Rick Spleen on Chess

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John Saunders
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Rick Spleen on Chess

Post by John Saunders » Thu Dec 11, 2008 10:15 pm

"Can you imagine anything sadder than a bunch of online chessplayers getting together in a hotel in Hastings?"

Rick Spleen, the Jack Dee character in "Lead Balloon" (tonight's episode)

A couple of other chess comments. Michael, the restaurant waiter character, turns out to be a chessplayer. But decides chessplayers "have no social skills". Well, really...
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Re: Rick Spleen on Chess

Post by JustinHorton » Fri Dec 12, 2008 8:17 am

John Saunders wrote:"Can you imagine anything sadder than a bunch of online chessplayers getting together in a hotel in Hastings?"
Did he continue, "at Xmas"?
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

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Re: Rick Spleen on Chess

Post by John Saunders » Fri Dec 12, 2008 9:24 am

No, that was it. I thought it was vaguely interesting that the writer(s) had done sufficient research to associate chess with Hastings. One five-minute google probably did it. In some ways one could argue that, since Rick Spleen is a rag-bag of all the wrong attitudes, having him put down chess is not to denigrate the game, but in the final analysis I got the impression that chess was introduced into the script for the usual lazy reason, i.e. as an example of something regarded as the opposite of 'cool' by the self-appointed arbiters of 'lifestyle'.
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Re: Rick Spleen on Chess

Post by Alasdair MacLeod » Fri Dec 12, 2008 10:35 am

At the end of "Have I Got News For You" a few weeks ago one of the photo captions thing was taking the mick out of chess.

I can't remember the exact quote but I think it mentioned "British Chess Association" (or something like that?) and use of the word "nutter". The photo was a eccentric looking old bloke at a chess board.

No, I did not recognise the chess position :) but I think the bloke was "The Devil", a German who follows all the cycling tours wearing a devil's outfit and jumping up and down with excitement every time the cyclists went past him. So that pic might have been from Bonn during the Kramnik-Anand match.

Come to think of it, I think the guest presenter of HIGNFY that week was Jack Dee!

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Re: Rick Spleen on Chess

Post by Jonathan Rogers » Fri Dec 12, 2008 10:53 am

HIGNFY also covered the Gormally/Aronian incident a couple of years ago, following up with the half-way decent joke that Danny's team mates tried to stop the altercation, but one of them could only move diagonally, another had to hop over the tables, etc.

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Re: Rick Spleen on Chess

Post by Matthew Turner » Fri Dec 12, 2008 11:23 am

Chess got another mention this morning, about 4.50am, because the Indian Cricket Team had been to Vishy Anand's birthday celebrations. That might explain their woeful batting?

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Re: Rick Spleen on Chess

Post by John Saunders » Fri Dec 12, 2008 12:28 pm

And now comes the news that Peer Steinbrück, the German finance minister who's had a pop at our PM's economic strategy is a chess player...

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/p ... itted=true

"Zugzwang: a move in chess that can only lead to the weakening of one's own position. "

... good opening line to the article...

"A stalwart of the German parliamentary chess team - he recently survived 37 moves with the former world champion Vladimir Kramnik - he never goes anywhere without his pocket chess computer. Now, however, he seems to have lost his nerve, terrified of making a losing move before next year's general election."

I decided to dig out the game and here it is...

Steinbrueck,P - Kramnik,V (2754) [C90]
Bonn exh Bonn (1), 05.03.2005

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 0-0 Be7 6 Re1 b5 7 Bb3 d6 8 h3 Na5 9 c3 Nxb3 10 Qxb3 Bb7 11 d3 0-0 12 Be3 c5 13 Nbd2 Qc7 14 Rac1 Rfe8 15 Qc2 d5 16 Bg5 Rad8 17 Rcd1 h6 18 Bh4 dxe4 19 dxe4 c4 20 Bg3 Bc5 21 Bh4 g5 22 Bg3 Nh5 23 Nf1 Nf4 24 Bxf4 exf4 25 N1h2 Qb6 26 Ng4 Rxd1 27 Rxd1 Bxe4 28 Qd2 Bxf3 29 gxf3 Qe6 30 Qd7 Kg7 31 Kg2 Qxd7 32 Rxd7 Re2 33 Rc7 Be7 34 Rc6 h5 35 Nh6 Re5 36 Rxa6 f6 37 Ra7 Kxh6 0-1

Interesting use of the word "survive"... as usual, the general media think there is some merit in the number of moves a player lasts out before losing (whereas real chessplayers would far rather play a game of 80 easy-to-find winning moves than 15 hard-to-find ones).

"When he analysed his meeting with Kramnik, Mr Steinbrück saw that he had made his decisive mistake on move 25. His blunder in the current crisis probably came when he failed to see how fast Germany was sliding into recession. He was slow on the uptake; now he is trying to make a virtue out of his mistake. As a result, Germany is likely to lose much of its influence. Zugzwang."

Not sure I think much of Mr Steinbrück's assessment - failing to secure an escape square for his 'Spanish bishop' on move 8 could be a question-mark against his long-term strategy. A bit indecisive with his dark-squared bishop, too. I think his chess position was 'sliding into recession' long before move 25.
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Re: Rick Spleen on Chess

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Fri Dec 12, 2008 3:12 pm

As celebrity chess goes, that's not a bad game.

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Re: Rick Spleen on Chess

Post by James Coleman » Fri Dec 12, 2008 11:05 pm

Interesting. When I worked at Chess and Bridge Jack Dee came in and bought some chess software . Paul Merton also came in and looked around. He was dressed so scruffily I didn't realize who it was at first !

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Re: Rick Spleen on Chess

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Sat Dec 13, 2008 2:32 am

Jonathan Rogers wrote:HIGNFY also covered the Gormally/Aronian incident a couple of years ago, following up with the half-way decent joke that Danny's team mates tried to stop the altercation, but one of them could only move diagonally, another had to hop over the tables, etc.
Dee was the presenter that time, too.

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Re: Rick Spleen on Chess

Post by John Saunders » Sat Dec 13, 2008 11:22 am

James's revelation about Jack Dee buying chess software set me off on some deep research (well, OK, I typed "jack dee chess" into Google). It came up with...

http://www.jackdee.com/wp/?p=29

There's a chess reference two-thirds of the way down:

[Re his acting career}: "He says that “I turn a lot of things down on the grounds that if it’s something I wouldn’t watch, then I don’t want to be in it. For two or three years, I was offered endless series about maverick cops. They always had a passion for be-bop or played chess on the internet with their estranged son or travelled round Britain on a barge solving crimes."

So that's two refs to online chess (and remember that he is a co-writer of "Lead Balloon"), then the HIGNFY joke about chess ... and yet he buys chess software. Interesting, isn't it? I wonder - is Jack Dee in denial about his own 'chess habit'? Perhaps, by putting his comment about chess into Rick Spleen's mouth, he is actually having a little in-joke at his own expense. Or trying to get his revenge for some bad online chessplaying experiences? Should we 'out' him as a chess player?
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Re: Rick Spleen on Chess

Post by John Saunders » Sat Dec 13, 2008 11:28 am

Re Matthew's point about Vishy and the Indian cricket team, here's a link...

http://www.zeenews.com/sports/others/20 ... 4news.html

"... the Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni will present the world champion chess ace a diamond ring, worth Rs 5 lakh, in the presence of the entire cricket team, which is in the city to play the first Test against England."

"In the evening, we will be going to the function where cricket team will felicitate Anand,"


Felicitate him, eh? Hope it was consensual.
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Re: Rick Spleen on Chess

Post by John Saunders » Sat Dec 13, 2008 11:40 am

And here's a picture of Indian cricket captain MS Dhoni slipping a ring on Vishy Anand's finger...

http://www.hindu.com/2008/12/12/stories ... 111900.htm

I'm trying not to imagine Kevin Pietersen doing the same to Mickey Adams or Nigel Short.

Vishy (talking after day 1 of the match) on the test match: "“Good luck for the next four days, though I hope it gets over in three,” he said.

Vishy might yet get his wish (though perhaps not quite in the way he had hoped).
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Re: Rick Spleen on Chess

Post by John Saunders » Sat Dec 13, 2008 12:21 pm

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Re: Rick Spleen on Chess

Post by Richard Bates » Sat Dec 13, 2008 3:55 pm

John Saunders wrote:Re Matthew's point about Vishy and the Indian cricket team, here's a link...

http://www.zeenews.com/sports/others/20 ... 4news.html

"... the Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni will present the world champion chess ace a diamond ring, worth Rs 5 lakh, in the presence of the entire cricket team, which is in the city to play the first Test against England."

"In the evening, we will be going to the function where cricket team will felicitate Anand,"


Felicitate him, eh? Hope it was consensual.
And there was i thinking the word was just the result of Michael Atherton being pretentious...

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/ ... 333289.ece

Don't think Athers' analogy is up to much - India were never in quite as bad a situation as he describes. More like a pawn down with a bad position.

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