Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Bethany Pickens at Millennium Park

Bethany will be at Millenium Park, the Pritzker Pavilion, tomorrow night at 6:30. Here's a sample of what we'll here. Bethany gets her solo about fives minutes in.

Part 2:

Saturday, July 31, 2010

True Guitar Hero

Some jazz, some blues

And this one, too, just because I love that Les Paul goldtop:

Friday, July 30, 2010

Is This What Plato & Aristotle Fed Their Felines?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not in favor of undue government interference in private enterprise, but shouldn’t somebody stop a cat food company from positioning its product as “classic pate”—on the grounds that it constitutes a criminal insult to public intelligence?

Friday, July 23, 2010


Sometimes when you blunder away a piece you lose the thread and your game falls apart. To wit: 25. Rh3. Been there. White loses on time, but it was all over anyway.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Nichols Park Sunday Concert Series 2010

Sundays, 4-6 PM, North Fountain – 53rd Street, Kimbark & Kenwood, Chicago

L.V. Banks and His Swinging Blues Band
July 11

Willy White (blues)
July 18

Jimmy Ellis Quartet (jazz)
July 25

Walter Scott (blues)
August 1

To Be Determined
August 8

Vance Kelly and the Backstreet Blues Band
August 15

Akasha (reggae, rock)
August 22

Billy Flynn (blues)
August 29

To Be Determined
September 5

Rosen Draws Robson in St. Louis

Photo: Betsy Dynako

Congratulations to NM Eric Rosen of the Chicago Blaze, who drew wunderkind GM Ray Robson in the first round of the U.S. Junior Closed Championship now taking place in St. Louis, alongside the U.S. Women’s Championship. Take a look at this exciting game, with strong threats on both sides of the board.

Since I’m not competent to comment on chess at this level or any other for that matter, let’s get the annotation from the press release of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis, which is hosting both the junior and women’s tournaments:

“In a match-up that featured the greatest rating differential in the tournament, Robson (2613) took on NM Eric Rosen (2209). Rosen did not let the 404-point difference faze him.

“’It was a hard pairing, playing Ray in the first round,’ Rosen said. ‘It’s always good to play the strongest player to get them out of the way.’

“Early on, Robson used more than 10 minutes on 9…Nc5. ‘I think I used way too much time in
the opening,’ he said.

“Robson said it was a complicated position in the middlegame that led him even deeper into time trouble.

“’I was doing fine up until I blundered [37…] Kh7,’ he said.

“This allowed Rosen to fork Robson’s rook and queen, winning the rook and putting pressure on the defending champion. Robson managed to advance his a-pawn down the board and, after a series of rook checks by Rosen, the two agreed to a draw.”

See Bill Brock's commentary as well.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Nick Carr on Colbert

Read his new book. Because he's right.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Nicholas Carr
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorFox News

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Hatfields & McCoys Still At It?

In the great tradition of herd journalism, The Wall Street Journal has followed this blog and covered a story that we brought you more than two years ago. It appears that The Great Thompson Street Chess Feud, the long-simmering conflict between two neighboring Greenwich Village chess shops, continues despite a change of ownership in one of them.

Where can I get one of those “I [heart] Chess” buttons?

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Foggy, Foggy Night

This was the scene in Nichols Park last night as Chicago was engulfed in a blanket of fog that lasted for an uncommonly long time—well into this morning, in fact. My family transformed it into works of art. Photos by Jane Averill; art direction, digital enhancement, and layout by Michael Panelas.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Paging Watson and Crick

Here’s something new: an attractive public parking garage. I don’t know if these photos do justice to the new structure at the northeast corner of Clark and Kinzie in Chicago, but it is kind of cool looking. The double helix, I assume, is an allusion to the ramps that take you up the floors of the garage, not to DNA, but I could be wrong.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Your Moment of Zen

What do you suppose is going through the mind of writer Zadie Smith as she finds herself in the midst of this earnest male entourage—of chess players?

What’s that empty bag of popcorn doing on the table with all those formally attired champagne drinkers? Why does that glass (or candle holder?) control the center of the board? And are we to infer from the way Ms. Smith has casually brushed aside several of the White pieces with her purse that they are playing some hitherto unknown chess variant in which moves are made with sartorial accessories?

What’s going on here? And who are these yahoos?

Monday, February 01, 2010

Tribute to Les Paul

I have to confess I’d never heard of Imelda May until last night, but she and Jeff Beck did a nice job in this tribute to Les Paul and Mary Ford at the Grammys last night. Beck certainly looks good for his age and can still play that guitar. Well done.

Here's the original:

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Be Like Barack

What to order at Valois/See Your Food in Hyde Park.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Today's the Day

The great Django Rheinhardt would have been 100 today. Enjoy this.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Django Reinhardt Turns 100

The centennial of guitar great Django Rheinhardt (1910-53) is only ten days away. Chicago Gypsy-jazz guitarist Alfonso Ponticelli and his band Swing Gitan are looking for a suitable place in town to celebrate. Any ideas? Either way, please watch their site for news. Gypsy jazz turns 100 along with Django on January 23.

Help Haiti

By now you’ve all heard about the devastating earthquake yesterday in Haiti, in which many people have been killed, injured, or left homeless. The Red Cross has an easy, painless, and I must say innovative way to take donations. Using your cell phone, just follow the instructions on this tweet.

I think they’ll raise a great deal of money this way. I hope so.

Cursed Blunders!

White resigned after 21. Qxf7+, and you can hardly blame him/her/it. Moral of the stoy, kids: When you send in that protected queen to mate your opponent, first make sure there isn't another piece that can capture the lady.

Monday, January 11, 2010

In Paul We Trust

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Scholar’s Mate Manqué

Trapus Interruptus?

White resigned after 2. . . . d6 —because I made the right move against the trap? A true Wacky Wednesday game.

Monday, January 04, 2010

True Guitar Hero

Your Gypsy jazz fix

Notice the D-shaped sound hole on the guitar and the cutaway on the body that allows the player to reach the lower frets. What you can't see here is the slotted head of the steel-string guitar, which resembles a nylon-string intsrument. These and other features mark the Gypsy-jazz guitar player's intrument as distinctive. Also the fact that Gypsy jazz is usually played with acoustic guitars, as opposed to most other jazz, in whice the guitars are electric. More here and here.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Your Moment of Zen

Write the caption.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Chess Meetup Tomorrow

At the Starbucks at Ohio and State, 3:00 PM. Details here. Beat the post-holiday blues: Play chess.