Greatest game of chess ever played

Depicted above is widely regarded by many greats like Kasparov, Capablanca etc. as the most brilliant game of chess ever played. The game was played in 1851 between Adolf Anderssen and Lionel Kieseritzky. The two greats locked horns in this informal game which was played in an official tournament in London during a break.

In this game Anderssen sacrificed a bishop on move 11, both rooks starting on move 18, and the queen on move 22 to produce a checkmate which stands unparalleled in its brilliance.

The moves of the game with small annotations (source: Wikipedia):

White: Adolf Anderssen
Black: Lionel Kieseritzky
Opening: King's Gambit, C33

1. e4 e5 2. f4

This is the King's Gambit: Anderssen offers his pawn in exchange for faster development. Although this was a common opening in the nineteenth century, it is less common today, as Black is often able to eventually equalize development, so White will be down in material.

2. ... exf4

Kieseritsky accepts the gambit; this variant is thus called the King's Gambit Accepted.

3. Bc4 Qh4+

Black's move will force White to move his king and White will not be able to castle, but this move also places Black's queen in peril, and Black will have to waste time to protect it.

4. Kf1 b5?

This is the Bryan gambit, named after Thomas Jefferson Bryan. It is not considered a sound move by most players today.


5. Bxb5 Nf6 6. Nf3

This is a common developing move, but the knight now attacks Black's queen, forcing Black to protect it instead of developing his own side.

6. ... Qh6 7. d3

With this move, White now has solidified control over the critical center of the board.

7. ... Nh5

This move threatens Ng3+, and it protects the pawn at f4, but it also sidelines the knight to a poor position at the edge of the board, where knights are the least powerful.

8. Nh4 Qg5

9. Nf5 c6

This simultaneously unpins the queen pawn and attacks the bishop.

10. g4 Nf6 11. Rg1!

This is an advantageous passive piece sacrifice. If Black accepts, his queen will be moved away from the action, giving White a lead in development.

11. ... cxb5?


12. h4!

White's knight at f5 protects the pawn, which is attacking Black's queen.

12. ... Qg6 13. h5 Qg5 14. Qf3

Anderssen now has two threats:

* Bxf4, which will trap Black's queen (the queen has no safe place to go),
* e5, which would attack Black's knight at f6 while simultaneously exposing an attack by White's queen on the unprotected black rook at a8.

14. ... Ng8

This deals with the threats, but undevelops Black even further — now the only Black piece not on its starting square is the queen, which is about to be put on the run, while White has control over a great deal of the board.

15. Bxf4 Qf6 16. Nc3 Bc5

An ordinary developing move by Black, which also attacks the rook at g1.

17. Nd5

White responds to the attack with a counter-attack. This move threatens Nc7, which would fork the king and rook.

17. ... Qxb2

Black gains a pawn, and threatens to gain the rook at a1 with check.


18. Bd6!!

With this move White offers to sacrifice both his rooks. Huebner comments that, from this position, there are actually many ways to win, and he believes there are at least three better moves than 18. Bd6: 18. d4, 18. Be3, or 18. Re1, which lead to strong positions or checkmate without needing to sacrifice so much material. The commercial version of the chess-playing computer program Junior recommends 18. Nc7+, followed by Re1. Garry Kasparov has pointed out that the world of chess would have lost one of its "crown jewels" if the game had continued in such an unspectacular fashion. The Bd6 move is unusual, because White is willing to give up so much material.

18. ... Bxg1?

It is from this move that Black's defeat stems.

19. e5!

This sacrifices yet another White rook. More importantly, this move prevents the Black queen from protecting Black's g7 pawn — in fact, the Black queen will not be able to easily return to defend Black's king at all. It sets up a dangerous possible attack, 20. Nxg7+ Kd8 21. Bc7#.

20. ... Qxa1+ 20. Ke2

At this point, Black's attack has run out of power; Black has a queen and bishop on the back row, but cannot effectively mount an immediate attack on White, while White can storm forward.

