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Friday, October 31, 2014

Lilienthal’s Q-Sac

     Andor Lilienthal, the last of the original 27 GM’s, died at his home in Budapest in 2010 at the age of 99. Lilienthal who is largely unknown today, played 10 world champions and beat 6 of them. He was the last living GM to have played and beaten Emanuel Lasker; he also had tournament victories against Capablanca, Euwe, Botvinnik and Smyslov.
  
   Lilienthal learned to play at 13 and never had any formal training. He honed his talent playing in the coffeehouses of Europe at a time when chess was reaching the heights of its popularity. In his book, Chess Was My Life, Lilienthal described encounters in 1929 with Capablanca in the Café Central in Vienna, and with Lasker and Alekhine at the Café König in Berlin in October 1929. At the Café de la Régence in Paris Lilienthal regularly played with great players like Savielly Tartakower, the artist Marcel Duchamp, who Lilienthal said was “the most talented French player,” and composer Sergei Prokofiev, who was of master strength, according to Lilienthal.
     Lilienthal was born in Moscow on May 5, 1911. His parents were Hungarian Jews who moved to Hungary when he was 2. He grew up in poverty.
     He began playing in tournaments in the early 1930s and quickly established a reputation as an aggressive and dangerous player. He emigrated to the Soviet Union in 1935 to work as a chess trainer and became a Soviet citizen in 1939. The next year, in his greatest tournament result, he tied for first in the 1940 Soviet Championship with Bondarevsky.
     In 1950 FIDE listed him on the original list of Grandmasters. From 1951 to 1960, Lilienthal served as Petrosian’s trainer and he also acted as Smyslov’s coach during his world championship matches with Botvinnik in 1954, 1957 and 1958. In 1976 Lilienthal retired from competitive play and coaching and returned to Hungary.
     The following game is, or at least was, pretty well known, but I imagine there exists today a generation of players who have not seen or enjoyed it.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Sometimes You Need a Break From Chess

For some reason as a kid I always loved these kinds of things:
 
     I don’t know what the fascination was but I remember getting a lot of puzzles like shown above for Christmas and spending hours tinkering with them even after I figured them out.    
Puzzle Master Banner     Our brains have two separate hemispheres with each one performing different functions. Right brain deals with emotions and performs tasks holistically while the left-brain functions in linear fashion. When you are able to use both the sides of the brain, you will find that your mind power is harnessed to its best and gets better. How do you do that? Jigsaw puzzles! They help exercise both the parts of your brain. While working on jigsaw puzzles it has been found that there exists continuous activity involving all parts of the brain. This intense activity works to exercise the brain and increase their efficiency and capacity.
     The MacArthur Study has found that people who have been used to doing jigsaw puzzles as well as crossword puzzles had a longer life span and also had lesser chances of falling prey to Alzheimer’s, memory loss, dementia and other old age problems. It also affects our physical health by lowering our breath rate, reducing heart rate and blood pressure too. Alzheimer’s research shows that really what matters is novelty. Constantly exposing yourself to something new will help keep you sharp. Experts also recognize that changing about and doing different types of puzzles is better than doing the same type over and over again.

A Top CC Player’s Startling Move

     While looking over the games of some of the top players on Lechenicher SchachServer I came across a position from a game by one of the top players, Djordje Petrovic, that startled me.
     This Djordje Petrovic is a 48 year old programmer from Belgrade, Serbia and has been playing CC for 16 years. He is an ICCM with the ICCF and is rated 2533 on LSS which places him 3rd on the LSS rating list although he has not been active for over a year.



Position after 20…Ng6. 
     After first running an analysis at 10 seconds per move using Komodo 8 I noticed White’s next move, 21.Be4, was given a “??” which indicates a serious error. How could this be from a top CC player?
     I decided to let Houdini 2 and Komodo 8 examine the position for about 10 minutes and both engines suggested white should have played 21.Bh5 which resulted in a position that was evaluated at move 36 by H2 as being dead equal. Komodo’s analysis reached move 29 with the same conclusion.
     I actually made the move 21.Be4 on the board to see if the evaluation changed. After 15 minutes H2 thought black should capture the B and gave an evaluation of about a half P in black’s favor. K8 thought black was doing even better and evaluated the position at a little over one P in black’s favor.
     Black actually played 21…d4 which in the 10 seconds per move analysis by K8 also got two question marks. Here things got interesting because after 10 minutes both engines thought black was better with the following recommendations:

Houdini 2: 22.f5 (0.50 Pawn) and 22.Qh5 (one Pawn)
Komodo 8: 22.Qh5 (1.10 Pawns) and 22.f5 (one and 1/3 Pawns)

So while both engines thought 22.Qh5 left black a Pawn better, they disagreed over the merits of 22.f5.

