Computer Issues (Alas)

by admin on June 16, 2020

I just heard from Mike Splane that there was a comment on my last post that did not display when he clicked on the link. Here is what the comment said, from Larry Smith:

“A great post! I can only imagine how much time went into putting this together.

Here are several comments:

First, when you write “the only way for Black to prevent the kamikaze rook sacrifice is to give up the h-pawn with 71. … Ra1+ 72. Kxh2, which is easily drawn for White,” can’t Black at least try 71 … Ke4? 72 Rxf5? is no longer check, so Ra1+! relieves the stalemate. Of course, this probably doesn’t change anything overall.

Second, I recall Fischer and Geller playing this ending, possibly in 1970. May or may not be relevant to your studying of this endgame. And, doubtless there are many other examples.

Third, and last, the Four Endgames of the Apocalypse is a great article idea! And if you could add more endings (this one, Troitsky’s line, or possibly Vancura, which I don’t think is as difficult but seems to be little-known below a certain level), then maybe there’s a book in it! However, at the same time, I’m not sure who the audience would be for such a book.”

Thanks for the comment, Larry! It would be a fun concept for a book. The only thing that give me pause is that any one of these endgames would suck me into such a deep pit of time consumption … and really, you have to question whether it’s worth it. In a way, that’s part of what makes them Endgames of the Apocalypse. Unless you’re a professional chess player, it’s unclear whether the time spent in mastering them is really worthwhile. In fact, I believe I saw a column by Smyslov about the Q+RP versus Q endgame where he basically gives up and says this is not comprehensible by humans. Smyslov! One of the great endgame masters of all time!

But even though they’re rare, they are still common enough that if you play tournament chess regularly for many years, you are going to hit one of these endgames. And then you’re going to feel stupid when you mess it up. And maybe that will motivate you to study it.

Now, let me address the computer issues. I did a really stupid thing yesterday, deleting some files that were apparently necessary for the correct operation of the blog. I wasn’t sure if this had any effect that was visible from the outside, but apparently it did.

The fact is that my website and my blog have been due for a major overhaul for a long time. Some of my readers noticed that they were getting a “This website may be hacked” message from Google or their browser. It’s a headache and a half to figure out what files are causing this, get rid of them, and convince Google that your website is clean. I also need to get a certificate to make the site secure (so that you would see an “https” in the URL). I haven’t done that either. I just wanted to write posts and have them go up. I didn’t want to have to get an advanced degree in running a website. So I’ve resisted those changes for as long as I could, but I just can’t fight it any more. The Internet has changed too much from the early days when anyone could just throw up a web page or a blog.

Bottom line, Larry and Mike, I don’t know what is going to happen. It will take me some time and expense to get everything running again the way it should, and I just don’t know how long that will be. If it’s too much trouble, I may just decide that this is the end of the line for my chess blog. It’s okay. It’s not the end of the world.

This is coming also at a time when I don’t know whether or when I will get to play tournament chess again. I’ve been making do with playing against the computer, but that has problems. I could also play online, but that has problems, too. The way that I really enjoy chess is to play with a good old-fashioned, 3-dimensional chessboard with real pieces. Somehow I don’t make as many mistakes and the game feels more real to me.

But when will it ever be safe again to crowd together into a hotel ballroom with 100 other people for several hours at a time? It’s almost the definition of high risk for coronavirus. (And I am in a somewhat high-risk population too: age 61, and with rheumatoid arthritis. It’s been dormant for basically my entire adult life … but it’s a risk factor because it means that I have an immune system that is slightly out of whack.)

So quite possibly I won’t be able to play tournament chess again until there is a vaccine. And if I’m not playing tournament chess, it’s really hard for me to keep up my enthusiasm for a blog. Everything is connected, and everything seems to be coming apart at the same time.

So sorry to write such a downer of a post. My life is fine otherwise. To cheer everyone up, I’ll end with a kitten photo. Everybody loves kittens, right? In this picture Stanley is purring for the first time.

I’m feeling better already.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: