Tag Archives: Atlanta Braves
And Another Thing
In a response to a lovely email from a young person in Europe I have decided to post one more time. The author of the email “adores” the music of my generation and sent an article for me to read (https://metro.co.uk/2019/02/07/millennials-prefer-music-20th-century-golden-age-pop-today-research-reveals-8462993/).
“Since you obviously love Rock & Roll music,” the email began. The author wished I would continue writing about music. “Is there anything you did not write about you wish had been included?”
After reviewing my last two posts there were some things I wish had been included, so I have decided to write this post in order to rectify things and make someone happy.
I will begin with the best concerts attended, one of which may surprise you.
The Fox theater in Atlanta, Georgia, is a magnificent place for music. For those inclined you can learn all about it here: https://www.foxtheatre.org/
Both of the concerts attended were at the Fox. The first one will not surprise readers of this blog. I was fortunate enough to see The Band perform at the Fox. In a time when many Rock & Roll shows had become extravaganzas the curtains opened and there was The Band as they began playing their music. After an intermission the curtains opened and again they performed their music. Nothing else was needed. It was a tremendous concert which I enjoyed immensely.
The next concert contains a story. Someone had given me two tickets to see a concert at the Fox. I was having much trouble finding anyone to go with me. Keep in mind the Fox is so wonderful just going, no matter what the event , made a trip worthwhile. For example, the woman with whom I lived asked me to go see Philobolus at the Fox. “What’s a ‘Philobolus?” I asked. “I’ve never heard of them.” She said they were a dance company. If you are fortunate enough to have a significant other one must attempt to please your partner, so I agreed, thinking, “Well, at least its at the Fox.” Fortunately, I was open to new experiences and they put on quite a show.
I called a platonic girlfriend I had known since we were young, Susan Bailey, who worked for the Atlanta Braves. “Susan,” I began, “would you like to go to a concert at the Fox?” She asked, “Who’s playing, Eggs?” Yes, there was a time my friends called me “Eggs,” for an obvious reason. “America,” I answered. There was silence for a few moments before Susan replied, “You mean that “Horse with No Name group?”
“That’s the one.”
“I dunno, Eggs.”
“Aw, come on Susan, I’m having trouble finding anyone who will go with me.”
“I can’t imagine why, Eggs,” she said. Finally, she decided to “take one for the team,” and agreed to go. “But don’t ever tell anyone I went with you, Eggs!” she said. I promised.
The Fox was only half full. “Imagine that, Eggs,” Susan said. Like The Band, the curtain opened and America came out and played acoustic music. When intermission came Susan said, “Let’s go, Eggs.” I urged her to stay, but she was having none of it. One of the members of the group said. “We’ve heard Atlanta was more of a heavy metal kind of town, but it is extremely disappointing to only half fill the venerable Fox. We are going to take a break and come out and Rock this city!”
“OK, eggs, I’ll stay a little while,” she said placating me.
The curtain opened for the second part of the show and Rock they did! They plugged in and blew the proverbial roof off of the building! At one point everyone was standing on their seat, Susan included, which made me smile. When they concluded their performance Susan, all smiles, looked at me and said, “Damn Eggs, who woulda ever known they could play like that!” Who indeed, I was thinking. The best part was when Susan began telling anyone who would listen how great was the performance, which perplexed the hard core Rockers. “What got into Bells,” was the usual reply.
Those two concerts stand out even though I attended a Bob Dylan and The Band concert at the Omni, of which I have fond memories.
Another thing I wished had been written about was an email received from the Discman, with whom regular readers will be familiar. He considers the period between the middle 60s and middle 70s to be the best period of Rock & Roll. Chris sent me an email with his top ten one hit wonder albums. In reply I mentioned only one album, the one I have always considered the best album of the one hit wonders. I am not talking about a one hit wonder single such as Drift Away by Dobie Gray,
who made a career out of singing that one song, but a complete album with many songs. That album is the first album by Christopher Cross, titled Christopher Cross.
