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Friday, January 19, 2018

Najdorf – Ragozin Classic, a Positional Q Sacrifice

Ragozin in 1960
    The following game has become a classic example of a positional sacrifice. At move 17 Ragozin sacrificed his Q for a R, N and P to arrive at a position which many people thought was lost for black because even very strong players there can be prejudiced in favor of the Q. However, in the resulting position black had a very strong position while Najdorf's Q remained in a passive position on a3 for 25 moves. Even the great attacking player Najdorf couldn't find any weaknesses in black's position that he could attack and all he could do was wait and see if he would ever get the opportunity to use his Q; he didn't.
The Great Najdorf

    This tournament was an important victory for Bronstein as it won him the Soviet Grandmaster title and put him on his was to challenging Botvinnik for the world championship. See my post on Bronstein HERE. He finished undefeated ahead of Szabo, Boleslavsky, Kotov, Lilienthal and Bondarevsky. Going in, Najdorf was a favorite, but he had a poor tournament and finished tied for 6th to 8th (out of 20 players) with Stahlberg and Flohr.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Brutal Murder of Internationl Master Gilles Andruet

     Gilles Andruet (March 30, 1958 - August 22, 1995), son of rally driver Jean-Claude Andruet, was a French IM, member of the French team at the 1982, 1984 and 1988 Chess Olympiad and in 1988 won the French Championship. His peak Elo rating was 2450. 
     During the 1989 Championship, Andruet was involved in a violent altercation with Jean-Luc Seret and subsequently withdrew from the tournament despite the fact that he was in the lead after 10 of 14 rounds.  He played less regularly after 1991. 
     Jean-Luc Seret (born September 1951 in Rouen, France) is a French IM and four-time French Champion. Seret was a member of the French team at the 1974, 1976, 1980, 1982 and 1984 Chess Olympiad. The championship was marked by an incident during the Seret-Andruet game in the 10th round. The following position was reached with Andruet to move: 

     White is threatening 26.Qe6 mate. There is no adequate defense so Andruet resigned. However, Seret wrote 26.Qe6 mate on his scoresheet and when they exchanged scoresheets for signing, Andruet drew a line through the move.  When the scoresheet was handed back to Seret he punched Andruet in the face and drew blood. The men were separated and a "supervisory commission" met and decided to punish Seret after the tournament. The decision left Andruet furious and he produced a medical certificate and withdrew from the tournament. The commission's decision seems lenient, but it probably had something to do with the fact that Seret's reputation at the board had always been above reproach while the same thing could not be said of Andruet. 
     Andruet was also a gambler. Starting in 1993, he regularly played backgammon and blackjack in casinos and although he initially won significant amounts of money, he eventually became a pathological gambler and overwhelmed with debt. 
     In the beginning, Andruet took time to learn about all the theories related to gambling, like a method of counting the 342 cards contained in a blackjack shoe. Before gambling he would get proper rest, eat right and relax. He traveled the world to visit gambling casinos, even going to China. He was initially successful, reportedly winning millions, and was said to stuff money “in his pockets like Kleenex.” Eventually he acquired gambling debts and fell victim to drug addiction. 
     In 1995 an elderly lady had left her house to him when she died which he sold and received a check for nearly 400,000 francs, but the bank would not cash it. Andruet sought out a friend to cash it for him for a fee. That friend was Joseph Liany. 
     The bank agreed to cash the check and the money was to be available on August 22nd. In the meantime, Andruet, who had no fixed place to live, arrived at a Liany's house at 5 o'clock in the morning on August 20, 1995 with a few clothes and a backgammon set given to him by his father. Then at about 11 pm the next day Andruet, driving his Ford Sierra, stopped in front of a restaurant in Paris to see a Polish waitress friend. The waitress recognized Joseph Liany as one of the three passengers in Andruet's car and because of her testimony she was subsequently the victim of repeated anonymous calls and death threats against her and her child. 
     The following day a gardener discovered Andruet's body wrapped in a bed sheet lying half way in a river with his skull and larynx crushed. The forearms were also broken indicating that Andruet had attempted to protect himself. It was determined that he had been drugged with morphine and flunitrazepam, a date rape drug. His car was found abandoned a few kilometers away. It was filled with blood stains and in the glove box was a photocopy of the check from the sale of the house. By August 25, 1995 the bank account had been emptied.
     Joseph Liany was found, questioned and released. Two other suspects were also implicated. One night in December 1995, while sitting in a restaurant bar, Loïc Simon, a waiter and a close friend of Sacha Rhoul, complained that he received only 30,000 of the 50,000 francs promised by Joseph Liany to kill Andruet. Simon never went to trial because in August of 1996 he committed suicide by hanging himself. The other was Sacha Rhoul, a nephew of Liany. 
     The case went cold until 2001 when the sheet in which the body of Andruet had been wrapped was sent to the laboratory for examination and a hair was found which was believed to belong to Joseph Liany. 
     In the meantine, Sacha Rhoul had left France in 1997 to live in Marrakech, Morocco where he managed the Palais Rhoul, a five-star hotel that belonged to his family. In addition to his French citizenship he also held Moroccan citizenship and so was safe from extradition because there was no extradition treaty between the two countries. In Morocco he lived under his Moroccan birth name of Chahine. 
     It wasn't until November 2003, with Sacha Rhoul safe in Morocco, that his cousin Franck and his uncle Joseph Liany were brought to trial. Each put the responsibility on the other. Despite eighteen witnesses claiming memory loss or submitting medical excuses for their absence, Franck was sentenced to seven years in prison for "receiving the proceeds of a murder" and Joseph to fifteen years for murder based on testimonies and DNA evidence from a hair found on the sheet in which Andruet's body had been wrapped. Only Joseph Liany appealed his conviction. 
     At the second trial in March 2006, Liany's defense was based on the fact that the DNA evidence could have belonged to his nephew, Sacha Rhoul.  Because their was doubt as to whom the hair belonged, he was acquitted. Sacha Rhoul was found guilty in absentia and sentenced to fifteen years in prison. 
     Jean-Claude Andruet, Gilles' father, repeatedly called for the arrest and extradition of Rhoul and had been threatening to kidnap him and return him to France for trial. Finally in March of 2010, Moroccan authorities arrested Rhoul and extradited him. He was jailed for four months and in June, 2010 was released on bond and placed under judicial supervision.
     At his trial, Rhoul's part in the death of Andruet could not be established with certainty because of his uncle's acquittal and the boasting of Loïc Simon that he had beaten Andruet to death. So, because there was no way of establishing what, if any, part Rhoul played in Andruet's murder, he was also acquitted. 

