Saturday, May 28, 2011


It was difficult to believe Bob Dylan turned seventy this week. It seems like just yesterday I was in High School and stopping by Richard's house on the way home to listen to the music of the man who has been called, The poet laureate of our generation by a plethora of writers. Examples abound:
are only the latest.
When Bob first appeared on my radar, our gereration was heavily into the Motown sound. Richard invited some of our school mates over to listen. Whitlock made faces as if wincing in pain, while Bones said, "He sounds like a wounded dog!" As an indication of their musical accumen, these two later said Jimi Hendrix sounded like "noise."
For some reason Bob's voice resonated with me. Maybe the words have a great deal to do with it, but I have always found his voice pleasing. There have been others who have not. For example, President Bill Clinton, while presenting Dylan with a Kennedy Center Honor in the East Room of the White House said, "He probably had more impact on people of my generation than any other creative artist. His voice and lyrics haven't always been easy on the ear, but throughout his career Bob Dylan has never aimed to please. He's disturbed the peace and discomforted the powerful." It REALLY galled me that Clinton would say the part about Bob's voice not being easy on the ear. At the time I first heard it I thought it showed that although you could take Bill outta the hills, you could not take the hillbilly outta Willie! I never cared much for Billy boy after that...I mean, what kinda insensitive jerk would say such a thing while awarding The poet laureate of our generation a medal? To me it showed the man had a character flaw as big as the Grand Canyon! Listen to Bob's voice on the Nashville Skyline album and you will hear how outta line was Will Billy!
I cannot remember how many times I've seen Bob Dylan in concert. The last time was a few years back in a minor league stadium in the city of Greenville, located in the Great state of South Carolina. I was once paid by the Mad Dog of Southern chess to drive him to Bristol, in the Great state of Tennessee to see a concert. The Dog had met all these other Bob fans online. Unfortunately, I had a bad cold and was under the weather all of the trip. It is still one of the best memories I have, seeing another side of the Mad Dog, and getting a chance to see The poet laureate of my generation for free! We rolled up to the concert to what turned out to be a high school with two turrets on each side that looked just like Rooks!
The best, or, I should say, my most favorite of all, were the two nights I saw Bob Dylan and The Band at the Omni in Atlanta. The second night I sat up front on the same row as the Carters. The Carters being Governor, and later President of the US, Jimmy, and his son Jack, who played tournament chess. Many do not know of Bob's love of the Royal game.
When I first noticed a new Bob DVD, Bob Dylan Revealed, I ordered it immediately because Bob is on the cover looking down at a chessboard! Upon watching, I found that between chapters there is a picture of a chessboard, with chess pieces coming at you, which is really nice. I dig the chess motif.
I also ordered, Dylan, Bob - The Never Ending Narrative 1990 - 2006, but have not had time to watch it, but will this holiday weekend. If I were forever young, I would have considered traveling to Newport, Kentucky for a Dylan Fest at the Southgate House. I read in the local paper, the Courier-Journal that it will "star a ton of bands from the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas getting deep into Dylan's catalog." But it would mean an outta town trip, a night in a hotel room, and staying up way past my bedtime. Sometimes it hurts being older than that now...I will hafta console myself with a glass of Merlot while reading a new book on Bob I just received this week, "Bob Dylan: Like a Complete Unknown" by David Yaffe. Like many other fans of Bob, I have spent many hours reading about him as a way of trying to understand The poet laureate of our generation. I have long since given up trying to recall exactly how many books I've read working on my BhD in Bobology! To mention a few one should read to begin working on a BhD: "Bob Dylan and Philosophy" by Peter Vernezze and Carl Porter; "The Cambridge Companion to Bob Dylan" (Cambridge Companions to American Studies) by Kevin J. H. Dettmar; "Song and Dance Man II: The Art of Bob Dylan" by Michael Gray. If anyone questions why Bob Dylan should be called a poet, I suggest he read these books: "Like a Complete Unknown: The Poetry of Bob Dylan's Songs, 1961-1969" by John Hinchey; and "Dylan's Visions of Sin" by Christopher B. Ricks. Concerning this book, this is: From Publishers Weekly
"Ricks, a professor of humanities at Boston University, allows his own musings about Bob Dylan to go "blowin' in the wind" in this love letter to the enigmatic bard. Focusing on the centrality of the seven deadly sins (pride, anger, lust, envy, sloth, greed, covetousness), the four virtues (justice, temperance, fortitude, prudence) and the three graces (faith, hope, love) in Dylan's writings, Ricks confirms Dylan's poetic genius and elevates the poet of the north country to canonical status alongside Tennyson, Shakespeare and Milton."
My cousin Linda was a High School English teacher and one of her passions was Elvis Presley. Everyone knows what Elvis was to Rock & Roll, but to understand what Elvis meant to Southern folk one must be from the South. Cousin Linda, ten years my elder, came of age in the 1950's, and she simply could not understand what I saw in Bob Dylan until I told her what The Boss, Bruce Springsteen described the moment he first heard Dylan's song, "Like A Rolling Stone", the greatest Rock & Roll song ever recorded according to not only me, but many others, such as ROLLING STONE and UNCUT magazines, during his speech inducting Dylan into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988, "The way that Elvis freed your body, Dylan freed your mind."
Many years ago while I was out of town, a friend of mine took all my albums with him when he moved back to Chicago with his new wife. We stayed in contact and, when told he was coming back for a visit with his wife's family, I told him he had better not return without a very special album. I want you to picture me and my girlfriend, Gail, the love of my life, leaving a party for one of her childhood friends to go to the Atlanta airport and meet George and his wife, Judy. As they disembarked from the plane, the first thing I said was, "You got my album?" Fortunately, grinning ear to ear, he produced the double album, BEFORE THE FLOOD! Then he said, "Good to see you, too, Bacon..."

