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SC is just chess on a map


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In a certain way SC is similar to chess. Like in chess you have to anticipate your opponents move and there are a couple of standard moves. All pieces are dependent from each other and must be covered. And every unit has it´s own task.

Here we go.....

Your headquarters are the King - if you loose them all you have lost

Your fighters are like the Queen - Good Range and fighting capilities

The bombers are your bishops - weak in close combat but great range

Your armies are comparable to the horses - not a great range but strong and good for cover.

The corps are the pawn - They can be canonfooder but sometimes decinsive for the game.

The navy can be considered as the towers - great power but they can´t be everywhere.

I wonder how many of you can also play chess...

I think that at least 75% of all SC players are also good chess players. Isnt´t it?

bye Dragonheart

[ October 08, 2003, 04:34 AM: Message edited by: Dragonheart ]

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SC is like chess if you do 2 things:


and NO Tech because in SC it is luck based.

Then you have a Strategy game that requires the same cunning as in chess.

FOW ON is harder because you have to "bait" your opponent into traps while he can see your everymove, just like Chess.

Myself, I would prefer to play the game with no TECH (as it works now) and FOW ON, making it much more challenging.

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Chess is the King of all strategy games.

War games can also be based in strategy, like SC, but I don't think chess is actually a war game, nor ever intended to be. If anything it imitates ancient and medeival palace intrigues. In Asian versians the Bishops are called the Viziers. None of which is overly important, strategy in any guise is essentially the same concept.

The main difference is in random factors, and variants.

Basically, aside from natural talent, a good chess player needs a bottomless pit for a memory. Professional Games are usually determined by who knows the most theory, who has the better understanding of openings, which entails having memorized a staggering amount of variations and subvariations. ... The endgame is also highly theoretical, most good chess players know it inside out and backwards. ... The middle game remains as the least theoretical period of play, though it starts at different points in different openings; in many Ruy Lopez branches it might not begin till move 25 or 30!

But the hitch is this. A player chooses his opening, or tries steering into one he likes, with a specific kind of middle game in mind. He then plays the middlegame aiming at a specific kind of endgame! Start with one opening and you probably end up with a minor piece endgame while another probably yields a rook ending.

Which is my way of saying that war games don't really follow the same path as chess, undoubtedly because of the randomness factors.

From what I've seen the top players due take a similar approach, limiting themselves to one scenario for tournament play, knowing it's ins and outs, it's quirks, and having solid gameplans for various paths selected by adversaries. On the Forum much of that is thrown in with gamyness, but in chess their approach would be considered perfectly normal procedure for any master.

Comparing certain units with certain chess pieces is fine, except never, in my more than slight chess playing experience, have I ever possessed eight queens or rooks or bishops, but I've often had twelve air fleets or tank groups!

In many ways a good wargame is, or is potentially, more complicated than chess. What separates them is symetry and built in balance.

During the 1920s the reigning World Champion, a Cuban named Capablanca, said publicly that the game of Chess was played out and needed to be changed, expanded, given a larger board, more pieces and more kinds of pieces, etc & etc..

Forunately we never hear such remarks about SC.


Some interesting personalities have emerged as top chess players.

The aforementioned Jose R. Capablanca (world champ from 1921-27) was a child phenom who did comparatively little theoretical preparation but was like a machine in actual play. His playing style was to establish a slight advantage early, and quickly convert it into a won endgame. He enjoyed an active social life and liked to travel, which, as a Cuban Diplomat at large, he did at government expense. Educated in the United States, considered a genius during his University days, at Columbia I believe, he earned a good living from prize money and was supplimented by the Cuban Government. He also played a lot of high amateur tennis, exhibited refinement, was well liked everywhere and a fine social ambassador for his homeland.

His predecessor, German born Emmanuel Lasker (world champ from 1895 - 1921), was a brilliant though unorthadox mathemetician and philosopher. A friend of Albert Einstein -- who for many years didn't even know Lasker played chess! Einstein considered Lasker to have had a great mind that was unfortunately wasted on a game. Ruined by Germany's loss in WW I, Lasker struggled most of his life to stay ahead of the bill collectors. In 1934 he moved to the Soviet Union with his wife, but defected at the Nottingham 1936 Tournament after his Russian friends began vanishing unexpectedly.

Alexander Alekhine (world champ 1927-35, 37-46, holding it till he died). A Russian, he was an alcoholic away from the chess board, enjoyed life in the fast lane and married several times. The first wife was already married to a commisar. After using her to leave Russia she was ditched at a Balkan railroad station. Becoming a nonpracticing French Lawyer, he left a Brazilian tournament hurriedly to return to France as the country fell to Germany.