Internet Chessbase

     Internet Chessbase contains 10,593,777 games for free download and the site says the games are updated daily.  Find games by ECO codes, or use the opening explorer; currently there are 610,461 positions. The third search method is searching in the tags of the games. There is also 36 different chess fonts available for download.  
      I am not sure how current the games are because when searching for my games they were correspondence games dated from 1968 to 2012 and one over the board game from 1976. Searching for a friend's name yielded games going back to 1971 from some really obscure local tournaments, so I am also not sure of the source of the games.  The site could prove useful.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Hunting U-boats

     The other day I was reading about Reuben Fine's World War Two work for the US Navy which involved analyzing the probability of German U-boats surfacing at certain points in the Atlantic Ocean. Later he did research on Japanese Kamikaze attacks. Fine used something called positional probability, whatever that is. 
     There was a surprisingly large amount of German U-boat activity off the US coast during those days. For example, in 1942 the oil tanker Virginia was anchored off the mouth of the Mississippi River in the Gulf of Mexico waiting to unload its cargo in New Orleans when three torpedoes from a German submarine, the U-507, hit the ship sinking it and killing 27 of its crew. The losses off the US East Coast were overwhelming in 1942, but the U-boats visited the area throughout the war and the entire US coastline suffered losses. 

     Curious, I tried to find details on his work, but could not find anything detailing how the military used positional probability to predict where the U-boats would appear. However, I did discover that Ernest Hemmingway, using his yacht Pilar, was involved in the search for U-boats and got sidetracked. 
     In 1942 and 1943 Hemingway was supplied with an assortment of machine guns, bazookas, and grenades by the US government enabling him to patrol the Caribbean. The marauding German submarines had roamed the Caribbean and sunk thousands of tons of Allied shipping. The plan was that Hemingway would lure a German U-boat close to Pilar then disable or sink it. 
     Hemingway had relocated to Cuba by 1939 where he purchased a villa outside Havana that he had previously rented and watched the world situation deteriorate. As a journalist Hemingway had covered the Spanish Civil War and even at times had exceeded his journalist role by bearing arms. In China in 1941 Hemingway had passed along information to an Army Intelligence team in Manila. In May, the Office of Naval Intelligence debriefed Hemingway and Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau heard his report. 
     After the US entered World War II Hemingway oversaw an ad hoc intelligence operation in Havana in 1942 that was praised by the American Ambassador. Offshore in the Caribbean Sea, U-boats were taking advantage of ripe pickings around such cities of Galveston, New Orleans and Houston, all major oil ports. Also, Aruba was the site of the biggest oil refinery in the world, a prime source of diesel, aviation fuel, kerosene, gasoline, and fuel oil, all of them vital to the Allied war effort. 
     On February 16, 1942, U-boats descended on Aruba, sinking tankers and shelling the refinery. Merchant ships also were targets. Sub attacks in 1942 at the height of the German Caribbean campaign sank 263 ships, exceeding total losses on the North Atlantic convoy route. 
     That's when Hemingway decided to equip his yacht as a sub chaser. His yacht, camouflaged as a fishing boat, would be armed to the teeth. The plan was based on the fact that U-boats sometimes surfaced to confiscate fish and water from civilian vessels. Once a U-boat was crippled Hemingway could radio for naval assistance, finish the job himself or perhaps secure valuable German code books. 
     The first task was to reconnoiter and patrol the sea-lanes in the Caribbean near Cuba noting any surfaced U-boat and report it to the Navy. Listening to German radio traffic might also give him clues to German activities. He would also venture into isolated cays searching for German supplies. His yacht carried a specially made bomb with handles enabling two men to toss it into the U-boat’s conning tower, presumably after killing any German crew members who happened to be on deck. 
     In 1942, Hemingway took short reconnaissance cruises and in 1943, he established a base camp on Cayo Confites from which he made daily patrols. 
     The project was flop. They didn't spot any serious German activity and as for listening in on German radio traffic, that was a total bust... no one spoke fluent German. However, there was one time they actually spotted a U-boat 1,000 yards away and Hemingway shouted for the crew to go to their battle stations. 