The next morning there was a reply from the Discman in which he wrote something about having listened to it the previous night, and he agreed it should have been on his list. “Every song is good, and it really came together,” he wrote.
The last thing I wish had been included was Steely Dan. I somehow neglected to write about how much the Dan influenced me into listening to more Jazz, because of the exceptional way Jazz rifts were incorporated in their wonderful music. Steely Dan was one of, if not the most inventive of Rock musicians. The Dan expanded the boundaries of what could be classified Rock & Roll. Steely Dan may be considered the most extraordinary of Rock groups with what some called “sophisticated” Rock music. I went from listening to The Band, who many have said wonderful things about, such as Eric Clapton and George Harrison, among others, to listening to Steely Dan, causing some of my friends, who were into, let us say, hard core R&R, to say, “Musically, Eggs has gone in a different direction .” Every album is good and solid; some great and other exceptional. The love of my life, Patricia, was watching a show, Gotham, in which the star was someone with whom I was familiar, Ben McKenzie, but I could not place him, so I went to the Internet Movie Data Base and found he had earlier been in an acclaimed TV show, Southland, which is rated highly at the IMDB. Then it hit me…I was channel surfing years ago and saw only a few moments of one episode in which Ben was with his partner and they were getting into the squad car when Ben mentioned something about his partner’s fondness for Steely Dan, which made me smile before flipping the channel. Steely Dan was probably the most sui generis of all the R&R groups. I thought of this when watching a movie at Amazon Prime about the group recently, which brought back fond memories.
While living with the aforementioned woman with whom I attended the Philobolus event, Gail Childs, I would listen to the Georgia Tech student station, WREK. (https://www.wrek.org/) My favorite spot was when one bird would start singing, and then be joined by another, and another, until many birds were singing. Then came, “Here at WREK we give all the birds a chance to sing.”
Listen to all forms of music and let the birds sing.
“Old age confers a certain freedom to say what one thinks”
I usually spend a considerable part of each day reading, and writing. Since there are so many books I would like to read, and so little time, I now read many book reviews in lieu of actually reading the book. The following is part of a review recently read with the book now placed on my roundtoit list, as in, “If I live long enough I’ll get aroundtoit.”
is a former poet laureate of the United States. Donald and I had in common a love of Baseball. The game has changed dramatically in recent years and watching Major League Baseball has become tediously boring, yet after reading the following review I reflected on something that has stuck in my memory. A dying man, when asked what he would miss, included in his answer, “Watching a meaningless regular season Baseball game.”
When young the Saturday Game of the Week was a highlight of my week. I can still hear the announcers, Dizzy Dean,
who would often sing the song Wabash Canonball, and Pee Wee Reese,
even though I have tinnitus. Yesterday the Saturday Game of the Week was on Fox, and I loathe everything Fox, but the game was between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Atlanta Braves. If the Braves won the game they would clinch the eastern division of the National League. I decided to watch the game while holding my nose, if you get my drift…The Braves won. I realize we now root, root, root for the uniforms of the home team, but that uniform has Atlanta on it, and I am from the Atlanta area of the Great State of Georgia. Go Braves!
Sentiment Without Sentimentality
by John Wilson
9 . 14 . 18
A Carnival of Losses:
Notes Nearing Ninety
by donald hall
houghton mifflin harcourt, 224 pages, $25
Even in antiquity, some writers lived to a ripe old age. (Sophocles was ninety or ninety-one when he died.) Until recently, though, they were the exception rather than the rule. Today, many have continued writing into their eighties (Ursula K. Le Guin and P. D. James, for example) and even their nineties (Czesław Miłosz comes to mind). Readers are living longer too, of course. Maybe we’ll soon have a new literary category, Old Adult, to match Young Adult. A major publisher and a commercial enterprise with a vested interest in the elderly could work together to get this category off the ground, establishing a hefty annual prize for the best OA novel.