     The move Black actually played (21…d4) after 10 minutes resulted in the determination that White was better by 4.5 Pawns (H2) and 3.5 Pawns (K8).
     I ran a couple of Shootouts from the position after both 21.Be4 followed by 21…dxe4 and 21…d5 and White kept winning against both moves.
     After messing around some more I gave up because I was unable to determine the true merits of whether 21…d4 or 21…dxe4 was better or to determine where, exactly, the evaluation changed from Black having the better position to White winning after 21...dxe4. Thinking that because the game was played a few years ago maybe the engines they were using weren’t as good as they are today, I switched over to the weaker Fritz 12 engine, but there were no drastic changes.
     What I’d like to know is how the players conducted their analysis and reached their conclusions that White was winning after 21.Be4. Or was he? Was 21.Be4 a mistake? How did Black (rated over 2100) conclude that 21...d4 was the best move. Did Black err in not taking the B? After 21...d4 did he booger up the game at a later move?
     I don’t know and am not willing to let my engines run for a couple of days to see if there are resources hidden deep in the position or even if my quad-core laptop is capable of finding them.  What this proves is that even with engines, there is still a little room for human input in correspondence chess...if you have the equipment and software and are a good player with a lot of patience. Equipment, software, good player, patience. That's not me so why am I playing CC?  That's another question I can't answer.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

William Windom

Erik Estrada vs. Windom at the Hollywood Celebrity Tournament 1988
     Actor William Windom, a Manhattan-born character actor, was born September 28, 1923, the son of Paul Windom, an architect, and the former Isobel Wells Peckham. He attended Williams College and the University of Kentucky, among others, before serving in the Army during WWII. as a paratrooper.
     After the war, he studied at both Fordham and Columbia universities in New York City before settling on an acting career and made his minor Broadway debut in November of 1946.
     In the early 1950s he in got into television. In addition to hundreds of guest appearances on the most popular shows of the day (Combat! (1962), The Fugitive (1963), All in the Family (1971), Dallas (1978), Highway to Heaven (1984)), his best work included a co-starring role opposite Inger Stevens in the popular light comedy series The Farmer's Daughter (1963). On the show, Windom portrayed widower "Glenn Morley", a decent congressman who eventually falls in love with his pert and pretty Swedish governess "Katy Holstrum" (played by Stevens). Despite the show's critical merit and Windom's "Best Actor" Emmy win, the show lasted only one season.
     Windom provided TV audiences with a colorful gallery of characters. He became a regular for over a decade on the Angela Lansbury whodunit series Murder, She Wrote (1984), joining the show in its second season as "Dr. Seth Hazlitt". He briefly left Murder to work on another series, Parenthood (1990), which was based on the highly popular 1989 movie starring Steve Martin. The show was off the air within a few months, however, and Windom was invited back to the mystery series -- a semi-regular until the show folded in 1997.
     In addition, Windom did a Star Trek (1966) portrayal as "Commodore Matt Decker," appeared in scores of mini-movies, did various book readings, presented a second one-man show (that of combat reporter Ernie Pyle), and continued to film at age 80-plus, his latest being Yesterday's Dreams (2005).
     Windom was married five times, the last for 36 years to writer Patricia Veronica Tunder. Windor was a chess, tennis and sailing enthusiast and was profiled in Chess Life magazine twice. One of his positions appeared in a Chess Life problem column before the magazine interviewed him. Windom was also a tournament player with a rating in the mid-1600’s. During an interview he once said that he planned to have a large Rook made of Nubian marble and cap it with a compass rose, "and one day my ashes will be buried underneath it".      Windom died August 16, 2012 of congestive heart failure at his home in Woodacre, California.
     Below is the only Windom game I could locate, a loss to Koltanowski who was playing a blindfold simultaneous. Windom played very well and was holding his own until he unwisely took the offered B on move 25.

