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90 Degrees of Annoyance

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Watching "Wonderful World, " a not-horrible indy flick with Matthew Broderick. It has many chess scenes between Broderick and his Senegalese roommate (who I will always call Omar from his scene-stealing in The Wire). They play on a chess table and still can't get "white on right" down correctly. One realistic element, though I'm sure it isn't intentional, is that they play with a Staunton set that is far too large for the squares, something you see all the time when non-players don't buy the set and board together. I remember being offered a game at a distant relative's house on a board where you could barely see the position it was so crowded. The kings were half the length of the board.

Despite being horrendously busy I managed to get quite a few decent movies in during recent trips with The Boss. Inception, Scott Pilgrim, Money Never Sleeps, and the excellent The Social Network, which includes the brief appearance of one of the co-authors of the latest book project I'm working on with Garry. (No, not the Justin Timberlake character, though that would also be interesting.) Based on a true story, and very well made, but it's a work of fiction.

I think we've played this game before in the comments, but if they made a big-budget Hollywood film about contemporary chess (or past, what the heck) which actors should play which players? It doesn't have to be a doppelganger match (e.g. Motylev and Russel Crowe, except for the chin). Tobey Maguire is still listed to play Fischer in the film "Pawn Sacrifice," scheduled to start filming this year. I could see Adrien Brody, who does "intense and quirky" very well and still manages to be charismatic.


They should get Mel Gibson to play Fischer. He could just ad lib the lines.

I've said this before in other forms but Mig should play Alex Shabalov.

Adrien Brody looks too innocent, too "good" to play Bobby, IMO. Maguire is a decent enough choice for Fischer among name actors. But certain people are larger than life types - and I just can't see anyone playing RJF properly. Same goes for Bobby Knight and Don King, among others.

Let's make our big-budget chess flick about Karpov-Korchnoi, 1978. Here's my dream cast:

Korchnoi - Kevin Spacey
Karpov - Stewie Griffin. Seriously, Tobey MacGuire works much better for Karpov than Fischer
Ray Keene - Drew Carey
Euwe - Tim Daly
Zukhar - Dan Hedaya
Petra Leeuweerik - Anne Ramsay
Timman - Hamish Linklater
Tal - Enrico Colantoni
Spassky - Liev Schrieber
Didi - Bijou Phillips or Scottie Thompson
Dada - Michael Cera (because he must be in everything)

What was I thinking for Ray Keene? Drew Carey? RICKY GERVAIS!

Mig, what's the topic of the new book with Garry?

Nah, for Ray Keene you just need one of the guys from "March of the Emperor".

Omar from The Wire would be a convincing Karpov
Finn from Glee could play Fischer
Robert Downey Jr. would make a good (manic) Morphy
The girl from The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo IS Kasparov
Adrian Brody reminds me of Grischuk
If you straightened and died his hair, John C. Reilly would make the perfect Magnus

This entire topic is trivial because there are real players playing in the World Blitz.


I'd pay good cash money to see a Morphy biopic, actually. Don't know about Downey, though; Morphy was a bit of a dandy (that hair!) -- so I'm thinking more Jude Law.
- - - - - - -

Dunno, what is Mig thinking, a "Searching for Bobby Fischer" with Magnus rather than no-namer Josh Waitzkin (whatever happened to him?)

I'd pay good "cash money" to see a movie set in icy Norway... (wait a sec...)

How about an exotic storyline of "Youth Y v. Experience" (e.g. Naka, Carlsen, Radja) challenge the Old Guard (Kram, Anand, & Topa)?

Somehow mix in Wang Hao (China), Lenier Dominguez (Cuba), and Caruana (Italy) for flavor. Get the top rated youth in Africa, too.

(Of course, work Alex Shabalov into a scene so all may behold the world's greatest chess journalist, Mig.)