The Nazis used him for propaganda value. He supposedly authored several aricles on Jewish Chess during the war, attributing the success of top Jewish players, especially the Americans Sam Reshevsky and Reuben Fine, to their underhanded manner of grabbing a material advantage and unimaginatively hording it! I don't believe he wrote any of that idiocy.

One of the truly great players, he ditched giving Capablanca a promised rematch throughout the thirties and was found dead in a Spanish hotel room shortly after the Second World War. He was seated at a kitchen table, a list of moves to one side and a chess set in front of him, with a half empty bottle of booze beside the board.

Ironically the Soviets, like the Nazis, also laid claim to him and used him as a propaganda figure. No doubt he'd have enjoyed that.


In the Cold War sixties a fellow Brooklyn boy, Robert James Fischer, the product of a broken marriage who was abandoned by a lunatic mother who went off on a personal world peace crusade, became the best, and craziest chess player on earth.

His exploits are too many to go into. A child wonder in the Capablanca mode, he had a similar though much more evolved style than the Cuban. Unlike Capablanca, Fischer did nothing but live chess. He learned enough Russian to read the Soviet Chess publications and won the United States Championship at age fourteen, winning it every year he chose to play in the tournament. One year he won all of his games, no draws or losses, something like 11-0 in the round robin, an almost impossible feat against such skilled competition.

I literally bumped into him in 1965. Contrary to his popular image he was very courteous, laughed about it and even nodded to me with a smile on the few other times, during that same period, when I happened to be see him. I've been defending him ever since.

For a brief time in 1971 and 72 he was the focus of world attention, with Richard Nixon sending Henry Kissenger to convince him it was his duty to win the World Championship for his country! :D So he went off to Rekjavik, Iceland, defeated the much more likable but wicked champ, Boris Spassky, of the Soviet Union.

After a few odd games he stopped playing, except for a second match with Spassky decades later in what was then Yugoslavia, where Fischer was an adopted National Hero. He won that match as well, despite being inactive for twenty years, another impossible accomplishment, and went off into the sunset with a huge briefcase of prize money. Undaunted that Spassky no longer held the title, he still considered it a title match and maintained he'd always be the rightful World Champion. In his right, he was, and is.

He was used as a propaganda image by both the United States and the Soviet Union. The Russians claimed Fischer was the world's leading proponnent of The Soviet School of Chess! And they were dead serious about it.

I'm sure he's clinically insane. I'm also sure he's earned that right.

My apologies for going so far off topic. I rarely get to write about chess and figured I'd use this unique opportunity to do so. No doubt I got a little carried away.

[ October 09, 2003, 01:14 AM: Message edited by: JerseyJohn ]

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Loved your "essay"!

My Dad taught me to play when I was a young child. He had books by Capablanca, talked about how he was a genius. My Dad was a local champion, beating other players in the leagues and he passed the addiction on to me. My Dad once told me about a world champion who hated yoghurt (I can't remember who it was) and his oppponent (again I can't remember who this was)who would eat yoghurt during moves and also kick him under the table. Maybe it was Fischer v Spassky? Can you enlighten me?

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Thanks and, as always, glad you enjoyed it.

I've seen old game fragments in documentaries and museums, probably you have as well, that show game boards, small icons and various forms of dice. I've always wondered if maybe some of those were war games? Perhaps the concept goes back further than we realize.

CC Baxter

Your father sounds like numerous club players I've known and liked a great deal. At heart I'm also in that category and loved playing in the NYC Metropolitan League for the Marshall Chess Club during the late eighties. The big players, who have a gunslinger mentality, tend to look down on us lesser lights who really make their position possible. They just play in a higher club, that's all.

BTW, the Photo of Capablanca in the first Post was taken at my old haunts, the Marshall. The table with that draw is known as Capablanca's Table over which I also played many a game, though of much lesser renown, sitting on that same chair. I know for a fact my skill level always skyrocketed on those occasions!

I'm 99% certain your father was talking about David Bronstein. It goes like this.

After the death of Alekine, The International Chess Federation (FIDE) organized a large double round robin tournament of all the World's Best players. A disproportionate number of them were Soviet and one of their number, Michael Botvinnick, won the title. After the initial tournament, the permanent system would be qualifying tournaments leading to an official challenter every three years.

Bronstein was the first of these. In 1950 he played Botvinnick to a standstill and the deadlock, as was traditional, counted as a victory for the Title Holder.

