian so I could read Russian chess literature: so many of their books have never been translated into English. For me, being an expert on memorization, learning a new language is not very difficult.

Another major point of interest throughout my life has been politics: mainly Norwegian, Italian and European politics, of course, but American politics has always fascinated me deeply. When I was younger I planned to go to the USA and finish my academic studies there (however, life intervened: I met the love of my life, got married and chose to remain in Norway).

I love both classical and popular music (I play a little guitar, piano and other instruments, but I haven't really practised it regularly in decades). I've written some songs over the years, but lately I've been concentrating on writing poems (I can always add a musical arrangement to some of them at a later date).

I have some serious health issues, so I try to live a rather calm life (in fact, I have to) so me and my wife, we seek to take delight in the simpler things in life, including mental, intellectual pursuits and such (we seldom travel anywhere). So what better than chess? It's an important part of my life, it really is.

Still, the biggest source of joy in our lives are our three children and two grandchildren. And our two gorgeous cats..

I am what you could call a Slav/Caro-Kann aficionado. My favorite chess players (besides Magnus, of course) are Lasker, Capablanca, Smyslov, Petrosian, Karpov and Kramnik. My own playing style is defensive, positional, so no wonder that some of the guys I mentioned are my personal favorites!

For a glimpse into my playing style, here is a recent online blitz game that I played (the time control was 5+3):

White:NN Black:Count Wedgemore

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bf5 5.Ng3 Bg6 6.h4 h6 7.h5 Bh7 8.Bd3 Bxd3 9.Qxd3 e6 10.Nf3 Nd7 11.Be3 Ngf6 12.0-0-0 Qc7 13.Rhe1 0-0-0 14.Kb1 Bd6 15.Ne4 Nxe4 16.Qxe4 Nf6 17.Qh4 Nd5 18.g4 Bf4 19.g5 Bxe3 20.fxe3 Qb6 21.Rd3 hxg5 22.Nxg5 Qc7 23.Rf1 Nf6 24.Qf4 Qxf4 25.Rxf4 Rxh5 0-1.

I think the <Chessgames> community is a fascinating and highly interesting microcosm, featuring so many different and intriguing, captivating personalities. A big thank you to the late and great Daniel Freeman and the co-founder, the late Alberto A Artidiello for having created this wonderful meeting ground for chess players. All the best, Bjørn. Full Member
   Current net-worth: 3,505 chessbucks
[what is this?]

   Count Wedgemore has kibitzed 4684 times to chessgames   [more...]
   Dec-13-19 AlphaZero vs Stockfish, 2018
Count Wedgemore: <This reminds me of many women reading Shades of Grey, saying it was a terrible book, poor writing, etc., "... and when I finished the third book..."> I've often thought that if I one day lose all my money, I should just write something akin to Segal's "Love Story" or ...
   Dec-13-19 Annie K. chessforum
Count Wedgemore: Dear <Annie>. I have learned that you have contributed so much to this website throughout almost all of its existence, not to mention all that you have done to help this wonderful community after Daniel Freeman's untimely passing. You are an amazing person, a person I ...
   Dec-13-19 Kenneth S Rogoff (replies)
Count Wedgemore: Another interesting aspect of yesterday's UK elections is that now that BREXIT will happen, Scotland will probably become an independent country in perhaps only a year or two. The Scottish Nationalist Party was the huge victor in Scotland yesterday and will demand a new ...
   Dec-13-19 Magnus Carlsen
Count Wedgemore: <Jambow> I think it's brave of Magnus to only play those rated lower than himself. That way he risks bleeding many more rating points than if he went up against players rated higher. The bravery! :)
   Dec-13-19 Kibitzer's Café (replies)
Count Wedgemore: <Cibator> I have a DVD box set of the series you're talking about, the one with Douglas Wilmer. Great actor! Yes, I like that one too. After him, it was Peter Cushing who played Holmes for the BBC, but those episodes have I never seen or found any advertisement for. I ...
   Dec-12-19 S Sloan vs M Yoffie, 1963 (replies)
Count Wedgemore: Doesn't Black even have winning chances in the final position? Materially it's even, of course (three pawns for a bishop), but those two connected passed pawns on the e- and f-file look menacing, especially since White's king is kind of sidelined.
   Dec-12-19 London Chess Classic GCT Finals (2019) (replies)
Count Wedgemore: <Diademas: We are considered the "Danes of Norway" when it comes to winter sport.> Time to do something about that: :)
   Dec-11-19 Chessgames Bookie chessforum (replies)
Count Wedgemore: Same here, <moro>. My current net worth is 3,505, while the leaderboard says it's 3,371.
   Dec-10-19 moronovich chessforum (replies)
Count Wedgemore: Getting out of book? It just looks silly. After two moves Black has already surrendered the c5-square. In the Polish you don't see an early ...d5 from Black very often. There is a reason for that! But I saw on the <CG>-database that Zhao Xue has done similar "stunts" ...
   Dec-08-19 Short vs D Cummings, 1977 (replies)
Count Wedgemore: LOL. I've tried to find a funny comment to add to the discussion, but I keep cumming up short.
(replies) indicates a reply to the comment.

