Thursday, February 28, 2008

Thursday Pregame Peregrinations

Here at Robert Pearson's Chess Blog we aim to please, to amuse, to educate, but most of all to enjoy. Andy Soltis has had a column in Chess Life for many years called "Chess to Enjoy," and I must say I have usually enjoyed "Chess to Enjoy" but I haven't always, though I've always enjoyed chess. Except for this game.

Anyway, the title of today's post aims to educate, because peregrinations is a word that's not used nearly often enough, along with peripatetic and perhaps zymurgy, which is the last word in most of those old-fashioned printed dictionaries that nerds like me used to read for fun back in the days before the Internets. We also walked to school in the snow back then, except for the years I lived in SoCal.

I think I've strayed from the subject slightly, but no matter, Blogger apparently has no limitations on word count, since GM James Plaskett once put up a 35,000+ word post with no visible ill effects.

But again, this has nothing to do with my game tonight, which according to the Reno Chess Club website will be as White against Mauricio Amaya IF EVERYONE SHOWS UP (emphasis in the original). Now the odds of "Everyone" showing up appear to me to be vanishingly small since "Everyone" is not signed up for this tournament but let it lie, let it lie. This post is full of pedantic grammar stuff, but not that pedantic. I had a friend who liked to say "Showing up is 80 percent" but I think I can prove mathematically that in chess showing up is only 50 percent--if you don't show up you will, indubitably, score ZERO points, but if you showed up an infinite number of times and played against people of the same class you would score 50 percent. This class of statistical analysis also indicates that if I played V. Anand enough times I would eventually score a win--even if it was only on the day after he finally decided to experiment with alcohol.

But enough; the purpose of these Pregame Peregrinations as I originally conceived them was to mentally prepare for the game tonight and in this they have succeeded admirably. And so, we bring these bloviations to a merciful conclusion.


Anonymous said...

35,000 words in a single post? Looks like the Curmudgeon has a new goal to shoot for.

Too many big words hurts my head. Wake me when you get that win against Anand.

Anonymous said...

"Peregrinations" might not be aware of this, but there's a substantial probability you learned this word from chess, and you might not even be aware of it!

Don't ask me how I can remember this...But I do remember the first time I ever saw the word. It was in the first chess book I ever read, some 40 years ago. Speficially, "Chess Strategy & Tactics," by Reinfeld & Chernev. The very first game in that book features Steinitz on the White side of a King's Gambit - fittingly, the Steinitz Gambit, where White lets his King get chased around (via an early ...Qh4ch) by playing 3.Nc3 instead of the usual 3.Nf3.

By move 15 or so, Steinitz's King had wandered but come back home, and he had a big advantage - prompting the authors to observe: "White's King, despite all his peregrinations, is now safely castled...."