Friday, May 27, 2011

Texas Gulf Shrimp CHEAP!

An early morning riser today with seven stops to make getting ready for the holiday weekend. The second stop was J. Gumbo's for a breakfast of Eggs Pontchartrain, a hearty meal based on shrimp etouffee over an English muffin topped with poached eggs. As if that weren't enough, home fries fill the plate. Just the kinda breakfast for an unseasonably cold May day! Only there were no shrimp; other meat had taken the place of shrimp. The chef informed me that the last time they had shrimp from the gulf it "smelled like oil." No wonder I saw a sign at a local grocery store, 'Texas Gulf Shrimp CHEAP!"
The thing about being an early morning riser (think Pure Prairie League-, is that I no longer stay up late enough to listen to my favorite radio program, Coast to Coast AM ( Last night Linda Moulton Howe was the guest. She has an award winning website, Check out the report, Gulf Fishermen Finding Sick Fish, Few Crabs and Shrimp, at: Be sure to also read what the government controlled propaganda infotainment channels do not want you to know, Where is Plutonium-MOX Nuclear Reactor Fuel
Ejected from Fukushima Unit 3? at:
Where is Rachel Carson when we need her? Today is her birthday. This is from one of the websites I surf every day, Garrison Keillor's THE WRITER'S ALMANAC. (
"Her 1962 book Silent Spring, first serialized in The New Yorker, brought her a lot of attention, both positive and negative. Its subject was environmental pollution and its effects on plants and animals, and she particularly spoke out against indiscriminate pesticide abuse. She got the expected support from environmental and conservation groups, but the chemical companies, supported by the Agriculture Department, threatened her with lawsuits before the book was even published. They tried smear tactics, calling her a "hysterical woman" who was unqualified to write about the subject. Eventually, though, the book led to the banning of DDT, the beginning of a grassroots environmental movement, and the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency. She still has her critics, though; the conservative magazine Human Events gave Silent Spring an honorable mention on their list of "Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries" and she has been blamed for millions of malaria deaths worldwide, even though she herself never advocated a wholesale ban on DDT. She died of breast and liver cancer in the spring of 1964."
I am afraid to report that we humans have so polluted our planet that we are doomed. DOOMED!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