A Carnival of Losses: Notes Nearing Ninety, Donald Hall’s splendid miscellany, was published in July, just a couple of weeks after his death at age eighty-nine. Although he was best known as a poet, I’ve always preferred his prose. There is no continuous narrative in A Carnival of Losses, and only a perfunctory gesture at organizing the contents: What we get is precisely what the subtitle promises, and I rejoice in it. Speaking from the vantage of a seventy-year-old, I am already familiar with the associative leaps and seeming arbitrariness of the aging mind: a nuisance in some respects but a boon in others.
Years ago in the Times Literary Supplement, Gore Vidal sneered at academics afraid to say what they really thought, and gloried in his own freedom. I didn’t care for Vidal, but what he said there was largely true: Old age confers a certain freedom to say what one thinks. Of course it matters whether what’s said is of any interest, and no points are awarded for boorish “plain speaking.” Handing out compliments, teasing, settling scores, relishing the sheer oddity of the individual human being, Hall is unfailingly interesting and rarely boorish, if occasionally a bit unkind.
When old people in America aren’t invisible, they tend to be sentimentalized or used as counters in this or that argument.
John Wilson is a contributing editor for The Englewood Review of Books.
I urge you to read all of the review and also read the comments left by readers. In addition, please click on to reach the home page. You can thank me later…
The Seventh Inning
By Donald Hall
1. Baseball, I warrant, is not the whole
occupation of the aging boy.
Far from it: There are cats and roses;
there is her water body. She fills
the skin of her legs up, like water;
under her blouse, water assembles,
swelling lukewarm; her mouth is water,
her cheekbones cool water; water flows
in her rapid hair. I drink water
2. from her body as she walks past me
to open a screen door, as she bends
to weed among herbs, or as she lies
beside me at five in the morning
in submarine light. Curt Davis threw
a submarine ball, terrifying
to right-handed batters. Another
pleasure, thoroughly underrated,
is micturition, which is even
3. commoner than baseball. It begins
by announcing itself more slowly
and less urgently than sexual
desire, but (confusingly) in the
identical place. Ignorant men
therefore on occasion confuse beer-
drinking with love; but I have discussed
adultery elsewhere. We allow
this sweet release to commence itself,
4. addressing a urinal perhaps,
perhaps poised over a white toilet
with feet spread wide and head tilted back:
oh, what’delicious permission! what
luxury of letting go! what luxe
yellow curve of mildest ecstasy!
Granted we may not compare it to
poignant and crimson bliss, it is as
voluptuous as rain all night long
5. after baseball in August’s parch. The
jade plant’s trunk, as thick as a man’s wrist,
urges upward thrusting from packed dirt,
with Chinese vigor spreading limbs out
that bear heavy leaves—palpable, dark,
juicy, green, profound: They suck, the way
bleacher fans claim inhabitants of
box seats do. The Fourth of July we
exhaust stars from sparklers in the late
6. twilight. We swoop ovals of white-gold
flame, making quick signatures against
an imploding dark. The five-year-old
girl kisses the young dog goodbye and
chases the quick erratic kitten.
When she returns in a few years as
a tall shy girl, she will come back to
a dignified spreading cat and a
dog ash-gray on the muzzle. Sparklers
7. expel quickly this night of farewell:
If they didn’t burn out, they wouldn’t
be beautiful. Kurt, may I hazard
an opinion on expansion? Last
winter meetings, the major leagues (al-
ready meager in ability,
scanty in starting pitchers) voted
to add two teams. Therefore minor league
players will advance all too quickly,
8. with boys in the bigs who wouldn’t have
made double-A forty years ago.
Directors of player personnel
will search like poets scrambling in old
notebooks for unused leftover lines,
but when was the last time anyone
cut back when he or she could expand?
Kurt, I get the notion that you were
another who never discarded
9. anything, a keeper from way back.
You smoked cigarettes, in inflation-
times rolled from chopped-up banknotes, billions
inhaled and exhaled as cancerous
smoke. When commerce woke, Men was awake.
