#inktober2018 efforts for #guarded and #spell #inktobertipperary

#inktober2018 efforts for #guarded and #spell #inktobertipperary

The whole point of #Inktober is to draw and share … which I have failed to do a) by not keeping up and b) by being not very good at drawing. Still, if something is worth doing it is worth doing badly… here are a couple of efforts:


#Inktober2018 Day 1: “Poisonous”

It is Inktober once again. I am a little late getting started and may skip the step of sharing my inky efforts on social media… however as ever there are many many fine inkers out there whose work deserves highlighting.

Following the “official” prompt list is not mandatory… although I found last year that it added a certain structure and inspired rather than limited creativity. Here I intend sharing some picture by others from Twitter (not really an Instagram person) on each daily theme.






What is the worst chess move? – with Gregory Serper

I am unsure if I am worse at chess or at drawing but I enjoy both. Chess.com is a wonderful resource for online play and also for learning. I am afraid I have been lazy at developing my actual play by studying the various resources on the site over the last few years, but overall I have learned a lot.

I always enjoy the columns by GM Gregory Serper . Indeed, I previously posted this, based on one of his articles. He is witty, easy to follow, and vastly experienced as a player and teacher. And chess.com now have very easy to use in-article puzzle boards (don’t know if this is the right term) – so articles like this one are painlessly interactive.

Serper considers what is the worst chess move? Not only the worst opening move, or the worst move in a particular opening sequence, but the worst move tout court. It turns out more than a few of the greatest players of all time have played it – so there is no shame in joining their ranks.

Years ago I visited Russia and, while I didn’t learn Russian (much), I did learn Cyrillic script, which made Russian much less inaccessible and things in general much easier. It is worth the effort if you, like me a few years ago, know how to play chess but find chess notation off-putting, to make the (fairly small) investment of time and mental energy in getting some familiarity with it, as it makes things even easier. Anyway, here is the opening of Serper’s piece:

Chess openings have been analyzed for centuries and yet even today it is still not easy to identify the best and worst first moves. According to Fischer, 1.e4 is “best by test.”

From the other side, when the famous theoretician GM Ernst Gruenfeld was asked why he always started the game with his queen pawn, he answered that he would never make a mistake on the very first move! Statistics from the Chess.com Computer Chess Championship seem to agree with Gruenfeld; through the tournament’s first half, 1. d4 scored 61.2 percent for White, compared to 52.9 percent for 1.e4.

It is probably easier to call the worst first move. According to GM Edmar Mednis it is 1.f3 (called Barnes Opening). Nevertheless, even here we can argue that 1.h4 or 1.Nh3 are probably as bad.

The topic of today’s discussion is different. I am trying to find the worst possible move in chess in general, not just the first move of the game.









#Inktober is coming…

#Inktober is coming…

Last year I participated in #Inktober. This is a month-long drawing challenge devised by Jake Parker. Here is the description from the Inktober site:

Q: What is Inktober?
A: Inktober is a month long art challenge created by artist Jake Parker that is focused on improving skill and developing positive drawing habits. Every day for the month of October anyone participating in the Inktober challenge creates an ink drawing and posts it online. Remember to use the hashtags #inktober and #inktober2018 if you want your art to be seen by everyone.

Q. When is Inktober?
A: Inktober is every October. Post your first Inktober drawing on October 1st and your last on October 31st.

Q: Where is Inktober?
A: There is no official location or convention for Inktober. Wherever you live and create is where Inktober is.

My only art qualification is a ‘D’ in Junior Cert Art. I would have seen myself as a bad draughtsman all my life. I still do, but now enjoy doing my best. Drawing also gives one an insight into the world around. For instance a while back I did some pencil sketching at the Rock of Cashel and saw details I had always missed before. Tristan Gooley writes of how artists see things in a landscape few others do, and again without claiming any expertise I have found this to be true.

Inktober also led me to discover artists like Susan Alman and Mark Chilcott

Here is the official 2018 prompt list (you don’t have to follow it, but I do find it gives a structure and a challenge)


Did Captain Molesworth Lose His Bet? … what happened

Following on from last week:

“Captain Molesworth had a bright idea – he would play another round. He did this seventh round in 104 strokes and argued that he had now done six rounds in 646 strokes, if you didn’t count the first round. It was now 5.30p.m. He walked home, arrived at 6.40, and spent part of the evening playing billiards. The dispute was about whether he was entitled to play the extra round. Some spectators had gone home after the sixth round convinced that the bet had already been decided. The confusion was summarised in The Field: ‘Captain Molesworth’s backers say that the match was to play six rounds in one day, between the hours of daylight and dark: and, therefore, it did not matter how many rounds he played, if six rounds were played in under 660 strokes, and that he was entitled to leave out the first or any other round, so long as six whole rounds were done in under the number. The other side contended that, as six rounds were played, and the number of strokes taken was over 660, the match was lost. A case will be drawn, and the matter referred.’ A referee had been agreed when the match was originally made. He now read and assessed the case before him: ‘You will observe the first six rounds are 662 strokes, the best six 644, the last consecutive 646. Say whether Captain Molesworth has won or lost the match you made, and give your opinion.’ The referee gave his reply: ‘I think Captain Molesworth has won; if, as I understood the match, Captain Molesworth was to do six rounds in the day in 660 strokes, he was entitled to play a dozen rounds (if he could) till he did six within the number.’ So Captain Molesworth won his bet.

Can a board games make you cry? A thread from the BoardGameGeek forums

This thread actually has the slightly less emotionally impactful title “can board games be emotionally impactful?” Obviously the denizens of this forum are board game aficionados. Some of the posts describe anger and frustration at badly designed games. Some described the emotional associations of a specific game.

Personally I am a bit sceptical of claims that games – either digital or traditional – are “art.” This is not to doubt the tremendous thought and craft that goes into them, or the possibility of an emotionally engaging and moving experience. My scepticism is more my own issue with the rather pretensious baggage of being “an art form.”

Here are some interesting extracts from the thread:

I think the closest example I can think of to what you are aiming at here is going to be “Train,” by Brenda Romero. Players have a number of train cars onto which they are trying to place yellow pegs, representing people. It’s a space-optimization game that is basically about maximizing the efficiency of public transit. Opposite the player is a typewriter and a number of type-written cards which are flipped one at a time, giving specific instructions to the player. At a certain point, one of the cards reveals that the destination of the train is Auschwitz. If you closely inspect the typewriter, you will see a Nazi “SS” symbol above the typewriter. The game ends when you choose for it to end—when you cease taking orders that are coming from an actual Nazi typewriter. Lots of people, based upon their own backgrounds, are going to have a serious emotional reaction to a game like this. Train (which has never been mass-produced and almost certainly never will be) is part of a series of games called The Message is the Mechanic—in which the idea is that the actual game mechanics convey a complex emotional message.

Some posters reflect on the question itself, and move the focus from the game creator to the player(s):

Instead of asking “can boardgames create an emotional impact?”
Why not ask:
– Can players create emotional situations within boardgames?
– Can players co-create (with one another or in partnership with the boardgame) emotional situations within boardgames?

Another example given:

The Grizzled comes to mind. It’s about WW1 of course, but has none of the trappings one would expect from a game about a war. Instead, the game’s underlying structure provides a quiet commentary on the human toll and impact of industrialized warfare. The players never see, let alone shoot at, the “enemy.” Instead, players are tasked with managing a mounting wave of psychological tolls, all the while surviving against the grind of artillery shells, gas attacks, and advancement. Like the war itself, from the perspective of an individual combatant, it is a painful slog with little sense of powers beyond the horizon that are orchestrating the whole endeavour.