     With Hemingway's young son Patrick armed with his .303 Lee-Enfield rifle and his 11-year old brother armed with his mother’s old gun, a Mannlicher Schoenauer rifle, the crew readied their bomb, but the Germans had no interest in a fishing boat and sped off. By the summer of 1943 the U-boat war in the Caribbean Sea was winding down and Hemingway was ordered home. 
     While reading about Hemingway's exploits I discovered his news report on a Florida hurricane titled Who Murdered the Vets? He was referring to the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane which Wikipedia described as “the strongest tropical cyclone of the 1935 Atlantic hurricane season, and the most intense hurricane to make landfall in the United States and the Atlantic Basin in recorded history.” 
     The hurricane lasted an incredible thirteen days, from August 29 to September 10. Hemingway wrote the article in the left-wing magazine New Masses. He asked numerous questions: Who sent nearly a thousand US war veterans to live in frame shacks on the Florida Keys in hurricane months? Why were they not evacuated before the hurricane struck? Who delayed sending the rescue train that washed away between mainland Florida and Key West? Who was responsible for their deaths? 
     After the hurricane Hemingway visited the Keys and found hundreds of bodies of civilians and veterans strewn everywhere, in the sea, in the mangroves, in the shelters, in trees, everywhere. In one camp, Hemingway found only eight survivors out of 187 veterans. 
     The storm was a category 5 that killed 408 people. People caught in the open were blasted with sand with such force that it tore away their clothing.   On one key it stripped away every building and every tree. Among those who perished were 259 World War One veterans living in three Civilian Conservation Corps camps while they worked constructing the Overseas Highway. A train sent to rescue them arrived too late and many died on board when the train was swept off the tracks in a storm surge. 
     The storm had been first detected east of the central Bahamas on August 29th. By the time it turned to the middle of the Florida keys it had reached category 5. Any hurricane with winds of 157 mph or greater is a Category 5. 
     Recommended book: Hemingway's Cuba: Finding the Places and People That Influenced the Writer  Look inside at Amazon

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

A Thriller From the 1973 Irish Championship

     Sometimes you run into a position in a book or magazine that arouses your curiosity and when you play over the game it just tickles your fancy. Heidenfeld's win over Cootes in the 1973 Irish Championship was such a game; the position after white’s 22nd move with white two pieces down and black's King naked as a blue jay is fascinating. 
     The tournament winner was Hugh MacGrillen who scored +7 -0 =2 to win his only Irish championship title. MacGrillen was born in 1945 and died at the age of 58 in January of 2004. He played in two Olympiads: Skopje 1972 and Nice 1974. 
     I have posted about Heidenfeld before HERE. His opponent, Arthur Cootes is probably known only in Ireland. Cootes was born in New York on February 1, 1907 and was a US citizen; he passed away on December 1, 2002 after a short illness resulting from the effects of a fall in his apartment in September. 
     As a child, Cootes lived in Northern Ireland, living with his father and grandparents. His grandfather was the owner of the Victor Coates Engineering Company. The company built steam engines for the local spinning and shipbuilding industries. 
     In his early days as a child in Ireland he was tutored by a local expert. While attending Cambridge University he became friendly with P.S. Milner-Barry, whom he often played. He graduated from Cambridge in 1929 with a BA degree and in 1933 earned and MA degree, after which he taught for many years. However, his main career was forestry and during the Second World War he traveled the country selecting timber for charcoal production. The charcoal was used in making steel. He also worked in numerous countries in South America, Jamaica, Yugoslavia, Australia and New Zealand where he lived for twelve years. His travels exposed him to tropical illnesses which took their toll on his digestive system and he had to watch his diet later in life. 
     He returned to Northern Ireland in 1965 and joined a couple of chess clubs and a golf club in Belfast.  It was at the Belfast Chess Club where he got his new name. His real name was Victor Coates, but a member of the club kept referring to him as Arthur Cootes and that was the name he adapted as a chess player! 
     Cootes continued his chess activity to the end of his life as both an administrator and tournament player. He was also an avid golfer and worked to improve the course at the Knock Golf Club where he played for many years. 

