Thursday, July 10, 2008

Sabermetrics, Chess, and Music, is All Good

Reading The Hardball Times ( got me to thinking about statistics in relation to chess. When it comes to stats, chess is not only not in the 21st century, it has yet to make it outta the 19th! What I mean is the wall chart gives you a little info, but should give you so much more. Would it not be nice to know which color a player had, say, in the LAST ROUND?!
Just as a batter in baseball is really two different batters, in that most hit differently versus right and left handed pitchers, a chess player is really two different players; one while playing the white pieces and oftentimes a completely different player while in charge of the black boys. I asked The Dude, aka Tim Bond, why it was that he played 1 Nf3 with white, yet played the Schliemann Defense with black. He said that, with white, one already had the initiative and had to protect it, but with black one had to fight for it! It would be a simple thing to show a players rating as both white and black, followed by a composite. Why is it that we do not see it?
The amount of statistics in baseball is mind boggling; so is the lack of stats in chess. One of the best articles I've read in CHESS LIFE was a preview of the upcoming US Championship where the author gave the lifetime scores of the players versus the their future opponents. I've often wondered why we have not seen more of that kind of article?
I'm listening to one of my favorite radio programs on the internet while writing this, which is: The Acoustic Cafe ( I was turned on to it by one of the best, if not the best, radio stations on the planet, WNCW, broadcasting outta Isothermal Community College in Spindale, NC. It's a mountain thing...(
Then there's one of the very best jazz programs on the radio in the UNIVERSE, Jazz Classics, by Atlanta's own, H. Johnson, on the public station WABE 90.1, saturday nights from 9pm until 2am.
For many years I've enjoyed Music From The Hearts Of Space, which emanates from the Bay area, or as a chess player thinks of it, from the home of the Mechanics Institute at 57 Post St in downtown SF! I still have many cassettes of programs I've recorded. It's now on the internet, but still played, mostly on Sunday evenings, on public radio stations around the country. You can find it at: (
And then there is ECHOES, a truly great program, because, unlike MFTHOS, which is only an hour per week, ECHOES is two hours five nights a week! And the programs are replayed over the weekend, too! Go to (, and you will not be disappointed!
Why, you may be asking yourself, would Bacon be writing about music? I'm glad you asked! I've been reading Big Head Todd Andrews wonderful article on CLO and thinking about how much I envy him his youth because he went to Bonnaroo and is now going to the All Good Festival in WV...Which got me to thinking about the Dylan phrase from the song HIGHLANDS, off of his Grammy Award winning disc, TIME OUT OF MIND that goes like this: I see people in the park forgetting their troubles and woes/They're drinking and dancing, wearing bright colored clothes/All the young men with their young women looking so good/Well, I'd trade places with any of them In a minute, if I could/...And because he mentions his former chess teacher, Jerry Wheeler, aka The Nashville Strangler, who had a girlfriend that was so pretty the legendary Georgia Ironman gave her the nickname, "Lucious Lisa." Her last name was "Allgood."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"When it comes to stats, chess is not only not in the 21st century, it has yet to make it outta the 19th!"