If you smoked a cigar, the cigar
band discovered itself glued into
collage. Ongoing life became the
material of Kurtschwittersball.
Donald Hall, “The Seventh Inning” from The Museum of Clear Ideas. Copyright © 1993 by Donald Hall. Reprinted with the permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Source: The Museum of Clear Ideas (1993)
Donald Hall – “The Baseball Players”
Against the bright
grass the white-knickered
players tense, seize,
and attend. A moment
and infielders adjusted
their clothing, glanced
at the sun and settled
forward, hands on knees;
the pitcher walked back
of the hill, established
his cap and returned;
the catcher twitched
a forefinger; the batter
rotated his bat
in a slow circle. But now
they pause: wary,
exact, suspended while
lightens the angel
of the overgrown
garden, and Walter Blake
Adams, who died
at fourteen, waits
under the footbridge.
This post is dedicated to my friend Dennis Fritzinger.
asserted his dominance early in the Candidates tournament, proving his mettle by winning his last two games following a loss to the last challenger for the crown, Sergei Karjakin.
IM Boris Kogan said, “The measure of a Chess player is how he plays after a defeat.” Caruana learned from his first candidates appearance, where he arguably played the best Chess. Unfortunately he had problems converting winning positions. This time he took advantage of better positions, converting them into wins.
The tournament was marred by the inclusion of former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik,
who did not qualify for a spot in the field, but was given some kind of “free-pass.” This is fine for other tournaments where fans wish to see one of their local heroes battle the best. For a chance to face the World Champion it is unthinkable. Kramnik took the place of a more deserving player. Chess has become a young man’s game and Vladimir is over forty. When a player turns thirty in China they no longer compete, but must move on to coaching.
The tournament was also marred by several egregious blunders which altered the natural progression of events. In round seven Karjakin was languishing in last place when he faced Wesley So.
This position was reached:
Wesley blundered horribly when playing 35…Ke8? 35…Rc7 would have left the position even.
In round ten, against Vladimir Kramnik, Levon Aronian
had this position in front of him:
Because of the discovered check Levon must play 36…Rg7. He played 36…Qc7, resigning after 37 Ne8+.
In round thirteen Alexander Grischuk
sat behind the black pieces against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov:
The knight is under attack but 34… Nf5 keeps the game level. Grischuk played the unbelievable 34…Nxb5, which lost on the spot, although several more moves were played.
The multi-verse theory is everything that can happen does happen. Imagine we are in a universe where those three losing moves were not played, and each game ended in a draw. The final standings would have been much more in line with how the players performed:
Karjackin 7 1/2
Mamedyarov 7 1/2
Ding 7 1/2
So 6 1/2
Kramnik 5 1/2
Exchange Ding and Aronian and the final standings would look like about what one would figure going into the event.
“Is it just me or is Ding one of the success stories of the candidates. Thus far unbeaten, likely to learn hugely from the whole experience, if he isn’t amongst the favourites for the next edition I’ll be amazed.”
— Daniel Gormally (@elgransenor1) March 27, 2018 (https://en.chessbase.com/post/candidates-2018-berlin-round-14)
As for Levon Aronian there were those who worried his dismal play at Gibraltar foreshadowed rough seas ahead. For example, consider what GM Kevin Spraggett
wrote on his blog before the event began:
Round 1 of Candidates Tournament
by kevinspraggettonchess · Published March 10, 2018
The Candidates Tournament is the unique event that will decide who will be the challenger for the World Championship match (against Carlsen), later this year. As such, all the players will be especially careful not to risk anything unnecessary at the beginning.
Being a double round event, I suspect that most of the players who have a real chance to win will wait until the second half before they make their play for winning. But, of course, everything depends on circumstances, and should a player start to run away with the tournament in the first half, then the others will have to react.
Up until now I have not written much about the chances of the players. I don’t see anyone particularly better than the others, though of course the Armenian star Levon Aronian has had the best results in the past year.