1973 Irish Championship 
1) MacGrillen 7.0 
2) P Henry 6.5 
3-4) W Heidenfeld and Cassidy 6.0 
5) D Cox 5.5 
6-8) Dennehy, Kennefick and McMahon 5.0 
9-12) Doyle, Quigley, and Coldrick 4.5 
13-14) Littleton and Pinkerton 4.0 
15-16) A Cootes and Blair 3.0 
17-18) Kennedy and Cafferky  1.5 

Now on to the game...

Monday, January 15, 2018

Zita Rajcsanyi, Bobby Fischer's Girlfriend

    Zita Rajcsanyi (born 1972) is the young Hungarian girl who brought Bobby Fischer back to the board in 1992.  She was able to do it because she had the nerve to write a letter to Fischer, her hero.
     Raiczanyi was a 17-year-old fan and Hungarian junior champion when she sent a letter to Fischer, care of the American Chess Federation. A year later, he wrote back and they entered into a correspondence that quickly led to Fischer's inviting her to stay with him in Los Angeles. It was generally assumed that she and Fischer were lovers because during their relationship Fischer referred to her as his fiance, but Raiczanyi denied that their relationship was sexual. 
     She described her first meeting with him at the Los Angeles airport by describing Fischer as “very kind,” adding that he was friendly with strangers and often got into conversations on the street. Raiczanyi said she stayed with a male friend of Fischer's in Los Angles who shared Fischer's beliefs about Jews, the same guy who forgot to pay the rent on Fischer's storage space. She later added that at the time the man was not aware that "officially" Fischer himself was Jewish. 
     Fischer had collected what he claimed was millions of dollars' worth of personal memorabilia which was stored in a ten-by-ten-foot Bekins storage room in Pasadena, California. 
     When Fischer left for Yugoslavia in the summer of 1992 to play the rematch with Boris Spassky he entrusted his friend Bob Ellsworth, who was not a chess player, with making sure the payments on the storage space were kept up to date. The two had met in the early 1970s when both were involved in the Worldwide Church of God. See my post on Fischer and the World Wide Church of God HERE
     In 1998 the storage facility changed ownership and Ellsworth learned of the change after a payment had been missed and Fischer’s stuff was put up for auction. Ellsworth attempted to buy it all back, spending over $8,000 of his own money, but was unable to buy everything. Fischer was devastated and said Ellsworth was worthy of death. In a radio interview in the Philippines, Fischer claimed Ellsworth was in cahoots with Bekins and it was all orchestrated by the Jewish world governments. Fischer never got over the "theft." 
     In a 2002 radio interview in Reykjavik he described the "robbery" as one of the biggest, if not the biggest robbery, in the history of the United States. He also encouraged Iceland to close the US military base and if the US refused to leave then they should be sent letters laced with anthrax. 
     In reality, according to Ellsworth, Fischer's material was not worth hundreds of millions. A lot of it was things that were of value only to Fischer: old magazines, books on conspiracy theories, pornographic Mexican comics, etc. 
     Harry Sneider, Fischer’s former physical trainer attended the auction with Ellsworth and arranged to have twelve boxes of Fischer’s stuff they had rescued sent to Budapest where Fischer was then living. Later, after Fischer's death, collector David DeLucia bought much of this material from Pal Benko, who somehow had managed to remain Fischer’s long-time friend. Fischer claimed his property was stolen in a secret plot involving the Rothschilds (Jews), Bill Clinton (whom he called a secret Jew) and Bekins executives whom he called CIA rats who work for the Jews. 
     At a 1996 press conference Fischer claimed he was being persecuted night and day by the Jews, for telling it like it is. They wanted to put him in jail, were robbing him of everything and continuously lying about him. He added that the “God-damn Jews in America have just gone and grabbed it all.” 
     When Raiczanyi was asked if Fischer ever explained his hatred of Jews she stated that he had told her that in his childhood his mother had lots of Jewish friends who hung around the apartment talking a lot and to a 12-year old, such activity seemed abnormal. Of course that never prevented Fischer from taking advantage of the kindness of Jewish people. For years Jewish “friends” allowed him to stay with them for weeks or months at a time and when he was in Hungary he stayed with Lazlo Polgar and even in Polgar's home, Fischer ranted against the Jews. Polgar put up with it because he allegedly made money selling Fischer autographs and his company benefited from Fischer's presence. 