2011 Tennessee Senior Open Chess Tournament

The results are in for the 2011 Senior in the great state of Tennessee. Unfortunately only 23 players entered, only 3 of whom were from out of state. Although the crosstable on the USCF website (,com_wrapper/Itemid,181/) makes no distinction when a game is played at less than the main time limit, it appears the 2-day truncated game option did not have the desired effect. A look back at the tournament years from now will show that the time limit was: Time Control: GAME/120. Maybe no one came for the 2-day schedule? Enquiring minds want to know...
The first year the tournament was held at this location, 2009, there were 35 players, 9 from out of state. I was one of those from another state and wrote about the tournament in a BaconLOG entry of Monday, June 1, 2009, the Tennessee Senior Open.
Last year 29 players came to Crossville for the tournament, 4 of whom were from a state other than the great state of Tennessee. Obviously, the tournament has been on a downward track, I'm sad to report. I chose not to attend this year and gave my reasons why in a BaconLOG entry on Friday, March 25 in an entry titled, Tennessee Senior.
Can anyone leave a comment on how many players came for the truncated 2-day schedule? Any ideas on why the turnout has dwindled every year? Please do not tell me that the price of petrol is the cause because the gas does not cost any more than it did in 2009. It is the fact that the value of the dollar has been eroded to a great extent because the F.I.P. have pumped TRILLIONS of dollars into the system, causing the few dollars you do have to become worth less, on the way to worthless...If you do not believe me, then please take the time to listen to this before firing off that salvo about how the Fools In Power "saved the system from colapse."

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Kasparov on Kasparov

Gary Kasparov has a new book coming out in September, Garry Kasparov on Garry Kasparov, Part 1: 1973-1985. Upon learning this I could not help but think of what GM Nigel Short wrote in the best chess magazine to ever grace our planet, New in Chess, 2011/1. "Times were clearly a-changing, but nevertheless it came as a shock to me when, in Sarajevo, a few years later, while admiring the excellent library at the home of the German Ambassador, Garry Kimovich mentioned to me, sotto voce, that he didn't really read chess books anymore. What would the patriarch of Soviet chess, Mikhail Botvinnik, have said about that, eh? Ironically, Garry is now author of the splendid unread series of our time-'My Great Predecessors'. Almost everyone has them, of course,-probably even the Anish Giri generation-as if the pocession of these magnificent works by an undisputed genius suffices by itself to raise one's Elo. But, as I have often found when mentioning some classic game and being met by a blank stare that not too many people have taken the trouble to examine the contents. Garry's analysis is far too intimidating and requires one not only take out a board and set but to painstakingly grapple with labyrinthine variations. No-it is far easier to plonk them on the shelf and admire the hard covers in their nice, red dust-jackets..."
The thing about Kasparov's books is that one does not know what is from Garry and what is from his Vulcan mind-meld with the computer. Nigel writes about this, "With his customary vision Garry Kasparov was one of the first of the old school to fully embrace the new technology."
When one reads a book like Bobby Fischer's My 60 Memorable Games, he knows the analysis is from the greatest chess player who ever lived. Because players actually read Bobby's book he was able to succeed where Kasparov has failed. GM Andy Soltis wrote in Chess Life that a book like Zurich International Chess Tournament, 1953 by David Bronstein could not be published today because it lacks exactly what Kasparov's books have in abundance, reams of analysis. What it does have is WORDS to illustrate IDEAS, which is EXACTLY what a student of the Royal game needs. It is, therefore, a better book than all of Kasparov's books combined.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Gary Kasparov: Nowhere Man