But form is more important than results! It is very difficult to maintain top form for more than 3 months at a time, let alone an entire year. Though Aronian emerged on top in Gibraltar last month, his play showed signs of fatigue.
Otherwise I would have chosen Aronian as the favourite in Berlin.
I contemplated writing about the first round of Gibraltar, but the excellent coverage at the tournament website caused me to eschew a post. From the website:
“There was a remarkable success for two Hungarian sisters in round one. Not in itself an unprecedented event in top-level chess but what was unusual was that they were not named Polgar. Anita
and Ticia Gara
faced formidable opposition in the shape of Levon Aronian,
top seed and arguably the most in-form chess player of last year, and celebrated super-GM Nigel Short.
Levon and Nigel have achieved a lot of successes in the Gibraltar tournament in their time and they haven’t got where they are today by conceding draws to players in the mid-2300 rating range but they could make little impression on the Hungarian sisters. Indeed, Levon might have done worse had Anita made more of her chances when we went astray in the middlegame. Nigel had the upper hand against Ticia but it came down to an opposite-coloured bishop endgame and he could make no headway.” (https://www.gibchess.com/round-1-2018).
Playing over the games of Aronian had caused thoughts similar to those of GM Spraggett. The complete collapse of Aronian brings to mind something known to Baseball as the “yips.” There have been pitchers, and position players, who have lost the ability to throw the baseball. It has come to be known as “Steve Blass disease.” Steve was a very good pitcher, good enough to win game seven of the 1971 World Series with a complete game 2-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles. He pitched well again the following year, but “lost it” in 1973. New York Yankees second baseman Chuck Knoblauch or Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Steve Sax both developed problems throwing the ball to the first baseman. New York Mets catcher Mackey Sasser, after a collision at home plate with Jim Pressley of the Atlanta Braves, developed problems in returning the ball to the pitcher. Jon Lester, a well known pitcher who helped the Cubs win it all in 2016, has had a problem throwing to first base, so he simply stopped throwing. Arguably, the most famous example occurred with St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Rick Ankiel, who, unfortunately, contracted the “yips” during the 2000 National League Division Series. In the first game Rick issued six bases on balls and threw five wild pitches. He was never the same, but was good enough to go to the minor leagues and return to MLB as an outfielder, one with a strong arm. I would urge anyone interested to read the book, The Phenomenon: Pressure, the Yips, and the Pitch that Changed My Life, by Rick Ankiel.
A friend, Ron Sargent, a Vietnam veteran, was an extremely talented pool player. Word on the street was Ron could have been a world class player. That ended when he took a bullet to the head in ‘Nam. After numerous operations Ron managed to live a full life, which included marrying his high school sweet heart later in life, even though he had no feeling in one side of his face. Ron said, “Anyone can run a table, but it’s a totally different story when the cash is on the table and that little lump of shit gets caught in your throat.”
Some players, like baseball player Billy Martin,
thrive under pressure. In several World Series, he rose to the occasion when the pressure was at its zenith; others do not. This is not the first time Levon Aronian has under performed under pressure. It is quite possible Levon has a case of the “yips.” At his age and with his consistently poor results on the big stage, this could be the end of Aronian as a world class Chess player. No MLB player has ever over come the “yips.” Although it could be possible for Levon to “dig deep,” and find a solution to his “yips” problem, the odds are against it happening, because he will forever be plagued by “self-doubt.” In an interview with Ralph Ginzburg published in Harper’s magazine when Bobby Fischer
was eighteen, when asked to name the crucial ingredients needed to become one of the best Chess players, Bobby said, “A strong memory, concentration, imagination, and a strong will.” Obviously, one of these key ingredients is missing in the armory of Levon Aronian.
I will print part of an email sent to Kevin after reading his post:
I would not wager on the four players who participated in the Tal Memorial rapid/blitz, Grischuk; Karjakin; Kramnik; and Mamedyarov.