Karl Robatsch

     Robatsch (October 14, 1929) was a leading Austrian player and a noted botanist. He moved to Graz at the age of 17 to become a student and often frequented the Mountainside Café and joined a local club 'SK Gemeinde' (Municipal chess club) where he quickly advanced to master.
     Becoming an International Master (IM) in 1957 and a Grandmaster in 1961, Robatsch dedicated much of his life to serving Austrian chess, representing the nation at eleven Chess Olympiads and one European Team Chess Championship. Up until his last Olympiad in 1994, he played first board on every occasion and returned some impressive results. At the 1960 Leipzig Olympiad, he astounded the chess world by scoring 84.4 per cent and taking the board 1 gold medal, while still only an IM. This was also the year that he became Austrian champion.
     While Robatsch played competitively over five decades, the high points of his international tournament career mostly occurred in the late 1950s and early 1960s. He continued to play to a high standard into the late 1990s.
     Robatsch displayed a highly combinative playing style in his younger days but like so many others, he adopted a more positional approach later in life. In his opening play he often played experimental moves and this led to some lively and historically important games. The system of opening moves commencing with 1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 became a defense that Robatsch often played with the black pieces.
     His development as a player was hindered by an interest outside chess: botany. He became a highly esteemed orchidologist and was awarded the title of 'Professor' for his outstanding research work in the classification of different species and sub-species of orchid. He specialized in the study of a taxonomically complex genus of orchids called Epictatis and made significant contributions to the study of this group of orchids even in the final years of his life.
     Below is a photo of Robatsch with his registered Cypripedium hybrids (acaule x reninae) It is characterized by lush growth and a very attractive flower.

Robatsch died in 2000, following a long fight with throat and stomach cancer.
     In the following exciting game Tahl had to sacrifice his Q to blunt Robatsch’s attack. Robatsch still had the advantage, but couldn’t quite squeeze out the win.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Difficult Game with a Material Imbalance

     I first met my Australian opponent back in 2008 and lost against his Dragon Sicilian when I prematurely advanced two (!) passed Pawns on the Q-side and lost them. Then the following year we met again and I drew a difficult ending from the black side of the Ruy Lopez Zaitsev Variation where I ended up with a R plus g and h-P’s vs. his R and B.
     I lost again in 2010 on the black side of the Schevenigen because of too many P weaknesses. We met twice last year and as white I managed to draw from an inferior position against the K-Indian. In our second game I defended against 1.e4 with the Sicilian, got an inferior position but managed to hold the draw when he let his advantage slip. So, going into this game I was +0 -2 =2.
     This game was another Ruy Lopez and things got murky when, in a closed position, the engines couldn’t seem to settle on any clear path. The result was a LOT of time spent analyzing different plans and ideas. The game also included a material imbalance and, as you know, I am always leery of engine evaluations in those positions because they usually tend to put the emphasis on the material rather than any positional considerations.  As a result you have to be very careful when investigating those positions.
     Unfortunately there was only a couple of rating points to be picked up when he resigned because by the time this game was completed my opponent, who had well over 80 games going, had ended up losing a whole bunch of them and his rating had fallen drastically. I was a little surprised he resigned when he did, but I guess when you’re playing over 80 games sometimes it’s best to cut your losses and reduce your workload by resigning games where there is no chance of salvaging anything. A couple of Shootouts confirmed the win for black anyway.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Non-Chess Post – Rice Steamers

 
    If you don’t own one of these handy little things, buy one! They are cheap…you can get one for as little as $20
     If you want to cook rice, they are great because they cook each grain of rice to perfection without any sticking. But, a rice cooker can cook more than rice: cabbage, potatoes, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, steam hot dogs, asparagus, mac and cheese, bake a cake, make stuff like cheesy jalapeno bread, chili, lemony risotto with shrimp, banana bread, cook oatmeal…the uses are limitless. They do it fast, too.
     Health advice says we should eat fewer greasy fried foods and more vegetables, but taking time to cook is not something many of us want to do. Rice cookers allow you to fix a fast meal in a way that retains valuable vitamins and minerals, keeps food moist, keeps colors and flavors, is tender and they avoid nasty cooking oils and fats. Speaking of cooking food in oil, we don’t fry food very often at our house so when we do, it seems like it stinks up the whole house with the smell of grease.
Most people don’t notice the smell, but we do. In fact we ate at Steak and Shake a couple of weeks ago and when we got home, we could still smell the grease. How do they put it in that commercial? You to go ‘nose blind’ to the stench of grease if you fry all the time.
     I buy those small packages of mixed vegetables, usually broccoli and cauliflower, and throw in some baby carrots and in about 10-12 minutes have some nice, steamed veggies. It will steam a potato in about 15-20 minutes and I often fix a couple of extra, throw them in the refrigerator so that in the morning all that needs to be done is slice or dice and fry up some hash browns…I don’t eat healthy and avoid frying ALL the time.