I enjoyed the commentary from former players Maurice Ashley and Jennifer Shahade during the recent US Championship. I did not, though, care for the format. I see nothing wrong with a six or eight player double round robin, which would take about the same amount of time.
The most interesting comment came from former chessplayer Gary Kasparov. What I heard was simply unbelievable, even for Kasparov. He stuck his foot in his mouth so far it wound-up coming out of his ass! During banter with Mr Ashley concerning the St Louis Chess Club and Scholastic Center he said, "It's now definitely the capitol of US chess. It's much better than being somewhere in the middle of nowhere Tennessee." You simply have to hear what comes next. Please go to to hear the response from the crowd. To his credit, Mr Ashley responded with a "Whoa, whoa...Boy, taking a knock at the folks in Tennessee." Kasparov then inserts his other foot in his mouth as far as it will go by saying, "No, no, no...I'm talking about the place where US Federation had to move from New York."
I did not hear it in real time, so the first time I heard it was on the Chessbase site. I could, therefore, listen to it again, and did, for I could not believe what I had heard. Kasparov is talking about the wonderful city of Crossville, in the great state of Tennessee. I have been there many times previously and can tell you that it is a wonderful place with some of the most genteel, friendly and amicable people one can encounter anywhere.
Although I am not from the great state of Tennessee, I am from a neighboring state of the South, the great state of Georgia. The good people of Tennessee are like my family. That's what it means to be a Southern american. I take umbrage at what this insensitive cretin has said about the good people of Crossville. If I feel this way, I cannot imagine how the people of Crossville muct feel. At the very least the cretin Kasparov owes the people of Crossville an apology.
Upon reflection I had to consider the source. Consider this from Mark Weeks excellent blog, Chess for All Ages ( in his entry of 03 May 2011, titled, Me, Myself, and I: On vacations I always take along two books to read: one chess book and one non-chess book. For my most recent vacation, I selected Kasparov's 'How Life Imitates Chess'. Whether or not you've read the book, here's a pop quiz for you. The book is about (select one):-

a) Kasparov
b) Life
c) Chess
d) All of the above
Before I read the book, and based on a few reviews around the time it was published, I would have guessed (b), it's about life. Going by the author & title, many people would choose (d), it's about all of the above. In fact, the correct answer is (a), it's about Kasparov, i.e. Kasparov's favorite word is 'I', with 'me', 'my', and 'mine' as runners-up.

One also has to consider the fact that the man has no integrity. He showed his lack of it when he cheated GM Judith Polgar. He released his hand from a piece then, upon realizing it was a losing move, quickly replaced his grip and made another move. The film clearly showed his fingers away from the piece. EVERY chessplayer knows when he has released his grip. Kasparov had a choice to make and he decided that cheating would be better than losing to Judith Polgar. Contrast that with the reaction of World Champion Bobby Fischer when he was absently mindedly fingering his rook pawn, thinking it was a pawn that had already been taken. He moved the rook pawn, causing him to lose the game! He may have lost the game, but he retained his integrity. His opponent said after the game that he would not have called Bobby on it if he had not moved the rook pawn because he realized what Bobby was doing with the pawn. For some unknown reason people continue to speculate about who was the stronger player, Bobby Fischer or Gary Kasparov. It is obvious who was the better person. As far as the stronger player is concerned, the only way to judge a player is by where they stood in relation to his peers. Contrast Kasparov's record againt Anatoly Karpov with Bobby's record leading up to the world championship match with World Champion Boris Spassky, and with the result of that match and anyone would have to conclude that Kasparov is lacking. If he was better than Karpov, it was not by much.
The only thing Kasparov will be remembered for is losing to a computer program and making an ass out of himself when he did. As far as I, and many others, am concerned, Kasparov took a dive when he lost to the computer program.
In the final analysis, no matter where Gary Kasparov goes he will always be nowhere, man.

Monday, May 9, 2011

"Abby, you ignorant slut!"

The title is a reference to one of the most (in)famous skits on Saturday Night Live. In a parody of Point-Counterpoint, Dan Aykroyd turned to Jane Curtain after she had made her point and said, "Jane, you ignorrant slut!" It is one of the most memorable lines from a time when the show was in it's prime.
The Abby from above is Abby Marshall, a young woman of meager chess abilities, who writes a column, The Openings Explained, for the Chess Cafe ( I do not mean to imply that Abby has been, as was stated so eloquently by one of the Road Warriors many years ago when talking about a young lady on the chess circuit, "Passed around like yesterday's newspaper." She is far too young for that to have happened, yet...Her column of May 4, 2011 is, "A good system for White against the French Defense."
Denis Monokroussos writes The Chess Mind blog ( His post of Thursday, May 5, 2011 is titled, "Refuting the 4.Bf4 Variation of the Exchange French" (, which says it all. He writes, "Still, I was in a contrarian mood this morning, and so after five-ten minutes of rigorous analysis at the breakfast table this morning, I refuted the aforementioned attacking plan:.."
We know someone reads Abby's column. How about you?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