Ding a Ling and So so will battle for last.
That leaves Aronian and Caruana. The former has had a fantastic year, but his last tournament looks as though he has run outta steam. Then there is past under performing in these events…
Which leaves Fabulous Fabiano.
I do not say this because he is an American, but from a objective process of elimination.
My thoughts elicited this response from Michael Mulford, aka “Mulfish”:
“What’s the rationale for ruling out the four Tal Memorial players?”
Part of my response:
“My feeling is that the speed tournament took something outta those players…Bobby would NEVER have done that! A player needs to be FRESH AS A DAISY going into a grueling 14 round tournament!
It is a travesty that Kramnik is in the tournament! MVL should be there! He is old and will fade in the second half…
Mamed is the most unpredictable. He coulda lost today, but hung tuff! He has played well recently, elevating his game considerably, but Fabby is the most talented player…”
Because of playing much faster games in the event it is difficult to prognosticate the coming match for the human World Chess Championship. Caruana is no match for Carlsen in speed games, so he must win the match in the longer games, which is what I expect will happen.
The Connecticut Rebels
The Atlanta Kings drew the match with their Southern division rival, the Connecticut Dreadnoughts. If you are wondering what a team from the northern most region of yankee land is doing in the Southern division, you are not alone. The closest tie to the South would be that of the Dreadnoughts first board in the match with the Kings, Michael “Bubba” Rohde, and the fact that his parents resided in Atlanta back in the 1980’s. GM Rohde would visit, and played in at least one chess tournament that I recall, while here. During this time I played backgammon with Michael.
This reminds me of the Atlanta Braves being placed in the Western division of the National League when Major League Baseball expanded from twenty to twenty four teams in 1969. Because the owner of the Chicago Cubs, Philip K. Wrigley, balked at being placed in the Western division, ostensibly because the Cub fans would have to stay up late to watch the games from the west coast. Since Chicago is in the Central time zone there is a two hour difference. To placate Wrigley and continue the rivalry between the Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals, the MLB Commissioner, Bowie Kuhn, who lacked the cojones to stand up to Wrigley, allowed the Cubs and Cards to play in the eastern division while placing the Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds in the Western division. This made absolutely no sense because both teams, the Braves and Reds, are in the Eastern time zone, meaning a three hour time difference, one more than the two hour difference between Chicago and St. Louis and the left coast.
Baltimore is also a member of the Southern division. Although Maryland is considered a yankee state, a case can be made that Baltimore belongs in the Southern division, or at least more of a case than can be made with regard to Connecticut. At least Maryland was considered a “border” state. The greatest Southern hero of the War Between For Southern Independence, John Wilkes Booth, was born in Maryland.
“The Baltimore riot of 1861 (also called the Pratt Street Riot and the Pratt Street Massacre) was a conflict that took place on April 19, 1861, in Baltimore, Maryland between Confederate sympathizers and members of the Massachusetts militia en route to Washington for Federal service. It is regarded by historians as the first bloodshed of the American Civil War.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baltimore_riot_of_1861)
“Spring, 1861. The American Civil War erupts and Baltimore finds itself at the crossroads of the North and the South. A passageway to the North and a border state to the South, Maryland was home to both Unionists and Southern sympathizers. Maryland was a slave state at the beginning of the war; however, free African Americans made up a quarter of Baltimore’s population.” (http://baltimore.org/guides-interests/civil-war)
“On April 19, 1861, the first blood of the American Civil War is shed when a secessionist mob in Baltimore attacks Massachusetts troops bound for Washington, D.C. Four soldiers and 12 rioters were killed.” (http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/first-blood-in-the-civil-war)
Elvis Presley – An American Trilogy – I wish I was in Dixieland (High Quality)
Atlanta Kings Opening Night
If you have been a regular reader of either the BaconLOG or the Armchair Warrior you know I have had no interest in the USCL. I simply do not understand the rating cap. It makes no sense to have three GM’s and an Expert play as a team. Imagine the Atlanta Braves fielding a team of eight Major League Baseball players and one amateur. Strike that! The Braves do field a team like that, and have for two years now, with Blown Job Upton playing center field every day. Use another team, any team, as an example, and you get my drift…
I looked at the ‘starting lineup’ for the new Atlanta Kings yesterday and saw four strong players rated between 2382 and 2446 for the Kings. All four players are very good players, capable of beating any titled player on any given day, which is how it should be. These are the best players our team can field tonight. I decided to watch the games because I know three of the players, and have played two of them at the House of Pain. I went to the USCL homepage (http://uschessleague.com/) and looked in vain for the games. Next I went to the USCF homepage, and again came away empty. Since this is opening night, I found this strange, so I went back to the USCL website to look again. I found nothing. Then it occurred to me to go to the homepage of the Atlanta Kings (http://www.southeastchess.com/atlanta-kings.html). Once again I found nothing about where I could watch the games. This was terribly disconcerting. I did find this, “Updates available on our Facebook page.” I do not do the book with faces; never have and never will. Besides, who wants an update?