Lets get real all the dudes from the entire history of chess put together are not ever gping to warrant a movie - only Fischer - period

Josh Waitzkin gives two primary reasons for dropping out of chess:

1. the celebrity that came with the success of the movie "Searching for Bobby Fischer" (which came out when he was 16) made it hard for him to focus, and

2. he tried hard to follow Mark Dvoretsky's advice to play like Karpov rather than in his own natural style of creating chaos on the board and seeing through it better than his opponents. Chess wasn't fun anymore.

What do you think of Cillian Murphy as Fischer in Inception, re.:



Josh has done much better in Push Hands Tai Chi (13 National Titles, 2 World Titles):

Josh Waitzkin -- eight-time national chess champion, thirteen-time Tai Chi Chuan push hands national champion, and two-time Tai Chi Chuan push hands world champion.


Of course, Matt Damon as Carlsen.

I'd watch a movie about Morphy. That's a great story.

Chess feature in the new commercial for Turkish Airlines and Manchester United: Chess game at 25sec into the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0p5FrOEaflU

The Boss is, and will always be, Bruce Springsteen. And nobody else. Ever.

Kasparov - Daniel Day Lewis
Euwe - Bryan Cox
Spassky - Liev Schrieber
Lombardy - Oliver Piatt
Fischer - don't know his name, but guy who plays young rabbi in "A Serious Man" is a spitting image of young Fischer.
Larsen - Stellan Skarsgaard
Walter Browne - David Koechner
Karpov - Cillian Murphy
Korchnoi - Anthony Hopkins
Tal - Gary Oldman

This is pure garbage. Stupid, infantile, and insulting. Total crap.

There have been dozens of games and big drama going on in the chess world for weeks and all that Mig can puke up is this childish junk again. Is that all you've got left Mig? You used to be good. Goodbye.


Read The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzken. An excellent book that will answer your question.

Your Fischer is Simon Helberg...excellent choice!

Nice to observe that if Hag really *has* gone away, at least he left with a valid argument ... although he expresses it in his own way.


Speaking of annoying, don't miss the three part quasi-interview of Ilyumzhinov in the increasingly active NYTimes Gambit Blog:


This young man always reminds me of Fischer, for some reason. At least a young Fischer.


The 'space' key is the longest one, there on the bottom row. Use 'enter' at the ends of paragraphs.

M. Foye: Undiscovered Poet or scroll-troll?

Vote your mind in the next Chessninja poll.

The (17 syllable) haiku-ized edition:

M. Foye: Unknown Poet
Or scroll-troll?
Aye, vote the C-J poll.

r's suggestion of Robert Downey Jr as Morphy is a good one. Or maybe Johnny Depp. But I do really want the German actor who played the Nazy officer in Inglorious Basterds to play some German GM. Because he is so friggin' awesome.

Would've put it slightly less harshly than Clubfoot and Hag, but essentially, they're quite right. Of course, I have not a leg to stand on in that I am complaining about a free service from a busy man. He can perfectly well tell me to get lost. But the dry-rot accusation has been ringing true for a while.

I am not complaining here, as this is a free service from a busy man, as chesshire cat mentioned. I would only say that the Dirt would benefit from one or two other authors to freshen up the Dirt and to offer more content without Mig working through sleeping hours.

But again, even in its current form, I'm not complaining. Just a suggestion.

Apparently random sentence length imposition has been the problem.

if your
ment were
in a recogni-
zable form, per-
haps we could have
forgiven your im-
pestuous nature,
but then again,
not everyone
could fig-
ure out
to accomplish.

Good lord, somebody shake Mig awake and read him the last few posts of this thread!!!


A true semanticist would refudiate the word "impestuous".

There has been an apparent technical problem that resulted in the lengths of my lines being weirdly variable, and tiring of it I artificially justified myself, although perfectly content to
being normally rectangular.

I wouldn't wake Mig, whose been evincing being-
business for awhile.

