About a decade ago while living in Louisville I was a gate chief at the Kentucky state fair. A much younger man informed me there was a problem with “some jerk” without a pass who was attempting to enter the main gate. As I walked over to the car, a silver Rolls Royce, I saw a lovely blood in the passenger seat before seeing William Shatner, Captain Kirk of Star Trek fame, in the drivers seat. “Do you know who I am?” he inquired. “Do I know who you are? EVERYONE knows who you are, Captain!” The response was a huge smile. “Except this fellow,” Mr. Shatner said. The problem was he had forgotten his gate pass. I had previously seen the car and knew it was the Captain’s vehicle. I turned to the young man and said, “My God man, this man is one of the most well known American icons. Where have you been?” Of course I let the Captain enter without proper credentials, because, well, you know, we are talking about The Captain of the Enterprise here, right? I was a Trekkie back in the day. One of the wags at the House of Pain was a huge fan of another space type television show. I brought the house down when saying, “The difference between us is that I boldly go where no man has gone while you, sir, are lost in space!”
Star Trek icon William Shatner, 88, plans space trip and doesn’t care if he dies
The ageing star’s most famous role is that of Captain James T Kirk, but if his new TV show gets the green light, he won’t be driving the USS Enterprise at warp speed to get there
By Dave Paul
William Shatner is 88 but claims he is mentally and physically fitter than ever (Image: Getty)
Star Trek legend William Shatner plans to go into Space for real – at the age of 88.
TV chiefs want him to be one of the world’s first space tourists aboard one of the commercial rockets which could take off as early as this year.
Shatner shot to fame 54 years ago as Captain James T Kirk on the inter-galactic USS Enterprise with the mission “to boldly go”.
Now he has pitched the idea of a real-life space adventure to TV chiefs in the US and they are enthusiastic.
He said: “I’ve tried to sell a show and I believe I have. But an announcement I’ll make in the weeks to come about me going into space… it looks likely.
William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk in 1969 (Image: Getty)
It was disconcerting to read the caption underneath the picture of William Shatner. When I hear a fellow Senior say something that stupid it makes me cringe because no human being aged eighty eight is “mentally and physically fitter than ever.” Those who say such things are, quite simply, out of what is left of their mind. Nevertheless, if the Captain wants to end his days boldly going out there all I can say is, keep on trucking, Captain!
Colin: “All sports change over the years, becoming faster, higher, stronger. Is chess also subject to similar trends?”
Boris: “Chess is also changing, but in a somewhat incomprehensible manner. Computers have appeared in chess and turned everything upside down.”
The advent of computer chess programs have drastically altered the Royal game. The natural evolution of chess has been, shall we say, “enhanced” by the programs. The play of the game of chess has taken a quantum leap forward in the lifetime of Boris Spassky. When change this dramatic occurs it is only natural that older humans have trouble accepting the rapid change. For instance, my grandmother was born before the automobile was invented. When Neil Armstrong allegedly stepped onto the surface of the moon and said, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” it was much more than she could comprehend and she never believed it happened. To her it was just something “they” put on TV.
Colin: “The reigning World Champion Magnus Carlsen has the reputation of being a straight-A chess player who does everything correctly on the board and plays out games for a long, long time. Has chess lost something because of that?”
Boris: “Carlsen is a stubborn kid. In general, what a chess player needs has always been the same, with a love of chess the main requirement. Moreover, it has to be loved naturally, with passion, the way people love art, drawing and music. That passion possesses you and seeps into you. I still look at chess with the eyes of a child.”
Colin: “Can chess players of different eras be compared at all?”
Boris: “It’s pretty hard. Each to his own. Everyone should know his place. Chess players are a very difficult crowd who are largely egocentrics, egoists and individualists. Each of them has his own vision of the world and each is a lone wolf who goes his own way. Each World Champion came from more or less that background.”
Humans have always played games, and, most, will continue to play some kind of game. As Colin said, “All sports change over the years…” Chess is not an exception.
Whatever credibility Checkers had has been lost to the computer program Chinook, the “World Man-Machine Checkers Champion.” (http://webdocs.cs.ualberta.ca/~chinook/) Have humans stopped playing Checkers? They have not because they changed the game. Take a look at “International Checkers.” It is not the game your father played.
Consider Three Dimensional Chess, popularized by the Star Trek TV show. (http://www.chessvariants.org/3d.dir/startrek.html)
“Three-dimensional chess (or 3D chess) refers to any of various chess variants that use multiple boards at different levels, allowing the chess pieces to move in three physical dimensions. Three-dimensional variants have existed since the late 19th century, one of the oldest being Raumschach (German for Space chess), invented in 1907 by Dr. Ferdinand Maack and considered the classic 3D game. Maack founded a Raumschach club in Hamburg in 1919, which remained active until World War II. The inventor contended that for chess to be more like modern warfare, attack should be possible not only from a two-dimensional plane but also from above (aerial) and below (underwater). Maack’s original formulation was for an 8×8×8 board, but after experimenting with smaller boards eventually settled on 5×5×5 as best. Other obvious differences from standard chess include two additional pawns per player, and a special piece (two per player) named unicorn.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-dimensional_chess)
It could be that in the future when one speaks of chess, it will be in regard to only 3D Chess.