21. ... Na6

This move was probably made to counter 21. Nc7, which would fork the Black king and rook, and it prevents the bishop from occupying c7 as part of a mating attack, but White has another dangerous attack available. 20...Ba6 is a much better try.

22. Nxg7+ Kd8 22. Qf6+

This is a queen sacrifice, on top of the earlier sacrifices of a bishop and both rooks, and Black cannot avoid taking the queen.

22. ... Nxf6 23. Be7# 1-0

At the end, Black is ahead in material by a considerable margin: a queen and two rooks, plus the advantage of having both bishops, while having only one fewer pawn. But the material does not help Black. White has been able to use his remaining pieces - two knights and a bishop - to force mate.

How to kill a mouse

Here is a step by step procedure for killing that mouse that has been pestering you at nights for so long. The inspiration for this is a real life incident that took place at one of my friends' house. He happened to trap the mouse in a small enclosure but now he is hanging in the dilemma of what to do with it. The mouse has been sitting in that dark enclosure for a few days now (I guess) and apparently it has become extremely annoyed at having been kept deprived of any food whatsoever. He expresses his anger by nibbling at the enclosure's wooden interiors. There is another twist to this story. A moral one. His roommate doesn't want to kill the mouse. So here is the situation in a nutshell:

The Cast: 2 roommates. 1 mouse.

The Scene: Mouse trapped below a table. All exits closed. Its dark inside. And lonely. The mouse is infuriated at this blatant disregard for rodent rights. He starts polishing the wood of the table. Roommate 1 who happens to share the room with the table which stands on top of the mouse who is nibbling gets crazy by the constant sound of dentine workout. He cannot take it anymore. But he cannot do much. The other roommate doesn't want to kill the mouse. And they sure can't let him go.

The Dilemma: Should they kill him or should they take the humunguous risk of trying to open an exit and catch the mouse so that they could throw him out ? Should they feed him ? What if he comes back again ? And with vengeance ? What if he nibbles through the table and comes out in the open to set matters straight with the two ? What if he bites through the floor and falls in the room below ?

My stance is that the mouse should be killed and killed fast. Opening the exits and trying to catch him is far too dangerous to be considered as a possible option. He might run away and who knows what all possibilities might present themselves to him as means of getting back to his captors with interest. The shoe rack, the cupboard, the foodgrains, the linens are all possible targets. And it is only too well known how devastating a pissed rodent can prove to be. The only option is to kill him and here are some of my suggestions as to how to do it. We have all seen rodent killing baits and sprays but all those methods seem to be too demeaning for a mouse that has suffered so much. His death should be special:

1. Concentration Chamber: Get some of the stuff Hitler used to use and pass it below the desk. Close the exit, wait for 20 minutes then open to find the mouse dead. Even if he is not dead, I am sure he would atleast be inebriated in which case you can get a hold of him and throw him out. Make sure to bang his head with a spatula before throwing. This will ensure that even if he gets back to his senses, he will have no recollection of what has been meted out to him and by whom. You do not want to be in his bad books.

2. The magic: This is a very delicate technique. You will need 2 swords. Start from the left edge of the table. Make a hole just big enough so that you could insert a sword into it but not big enough for the mouse to come out. Insert one sword upto the end. Move a bit to the right and carry out the same procedure with the second sword. Now take out the first one and insert it to the right of the second. Keep doing it till one of your swords touches something soft. Once it does, give it a final violent push. The mouse is dead. Now on with carpet cleaning.

3. The deathly workout: Take two gongs and place them on two opposite sides of the table. Ring one. The mouse startled, will run to the opposite side. Go to the opposite side and ring the other one. The mouse will run to the previous side. Keep doing this all through the night and the mouse should be dead by the morning due to exhaustion. The mouse might be intelligent but its not that you have nothing going for you. You have more expendable fat.

So here were my kickass techniques for killing a mouse. If nothing works out you can atleast transfer your pains to the apartment below:

Dig a trench in the floor all around the table. The trench should be big enough to see the ongoings of the apartment below. Open the exit. The mouse runs out and falls through the trench in the house below. All done. You have a ruined floor and carpet but you also have the satisfaction which only comes from seeing someone else endure the pain that has resided in your butt till now.