Count your blessings!

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 41 OF 41 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  Count Wedgemore: <diceman> Yes, Magnus pulled voluntarily out of a Candidates tournament. I remember Pal Benko once did the same, so another player could get in..

:) :) :)

Premium Chessgames Member
  diceman: <Count Wedgemore:

I remember Pal Benko once did the same>

That's OK, he didn't have 70 to 80% win rates. :)

Would you believe Benko was a regular at my chess club?

I wish I knew about the, "Fischer controversy" I would have asked him about it.

(not that I believe there was one)

<Benko was a regular at my chess club>

"Technically" he was there because Ruth Cardoso was a regular. He's been listed as her "trainer" and "companion."

The cool thing was, when he found out Benko was a regular, Gheorghiu started showing up.

At that time GMs were interested in the
US money swisses.

(I believe Benko won the 3rd World Open)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Count Wedgemore: <diceman> Wow, you knew these guys! Both kind of legends. But with very different reputations; Benko seems to have been well-liked and respected by everybody. That is not the case with Gheorghiu, whose integrity has often been questioned. There are many claims about him trying to fix games. I don't know how much truth there is to these accusations, though.

<"Technically" he was there because Ruth Cardoso was a regular. He's been listed as her "trainer" and "companion." (wink/wink/nod/nod)>

LOL. I remember reading that Benko was known for being a player, and I don't mean chess player :=

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: I don't agree re Euwe. Euwe deservedly won the World Championship. AA was prone to these fabrications and excuses. He also played relatively cheap tricks in his games. Yes, he was a great player, but at his height so was Euwe.
Premium Chessgames Member
  virginmind: <Count Wedgemore> I looked a bit on the alegations about Florin Gheorghiu, and couldn't find other than the words of Raymond Keene. Now, based on what I've read about him, if we were in court, Keene would be an easily dismissible witness. Feel free to point to other evidence, if available.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Count Wedgemore: <virginmind> One should definitely take such allegations with a healthy dose of scepticism. That is why I pointed out in my post that I don't know how much truth there is to these accusations. These things have a tendency to get a life on their own, sometimes it al starts with one person claiming something, others start to follow suit and one can get a a false impression that there are several different claims, although they all came from the same original source. So yes, one should be very prudent with such things.

In Gheorghiu's case, however, there seems to be several players who have made similar claims about his questionable behaviour. See, for instance, this slightly bizarre story from British GM Michael Basman, where he claims that Gheorghiu tricked him to throw him a game. It concerns this particular game:

Gheorghiu vs M Basman, 1968

Basman's allegations are referred to in the kibitzing to that game.

Here is the original source (from Kingpin Chess Magazine):

Basman also notes that:

<Several years later Gheorghiu was apprehended when he attempted to bribe Piasetski to throw a game to him. Piasetski not only defeated Gheorghiu but also lodged a complaint with the tournament organizers about the incident.>

See also the kibitzing on this page, where Raymond Keene himself repeats his allegations:

Gheorghiu vs L Piasetski, 1977

The game is from a tournament in Orense, Spain in 1977.

But in addition to that, according to the first post on that page, User: An Englishman writes that:

<Kevin Spraggett claims that Gheorghiu offered a bribe to Piasetski the night before this game.>

(The link that <An Englishman> provided to Spraggett's blogpost about this seems to be broken though).

This is corroborated by User: PhilFeeley on Piasetski's player page, here:

Leon David Piasetski

The bribe seems more too have been a symbolic one though ($5 allegedly), but given that both Spraggett and Piasetski are both Canadians and know each other well (they have played together for Canada in several Chess Olympiads), it seems rather obvious that Piasetski did in fact lodge a formal complaint against Gheorghiu during the Orense tournament.