Chess24

 
    The stated aim of Chess24 is to become the home for players from beginners to professionals. The site allows you to play chess in real time against a computer or humans, watch video lessons by top players, watch major chess events live and follow the latest news from the chess world. The site is available in English, Spanish and German and you can try it out without creating an account.
     Viswanathan Anand and Rustam Kasimdzhanov, Peter Svidler, Paco Vallejo and Jan Gustafsson are involved with the site.
     I checked it out today and Bullet ratings are listed for a few alleged GM’s like Francisco Vallejo, David Anton and David Lariño Nieto; they may or may not really be who they say. Who knows? Same for all the players with ratings over 2400. Who knows whether they’re real players or guys with engines?
     Macauley Peterson is the main man behind the site. Peterson is Content Director for Cisha GmbH in Hamburg and is the founder and President of Chess Digital Strategies LLC, which provides media production, consulting and web services for companies and organizations involved in professional chess. Prior to that he served as a content creator and reporter for ICC, the Internet Chess Club and Chess.FM. Peterson written work has appeared in various publications around the world and in 2008 he was voted 2008 "Chess Journalist of the Year" by the Chess Journalists of America.
     In 2006, he completed work as an editor on Adam Nemett's independent feature film, The Instrument, which appeared at the 2005 Dances With Films festival, in L.A., and was part of New York’s Anthology Film Archives' New Filmmakers series, and he has produced the DVD releases of A Turnpike Runs Through It (2008), and Excess Hollywood (2006), for the Princeton Triangle Show.
     Appears to be worth checking out.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Cribbage, an Alternate to Chess, Poker, Go and Backgammon

 
    Besides chess a lot of players seem to like backgammon, Go and poker. Go is fun, but I never met many people who knew how to play it. The same goes for cribbage, but it’s my favorite card game. I learned it years and years ago from the same kid who taught me how to play chess. I ran into a couple of people who played it when I was in in the military, but almost no one since then.
    Cribbage has several distinctive features: the cribbage board used for scorekeeping, the crib or box (a separate hand counting for the dealer), two distinct scoring stages (the play and the show) and a unique scoring system. It's not difficult to learn and if you can force your wife, your kid, your neighbor to somebody at the chess club to learn, it's a worthy alternative to chess.

How to play
American Cribbage Congress
Play on line against the computer

Friday, October 24, 2014

Brilliant Sacrificial Attack by Ghizdavu

     Zvonko Vranesic (born 4 October 1938) is a Croatian–Canadian International Master both OTB and in correspondence chess. He is an electrical engineer, a university professor, and a developer of computer chess software. Vranešić was born in Zagreb. He won the Junior Championship of Yugoslavia in 1957 and immigrated to Canada in October 1958, settling in Toronto. He began competing with success in Canadian chess tournaments, soon after his arrival. Vranesic won the Toronto City Championship in 1959 (with a perfect score), and repeated in 1967, 1970, and 1972. He won the Ontario Open Championship in 1959 and 1963.
     Ghizdavu, originally from Romania, was born in 1949 and sometime in the early 70’s moved to the US where he lived in Cleveland, Ohio. I remember a small tournament sponsored by my chess business partner in which Ghizdavu was playing shortly after his arrival in the US. I got off work one Saturday and stopped by the venue and was surprised to see his name on the wallboard ranked number one with a rating of around 2450. Remember that at that time 2450 was an astronomical rating. I also remember that he used to annotate games for the old Chess Informants and he was very active in chess in the Cleveland area until abandoning the game a few years after moving there. He is an International Master.
     In the following game Ghizdavu’s 17.g4 set an ingenious trap and Vranesic fell for it, realized it too late the cleverness of Ghizdavu’s play and tried to back out, but by then his position was lost. He fought on and Ghizdavu began delivering one hammer blow after another that secured the win.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