Along the way Bronstein did everything possible to annoy the life out of Botvinnick, including eating yogurt within view, though not actaully at the table, and loudly sipping tea, which he did do opposite Botvinnik. The two were total opposites. Botvinnik was the epitomy of the New Soviet Man, a highly regarded engineer, great chess player, intelectual, etc. & etc.. Bronstein liked to have fun, play chess, and bicker over trivial details, which he also did on every occasion, driving Botvinnick further up a wall. It was Bronstein's only shot at the championship, though he remained one of the top Grandmasters for decades.

Bronstein left, Botvinnik right


After becoming World Champion, Botvinnik pretty much withdrew from tournament play, which he had dominated from the late thirties to late forties, and made the World Title and holding it, his main concern. If defeated, the Champion was entitled to an automatic rematch within one year.

Botvinnik specialized in learning everything there was to know about his dethrowner and winning the title back a year later. He did it twice, first against Vassily Smyslov in 1958,


then against Michael Tahl in 1961, who left a hospital bed to play the match.


When I met him, a few years before his death, Tahl said it was the one thing he really regretted; he should have taken a post-ponment.

In 1963 Botvinnik was beaten for good by a third Soviet challenger named Tigran (Tiger) Petrossian. By then FIDE had revoked the rematch provision, which became known as the Anti-Botvinnik Rule and Petrossian held the title till 1966, when he was defeated by yet another Soviet, Boris Spassky, who successfully defended the title in 1969 and was defeated by Fischer in 1972.

Petrossian and Spassky.


Petrossian is the second part of what your father was telling you about. He was practically deaf and used to remove his hearing aid during the game. He'd then proceed to hum, almost inaudibly, tap his foot under the table, anything that would aggravate the hell out of his adversary. Needless to say, Botvinnik had appeplexy during their 1963 Title Match.

In terms of playing styles, Bronstein and Tal were fierce attackers, Tal often going into complications so deep that he himself didn't see where they ended.

Smyslov was the closest successor to the Capablanca style, losing very few games, winning the majority but with many draws. A Grandmaster friend of mine, Edmar Mednis, wrote a book called, How to Beat The Russians which analysed all the Soviet GM losses for a given year. Smyslov lost one game during that time. In it, he built up a winning advantage but his clock ran out and he lost when his flag fell. Edmar's advice, "Against Smyslov, it's best to make him think a lot and hope his flag falls before he passes to the next time control!" Smyslov was also a professional Opera singer.

Petrosian was a voracious defender, extremely hard to defeat and greatly adept at creating weird, convuluted positions which he often won.

Spassky was a great all around player in the Botvinnik tradition. Prior to 1972 Fischer had never beaten him while losing several games, but that all changed when the Title was on the line.

Regarding the World Championship itself, the Soviets seemed to manipulate the procedure for three decades and some even believed Botvinnik deliberately lost those two matches in order to get other Soviet names listed at the top.

During all this time, the Soviet Sports authorities were unhappy because all the top Soviet players were either completely or partially Jewish. They regarded their 1975 challenger, Anatoly Karpov, as their great hope because he was entirely Russian.


His oppenent in 1974, Vikrot Korchnoi, told me during the eighties that his son had been arrested and beaten and he was shown photos of him in a prison before the crucial game with Karpov. After losing that match he was allowed to leave Russia and become a Swiss citizen. I'm not sure whether his family was allowed to join him.


Loose Ends

Last I'd heard Boris Spassky had a duel citizenship and was living in France where he continued to play competitive GM chess. He was always one of the most well liked chess champions and has always been a very good sport. Even while losing to Fischer in 72 he put up with antics that other people would have lost their temper over. His underlying sense of modesty probably worked against him.

During the meeting with Kissenger, Fischer's recurring theme was, "But everybody knows I'm the best, there's no point in me having to play any games to prove what everyone already knows." Along the way Fischer was made interested in playing by contributions to the prize fund from several wealthy patrons. Fischer had skipped the previous qualifying cycle in '65 to protest the USSR manipulation of the challenging proceedure. He was the most outspoken critic of the Soviet way of doing things, which is what made their adaption of him as the prototype of The Soviet Chess School so much more ironic.

Karpov style is very solid, he often passes on sharp lines to accumulate small positional advantages till they combine to give him a winning position. Oddly, for a man who was pushed ahead of others on the grounds of not being Jewish, his games closely resemble Alekhine's alleged smears against the Jewish Chess style. Showing how absurd that concept was from the start.

