I have not been well for the past week, but am happy to report feeling better. This is post #64, so I will celebrate it as a milestone. Why is it we human’s celebrate only round numbers such as 100, or even 150, as is the case with the current craze focusing on the 150th anniversary of the War of Northern Aggression? In November there will be much made of the fact that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated 50 years ago. Books and movies that could have appeared last year have been held back in order to capitalize on a zero. Go figure…Since this is a blog about chess, I feel it only appropriate I celebrate the number 64.
One of the things I have noticed about the stats of my blog is that after posting, if I do not make another post soon, the number of readers will gradually head downward. This has, surprisingly, not been the case after my last post. The number of readers has actually increased since writing about the US Masters. I cannot help but wonder why. Could it be readers are hungry for more information about the tournament than has been made available? There was a tepid piece on the USCF website, in conjunction with other Labor Day tournaments. What does it say about the state of chess when USCF does not even cover one of the major tournaments of the year? There was a rather good article by Sabrina Chevannes on Chessbase (http://www.chessbase.com/Home/TabId/211/PostId/4011061/norm-galore-at-the-us-masters-080913.aspx), yet hardly anything on the website of the North Carolina Chess Association. Even now, weeks later, one can find little about the tournament, or the festival, as it was called, on the NCCA website. I cannot help but wonder if those responsible realize we have moved into the 21st century with the internet. If organizers do not get the word out now, the interest of the chess fan will move on to something current. By the time organizers do get the word out the chess fan thinks, “That is so yesterday.” For example, by the time something appears on US Chess Online it has already, in most cases, gone around the world and back. The internet has taken the place of the newspaper. I have often read that yesterday’s newspaper is only good for something in which to wrap fish. One cannot even do that with yesterday’s internet chess news.
I have often been surprised when checking the Armchair Warrior stats. For example, earlier this week the AW was “discovered” by Saudi Arabia. The US is usually first in number of readers and views, and by a large margin over Canada, which is to be expected, I suppose. The other day Saudi Arabia topped the list by a wide margin, for some reason. Hello, and thank you! Although I have not checked recently, some time ago the number of countries in which readers had clicked on to the AW was found to be over 60. I am not only pleased, but also surprised, and a little humbled.
I would like to thank all who have left comments, and sent emails. I have made it a practice to publish every comment posted since I began the now defunct BaconLOG (http://baconlog.blogspot.com/). I regret having to nix one Humbert Hamilton in reply to my post “The Award Winning Georgia Chess Magazine.” It is a pity because I enjoyed it immensely, but I simply cannot print some of what the man wrote, and if I cannot print all of it, I will print none of it. If you go back and read some of the comments left on the BaconLOG, you will find I allowed anyone to express their feeling toward me, no matter how harsh. I would have allowed Humbert the same courtesy if he had not made unfounded allegations concerning my private life.
I am writing this while the Sinquefield Cup is underway at the St. Louis Chess Club and Scholastic Center. Today is the second big matchup between GM Hikaru Nakamura, who has the white pieces, and World Championship contender, GM Magnus Carlsen. Like many others, I had been looking forward to this game. It is unfortunate, because the whole world is watching, but the sad fact is the broadcast from St. Louis has had myriad “technical difficulties.” Yesterday was the straw that broke Bacon’s back. There had been an off day before yesterday’s disaster, and I do not only mean disaster because both American players lost. Certainly any “technical difficulties” should have been taken care of during that off day. Unfortunately, the problems grew worse and it became amateur hour at the STLCC&SC. I will not elaborate on the many crashes, but suffice it to say that when a loop of Jennifer saying, “Thank you for staying with us with all the technical difficulties,” or some such, was heard for the third, or was it fourth, time, I could take it no longer. I clicked off and tuned out the broadcast, vowing never to go back to the coverage from the STLCC&SC. It is a pity because I have really enjoyed the commentators, especially GM Yasser Seirawan, who, unlike GM Maurice Ashley, does not use a computer program. It has been a joy to listen to Yasser’s analysis of the games. From what he “sees” it is obvious why he was one of the strongest chess players on the planet at one time. His book, “Chess Duels: My Games with the World Champions,” is the best chess book I have read this century. Not to mention the lovely Jennifer Shahade, the “color” commentator. I say “color” because in a baseball broadcast it used to be that one person in the booth was known as the “announcer,” while the other was the “color” man. If nothing else, Jennifer is colorful! Fortunately there are other places where the games can be found. I see Gata has again played the Dutch defense, which is near and dear to my heart. It makes me think of the comment made by Magnus Carlsen about playing the Dutch against Levon Aronian because he had found a weakness in how Levon has previously played against the Dutch. Gata must have heard the same thing. Oh how I would like to hear what is being said by the gang, but, “Fool me once…twice, three, four or more times, and a man who knows enough is enough will always have enough, and I have had enough!”