2011 US Senior Insanity

I greatly appreciate the nice tone of the comment left on my last post. I have had others, in other forums and private messages, say something similiar in a belligerent way. I am glad you think it would be a success. I can only wish those that do organize would listen to you and me!
I am not, and do not wish to be, an organizer. I have been around chess for many decades and know what organizing entails. To be good at something, one first has to have the desire. I am lacking the desire to run a tournament. I would much prefer to play. I do have a great deal of admiration and respect for those that do organize chess tournaments; or, for that matter, any tournament, whether it be Backgammon, Go, Scrabble, Poker, etc.
Let me tell you a story...I was in the director's room, talking with the organizer, a real Southern gentleman, at a Southern chess tournament when a rather high-strung player entered the room with steam coming out of his nostrils. He had taken the time and gone to the trouble to check the numbers and had come to the conclusion that the organizer was "cheating" the players. The organizer had been running this particular tournament for two decades, and is, to quote from one of my favorite movies, CASABLANCA, as honest as the day is long. The organizer tried to placate the nervous player, obviously wound way too tightly, to no avail. The player EXPLOADED, throwing the papers he had in his hand into the organizers face. He sat there impassively, but with a clenched jaw. I am the one who jumped up, grabbed the player, and 'escourted' him outside. I did not think, I reacted. If I had thought for a moment I would have considered the fact that the player was much younger and much stronger than me, and that he was the only person I ever had to ask to leave the House of Pain. I hope you can better understand why I have absolutely no desire to organize a chess tournament.
Someone left this question on my post of Tuesday, March 1, 2011
2011 US Senior: Anonymous said...
What do you think of the added 3-Day Option (First 3 Rds G/60):10am, 12:30pm, 3pm, Thursday, Merge with Traditional 7pm Thursday?
I was unaware of it until reading the comment. My first thought was what prompted this? I cannot help but wonder if the advance entries have been so few that the organizer felt he had to do something to draw more players. I really do not know, and would ask that if anyone has a clue to please leave a comment.
Upon further reflection, I came to the conclusion that this is INSANE! Actually, a better word would probably be 'absurd' as 'insane' has to do with a person. For example, only an insane person could have come up with this absurd idea!
I have no inside knowledge of who had this ridiculous idea; did the organizer have a brain fart? Or was he forced to add this by the pooh-bahs of US chess?
It is difficult for me to believe that anyone who has ever played chess would ask this of any Senior. A Senior is expected to begin his day at ten am and possibly not end it until one am, FIFTEEN HOURS LATER! This could possibly be life-threatening!
The idiot who has foisted this looney idea upon the Senior chess community is expecting a Senior to play FOUR games in one day! At our age we have trouble getting it up once a day. I'm not sure the pill has been invented for a Senior to get it up enough for three, much less four, games in one day. If a Senior player has a heart attack, or stroke, and decides to later sue the organizer, he would have a ready made defense by claiming to be non compos mentis!
From what I've learned from the many Senior players with whom I've communicated is that what they want is QUALITY, not quantity. It is really quite simple, yet the pooh-bahs of US chess, in their infinite wisdom, continue to do the same thing the same way, and expect a different result. I have heard that is one definition of insanity.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

North American Seniors Team Chess Championship

Sounds great, does it not? Unfortunately, there is no such tournament. There is, however, a European Seniors Team Chess Championship, which has started. From the website: (
The European Seniors Team Chess Championship is starting today in Thessaloniki - Olympus region, Greece. A total of 35 teams from 20 countries and 52 titled players participate, and among them many legends of chess.
Just today GM Nigel Davies writes on his excellent website (
in a blog post titled, Chess Against Alzheimer’s: As this research has been around for a few years it amazes me is that chess federations around the World are not singing this from the rooftops. The costs of care for those with Alzheimer’s is staggering, an estimated 1% of global GDP which comes in at US 604 billion. So the mind boggles at how much could be saved if more people were to take up chess.

Yet the focus of chess in this country is geared totally toward scholastic chess. Go figure.

Kiss My 'puter

Monday, May 2, 2011

Chess is a Drug

Watch the video to understand:
Then check out the cafe at: