Tuesday, March 29, 2016

(282) The run up both Calvary and then San Julián later that week

On the evening of March 28th 2016 I remarked to my wife that as part of my training for the upcoming Ruta de Las Fortelezas I was intending that week to do something that I had never done before, i.e. run up not just one of the nearby hills of San Julián or Calvary but first Calvary and then without pause, San Julián.
I had only begun running up the Calvary hill a few weeks before and had made hardly any such runs, in contrast with the dozens of ascents I had made of San Julián over the previous few years, although I had many times driven to the spring atop Calvary to stock up on water.
Fiona then said that there was such a dual ascent being run that very week. for a local charity: pay 10 Euro entry, run up Calvary, then San Julián and then enjoy a paella lunch in the village that lay closest to the base of each hill, Lo Campano. (One also got to keep the T shirt.)
The charity was for residents of Lo Campano threatened with social exclusion.

She had discovered this fact only seconds before when looking at a page, still open on her computer, of  http://www.cartagena.es/detalle_noticias.asp?id=195480 where the lead item announced the dual ascent for charity.

This was only the second year when such a mini run had been organised.
And many people were of like mind to myself and planned to use it as a useful part of their training for the Ruta de Las Fortelezas.
But unlike me, their announcement of intent had not coincided exactly with their learning of the charity run, for Fiona, who was wont to consult the Cartagena Town Hall site on some three occasions per week, or perhaps  just a few more, had only just then read of it.
The front page piece only went up that day; March 28th 2016.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

(281) "Are you not entertained?"

At 21:12 on June 29th 2015 I was flicking through a Youtube version of the 2000 film Gladiator https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=td08jSxUdXU

(The above link was non-functional the very following week. So here is the same clip from another site) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzt6vlpdZWM

I reached the point just before a particular scene which I wanted to see.
Other available versions showed only certain excised scenes, but not the film in its entirety.
It is where the gladiator portrayed by Russell Crowe talks with the slave owner played by the late Oliver Reed. The preceding scene, where Crowe takes on and slaughters a half dozen gladiators one by one, I had seen before as one of those excised.
I now saw Crowe, after his killing spree, lobbing his sword to hit a distant table and asking of the ampitheatre crowd, "Are you not entertained? Are you not entertained? Is this not why you are here?"
He then spits into the dust and walks off as the crowd chant his name. And I had seen that finale before, too.

But the complete film here seemed to show a slightly different cut to that with which I was familiar. Bits appear to have been spliced in to the above link at 56:59 and at 57:20 with, in each instance, Reed exhorting Crowe not just to kill but rather, in order to keep the crowd coming back, to "So entertain!".
They appear in the second clip at 0.13 and 0:35.

We had a video of the film and it did not feature Reed doing anything of that kind. It showed something like what you see here -

Indeed, as you may see in that clip, Reed actually says nothing to Crowe.
At about 21:20 I saw that, at almost the precise moment when "Spaniard" was asking the crowd whether they were entertained an e mail had come in from London Real. It was headed

´are you not entertained?´
and was about the forthcoming week´s content on the London Real series of interviews by Brian Rose.
Towards the bottome of the page were those same words and a still of Russell Crowe in the very scene which I had been watching as the e mail arrived.

Reed, of course, essentially drank himself to death at a bar in Valetta, Malta, during the very making of this film.
A further merging of the themes of killing and entertainment, perhaps!?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

(280) Parsifal and the magic of the quest for The Holy Grail

Circa 0:30 a.m. on December 18th 2014 I was continuing to view some clips from interviews with the late Robin Williams.
I had, just a few minutes earlier, heard Mind Games by John Lennon playing from my son´s room. - https://uk.search.yahoo.com/search?p=youtube+mind+games+john+lennon&type=2button&fr=ush-mailn

At 1:12 there are the lyrics -

Some kind of Druid dudes lifting the vail
Doing the  mind guerilla
Some call it magic, the search for the grail

Then I watched Williams´ appearance with Oprah from 1991. I noted something which prompted me to attempt to alter the list of points given in the synopsis of and also alter Point (57) within the narrative itself.  - http://james-plasketts-coincidence-diary.blogspot.com.es/2006/03/part-two-narrative-epilogues-and.html

(57) I note that in Terry Gilliam´s 1991 film The Fisher King, Robin Williams plays the part of a man called ´Parry´ - a diminutive form of Parsifal  (See 6.20 mins into https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aT4G_jwwMSo) - and he claims that he has glimpsed a photograph of The Holy Grail which he must seek in a FEBRUARY 1988 edition of a magazine, i.e. the same date it all irrupted into my life. -

In each instance I was merely adding the Youtube link to the point in The Fisher King where the significance of his adopted name is given.
In the midst of so doing I mistakenly jogged the laptop and switched it off. I restarted the computer and this somehow activated the above link to her show right from the start. That generated, at 1:32, a clip to Williams as ´Parry´, responding to Bridges´ dissing of the very concept of a grail quest and describing Parry as a nutcase, or "only partly insane" who could get a normal job.
Williams responds that he has a normal job: his quest for the Holy Grail.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

(279) Lyuboyevic Vs Karpov, Linares 1981

On the evening of December 15th 2014 I turned to www.chessgames.com . Here I searched for the games of Mikhail Tal from his astounding victory at the Jurmala Interzonal of 1979.

But before doing that I, for some intangible reason, found myself drawn to the games between Anatoly Karpov and Jonathan Speelman and later between Karpov and Lyubomir Lyuboyevic.

I played through some forty or fifty of these games from those three selections. I saw a game from Linares 1981 where Lyuboyevic playing white had been gradually and progressively worn down by Karpov. I had seen this celebrated ending annotated before in a book on endings, but I do not believe that I had ever before played through all of the moves of this game.

About four hours later I turned to Facebook and saw that some four hours previous a friend, Bogdan Lalic, had placed on his wall a position I recognised from the minor piece ending which arose in this very game, although he had given neither the names of the players nor the venue and the date.

The challenge of BLACK to play and win is hardly a very difficult one. For there is really only the one plausible tactic. (1...Nxf4!) And that made it very difficult from the usual kind of position he would put up on his wall, where some I recognised as having been cribbed from A. Baburin´s daily newsletter, others were quite tricky and several had occured in the very games of Lalic himself.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

(278) Sceptic Michael Shermer´s Anomalous Events That Can Shake One’s Skepticism to the Core

At circa 18:40 on November 13th 2014 I was adding something to Michael Shermer´s Wikipedia entry.

This was some seven hours after I had posted this at my Facebook wall (somebody else having earlier posted it on Facebook) -


I added a line or two referring to the above article. I then tried to add a link to the article by adding it to those listed at the foot of the page. Mine was link 65. But it was not quite the same as the others and so I tried to alter it.
To my great surprise an announcement came up that somebody else had just then added that very link!

Their link was given as 44. Since there already was a link 44 I do not know if it replaced that link. Number 65 vanished whereas the line or two of text that I had added to the section headed Personal Life remained.
Within half an hour my appended lines vanished to be replaced by a brief sentence saying that on June 25th 2014 he had married a lady called Jennifer Graf. I added words similar to those I had given earlier.
Those too were later removed so I just put them back.
But those did not remain there for all that long so I stopped the replacements.
I also found it particularly odd that this link should have been simultaneously provided by two people a full two months after Shermer´s published article in Scientific American.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

(277) One armed bandit

Circa June 18th 2014 I pointed out to my wife a lady with only one arm who was on the beach with us at Cala Cortina. Her right arm came down only a few inches from her shoulder.
I had never seen her before in eight years of frequenting that beach.

Two days later I was resting at some traffic lights two to three miles away when a car hit me from behind. I turned off the engine and got out ... and discovered  very little damage... and also that it was the very same lady, as she confirmed.

She also confirmed that some dents incurred at the front left side of her were from a previous collision.

The next time I saw her was on the same beach on the morning of July 6th 2015.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

(276) The new queen ending stalemate

During a tournament in Roquetas de Mar in January 2013 I spotted an unusual possible stalemate saving resource in an ending for my opponent, Azerbaijani Grandmaster Mirzoev.
I had this position as White -

Play continued 62...c3
A critical alternative was 62...Re8+ when white can reach a won queen ending after 63 Re4 Rxe4+ 64 Kxe4 c3 65 axb4+ Kd6 66 g7 axb2 68 g8=Q b1=Q 69 Qd8+ and the a pawn drops off.
Note in this line white should avoid the smartarse trick of an x-ray check after 65... Kxb4 66 g7?? since after 66...cxb2 67  g8=Q b1=Q 68 Qb8+ black has the dastardly resource of 68...Ka3! 69 Qxb1 and stalemate!

Instead, of course, 66 bxc3+ wins easily.

Well, at a Rapids event in Carboneras in August 2013 I had this position as White vs Jose Comacho Collados, an IM rated 2318 -

Instead of resigning some moves earlier I had been holding out for the trick I had only learned of in January and which now materialised -
1...Qc7?? 2 b8=(Q) Qxb8 


Endgame study enthusiast, Fide Master Paul Lamford said he found the stalemate idea cute. It was new to him, even with his experience and expertise in this specific area of chess.

Incidentally, in November 2014 I was looking at the DVD of Dvoretsky´s Endgame Manual and saw this position from the game

Yates Vs Marshall, Karlsbad 1929

The game ended 1 Kc3? b1=Q 2 Qxb1+ Kxb1 3 Kb4 Kb2! 4 Kxa4 Kc3 and the king caught the pawn.

But Dvoretsky noted that white could have won by 1 Qc2 a3 2 Kc3 Ka1 3 Kb3 b1=Q 4 Qxb1+ Kxb1 5 Kxa3 and the pawn queens.
Neither 1 Qc4+ Ka3 2 Qb5? nor 2 Qc2? worked because of the same stalemate trick of 2...b1=Q! 3 Qxb1
...   ...   ...
(As the faintest of codicils I may add that I received from Byron Jacobs the diagrams included in this example on August 21st 2013. The text I quickly wrote up but, with characteristic energy, did not get around to adding the diagrams until the morning of December 3rd 2013.
That afternoon I saw that a copy of The British Chess Magazine of September 2013 had just arrived. I had requested it of BCM co-editor James Pratt on Facebook who could only have posted it on November 31st at the earliest, specifically because this issue contained my game with Mirzoev with my annotations. Yet it had winged its way over to Spain rapidly enough to arrive on the very day that I added the stalemate coincidence related to it to my blog. I had also drawn the attention of co-editor Shaun Taulbut to the second part of the coincidence - the game with Comacho Collados - but that he had not included.)