Taste of Potassium Cyanide

I was wondering today. What would Potassium Cyanide taste like ? Not that I am going to try to find out anytime but I am just driven by the basic human weakness of inquisitiveness. Afterall even a miniscule dose kills in less than 15 seconds. Is it even possible to determine its taste ? I know it smells like Almonds but how would one determine the taste ?

People have said that some guys have tasted diluted form of KCN and experienced a bitter taste but I can easily refute this theory. This theory just does not hold water. Why would one drink a diluted solution of KCN in order to determine its taste ? I mean, if 300 mg is needed to kill a person, why would one need to dilute it with water in order to find the taste. Why not just take, lets say 50 mg of undiluted KCN and be done with it ? Diluting KCN in water will only serve one purpose - Making it harder still to determine the taste with certainity. Most of these stories must have been the brainchild of some idle nincompoop grappling with the properties of solutions in physical chemistry trying to apply his half baked ideas to practical applications like this.

So here is my advice to all those who are willing to stake their lives for a better informed society : Try KCN in a smaller dose. I would say 1/5 of the fatal dose. If you are lucky enough, you would be able to tell the taste. There is just no point trying to dilute it with water and then wondering why the hell does the solution tastes like distilled water. The result also depends upon your sensitivity of taste. Mind you, if you cannot taste it, you were just not cut out for it. Don't go 'Well lets have one more spoon and see what happens'. It doesn't have to be an ego point. If your friend performs better, well, tough luck. Don't swell your chest and go 'My mom said if someone can do it, I can too'.

Anyways, I digressed a bit. I was thinking of making a movie plot which would revolve around this special property of KCN. The movie would be 3.5 hours long. It would start with a happy family. Everyone would be leading a perfect life until one fine day the husband discovers that his wife is cheating on him and tension starts to simmer beneath the surface. The wife suspects that he knows. They constantly indulge in quarrels which by the way screw up the children completely. Depression coupled with midlife crisis forces the husband to evaluate his life. He starts looking for ways to make sense of his life which he thinks is going waste. What could he do to make a mark in the world ? How would the world remember his name ? How can he bring a meaningful change to society ? Such are the questions pestering him when he comes upon this unsolved problem of the taste of KCN. Perfect ! He doesn't wanna live anymore. How better to die than dying for the betterment of the society. He figures:

"If not in life, I would be worth atleast in death' (Melodramatic music. Glycerine. Flashbacks of his wife and children).

Ecstatic at this ingenious plan, he moves ahead to bring it to fruition. Last 10 minutes of the movie. He has to tell whether KCN tastes sugary or salty. He has the bottle in his hands. He has a pen in the other hand. A pink coloured, scented paper is lying just below the pen. Orchestral music is slowly reaching a crescendo. There are beads of perspiration on his head. He weighs his judgement again. His children float in front of his eyes. Then his wife. His home. His dreams, happy times. Then the sullen faces of all those millions who lead an unfulfilled life unaware of the taste of KCN and die with only one wish- What the hell does it taste like ? In that moment of intense judgement he decides to die for the social good. He takes a spoonful and transfers it to his mouth. Sudden convulsion grips him instantly. He starts shivering, choking, writhing in pain. He takes the pen and in that last moment of intense concentration writes something down... Police arrive the next day and see the paper. Whats it gonna be. Sugary or Salty? Sugary or Salty? Sugary or Salty? The paper reads:

S

Hu ha ha ha. Hu ha ha ha. My revenge against all those suckers who leave the most important details of a movie 'to the discretion of the viewer'. My foot. How about this ending. Not only is it a kickass story, it also makes sure that millions of manhours are wasted all across the world. Next time when a bunch of friends come out of a David Lynch atrocity, they could atleast console themselves by saying:

"Atleast Lynch didn't pull off a Srivastava"

Telephonically stunted

I don't get it. Its not that I am a particularly retarded human being woefully inept at social mannerisms. Neither am I especially ignorant in matters pertaining to general knowledge or literature or sports etc. so as to find myself perennially at loss of ideas during a normal conversation with another person. I am not really identified as too much of a geek who finds it difficult to initiate and sustain a face to face dialogue. But give me a phone with another human being on the other side and I just run out of ideas to talk about in approximately the first 13 seconds.