I Don’t Like Reti’s Games

     I don’t know why. I don’t like Nimzovich’s games either. Reshevsky, Botvinnik, Tartakower, Nezhmetdinov…I like their games, so why not Reti and Nimzovich? I don’t know. I like bread, all kinds of bread, but detest pasta. I like fruit, but not apples. I’m just funny about some things, I guess.
     Richard Réti (28 May 1889– 6 June 1929) was an Austro-Hungarian, later Czechoslovak player, author, and endgame study composer. His father was a physician in the the Austrian military and his older brother, Rudolph, was a noted pianist, musical theorist, and composer. Réti studied mathematics at Vienna. He was one of the top players in the world during the 1910s and 1920s at the start of his career he was a combinative, classical player, favoring openings like the King’s Gambit, but after WW1 he changed and became a proponent of the hypermodern school. Réti died on 6 June 1929 in Prague of scarlet fever and his ashes are buried in the grave of hs father, Dr. Samuel Réti, in the Jewish section of Zentralfriedhof cemetery in Vienna.

     I probably haven’t played over a half dozen of Reti’s games, but here is one that I liked. It shows a slight pressure gradually becoming stronger and stronger until Reti is able to cut loose a winning combination.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Chess Players and Smoking

     Having done a post on Blackburne’s advocacy for whiskey, out of curiosity I did some research on chess players and smoking. Chick HERE for my post on Paul Morphy cigars. I knew Arnold Denker once appeared in ads for Camel cigarettes in the mid-late 1940’s:
Click to enlarge
     Starting in the mid-1960’s cigarette packages in the US started carrying warnings thanks to the efforts of Surgeon General C. Everett Koop (October 14, 1916 – February 25, 2013).

Koop

  Koop was a pediatric surgeon and public health administrator, vice admiral in the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and served as the Surgeon General of the United States under President Ronald Reagan from 1982 to 1989. Koop was known for his work to prevent tobacco use, AIDS, and abortion, and for his support of the rights of disabled children. According to the Associated Press, Koop was the only surgeon general to become a household name. Even though warnings are required, did you know the United States has one of the smallest, least prominent warnings placed on cigarette packages? They have cleverly used small type placed on the side of the package and use colors and fonts that blend in with the rest of the package.  Got to love ad executives!

     Nowadays of course you can’t smoke most places, but I remember when almost everyone smoked and chess players were no different. As a 16-year old junior player, I was playing in a tournament that was held in on old YMCA building. It was in July and it was HOT! There wasn’t any air conditioning and the tournament hall in that creaking old building was stifling. When I sat down to play my third round opponent on Saturday evening he was rated 1500-1600, but later went on to establish a 2300+ rating, but that’s another story. 
     Soon after we started play he pulled out a corn cob pipe and I didn’t think too much about it because smoking was so common. But after he lit up and began huffing and puffing huge clouds of noxious blue smoke I started getting queasy and throw in the fact that it was hot and stuffy in the room, I felt like puking for most of the game, which I lost.
     I didn’t complain because in those days it would have been unthinkable. Maybe he was using Lasker’s old trick: In 1927, M.L. Lederer accused Lasker of unfair tactics by smoking foul cigars and exhaling the smoke towards him. Later Lasker wrote, “If my cigars are terrible and I blow the smoke in my opponent’s face, why do my opponents never object at the time of blowing. If my cigars were of inferior quality, they would destroy the subtle, inimitable fabric of my own game. Those who have seen me play and watched the smoke curve will bear witness that it curves away from rather than toward my opponent.” In the 1940s, Botvinnik had his training partner, Ragozin, smoke so that Botvinnik could get used to having smoke blown in his face. If Botvinnik couldn’t complain about smoke, who was I to do so?
     In the old days watching players like Tahl,  Korchnoi, Lein, Reshevsky and Donner chain smoking during a game never raised an eyebrow. In those days complainers were the odd ones. After all cigarettes calmed one’s nerves and ‘everybody’ was doing it.
     Fortunately things are different now. Did you know that in the 2013 Norwegian championship none of the 10 participants smoked?