Korchnoi's style is reminiscent of Emannuel Lasker's. Both men tried hard to outguess their opponent, often appearing to give them what they most wanted while concealing a subtle trap hidden in positional complications. Both relied heavily on perfect endgame technique with roots in extremely deep middlegame play. Korchnoi has always been called, even before Karpov came along, the strongest player to never become World Champion. I tend to agree with that statement, though there are several others with fairly equal claims to that dubious distinction.

Contrary to what many non-players have come to believe, chess is far from boring. Exactly the opposite, it is extremely exciting and enjoyable. Traditionally, many great chess players have developed heart problems during their playing careers. This is not from sitting down to play, because most excercise rigorously to counter the effect of so many hours at a chair. More likely it is due to all the emotional ups and downs of a hard fought game.

If you haven't experienced it first hand it's impossible to describe. But consider this, when you lose a game of chess, there are no bad hops to blame, no sun to lose the ball in, no dice rolls to consider, no variables at all. Only your thinking abainst that of your adversary.

An old anecdote has one player saying Botvinnik was lucky and another responding, "Yes, he's lucky he plays so well!"

[ October 09, 2003, 12:19 AM: Message edited by: JerseyJohn ]

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Thanks and you were wise to do so, many was the time I wished I'd made that same decision!


Thanks and appreciated. Glad to see Boston getting off to a quick jump; enough Yankees already!

I've spent the last five years telling people how much I hate chess and that I wish I'd never learned the moves. Then this Thread came along. :D

[ October 09, 2003, 12:21 AM: Message edited by: JerseyJohn ]

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Even technology is a strategy. Are there moves of Chance in Chess, not for a computer? Or, are there just more complex forms of the same old Engine...


Since WW1 our chessgame of War has diversified with tanks, airplanes and new doctrines of how to conduct warfare. Though most 3rd world nations still conduct War the same way that we have for hundreds of years. i.e. Iraq-Iran War. ;)

So are we merely playing Chess 2.0???

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Thanks Iron. Those are the most personally enjoyable posts I've yet written.

Liam, That's pretty much how I feel, that advanced technology has served to remove chess as a direct war game, though to me it never served such a purpose in the first place.

Probably chess has more similarity to pocket billiards, where the player thinks in terms of move combinations, than in war games, where a stuborn rear area fortress like Tobruck can negate all the long range plans before they can move past the opening stages.

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Well, Wargaming is definitely it's own Genre John, I think that's well established. That Chess and SC are far from being the same. Some of the basic principles of strategy and calculations can be applied. Even from Pool or Chess, and even Poker tongue.gif <we get to talk in SC, not supposed to in proffessional chess>

<I grew bored of chess after 6 months for life but on a desert Island I'm certian me and you would treasure our set John for 20 or more years>

Though I find all those games half as interesting... Still somewhat interesting...

It's a given though that people with a 'good' understanding of Math will do better in SC if they can apply it. Though doesn't mean that you'll win every time. I like an understanding of History, of concepts of Warfare on a Strategic level something say the High Commands of the various Nations had to figure...included in game play that's what makes it a joy. Don't want to play God, just want to play Dictator/President/Prime Minister/or Premier. These Nations had to figure in Diplomacy, Economics and Warfare on a Grand Scale. It's what we want. SC is short on a few things there as you because of the limitations it has a as game. It's not big enough even for a Strategic Game. Some of the most 'pronounced' bugs haven't been dealt with. Which leaves the general player locked into a setup of sorts that seems chesslike and humdrum...

Of course she's some of a historical reannactment, SC but with a bigger map, weather, broader units and trading systems...More accurate Politics she has the capability of being one of the best Strategic Sims of WW2 of all time. Even without all the fancy-ancy graphics, that is completely unneccessary. We don't need killer complexity. Though that's not what we're asking for either, that's a misconception of some players here. We're merely asking for the detail to exceed ones expections to the point where the possibilities become more endless, yet believable. Probably a pipe dream, as you're talking about a massive undertanking for a 'game'.

People simply want their Risk can get it...I don't think that SC resembles that at all and is not moving in that direction. It may never achieve my above desired goals, but an attempt to become a more indepth Strategic Simulation is an underline Desire...

To fit on my top shelf eternally ;)

[ October 09, 2003, 10:55 AM: Message edited by: Liam ]

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As originally posted by Liam:

...she has the capability of being one of the best Strategic Sims of WW2 of all time

Not to put pressure on Hubert, the magnificent one man shop, but... you are right when you are right. smile.gif

Which is why so many of us will offer our humble and quite interested opinion... about those aspects we would like to see incorporated into SC2.

Nothing wrong with that... I am guessing that each one of us has, at one time or another, imagined and perhaps... actually created a WW2 game, true?