I don't understand what people talk about for hours together on a telephone. I have never been able to fathom the mysterious ways of those who tread the murky waters of a telephonic conversation with the ease of a fish in water. For me atleast, there are few things more excruciating than a telephone call from a distant relative or a friend I have hardly been in touch with who sees the present call as a means of whiling away his 20 minutes just because they could not think of anything better to do. The call starts with the innocuous looking:

"Haan to kya chal raha hai ?" (Wassup?)

My heartbeat for one... but don't count on it. I just heard a vein pop in my head when you asked this question. What the hell does it mean anyways. Nobody who asks anyone 'Wassup?' really wants to know 'Wassup.'. There are few phrases more futile than 'I want to live life to the fullest' and 'Wassup?' beats it by a mile. The moment I hear this question, my life functions automatically go into hibernation. My brain sends all the vestigial body functions to sleep, my heart starts beating at half the normal rate, my body temperature drops by 3 points, my digestive system goes into a nap and I start burning fat instead of food. After that I enter one of those zenlike states where I am only vaguely aware of what the other person is speaking and my awareness serves only to help me answer his questions in rhetorics and more questions.

But some of these callers are becoming shrewder by the day. After putting up with my answers mainly consisting of 'Oh!', 'Great!', 'Well thats good', 'What?' for about 15 minutes, they somehow realize that I might not be giving the attention they deserve so they come up with something that any self-respecting individual would do. Direct confrontation:

'Saale, tu sun nahin raha hai kya ?' (ARE YOU NOT LISTENING ?).

At which point I have to kickstart my machinery, accumulate what little I had assimilated in the last 15 minutes, pass it all through a series of logic gates, come up with the most likely topic that the other person would have been discussing, decide my opinion on it and confidently retort:

'Hain ????' (translates into 'Whats that?' but with much more cluelessness.)

The conversation goes downhill from there and the only thing worth looking forward for me is the sweet sound of 'Click' which signifies that the 3rd degree has stopped.

Its not that I do not want to talk to people, its just that I do not have enough things to talk about on a telephone and I just do not find it interesting or stimulating enough. Most of my outgoing phone calls fail to cross the 1 minute duration mark. I cannot explain how many times I have to fight with myself before finally deciding to pick up a call which I suspect would last more than 5 (barring from very few people. Till the last count the number was 3.).

And as if all of this was not bad enough, they have gone ahead and provided voice mails to every phone. Now I cannot even say 'oh your number is not stored in my phone so I couldn't recognize the missed call and you know with all these spam callers nowadays I do not generally call back to unidentified numbers'. They will listen to this baloney with all the patience in the world and come up with the atom bomb:

"And the voice mail ?"

They hardly understand that their voice mail is probably 78th in the line of unheard voice messages since October 2006 and it would be awfully impossible for me to sift through all that junk to get to that particular message i.e. if I remembered my voicemail password in the first place. Unless Apple comes up with iPhone with the random voicemail utility and unless I become mentally senile enough to once again get blinded by all that glitter and end up buying one, doesn't it sound a bit harsh expecting me to listen to the 78th message after listening to 77 ? I know it does.

Well anyways, the bottom line is that the quality of a successful telephone conversationist is woefully lacking in me. In a world where teenage girls go yammering away for hours non-stop on the phone, discussing their pointless antics, where aunties swell up the telephone bills discussing how Mr. Sharma's daughter was seen with that other guy, where guys beat the 'unlimited calls' rule to death romantically swooning over every syllable that pours in from the other side, where the right hand spends more time near the ear than its politically correct place, where the normal position of the human head is now being described as 'slightly right to the line of symmetry', here I am with a cell phone with hardly any sign of wear on its number pad constantly chewing over the eternal question:

"What do they talk about ?"

Bye Bye Miss American Pie

'Bye Bye Miss American Pie' is an epic song from Don Mclean and I must confess but I must have listened to this song which runs for upwards of 8 minutes atleast 50 times in 2 days. As beautiful as the song is inasmuch as its lyrics and melody are concerned, it also gives an amazing insight into the rocknroll era of the 50s, 60s, and the early 70s of American music scene through its varied allusions to various milestones along the musical history. This is one of those songs which make even the harshest cynics go silent. There is just nothing in the song that is not perfect and desirable and beautiful. The staunchest of critics of American culture can only bite their nails and maybe point out to the length of the song in a last ditch effort of coming up with atleast some criticism. Nevertheless, on with the post.

First of all, you can listen to this song here but I suggest getting some perspective of what is being said in the song before actually listening to it in order to appreciate it better:

Miss American Pie

The song represents the point of view of singer Don Mclean through his childhood and into his adulthood and his take on the changes through which the musical scene of America underwent begining 1950. The song is primarily an emotional tribute to Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and Jiles Perry Richardson all of whom died in an aircrash in the February of 1959. Buddy Holly was an exceptionally gifted singer who made waves at about the same time Elvis Pressly was making America gyrate to his pulsating tunes. He is considered one of the greatest proponents of rocknroll and despite dying at a very young age of 22, still regarded by many to be as good if not better than Elvis. He defined an age brimming with rebellion, an age bubbling with the revolution of creativity, nicely iced with a varnish of simplicity and innocence. Aspects which are woefully missing in today's music. One song that I particularly like is:

That'll be the day

You see what I am saying. What the song lacks in the clarity of audio and the sophisitication and aural power of the instruments, it makes up in a sincere dose of emotion and passion for music in the singer (Holly).

Don Mclean, in Miss American Pie, gives a tearful tribute to the genius which died young. He terms this particular day, The day the music died, a phrase that has entered the popular lexicon now. Here are the lyrics to the song. At the end, I have listed some of the allusions mentioned in the song (marked in bold) and their place in American Music history:

Lyrics:
-------

A long, long time ago...
I can still remember
How that music used to make me smile.
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people dance
And, maybe, they’d be happy for a while.

But february made me shiver
With every paper I’d deliver.
Bad news on the doorstep;
I couldn’t take one more step.

I can’t remember if I cried
When I read about his widowed bride,
But something touched me deep inside
The day the music died.

So bye-bye, miss american pie.
Drove my chevy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.

And them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
Singin’, "this’ll be the day that I die.
"this’ll be the day that I die."

Did you write the book of love,
And do you have faith in God above,
If the Bible tells you so?
Do you believe in rock ’n roll,
Can music save your mortal soul,
And can you teach me how to dance real slow?

Well, I know that you’re in love with him
`cause I saw you dancin’ in the gym.
You both kicked off your shoes.
Man, I dig those rhythm and blues.

I was a lonely teenage broncin’ buck
With a pink carnation and a pickup truck,
But I knew I was out of luck
The day the music died.

I started singin’,
"bye-bye, miss american pie."
Drove my chevy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.
Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
And singin’, "this’ll be the day that I die.
"this’ll be the day that I die."

Now for ten years we’ve been on our own
And moss grows fat on a rollin’ stone,
But that’s not how it used to be.
When the jester sang for the king and queen,
In a coat he borrowed from james dean
And a voice that came from you and me,

Oh, and while the king was looking down,
The jester stole his thorny crown.
The courtroom was adjourned;
No verdict was returned.
And while lennon read a book of marx,
The quartet practiced in the park,
And we sang dirges in the dark
The day the music died.

We were singing,
"bye-bye, miss american pie."
Drove my chevy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.
Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
And singin’, "this’ll be the day that I die.
"this’ll be the day that I die."

Helter skelter in a summer swelter.
The birds flew off with a fallout shelter,
Eight miles high and falling fast.

It landed foul on the grass.
The players tried for a forward pass,
With the jester on the sidelines in a cast.

Now the half-time air was sweet perfume
While the sergeants played a marching tune.
We all got up to dance,
Oh, but we never got the chance!
`cause the players tried to take the field;
The marching band refused to yield.
Do you recall what was revealed
The day the music died?