I've just read that the proposed Fischer movie, not tentatively titled The Last American, may opt to emphasize and more or less end with his gaining
the championship. Perhaps they'll throw in some
Ezra Pound, haiku and barking parrots.

So, half a movie. Which I'm guessing is not, if
it gets made, going to start with, say, a blank screen, then radio static and a voice decrying torture.

I attended public school so IM STOOPID in grammer and mispellings. But SAT vocabulary I do remember and there the term is PORTMANTEAU:

impestuous, adj - uppity; noisome; to pester impetuously and incessantly

refudiate, v - to disprove and reject as out of hand; to refute and repudiate


Is there even 30 people in the world who compete at such a ridiculous 'sport'?

"Josh has done much better in Push Hands Tai Chi (13 National Titles, 2 World Titles):

Josh Waitzkin -- eight-time national chess champion, thirteen-time Tai Chi Chuan push hands national champion, and two-time Tai Chi Chuan push hands world champion."

Always enjoyable to see blowhards go down! Nice definitions, hcl (and great catch, greg). Is the latter known as a palinism now?


Last night on SNL they devoted a byline section of Weekend Update to Palin's comparing of herself to Shakespeare after "coining" the word on Twitter: "When Shakespeare coined words, he didn't just take two words that mean the same thing and smash them together to create a word that means the same thing as the other two."

During a recent ICC braodcast the possibility of having a guest GM write for the Dirt was discussed by MIG.

I recall Alex Yermolinsky was named as a possible stand in. Has this ever been actively persued?

Alex is a great wrtier, candid and direct in his opinions while generating thought provoking ideas and some laughs. Lets put the "Daily" back in the Dirt!

"being-business" = being busy-ness; being busy (with more important work); busy with one's

Thanks again human and/or non-human conspicuous
format editor!

M. Foye: neither poet
Nor scroll troll
Line break incontinence

Er -- you're not claiming that's a haiku, right?

Josh Waitzkin is also a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, who works with Marcelo Garcia (like the Kasparov of grappling). Josh is a legit bad ass.

Of course he isn't
He knows that the syllables
do not add up right

A couple of haikus set to music:


starts at 4:17

The whole clip is good. Yes, that's Thomas F. Wilson from "Back to the Future."

if your
ment were
in a recogni-
zable form, per-
haps we could have
forgiven your im-
pestuous nature,
but then again,
not everyone (like me)
could fig-
ure out
to accomplish.

You'll notice my improved version!

Seconded, buddy. Great idea, if he would take it. Mig actually read the comments herein (maybe that's why he's mostly AOL (absent w/ leave for you euros). I don't know how long Yermo would last if he did that as well. The well gets poisoned intermitently. You know what I mean?

Well, I considered it, but instead of "like me," I'd have had to say "including possibly EVEN me," so I chose not to use it.


I had my mind on the human profile which I thought was on purpose (What you were trying to accomplish).

not everyone (like me) has such a large ... sense of humour ;-)

William H Macy for Boris Spassky!
David Tennant for Bobby Fischer. Age and lookalike matters less than the energy and aura an actor projects.

It's very rare for English-speaking people to actually understand what a haiku is. They think it has to do with brevity, syllable count (which is nonsensical in English anyhow), etc. In truth, it's much more about content: capturing a point-in-time mood, evoking emotion through an observation of nature, etc.

Well, this is why I pointed out the Thomas F. Wilson creations. I thought they were quite succinct and, although funny, relevant to your decription.

American schools teach that a Haiku is simply a 5/7/5 form, and basically no other parameters (an occasional teacher might have further insight, but you are correct that it is rare). I always had the notion that this wasn't the whole story, as that would be too simple. Another American failing, I believe -- trying to make things too simple.

I wrote a Haiku
that didn't mean anything
at all relevant.

Thomas needs to share

his ignorance and bias

people never care.

Would that be correct? It seems to work in every language.

I once wrote a chess haiku, title something like "First Round, Saturday Morning, 10 a.m.":

Center felt squishy,
And in stale morning air, no
b7 pawn smiled.