Given that, we surely have decided opinions about what would BEST approximate the war.

What we mostly can't appreciate, at least it is certainly true in my case, is just how difficult it might actually be to CODE those things we all collectively clamor for. :eek:

Easy enough to make a map, and draw in hexes or sea zones and cut-out little cardboard units, but probably much more challenging to make the computer do all the intricate things we would like to see... become reality.

Well, if anyone can, Hubert can... he has publicly stated that... he is a FAN of this Genre, quite likely as much as any of us. SC2, and the run-up to it... should be quite a lively adventure! Hang around, be amazed! ;)

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Cool articles, JJ- really enjoyed them. smile.gif

Would be interesting if there were an option to completely remove the random aspects of SC from the game- whether it be tech, combat results, or war entry.

I wonder how deep SC would remain as such. Would there still be many strategic options, or would it result in only one feasible course of action?

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I'd like to echo the above praise of Jersey's articles on chess.

I too was a big chess buff starting at the age of 9. I competed locally and in state tournaments. The only national event I participated in was the National Junior Championship in 1963 at Penn State University. I placed 35th out of 70.

I began my conversion to wargaming in 1962. Chess at a tournament level amounted to a lot of memorizing of playing lines (the letters MCO still chill my heart) and I found that true original thinking didn't begin until after the players were "out of the book", somewhere between the 8th and 18th move!

Wargaming fascinated me because it enlisted the qualities of chess without the stagnant beginning. Plus the luck element made each game different.

I'm rambling here. At any rate, thanks for the memories Jersey - I've been closely followed chess on the world scene since Petrosian.

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Appreciated, guess that stuff was in the back of my head for a long time, seeing it come out kind of caught me by surprise.

Instead of being able to turn it off completely, what I'd like is one of those <-...+> slides, I'm not sure what it's called, where you can set the randomness/chance level anywhere from none to great.

This would affect all aspects of the game; combat, tech development, entry of allies, the whole bit.

At none it would be like playing chess, at great there would be possibilities of great diplomatic upsets, such as Spain or Turkey joining the Allies (but much more likely the Axis), a sweeping tech advance (though only one level at a time, of course) and lowly corps being unreasonable tanacious against much larger attacking units -- which I've already seen far too much of from my adversaries!

Setting it anywhere inbetween would lessen or increase the chances; center, 50% would be the normal game position.

EdwinP's announcements, "Turkey enters Axis/Allies as per secret pact!" etc & etc.. would fit in nicely and it could easily include the random event generator with a gauge determining the likelihood of such occurances.

Perhaps there could be a randomness guage for each individual area. One for Diplomacy, one for Tech development and one for Combat Results; that way the game could be further tailored to individual player preferences.

[ October 10, 2003, 05:38 PM: Message edited by: JerseyJohn ]

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A Kindred Spirit! smile.gif -- Glad you enjoyed them.

Finishing in the middle of that Big Swiss was a pretty good accomplishment. It's a safe bet that Sal Matera won that thing. He used to win every Junior and Scholastic Tournament during the mid-sixties. Walter Browne and a long time friend, Marc Yoffe might also have played in it, along with Bernard Zuckeermann and Weldon and the usual group from that time, though it may have been a year or two early for that bunch.

We took different, but eclipsing game paths. I started out with wargames in 1957, age 8, thanks to a deranged cousin, and learned chess a couple of years later, thanks to a different though equally deranged cousin. 1963 was when I began playing in un-rated Tournaments, about when you were phasing out of it.

The sixties were a great time to have been playing and following the game. Everything was nice and clear, there were only three camps, the Soviet Enemy, the Western Good Guys, and the Middle Ground Communists who didn't like the Russians either! Grandmasters from that Balkan group, such as Svetozar Glicorich of Yugoslavia and Ludek Pachman of Czhechoslovakia were a colorful bunch. Petrosian and Botvinnik were easily identifiable with the Soviet Union and Boris Spassky was the enemy everyone liked!

It even found it's way into a James Bond movie, From Russia With Love, with a character named Kronsteen, who was supposedly fashioned after David Bronstein, except with a lot more hair.

As Smersh agents go, Kronsteen (l) relied too much on precision and was bypassed in the ladder by a more direct, poison dagger in the shoe, female competitor ®.


You'd be really disgusted to see how chess openings have moved from that era. Forget about MCO, which is only a primer, it was replaced by the multi-volumed Encyclopedia of Chess Openings! From there they put out a similar work on endings. All of which is part of the reason I left the game myself, though I'd stopped playing competitively years earlier. Mainly the ever increasing politcs began getting to me; at that time they were holding the World Championship in New York and there was a lot petty rivalry going on among the clubs.