I did find that Grant Oen is the manager, with Leonardo Martinez the assistant manager, and Frank Johnson the TD. I was surprised to see that Thad Rogers is the “Overseeing general manager,” whatever that means. The Atlanta Braves could use one of those, I suppose. The one they have spent seventy-five million dollars to stick a black hole out in CF.
I scrolled on down to find:
Week 1: Carolina Cobras (CAR) vs Atlanta Kings (ATL)
Tuesday, August 26, 7:30pm – Press Release
1. IM Kassa Korley (CAR 2486) – Deepak Aaron (ATL 2446)
2. Damir Studen (ATL 2372) – IM Jonathan Schroer (CAR 2426)
3. Ilker Bozkurt (CAR 2383) – FM Kazim Gulamali (ATL 2397)
4. Richard Francisco (ATL 2382) – Kevin Mo (CAR 2334)
These teams are evenly matched! Now I was really lamenting the fact that I could not find the live games…Then I noticed the “Press Release” was underlined. Moving my cursor over it allowed me to click on, which I did, finding Frank Johnson’s blog (http://www.chess-coach.net/myblog). After reading this, “You can follow the games live on chessclub.com beginning at 7:30pm (EST) or you can visit the Emory Campus and watch the games live,” I knew the promised land had been found! So I clicked on and was extremely disappointed. The chessclub.com (http://www.chessclub.com/) is the Internet Chess Club, a pay site. Like a prescription drug company, the ICC offers to hook you with a “1-month FREE TRIAL!”
The interest I had in the USCL because my home city has a team is gone. Even though the big chess news tonight is the Kings, you will not read about it here.
Chess Death By Draw
It has been my contention for decades that more points should be awarded for a win or draw with black. For example, 1.1 for a win with black as opposed to 0.9 for white, and 0.6 for a draw with black versus 0.4 for a draw with white. Any numbers can be chosen as long as black earns more in order to suppress the urge players have to split the point. In the very first round of the US Championships Timur Gareev had white versus Gata Kamsky, and this is the game score of their “battle.”
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 a6 5.cxd5 cxd5 6.Bg5 e6 7.e3 Nc6 8.Bd3 h6 9.Bh4 g5 10.Bg3 Nh5 11.Be5 Nf6 12.Bg3 Nh5 13.Be5 Nf6 14.Bg3 Nh5 ½-½
Gata Kamsky is the defending champion. This “game” has set the tone for the tournament. Since this was the very first game of the tournament and there is only one game played each day, fatigue cannot be used as an excuse. Could it be both players were filled with fear at the thought of losing the first game? Both players had many options rather than to repeat moves, and, if only one of them had more fighting spirit, maybe they would have actually battled rather than hugging each other before breaking a sweat. Chess will never be taken seriously as long as “games” like this take place.