This was a spinoff of a chess limerick competition. My entry admittedly depended on a primitive Anglicizing of a Dutch place name....

There once was a lass from Scheveningen
Who played rapid chess while caning men.
When asked, "Were they naughty?"
She answered (quite haughty),
"I like to beat them and then again."

Congratulations Topalov!:

Chess at the movies: http://www.jeremysilman.com/book_reviews_js/js_chess_in_the_movies.html

There was another local guy, I think his name may actually have been Rubenstien, who wrote rhyming chess poetry, which he read to us. He was nice.

Free verse is like tennis without a net. Rhyming chess poetry is like wanting a blindfold and ear


...continuing in our annoyed ways, the sixth attempt to make this correction; and one of my plugs seems to have fallen out!

The only useful chess poetry I ever saw was from an anthology of old Chess Lifes.

It used rhyme to help with the correct pronunciation of the names of all those pesky foreign chess players.

Don't remember much of it now except for the line at the end of each stanza

"But what of Kotov?"


Thankfully there are audio-visual providing internet chess sites that sometimes provide this,
and also the players' voices. (Thanks, internet
chess sites!)

I hadn't thought of imagining known movie actors portraying famous chess players. Sometimes one of their great faces causes my imagining a famous chess player being a movie actor.

Excuse my subjective aesthetic abreactive attitudinal re rhyming poetry. And what creative
form my typing may now be given.

I like this one:
Life is like a game of chess
Each move is carefully planned,
And every time our pieces fall
We know not where we land.

Sometimes we are triumphant,
Others our luck is fleeting,
And after each false move we make,
A lesson’s learned worth not repeating.

Just when we think our fate is doomed,
Inspiration once more steps in,
And teaches that all is not lost,
And we start the game again.

Good article: Where Anonimity Breeds Contempt


has quit reading comments and making comments.

Off topic :))) Peter Svidler's answers to reader questions, in both English and Russian, have just been published:

My intro: http://www.chessintranslation.com/2010/12/gm-peter-svidler-answers-your-questions-part-i/

Full text: http://www.crestbook.com/en/node/1364

Many thanks!

mishamp, I think your site is great. But I don't think there are many left here to be directed there.

Just an observation ...


I for one appreciate mishanp's content alerts, as well as the content itself. In most cases they were related to ongoing threads at this forum. Not this time, but I guess many people were eagerly waiting for Svidler's views - it took quite some time (Svidler's and mishanp's!) to have them published.

Though by now it could actually be the other way around: mishanp putting a note on his site if/whenever Mig adds new content here ,:) .

(whistling wind in distance)(dust-covered chess pieces scattered on ground)

Hi, I've found a new home here, I think.

Per istam sanctan unctionem et suam piissimam misericordiam, indulgeat blogi Dominus quidquid per (visum, audtiotum, odorátum, gustum et locutiónem, tactum, gressum deliquisti.)

I would have thought that top grandmasters might be even more socially challenged than the average chess fan, but the interviews with Ponomariov, Carlsen, Aronian, Svidler, Grischuk and Kramnik show that with some exceptions, the elite come across as really decent, human characters.

Very nice to see. And thank you, mishanp!

Stop picking on the newlywed.

Actually, as long as the conversation doesn't touch a hot button topic, the newlywed also comes across as quite normal. He's not constantly in aggressive or defensive mode.

Talking of Ponomariov interviews (see, perfectly on topic!), he's the latest GM to agree to answer readers questions at Crestbook.

You can ask him almost anything under this post until Friday: http://www.chessintranslation.com/2010/12/your-questions-for-gm-ruslan-ponomariov/ (and don't miss Shipov's intro!)

I might be getting part II of Svidler's answers today (apparently better than part I!), though I guess it'll take at least a few days for the translation/editing to be completed.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on November 17, 2010 10:24 PM.

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