Had you been playing during the early seventies you'd have gotten a kick out of the Fischer Craze Out of nowhere thousands of kids and -- I hate to say it but there's no other word for them -- misfits, suddenly gravitated to any chess tournament that gave ten minutes notice of happening! The old timers, spoiled by all the years when nobody in America played the game other than themselves, used to go insane from all the noise and unacceptable pandemonium all around the tables.

I remember one game where I had white and my opponent's whole choice of opening was ...nf6...ng8...nf6...ng8...nf6...ng8, at which point he calmly stopped the clocks, shook my hand and said "nice game," which it wasn't as he was about to lose! To my astonishment I saw him marking 1/2 1/2 on his scorecard. He thought what he'd done was a three time repitition draw!

Naturally I didn't go for it. The Tournament Director, Bill Goichberg (remember old Bill?) came over and had a good laugh quietly explaining the rule to him. The other guy sighed and said, "But I can't possibly beat this guy!" at which point I looked up to see Walter Shipman shaking his head understandingly before returning to his own game.

We restarted the game without asking Goichberg's permission. He played fatalistically and lost quickly. On the way out he said, "I figured us new guys had a safeguard, but the way things are it isn't fair, how am I supposed to avoid losing to guys like you?" with that he stomped off!

I wonder what my own much stronger adversaries would have said if I'd used that line after losing to them? What incredible logic! I wish I'd tried it just to see some of the reactions. :D No, not really, aside from which they probably all had similar experiences between 1972 and 1977, after that USCF membership plumetted with Fischer's no-show against Karpov, and his self-imposed exile.

I followed the game till about ten years ago. I really like Kasparov's style and a match between him and Fischer, each at their prime, would have been incredible.

Whan Kasparov and Karpov turned it all into a melodrama I lost interest and have no idea of what's been going on during the past decade. Every time I get into an update website I always find that old friends, such as Leslie Bruan, have gone to play in that Great Open in the Clouds, and I prefer to think of them as still playing here, among the living, so I've stopped looking for current details.

If I ever gather the ambition I'll petition the township to allow me to start a little club out here in DogPatch. Hopefully I'll be able to win the annual club championship, till some smartass kid comes along and learns a little more than the basic moves. With my luck they'll be some young phenom living around the corner, thanking me for getting it started while he walks off with my trophy!

Speaking of which, did you ever keep yours? I used to sell mine to maried guys who wanted their families to think they were getting something in exchange for their absentee weekends! I've got a single piece of marble from 1988 with a small engraved brass plate, that's all, no other hint that I ever played the game at all. Which is good, it makes a great paper weight!

[ October 10, 2003, 08:30 PM: Message edited by: JerseyJohn ]

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Come to think of it, I think Sal Matera did win that huge Swiss mess. The name sounds very familiar. I'm familiar with Walter Browne's name too - because he was the postal champ if I recall.

I played a lot of postal chess to - Golden Knights stuff in the 60's.

That experience you had with the fellow playing the same moves over & over was unique! I'd have laughed myself silly had that happened to me. I've noticed that people who really get into chess - or computers - are very weird. Perhaps that's true if people get too involved in anything.

I was still in the game when I was in the Army. I was stationed in Germany outside a tiny town. One day I noticed some old guys playing in the gasthaus so using my rusty German, I asked to play the winner. They complied. I beat him and then waited for the other guy to sit down but he did not. Instead this old guy played me again and again. I beat him each time, later to find out that he was the town champion! In fact before I left to go back to the States they arranged a tournament so that they could give me a trophy to take back with me. That was in 1970 but I still have it.

I went AWOL a few times in Germany too in order to play in some tournaments over there. (I was never a model soldier) I once played the concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic! I tried to tell him that I had many of his records, but I'm not sure my German was up to that task.

Upon recollection I did begin wargaming in 1959 spending 10 hours playing one game of Gettysburg (hex version) - but chess started in 1954. I was organizing tournaments in my project when I was 11.

Kindred spirits? I've never doubted it from the beginning! It's too bad we're 500 miles apart.

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Jersey John - lowly corps being unreasonable tanacious against much larger attacking units -- which I've already seen far too much of from my adversaries!

I like that idea. Say a random chance (0.5% or 1 in 200 chance) that a lowly corps finds itself gaining 4 experience levels when defending against an attack or say that an occassional army unit finds itself with 1 extra action point (for one turn only) due to an unexpected arrival of motorized transports or a submarine unit gains a 20% bonus to its dive % due to a superior naval commander.