English wood and brass 1910 era cigarette holder…only $285!
     Back in 2009 at the World Cup held in Khanty Mansiysk, Russia, two Chinese GM’s, Wang Yue and Li Chao, showed up late for their third-round tiebreak games because they had been on a smoke break and had to forfeit their games and got sent packing back to China. Wang said Li had started smoking in order to keep Wang company. Seems like a strange reason to me. Asked if he would give up the habit, Wang said: “I don’t think so. After such a shock, you only think to take a long smoke.”
     Factoids: In the 1850s, Louis Paulsen was a tobacco merchant in Dubuque, Iowa, but oddly, he did not smoke. Bill Goichberg was the first tournament director to ban smoking from his tournaments. In 1990 FIDE banned smoking from all FIDE events.
     None of this would be an issue if everyone did like James Mason…he was a tobacco chewer.  Speaking of chewing tobacco, I tried it once in the Marine Corps.  We were out in the field and it was very hot and humid and I was drinking water from my canteen when a fellow named 'Big Harry' told me that instead of wasting my water, I should chew tobacco which he assured me would keep me from getting so thirsty.  He then cut me off a piece of his Browns Mule Chewing Tobacco which I willing accepted. After a lot of gagging and spitting, I ended up using half a canteen of water just trying to rinse the horrible taste out of my mouth. Can't say as I recommend Mason's habit.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Joseph Henry Blackburne on Whiskey

 
   From an 1898 the American Chess Magazine article:

     "Mr. J. H. Blackburne, the British chess champion, was recently interviewed by a representative of the Licensing World, one of the anti-temperance journals of England. The champion alleged to have advocated the cause of the 'red-eyed monster' in terms most eulogistic.  'I find that whiskey is a most useful stimulus to mental activity, especially when one is engaged in a stiff and prolonged struggle. All chess masters indulge moderately in wines or spirits. Speaking for myself, alcohol clears my brain and I always take a glass or two when playing.'
     Mr. Blackburne with great frankness proceeded to dilate further upon the joys of the bowl and the misery of its depravation. This little speech of Mr. Backburne seems to have created no small sensation among our English contemporaries and their columns have not failed to express their disapprobation of his sentiments and to comment rather severely upon his want of judgment in thus venting his opinions through such a medium.
     The Pall Mall Gazette, it is evident, is not in sympathy with Mr. Blackburne’s views upon the subject and says, “Chess and alcohol are very antagonistic to each other. In fact, we might go further and say they are mutually destructive; as chess players consume alcohol, so, in proportion, alcohol destroys chess players. There are few branches of intellectual activity which have to show a sadder record in this respect than chess. It may be, perhaps, that men given to outdoor exercise take less harm by the alcohol habit than those devoting themselves to a sedentary pastime. It is a well known fact that out of about forty or fifty noted chess players who have arisen during the last thirty years those who have been drinkers of alcohol to any extent have, generally speaking, failed, whereas those who have achieved fame and success have, with very few exceptions, been moderate drinkers. Lasker, Tarrasch, Steinitz and Zukertort may be classed in the latter category. On the other hand, what a sad tale we could tell if it were necessary to give particulars of brilliantly gifted chess players who have gone to an early grave, and of others, equally talented, who have pined away n middle age, and a few more who have might done far greater justice to their abilities – all owing to the habit of taking too much alcohol. The testimony in this respect, as far as chess is concerned, is overwhelming.” – Times-Democrat.
     In referring to the alcoholic interview with Mr. Blackburne recently the Hereford Times says, “Whiskey and chess, when taken together, agree with very few. We have never seen Lasker or Pillsbury or Tarrasch , or any other player of the very front rank sip whiskey when engaged on games to which they attached any importance. Steinitz occasionally consumes a small quantity of brandy while playing a match game, but the quantity of water which he consumes the while completely drowns the spirit so as to leave little else than flavor. With most chess players the imbibing of spirits, during serious play would almost certainly be productive of blundering. And even Mr. Blackburne himself seldom takes anything but coffee in the early stages of a match game, although he may take a little whiskey toward the finish, This, no doubt, is what Mr. Blackburne wished to convey, when he told his interviewer that whiskey sometimes clears his brain. It would be a grievous error to let it go forth to the world that chess playing encourages an appetite for strong drink. The majority of chess players, expert and amateur alike, and the great majority of them much prefer coffee or tea, while playing their favorite game, to alcohol. We are moreover convinced that in a contest for supremacy at chess all other things being equal, the coffee or tea drinking player has in the long run the advantage over the consumer of alcoholic stimulant.”