Of Music And Chess

January 17, 2008

Well, another hiatus. Well, another year. Welcome to 2008. Thanks for stickin’ by.

Those of you who have not played a lot of chess might find it hard to see a natural connection between chess, and music. No matter, I think there is one. Music has the ability to transport your mind to another universe, to a world where other laws and values rule. To a world where you can find peace. Chess, sometimes does the same.

I may have blogged about this before, but when it comes to music I can warmly recommend one specific source: Radio Paradise, is a web-radio station that I cannot help fall in love with. They describe themselves as an “eclectic rock music station”. You may say that you are not “really into rock”. But these guys will play an amazingly broad selection of music. You may hear anything from the Beatles to the Chemical Brothers. If you love David Bowie, Calexico, Jethro Tull, Aimee Mann, Roxy Music, Björk, Beck, REM, Tom Petty, Tori Amos, Goldfrapp, and such, you should check it out. Or if you just like to be musically surprised, to hear a lot of new bands that you never heard of, you should click that link. The cool thing is not only that they play very cool music but if you listen for a couple of hours you begin to notice that they mix it in a really cool way that adds up to more than just the separate songs. Now the really great thing is that it is 100% commercial free. It is all working through voluntary listener support. Try it!

As for chess: a year ago I wrote that my goal for 2007 was to improve my rating by 200 rating points. 200 rating points, is a tall order, approximately you would win 4 out of 5 games against someone 200 points below yourself. So it is a significant improvement. Now, one year later the result is [drum roll please]:

230 rating points. Of course I am happy with that. For this year I hesitate to set a new goal because another 200 rating points is quite unrealistic. Anyway, the interesting thing is that my improvement did not chiefly come from intense study or training. Most of it came from a psychological shift, in my attitude towards the game. I have grown more, confident, careful, less risk prone, and most of all, more patient and persistent.

That might be a good lesson, for all of us, in all areas of life. Trust your decisions, stay patient, and do persist.


Silence Is

August 17, 2007

Silence, they say, is golden…

Me I dunno, but the rumours of my untimely demise, have (so far) been completely untrue. I was not hit by an 18-wheeler on the highway while training for the Kuala Lumpur Marathon. Nor was I hit bit a freak meteor, while sunbathing on the Mediterranean beaches of Tripoli. Nor, I promise, was I eaten by a Great White Shark while scuba diving leisurely on the coral reefs off Nassau. And: I am sad to admit that these rumours were equally untrue.

So I guess I dedicate the above words, and this post, to my three most loyal fans, Highlander – who always remembers me, Red – who cannot go unnoticed under any alias, and Tom – who likes my photos and I sure like his. Thanks friends for being so patient.

Speaking of gold I just heard this beautiful ballad with these lovely lyrics:

I carry the Sun in a golden cup
The Moon in a silver bag

Lovely. Her name is Carla Bruni, song’s name is “Those dancing days are gone”. Try it out on www.allmusic.com.

Music, Maestro!

April 20, 2007

Just imagine: what do you think would happen, hypothetically, if one of the world’s greatest violinists performed incognito before a travelling rush-hour crowd in the Washington DC subway? Imagine him dressed as an ordinary street musician, playing on a 3 million dollar Stradivari violin. Would people pay attention? Interesting idea methinks. Even more interesting is the fact that exactly this has happened. I urge you to read the Washington Post article.

It is quite long, so make sure you some good amount of time to spare when you read it, because it is really interesting. And the videos are amazing too.