Greengard's ChessNinja.com

Things That Annoy Me, Part 322

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"Even Nigel Short became a household name on the strength of completely failing to beat Garry Kasparov at that least glamorous of all sports, chess, in 1993."

This in a BBC website article on the demise of squash in the UK. (The sport, not the fruit, if you can tell the difference.) "Least glamorous"? What, so Short became famous in his homeland for his Worrall Attack and the size of his gums? Intellectual combat is glamorous, and has always been so considered in civilized nations. And "even Nigel Short"? As if that match loss to the greatest player ever was but a comma in an otherwise unending epic of British sporting triumphs. I don't remember seeing David "Mr. Spice" Beckham making the World Cup final lately. And that beloved British boxing heavyweight champ, Lennox Lewis? A frequent chessplayer, of course. Snort.


Perhaps one should associate Steve Tomkins with squash? The fruit, not the sport, as when one steps on it and presses down. >;-)

In the public imagination, Short was hot on the frozen heals of "Eddie The Eagle Edwards", in our League of Loved Losers. Reaching #3 (#2?) in the world at chess was a fantastic achievement of course, but not deemed media-worthy over here.

There are a large number of complaints about the lack of proper international chess player here in Britain. Such voices range from Short's to the much more minor commentators on my chess club's own blog.

Personally, I lose enough games that I wish chess was a lot less popular over here. In some countries (like Afghanistan) I'd be in the Top 10. I would much rather a depopularisation of cehss over here, so I can quit my office job for a comfortable career of training patzers on the beach, intermingled with trips to the Olympiad.

Anyhow. Speaking as an English man, I just wanted to not share your irritation.

i agree its a shame that chess gets treated the way it does in the west. however, something cannot be considered glamouros unless it gets both respect and attention, and for the most part chess gets neither. therefore, i think the writer of said article is quite justified in calling chess "unglamorous".

Chess IS glamorous. However, Topalov and Danailov's latest efforts are what hurts the image of the game, not the references to chess in articles about a sport that is played by tennis and ping-pong rejects.

But it was kinda funny. Someone definitely seems to be mad at the fact that Short is better known in England than any of the squash players.

Just for the record, Squash is a Vegetable not a fruit. A pumpkin is a Squash. Hard as a rock and certainly never eatten raw like fruit. Squash is mostly starch and with fruit we think of sugar. I can imagine most fruit wines but never a squash wine or beer.

Your mother served squash for Thanksgiving dinner all mashed up like colored mashed potatoes. You might put a big glob of mashed squash on the plate next to the slices of turkey. But never an apple or orange on the same plate.

Maybe that is why squash is not so popular today, everyone today thinks it is a fruit and has trouble eating a 30 pound pumpkin raw by biting into it like an apple. And of course the orange skin does not peel off the pumpkin like it does off a regular orange.

Anyway I have to get back to working on really important matters like trying to figure out how to help Magnus win a chess game. His move 6 got him into trouble. I wish my opponents would mess up that early in a game.

Ah, if only categories were based on how we eat them instead of their internal structures. And are you saying cranberries aren't fruit? (Squash are actually berries, which must be why pumpkin pie and blueberry pie are both so tasty).


Squash is a fruit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Squash_(fruit)

Squash is also a great sport that I play often and this article was interesting. I don't see why calling chess the "least glamorous of all sports" is inaccurate. Chess is devoid of glamor and Short came up, well, short in '93 -- which is the event that put him into the English zeitgeist.

The point is that there is so much success in a sport where there is so little fanfare. If the British truly wanted to be champions, they need to simply shift their attention to that other racquet sport (well, maybe "the other, other racquet sport" since badminton is a bigger game too).

Anyhow, squash is eminently watchable and a well kept secret in most places. It's also tremendously fun to play. Much more so than tennis on both counts.


Well one never knows what we will learn on a chess blog. LOL.


discusses the difference between fruits and vegetables. I never knew this.

Anyway Wikipidia confirms that Squash is technically a berry and therefore a fruit. All this only because it has seeds inside. So I guess sweet corn, beans, walnuts, etc are all fruits along with squash because they contain seeds.

Well score is Mig 1 Frank 0.

How about a rematch some day. I know a guy with class who will do a rematch when he wins the first game with white.