Similarly a 0.5% that a corps with no experience in combat will break and run.

[ October 11, 2003, 02:31 AM: Message edited by: Edwin P. ]

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As originally posted by Dragonheart:

In a certain way SC is similar to chess.

True, but then again, just about ANY decent war game, board or computer, is like chess.

Long ago I contributed an entry on the forum where I stated that the Air Fleet was... "the Queen of the battleboard." We are in accord.

All in all, a fine analysis of the SC pieces.

And the 2 games are similar, in that you have specific pieces designed for a certain purpose.

In that... you must adhere to the rules of the game.

In that... you have some openings that are better than others, and, if you make some impulsive or foolish moves at the start, then you will have the Devil's own time trying to recover. :eek:

But, the differences between SC and chess are much greater than the resemblances... in particular, the "luck " aspect, which seems to trouble some... immensely. Not me!

As if LUCK didn't play an extensive part in every little aspect of each of our lived lives, every single day!

JJ... Truly enjoyed reading those accounts of... personal exploits and the Bio's of Bobby Fischer, et al... this is one of the really GREAT! things about this forum board... we are allowed to share interesting experiences... how else would you ever actually LEARN things... of lasting VALUE? In a TEXT book... LOL! ;)

[ October 11, 2003, 11:00 AM: Message edited by: Immer Etwas ]

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Back in the sixties Matera seemed sloted to be another Fischer, then he veered off into normalcy, went to college, found a profession and became an International Master. Yes, Walter Browne was the postal champ and also became a Grand Master. He was very flamboyant, went very far, but not all the way. I think he was also known for being a great poker and backgammon player and made a good living at chess and other games. Not a bad accomplishment in the U. S..

I was on the verge of getting into postal chess a few times but have never, in my entire life, finished either a postal game or an e-mail game. I don't know why. PBEM games, though I've always got a lot of them, are also hard for me. The game, any game, seems to lose something when it isn't done in one or two sittings. Of course, the problem with that in SC is time zones and also the amount of time it takes to play IP. Over the board, in chess, I was always susceptable to inconsiderate or annoying players. My chances against a strong master were much better than against a weak player who kept sneezing or coughing all over the board!


That guy with his three moves back and forth did crack me up, but I started laughing between rounds. It happened after he went stomping off, with that bizarre attitude, like I'd cheated him! What's strange is I wasn't Capablanca or Alekhine, just an ordinary player he should have had confidence in playing against. I never got around to asking where his safeguard was supposed to be if I decided to exchange his bishop. But there were a lot of lunatics suddenly showing up at tournaments at that time. They all vanished when Fischer stopped playing, so their appearance in the tournaments had nothing to do with chess and everything to do with being groupies.

Where you would really have laughed your ass off was at the Marshall Chess Club when a Soviet Junior Champ named Gata Kamsky defected to the United States during the late eighties. I was given the unenviable task of briefing the reporters before they interviewed him.

Kamsky is no doubt a genius in numerous things other than chess. He plays concert piano and excells at anthing he glances at. Anyway, this was a big deal as the Cold War was still going, the kid, he was fourteen, was on the verge of becoming a grandmaster, and seemed or maybe even is -- if it happened in the past ten years I wouldn't know about it -- the World Champion.

So I'm stuck in a room with all these people who appear to be so brilliant on TV news snippets and this is a typical Q & E:

[reporter] "How are the Tartars different from other Russian Jews?"

[reporter #2] "Good Question!"

[JJ] "They're Moslem."

[reporter #3] "But Kamsky is Jewish."

[JJ] "No, he's Moslem."

[reporter #4] "So where does the religious oppression fit in if he isn't Jewish?"

[reporter #5] "Good Point!"

[JJ] "A lot of Soviet officials don't care much for either the Jews or the Moslems."

[reporter #6] "Are you certain of that?"

[JJ] "No, but the dozens of former Soviets I know seem pretty unanimous on that point and the Kamskys already told the State Department that's why they're fleeing from Russia."

[reporter #7] "They're all Moslems or are at least some of them Jewish?"

That went on for a couple of hours.

Mercifully, Gata showed up toward the end of the morning and was soon answering them instead of yours truly. By the third absurd question he began looking incredulously at those people.

One of them asked him, after he'd already run a gauntlet with the FBI, CIA and KGB for a few days, "Which country do you like better, Russia or the United States?"

A lot of that, though not all, was with TV cameras running. Probably 90% never made the news that night. A great education, understand now why so many statements seem to be cut off abruptly each night and also why people who are grilled every day by these characters take on such weary expressions!