We started singing,
"bye-bye, miss american pie."
Drove my chevy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.
Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
And singin’, "this’ll be the day that I die.
"this’ll be the day that I die."

Oh, and there we were all in one place,
A generation lost in space

With no time left to start again.
So come on: jack be nimble, jack be quick!
Jack flash sat on a candlestick
Cause fire is the devil’s only friend.

Oh, and as I watched him on the stage

My hands were clenched in fists of rage.
No angel born in hell
Could break that satan’s spell.
And as the flames climbed high into the night
To light the sacrificial rite,
I saw satan laughing with delight
The day the music died

He was singing,
"bye-bye, miss american pie."
Drove my chevy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.
Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
And singin’, "this’ll be the day that I die.
"this’ll be the day that I die."

I met a girl who sang the blues
And I asked her for some happy news,
But she just smiled and turned away.
I went down to the sacred store
Where I’d heard the music years before,
But the man there said the music wouldn’t play.

And in the streets: the children screamed,
The lovers cried, and the poets dreamed.
But not a word was spoken;
The church bells all were broken.
And the three men I admire most:
The father, son, and the holy ghost,
They caught the last train for the coast
The day the music died.

And they were singing,
"bye-bye, miss american pie."
Drove my chevy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.
And them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
Singin’, "this’ll be the day that I die.
"this’ll be the day that I die."

They were singing,
"bye-bye, miss american pie."
Drove my chevy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.
Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
Singin’, "this’ll be the day that I die."

---------

Allusions:

The day the music died
: February 3 1959 when Buddy Holly, Valens and Richardson died in a plane crash.

Miss American Pie: Probably refers to the expression "As American as a pie" and in essence points to the innocence and idealism of an idea that is vintage American.

Chevee and Levee
: Chevee or Chevy again refers to an idea that is distinctly American by pointing out the Chevrolet brand of cars. levee represents a body of water and driving beside it represents an ideal and a beautiful journey. Finding the levee dry signifies the dirth of happiness, a dystopian scenario.

'Jester' and 'moss grows fat on a rollin’ stone': Jester refers to the great Bob Dylan and the line 'moss grows fat' signifies a reducing popularity of Dylan's music. The paragraph refers to the time when Elvis's (alluded as King) popularity was decreasing and his place was being taken by Dylan (Jester)

lennon: lennon obviously refers to the rise of the Beatles. By the way, the name Beatles is again a tribute to Buddy Holly whose band was called The Crickets.

The birds: Refers to the period where the American band the Byrds became momentarily famous. This was a time pregnant with tumultuous changes. The Jestor (Dylan) is referred to as being sidelined (due to a motorcycle accident).

sergeants: The Beatles, who were changing the scene of American Music from rocknroll to classic rock, seen by many contemprories as a musically diluting effect and something that would ultimately lead to the corruption of the innocence vested in the music.

Oh, and there we were all in one place,
A generation lost in space
: Woodstock '69. Certainly a defining moment in Music history. Considered by many to be the most powerful statement of the counterculture thriving in the 60s. A generation lost in space refers to the excessive usage of drugs by the generation and more broadly refers to the hippie culture.


Oh, and as I watched him on the stage
: Refers to the Rolling Stone. This paragraph particularly refers to the Altamont Free Concert which was held in SFO in '69 and was being touted as Woodstock West before it ran into immense mismanagement leading to 4 deaths and several injuries.

No angel born in hell: Refers to Hell's Angels, a group which was given the responsibility of the security for the concert. Fights between the audience and the group led to violent incidents and this concert is widely regarded as the turning point when drug abuse and violence reared their heads in the Rock scene of American Music. This is the point to which the loss of innocence in Music is attributed.

girl: Refers to Janice Joplin, widely regarded as the greatest White blues singer who died a premature death due to accidental overdose of heroin.

So here it was. My take on a beautiful song. English afterall is not that drab a language :). Meanwhile, if you like Miss American Pie, listen to this gem by Don Mclean. Its a tribute to the Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh:

Vincent