And then there is this post from User: perfidious, I copied it here:

<Here's another story I was told regarding Gheorghiu from long ago: while playing an event in Toronto in 1984, another player described how, in the last round of a World Open (I think), Gheorghiu proposed a draw in the last round. Turns out it was part of a package deal-he looked at the next two-three boards to make sure they, too, were calling it a day, before agreeing to the draw, which enabled all the players involved to share first. The way it was narrated to me was hilarious, and I'd already heard the rumours about Gheorghiu, though I never played an event with him.>

Gheorghiu vs L Piasetski, 1977 (kibitz #7)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Count Wedgemore: <virginimind> I should of course add that the fact that there are several accusers, doesn't necessarily mean someone is guilty. My point was simply that this is more than just a case of Raymond Keene throwing allegations around, that's all. What we don't have is Gheorghiu's version of these events.
Premium Chessgames Member
  moronovich: Good morning <Count> and <viginmind> !

This is only hearsay and has nothing to do with Gheorghiu.

But Larsen once told me, that way back when Alekhine was on a train in Russia with a suitcase filled with jewelry,his wife was chasing him while the train was moving.After all,the jewelry was hers. But Alekhine slapped her fingers or was it her face ?,with the suitcase, while she was running and soon the train disappeared and had left the station.

Larsen said he had the story from Sämisch.

Best of December to you guys !

Premium Chessgames Member
  virginmind: Already read those alegations when I wrote my earlier post (with the exception of Basman/Kingpin Chess Magazine) and noticed that the link provided for Spraggett's page does not work. I went to Spraggett's site separately and apart from shortly discussing a game between Fischer and Gheorghiu (1970), I didn't find any mention of the Romanian grandmaster there.

So what can I say, people sometimes say things driven by who knows what personal idiosyncracies toward one or another. On the other hand, of course I can't know for sure (I was not there). Still I have a hunch it's all just gossip.

Best to both of you , <moronovich> and <Count Wedgemore>.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Count Wedgemore: Great story about Alekhine, <moro>!

I wish you both gentlemen a fine and peaceful Sunday..

Premium Chessgames Member
  moronovich: And why does Count Dracula always have problems with his PC ?

A : Too many bites.

Premium Chessgames Member

<moro> lol

Also I was relieved to see I'm not the only one who sees "Count Dracula" every time I see the good <Count Wedgemore>.

Premium Chessgames Member
  moronovich: Good to see you again <jessi> !

Do you still live in Korea or is it Canada !?

Premium Chessgames Member

I am back in Canada now!

Premium Chessgames Member
  moronovich: I see.It is a great country I think,high upon my bucketlist...Have only been once to Montreal at the airport. Hope you are content with your "new" country !?

I am still here in good old Denmark :)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Count Wedgemore: I have many relatives in Canada, in British Columbia. And some in Calgary, too.

<Also I was relieved to see I'm not the only one who sees "Count Dracula" every time I see the good <Count Wedgemore>.>

My favourite sport is Batminton, and my favourite flavour of ice cream is Veinilla. My favourite city is Fanghai.

I'm glad to have good friends here like <Jess> and <moro>. Never had many friends. Probably because I have a bat temper and can be a pain in the neck sometimes.

Premium Chessgames Member
  moronovich: I have never ever visited your forum after midnight.

Teething is an ancient discipline.

Premium Chessgames Member
  moronovich: But London my dear <Count> is to visit right now.MVL may go after Magnus´throat. There may be blood on the table…

An interesting sicilian it is !

Premium Chessgames Member
  Count Wedgemore: Yes, my dear <moro>. Najdorfs are often interesting and this game is no exception. There is so much going on!
Premium Chessgames Member
  wtpy: Count, I too enjoyed the game between MVL and Magnus. Just sent you email. Hope all is well.
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: < jessicafischerqueen:

Also I was relieved to see I'm not the only one who sees "Count Dracula" every time I see the good <Count Wedgemore>.>

I see Count Chocula

Premium Chessgames Member
  Count Wedgemore: <tga> I kind of like it.

Thanks for the mail, <wtpy>. I have responded.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: <Count Wedgemore: <Richard Taylor: But there was another Winston Churchill, also a writer, a US Novelist called --- of course, Winston Churchill.> That other Winston Churchill seems to be totally forgotten today. I wonder if his novels were any good. It suddenly struck me that there are many who have shared the same fate as the American Churchill; fine authors that were once celebrated and highly regarded, for later to have sunk into oblivion. So many hidden treasures there may be out there; unremembered stories, novels and plays waiting to be rediscovered and reassessed...>

It's a quirk I discovered from collectors who sometimes collected Churchiliana.

But your point is well taken. It can be seen as sad or not. I think the American Churchill wrote crime thrillers. Some of those become classics of course. But maybe he mainly wrote as most of us do something for a living.

