Alastair Sim 1900-1976
Alastair Sim was actually born on the 9th of October 1900
and I am posting this by sheer coincidence on the 9th October.
Angus Ruthven advised me about two weeks ago that Alastair was born in Edinburgh,
played chess and played chess in one of his films, The Green Man.
So I discovered that Alastair was born at 94 Lothian Road.
It's still there and is aptly enough next to the Edinburgh Film House.
He went to school at George Heriots where they usually hold
the Edinburgh Congress and did indeed play chess in The Green Man.
So I chased a copy of the film on EBAY and it only arrived today (8th October).
I watched it. (brilliant) and took some pictures of the game in progress from the TV.
Alastair is the villian Mr Hastings who plays SGT. Baxter at chess every Friday night.
The opening moves were:
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Bb3 d5.
Sadly you don't see the whole game as most of the action
is taking place next door whilst the body is being moved from the piano.
(you have to see the film).
Hastings has to get Sgt. Baxter out of the house so resigns stating:
"My King is en prise, your Bishop has smothered my Rook and my Queen is trapped."
(sounds pretty terminal to me).
Following a suggestion made on the Red Hot Pawn forum I decided to carry
out a poll of 100 non-players asking them to name three famous chess players.
The first 18 people I asked all said "None."
One lad said: "Checkov." (Start Trek - the Russian).
I went out again the next day and also appealed on CS and RHP forum
to ask non-players for their top three.
Watching the thought process of non-players was interesting.
The letter 'K' figures prominently "K...K...."
One girl said Karpov but then said no that was a James Bond villian.
I think she meant the Karpov from the Tinker, Tailor series.
I'd like to thank all the guys from CS and RHP who supplied
me with extra data.
Nearly forgot. Andrew Burnett's girlfriend said 'Geoff Chandler'
I asked my wife she said Tal, Fischer and Korchnoi.
The one Tal on the list came from wife and that is because
I had his book of combinations laying by my bedside for years.
(I know it's sad but that so is reading and contributing to this)
OK the scores.
I'm unsure how many people were asked as I asked for 3
some gave 1 or 2. so don't add up the totals thinking
is the sum of the people asked.
None (could not name any) - 41
Kasparov - 32
Fischer - 27
Karpov - 16
Short - 9
Korchnoi - 5
Deep Blue - 3
(Deep Blue is now a famous chess player)
Checkov - 2!
Heinzkat - 2
(I think HeinzKat is a Belguim cartoon character).
The rest scored 1
Geoff Chandler (eat your heart out Ruxton).
A Persian Guy
That IBM computer (HAL?)
(I think these two asked each other).
After another rant on various forums v computers I caught
David Oswald one of the head coaches for the juniors showing
how it should be done at the Edinburgh I training session.
Note no box. simple head hurting OTB calculation.
If these guys who keep saying computers help you improve are right.
How come they never get any better?
How come Scotland is not simply bristing with GM's and IM's?
The Youngest Master Scotland has is 30 years old. (Eddie Dearing).
Then Jonathan Rowson 33, then you are up into the 40 and 50 year olds.
The top players use them yes.
But they are already good chess players.
The chumps are doing it ass about face.
First you become a good chess player and then you use a computer as a tool.
If these things are so hot at helping you improve why has Scotland
only produced two Masters in the past 20 years. (Eddie and Jonathan).
Where are all the Masters?