The above was written yesterday with the intention of posting it prior to the second round. Unfortunately, a thunder storm with lightning, appeared. It was frightening, making me knock on wood, after turning the ‘puter off. The results of the second round, all draws, are now known. At least they were of longer duration with some of them having a chance of being decisive. Still, are games were drawn. The tone was set by the short draw made by Gareev and Kamsky. One cannot help but wonder if the game was agreed drawn before the first move was made…
On Tuesday, August 9, 1966, the Los Angeles Dodgers were in Atlanta to battle the hometown Braves. The Dodgers were 63-46, only a half game back of the Giants and Pirates. The Braves were seven games below .500, languishing in seventh place, ahead of only the two expansion teams of 1962, the Mets and the Astros, and the lovable losers, the Cubs. The pitcher called “The Left Arm of God,” Sandy Koufax, a future Hall of Famer, was to toe the rubber for the Dodgers, while fellow lefty Denny LeMaster was to take the hill for the Braves. Atlanta stadium, known as the “launching pad,” was full that night, and I was one of those in the stands. What most people do not know is that earlier that season, on Sunday, June 26, the Dodgers had faced the Braves with Koufax on the mound facing Denver LeMaster. Although not a sellout, there were 51,275 fannies in the seats. The series started with a Friday night game that drew 30,043. There was a day-night double header Saturday, with 32,063 attending the day game and 47,226 coming that night. The Braves had lost the first game, but swept the doubleheader. The Sunday game was tied at one apiece heading into the top of the ninth. After Koufax struck out (He may have been the left arm of God, but he could not hit!), Maury Wills reached on an error by Eddie Mathews, who was having his worst season in MLB, hitting only .199. The Braves manager, Bobby Bragan, decided to bring in relief pitcher Clay Carroll, who hit the first batter he faced, then allowed Willie Davis to double Wills in, taking the lead. In the bottom of the ninth Sandford Braun Koufax struck out two of the three batters he faced, allowing only a fly ball out to the CFer by Eddie Mathews, the goat of the game.
Fast forward to Monday, August 8, with the Dodgers back in the Capital of the South for a three game series. The Braves won a high scoring game 10-9, with 28,541 fans in the stands. That brings us to Tuesday, August 9, and a rematch of Koufax versus LeMaster, and a crowd of 52,270, the largest of the season. The excitement was palpable hours before the game.
The Braves took the lead on a Felipe Alou home run in the bottom of the first and the score stayed that way until the top of the eight, when Jim Lefebvre, the second sacker, hit one over the fence to tie the game. The Braves did not score in the bottom of the eight and the Dodgers could not score in the top of the ninth. In the bottom half of the inning Felipe Alou led off with a grounder to the shortstop for out one. In stepped the goat from June, third baseman Eddie Mathews. Eddie had turned 32 in 1966 and was not having a good year. As it turned out, this season was the beginning of the end for one of the greatest third basemen in the history of MLB. But on this night, left handed hitting Eddie Mathews sent the Braves fans home happy when he hit a home run to end the game. This was the first season in Atlanta for the Braves and the fans were delirious. One could have mistaken this night for a World Series game. It is still the most exciting MLB game I have ever seen.
The next night the Braves beat Don Drysdale 3-1 with 23,389 in attendance. The total for the weeknight series was 104,200, an average of 34,733. The average for the earlier weekend series was 40, 152, the most for any series that season, and Sandy Koufax was the reason. The Dodgers would go on to the World Series that year, losing to the Baltimore Orioles in four games. The Braves won 32 of their last 50 games, a .640 winning %, best in the NL, showing promise for the next season. It did not materialize until 1969, when the Braves won the western division. What were the Braves doing in the west? That’s Major League Baseball!
Now imagine baseball was chess and that after Jim Lefebvre hit his home run in the top of the eight inning and the Braves failed to score, the Braves manager offered Walt Alston, the Dodgers manager, a draw, and it was accepted. How many fans do you suppose would come back to watch baseball?