But writers do get rediscovered.

But there are other areas where writers play different games. In NZ I belong to that category in some ways. Whether I will ever be "discovered" and woofed up later I cant say! But there are in fact even examples of NZ writers who are reassessed. This occurs everywhere. But this is a reassessment that writer is still there for someone.

There are probably thousands of writers who were good but didn't "make it" for different reasons.

The photographer Vivian Maier (I think her name is spelled). I read a book about her. She was old but still alive when thousands of her photographs were found. I read an interesting book on her. They found out quite a lot about her life.

Barbara Pym was extolled by the Engllish poet Philip Larkin. I read one of her books, and enjoyed it a lot. She was "rediscovered" in her life.

More mysterious perhaps are cases such as that of Emily Dickinson (I have only recently really started to like her short poems) who wrote about 1776 poems but just stored them away.

But as to the alternative writers -- and example maybe is Donald Barthelme although he is pretty well known. But writers associated with what are called the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets and related writers, although not a homogenous group include some with a very small "following".

Kenneth Goldsmith writes "uncreative writing". He is fairly visible but because he collected unusual and interesting movies, art, poetry etc he compiled Ubu Web (named from Ubu Roi by the playwright Jarry).

Here is a really strange writer:

Hugh Nissenson who wrote 'Song of the ?Earth'...he is visible. I haven't read the book in question but got if because of the cover and a quick look at the contents.

'Wittgenstein's Mistress' by David Markson is better known. It is good.

A lot of people may not know Kathy Acker and Angela Carter. Both are quite different. But still reasonably visible and even in the 1001 Books...

In NZ books by Nigel Cox including 'Tarzan-Presley' (Named changed of reprints due to copywright battles) In it Tarzan is born in NZ and becomes Elvis Presley! Cox also wrote a kind of existential Sci Fi (about aliens and other things) called 'Skylark Lounge' and another quite radical NZ writer is Craig Harrison whose 'The Quiet Earth' I read recently as well as I watched the movie of the same name.

I reminds me, at a remove, of William Golding's 'Pincher Martin' which is one of the great books but that derives from (partly) Ambrose Bierce's "Incident at Owl Creek'...I only recently realised or found that 'Old Gringo' by is about Ambrose Bierce.

In NZ 'The Bone People' by Keri Hulme won the Booker and has to be simply one of the great books. It is hard to define. It is hard for some people (including myself) to get into. But the second time I read it thoroughly.

In the strange weird and challenging is 'A Humament' by Tom Philips (British writer). He took an old 19th Century novel and painted on it etc etc so that the 'text' of his book are fragments, or whole pages or other or the original text. He works in art as much as literature.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: An American who came to NZ in the 60s (he I think had been a bomber pilot in the US Airforce). He I knew in the late 60s etc, in fact my ex wife worked for him, he had a poster shop. He wrote intense, passionate poems and hand made two pretty unique books which I have some copies of. One is "Christ Was a Colored Man" he was Bill Millet (I had a poetry club near where I live and we had him as the guest and he did well. He used to read his poems unrolling them on rolls that I recall from the 50s we had a school here in NZ and the teacher used a pointer, which is what Bill did!)...I billed him (!) as Wild Bill Millett. His reading went great to patrons not much interested mainly in poetry, but the pub owner, a Maori fellow, was interested in all kinds of things including he liked Lincolns speech at (pass) and the 'To be or not to be speech' in we and Bill had support. The story of his poem was that a black man had once argued or claimed that Jesus Christ, being Semitic, was probably swarthy or even "colored". He was murdered. But his book is more than it's subject (altho Bill was passionate about it).

But as to novels. They are so long and there are so many that one needs to be in many charity (Op) shops and or second hand etc etc or be one of those like The Little Book Man say (Larry McMurtry wrote a book about his life as a book seller and a collector and writes about this chap there). Into McMurtry's (pretty large, well stocked book shop) every so often who they called 'The Little Book Man' used to appear. He carried a ruler, and 'never spent less than US$15,000' (!). He said nothing, walked around and measured the books he required. These had to be small. He would then buy at least $15,000 worth. He said nothing and departed, of the stories in McMurtry's story of his life in books. But it is that random aspect. One has to just read, as my mother used to, and she kept a catalogue of what she read.

But then there may be manuscripts for sale in odd places awaiting the kind of reader who searches for something different, or quirky, or something great that no one knows about. (There have also been hoaxes such as the Ern Malley affair in Australia during WWII)....

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: 'Old Gringo' I meant to say was by Fuentes. I haven't read it. I have a copy so must do some time...
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