GM Walter Browne, an avid gamesman, has created a game he named, “FINESSE.” Walter calls it, “The 21st century version of Chess.” He writes, “In 1988 I started to wonder why over two thousand years no one ever thought of another board game besides Chess, that was a “purely” intellectual struggle. There are many chess variants, but none of them are very appealing, so I dared to take up the challenge. I invented Finesse in 1993 and I thought it’s nice, but I put it away for almost twenty years. Then in 2012 I made a few key changes which made all the difference! I had a “Voila”! moment in August 2012 when I realized the chemistry between the pieces would create an endless variety of dynamic positions.”(http://www.finessebybrowne.com/#!history/c1sf)
Check out this “Finesse” video:
Could the game Walter invented be the future of chess? My favorite science fiction novel is, “The Player of Games,” by Iain M. Banks. “Curgeh is the best, the champion. In the ancient, all-embracing Culture in which there is no disease or disaster, only the endless games, he has beaten them all. But an empire’s challenge will teach him what the Game is really all about.” (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18630.The_Player_of_Games)
My favorite novel is, “The Glass Bead Game,” by Hermann Hesse. It is known as “Das Glasperlenspiel” in German. It has also been published under the title “Magister Ludi,” Latin for “Master of the Game.” (http://www.glassbeadgame.com/)
“It was begun in 1931 and published in Switzerland in 1943 after being rejected for publication in Germany due to Hesse’s anti-Fascist views. A few years later, in 1946, Hesse went on to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. In honoring him in its Award Ceremony Speech, the Swedish Academy said that the novel “occupies a special position” in Hesse’s work.”
“The Glass Bead Game takes place at an unspecified date centuries into the future. Hesse suggested that he imagined the book’s narrator writing around the start of the 25th century. The setting is a fictional province of central Europe called Castalia, which was reserved by political decision for the life of the mind; technology and economic life are kept to a strict minimum. Castalia is home to an austere order of intellectuals with a twofold mission: to run boarding schools for boys, and to nurture and play the Glass Bead Game, whose exact nature remains elusive and whose devotees occupy a special school within Castalia known as Waldzell. The rules of the game are only alluded to—they are so sophisticated that they are not easy to imagine. Playing the game well requires years of hard study of music, mathematics, and cultural history. The game is essentially an abstract synthesis of all arts and sciences. It proceeds by players making deep connections between seemingly unrelated topics.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Glass_Bead_Game)
After the penultimate round of the 50th USSR Championship, Anatoly Karpov was in the lead by half a point over his last round opponent, Vladimir Tukmov, who had scored 8 ½. Karpov had white and the game was drawn in 15 moves. Lev Poluagaevsky also had 8 ½ points, and had white against Vladimir Malaniuk, who, along with, Lerner, Azmaiparashvili, and Razuvaev were the qualifying winners of the four Otborochny tournaments. Malaniuk was at minus one with 6 ½ points. Vaganian beat Yusupov in 52 moves to score 9 points and tie with Tukmakov for second, while all eyes turned to the Polugaevsky vs Malaniuk game. A win for Polugaevsky would mean sharing first place with Karpov. With the Azmaiparashvili-Petrosian lasting only 11 moves, and Balashov-Lerner 16, there were plenty of eyes to watch those like Agzamov-Beliavsky who battled to move 40 before splitting the point, and the other aforementioned games.
The game was a Dutch, although chessgames.com (http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1112474) calls it the, “Rat Defense: See also: Modern Defense (for lines with …g6 (A41).”
365chess.com (http://www.365chess.com/view_game.php?g=2360197) calls it the “Old Indian defense.”
Take a look at the game and decide for yourself what it should be called. Keep in mind that GM Vladimir Malaniuk has been the most prolific player of the Leningrad Dutch. For example, after 1 d4 f5 Malaniuk has 328 games listed at http://www.365chess.com, more than twice the total of the next two players combined.
This game made a big impression on me. A player from the old days would come to the House of Pain sporadically, each time asking, “You still playing that LENINGRAD?” I would always respond with, “Every chance I get.” He would smile as if everything was still right in the chess world.
I have followed Anna Muzychuk with interest because she plays the Dutch. Her younger sister, Mariya, has made the Leningrad Dutch a family affair. Compare this game played by Mariya with the previous game: http://www.365chess.com/view_game.php?g=3850722
My favorite Star Trek episode is “Court Martial.” It aired 2/2/67, or in Trek terms, Stardate: 2947.3. Captain Kirk finds himself on trial for the death of Lieutenant Commander Ben Finney. Kirk’s former girlfriend, Lt. Areel Shaw, is assigned to prosecute him, but tells him she has arranged for a lawyer. Samuel T. Cogley is the attorney. Later Kirk was asked if he had an attorney. After mentioning Samuel T. Cogley, the questioner said, “What did you hire him for? He still uses BOOKS!”
Samuel T. was a curmudgeon; someone who looked as if he belonged in the library. He went to one of the myriad shelves and took down a dusty tome, blew a cloud of dust, and found the answer in it. The episode is from season one, number 20. This is the episode in which Spock explains that having programmed the computer for chess himself just months before, the best he should have been able to do is stalemate. If you would like to read more about the episode, click here: (http://www.startrek.com/database_article/court-martial).
Although I looked long and hard, I was unable to find the next game online. I’m sure it is up there in the cloud somewhere, but it escaped me. That sent me to the shelves, well actually, box, where I located one of my all-time favorite books, “The Leningrad Dutch,” by T. D. Harding, published in 1976. I had previously gone to a certain page enough that it opened at the page containing the game between Anatoly Karpov and Jacobsen in the USSR vs Scandinavia junior match in 1968. This is my all-time favorite Leningrad game.
Karpov vs Jacobsen, USSR vs Scandinavia junior match 1968