( that is a little side joke on ICC notes on MIG. If you are an ICC member you can do a finger MIG and read all about it. )

Sorry Mig, but I can't go along with you on this one. Go to any chess club in the world and you'll see the scruffiest, least glamorous people on the planet.

An analogy to further my point: Are scientists considered glamorous? Of course not. Intellect has absolutely nothing to do with glamor.

"Sorry Mig, but I can't go along with you on this one. Go to any chess club in the world and you'll see the scruffiest, least glamorous people on the planet."

You've never been in a DnD club, then :p Honest Injun, I haven't either, but many of my high school and college friends were into role-playing games and you couldn't get any less glamorous than them. But that's an old joke.

I daresay the general public considers chess-players and role-players about equally geeky. It's only the geeks themselves that make fine distinctions.


Hey, I think he said, "chess" is glamorous not "chessplayers" :-)=

PS. "Eddie The Eagle Edwards" was a household name in Finland too. In Finland we are almost as good as chess than Eddie was in ski-jumping.

["Sorry Mig, but I can't go along with you on this one. Go to any chess club in the world and you'll see the scruffiest, least glamorous people on the planet."

You've never been in a DnD club, then :p ]

Or a backgammon club. Gave up playing this intriguing game seriously since the climate around
team matches and tournaments were, well, let's say often alternative.

On the other hand, gave up chess at eight since some scholastic chess coach made a, probably funny but still harsh for the kid, comment about my old man who already at that time looked like an extra grumpy version of Korchnoi anno 2010.

What is a DnD club? I will be sorely disappointed if the answer is not wacky and out there..

My local chess club is the biggest collection of loons I have ever seen in one place. Seriously. No woman in her right mind has ever been near the place. But at least they are friendly.

Dungeons and Dragons?

"Hey, I think he said, "chess" is glamorous not "chessplayers" :-)="

True, but I think that the glamour of an activity comes from its participants, doesn't it?

Look, for example, at boxing, which is far less popular now than it was back in the 1960s and 1970s. Back then, it was full of characters--Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Joe Frazier, and so on. These are the sort of people you couls sink your teeth into, so to speak. Nowadays, all you have, at least in the heavyweight division, are the Klitchkos, an aging Lennox Lewis, and Mike Tyson =[ On top of that, you have a bunch of bit players no one has ever heard of.

Unfortunately, chess is similarly glamour-free, and all of the recent bad behavior is no helping.

It's not squash, its racquetball! :)

It's not squash, its racquetball! :)

"racquetball" is a different game than squash. In my opinion, it is much worse. Squash is more technical and is a good fit for a chess player in fact.

well my late father was a handball player and he went to his grave cursing the SOB who first took a tennis racket into a handball court . . .

As you say, Mig: Intellectual combat is glamorous. Alas, Chess is being presented as a Sport, and as a Sport, Chess doesn't resonate with the general public. Indeed, they find the concept that chess can be a sport to be rather silly. Recall the mocking reference to "Chess as Sport" on Saturday Night Live a couple of weeks ago.

Whatever glamorous elements exist in Chess tend to be identified with the non-sport aspects of chess.

As for the Fruit vs. Vegetable debate: scientific catetgorization is fine for scientists and pedants, but rather meaningless for general discourse about food. What's the point of a classification system if it only serves to confound and confuse? Since people care about how fruits and vegetables taste, and incorporate those notions when making choices about how to prepare and eat the foods, the "internal structures" or the fruits/vegetables are rather irrelevant.

Yeah, Chess is not glamorous. Geez, even the controversies are decidely unglamerous: "He is visiting the toilet too often! I must protest!".

Unfortunately, most people see chess clubs as stuffy congregations of older men smoking cigars in the back room of coin shops and the like.

"...at that least glamorous of all sports, chess..."

This HAS to be the continued fallout from Danailov/Topalov and their little toilet caper at the World Chess Championship.

I can see no other reason to characterize chess in this manner.

And the answer is: "Adams"


Careful to note that the article did not use the word 'famous.' It said he became a 'household name.'

Which makes one wonder- what other household names are there, and how do they become such?

If you want to buy real estate, you would have to receive the loans. Furthermore, my sister always takes a short term loan, which supposes to be the most fast.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on January 15, 2007 7:14 PM.

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