But even if another American does win the World Championship I doubt it will turn into another big period like the Fischer craze, that was unique because of the Cold War publicity.


I agree, it warps a person when they get all wrapped up in a single activity. Chess is one of the worst. Probably you've seen people go screwy that way and I've seen it very often. I was always too scatterbrained, literally, to become obsessed with the game. I'd live for it for a few years, then take a few years and come back, once agains obsessed, only to stop playing after a while. All in all, I'm sorry I got as far into it as I did. Like any sport, you've got to be in the upper fraction of the to percentage point to achieve a return on all the time and effort that could have been spent more productively elsewhere. Still, I'd advise a young person to learn it, even study it if he or she enjoys playing in tournaments, but to never make it the big thing in life.


I was in the Air Force about the same time you were in the Army. I used to play a lot with the Alert Crews at my SAC Base. They were pretty informal, all first name with the sergeants thinking I was an officer till one of them saw me outside with me two stripes. Naturally they were all E-8s and E-9s and from then on I got a little smirk from them instead of the earlier "Yes Sir" and "No Sir." Which was okay, the guys I played the game with were real enough officers, a lot of them majors and higher, so they still treated me very courteously.

That's a great memory about Germany and the trophy. What great people to behave that way. I regret not having some of the trophies I'd won, nothing really special but a few would have been good. Even that chunk of marble is good to have around the house.

Rueben Fine had an opposite experience in Moscow. He sat down at a bench, his mind wandered and the other guy beat him pretty easily, and got up to leave. Fine motioned him back and said, "Let's play again, I'm really a Grandmaster, honestly!" The man he'd just played laughed and shooed him while the other two guys also stood up and walked off, laughing! :D

In Brooklyn there were a bunch of old timers I used to go play with every once in a while if the weather was good. I used to call one of them "The World Champ" because he never lost the game. More accurately, he'd lose every game and wave it off, taking things back a few moves, then the same, over and over till he finally had a winning position, and at that point he'd become pompous! But he was a really old guy and everyone got a kick out of his nonsense.

You were obviously as much a soldier as I was an airman. There was no place worth going AWOL to -- SAC Bases, or whatever they're called now, are always located at the edge of the Universe!

The Berlin Philharmonic is also one of my favorites. I always got a kick out of the way von Karejan, great as he was, treated all music as though it were German. His interpretations of pieces by Saen-Sans and Cesar Frank are truly unique! One thing I've never understood is why, considering how fine his Beethoven cycles were, I think he had three of them, he never made a sensible recording of the Pastoral symphony; it always had a an air of anxiety to it. Despite that, if I had to choose a single conductor for everything, it would either be him or Solti. The orchestra itself has always been about the best on earth.


1959 was a good time for wargaming it seems. I don't quite know why but a lot of people got into it about that time. Then, a year later or therabouts, the Civil War craze started and there were a lot of great games coming out. I think Avalon Hill was in really solid by '63.

1954 must have been an interesting time to have begun following chess, all Reshevsky and Kashdan and Fine, with Fischer a few years off. I'll never forget meeting him so awkwardly in '65 and realizing it was this guy whose games I couldn't comprehend and who was playing in Russia and overseas and would certainly become the World Champ. It was one of only two occasions when I was really awestruck, the other being a small group conversation that Isaac Asimov wandered into. He joined in, no pretense or condescending remarks -- we were talking about science fiction and started joking at his own expense. It was weird because nobody agreed but nobody said anything to disagree either. And, as always, I'm started to wander off into something else!

Organizing those tournaments at eleven must have been a lot of fun. That's one good thing about being a kid living in an apartment, there are always other kids around to do things with. Yeah, I know, just like the Sharks and the Jets! :D

My family jumped back and forth between the city and the country, two quick round trips, at that point in my life, confusing the hell out of me!

Oddly, I became the great organizer out on the vast potato fields of Long Island. I got a bunch of other kids together and we laid out and made a half assed baseball field; 48'3" here, 68'9" there etc & etc., one of the kid's dad, who owned the land, allowed us to do it and helped out. It was covered with high weeds before that and he said we did a great job just clearing all that. Meanwhile, my parents had to get me in shackles before I'd rake our lawn!

Kindred spirits? I've never doubted it from the beginning! It's too bad we're 500 miles apart.

Same here and my sentiments exactly. If we could just get rid of that extra 495 miles I'm sure we'd enjoy getting together for some good slow games and enjoyable conversation. Well, if my wife ever realizes how rotten New Jersey is perhaps I can get her heading north.

[ October 11, 2003, 11:33 AM: Message edited by: JerseyJohn ]

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