     While she was in California, Raiczanyi met Fischer's mother, Regina, whom she described as a “very nice, a strong lady.“ When Fischer started ranting against Jews, his mother asked him why he thought he was so “pure.” 
     Raiczanyi said Fischer, using the pseudonym Robert James, had a one-room apartment in downtown Los Angeles and she described him as being very poor and she occasionally loaned him money. At that time she persuaded Fischer to return to play by suggesting that she would find a sponsor. 
     After returning to Hungary Raiczanyi met Janos Kabut, a newspaper publisher, who put her in touch with Serbian millionaire Jezdimir Vasiljevic. Between them, they worked out a deal with Fischer despite his outrageous demands. He wanted 15 bodyguards and insisted that the nose of the Knight should be a certain length. A couple of months later Rajcsanyi, along with Kubat and two of Vasilyevich's attorneys, returned to Los Angeles where it took four or five days to discuss details of the rematch with Spassky and get a contract signed. 
     In 1992 Raiczanyi attended the Fischer-Spassky rematch which took place in Belgrade and Montenegro. She rarely saw Fischer, but after the match he began calling her in Budapest and saying they should get married and have children. At that time she was seeing the man whom she eventually married, but Fischer told her to dump him. She refused and when Fischer persisted, she broke off contact with him in 1993. 
     Then on his birthday in 1998 she called him and arranged a meeting. And, as it was right after the sale of his possessions, a badly upset Fischer was ranting about the sale of his stuff in Pasadena. At that time he was also under the threat of a jail sentence and a $200,000 fine if he returned to the US as a result of an indictment for breaking the US embargo on Yugoslavia. Of course, to him it was all a Jewish conspiracy. It also intensified his already virulent hated of the United States and he told Raiczanyi that the American soldiers held captive in Yugoslavia should be executed. He also complained that a new edition of My 60 Memorable Games published by Batsford had deliberately given his moves incorrectly in yet another Jewish plot.  Editor Graham Burgess conceded that there had been one particular error, but that he had corrected many others that appeared in the first edition. Burgess was sympathetic to Fischer and suggested the conversion to algebraic was partly responsible. Burgess also advised that he was not Jewish. 
     Raiczanyi, studying to be a psychologist, thought Fischer's persecution complex was due to the fact that because he could not confess his own mistakes he projected them on others. She described Fischer by saying, "He's like a child. Very, very simple." 

     The Original Toiletgate
     At the pre-match press conference, when asked if he was worried about the threat of the US government, Fischer pulled out the Treasury letter and spit on it. He then announced that he hadn't paid taxes since 1976, was going to write a book that would prove that Russian players, whom he described as “some of the lowest dogs around,” had destroyed chess through “immoral, unethical, prearranged games.” Fischer added that he wasn't really an anti-Semite, because he was pro-Arab and Arabs are Semites too. He also explained that that Soviet communism was a mask for Bolshevism which was a mask for Judaism. 
     There was also a Toiletgate of sorts when Fischer informed tournament officials that he wanted the toilet in his bathroom to be elevated. This may seem a weird request, but probably not so much in Fischer's health conscious mind. 
     Like may people, Fischer probably got some of his best ideas while sitting on the throne. And, getting up from a regular toilet is not much different than getting up from a squat and squats are bad for your knees. Also, being a tall fellow (6 feet, one inch) it makes sense; if he didn't already have knee problems, a taller toilet would help prevent future problems.
     Generally referred to as “handicap” toilets, some call them “comfort” toilets. Advocates claim they have a preventive effect on our kneecaps and over a lifetime it might reduce the number of visits people make to orthopedic surgeons.  On the downside, they are uncomfortable to really short people. 

Friday, January 12, 2018

Colonel Charles Mead

   Colonel Charles Mead (1815-1876, 61 years old) was born in New York and was one of the strongest players in New York during his day. He also served as President of the American Chess Association.
     Mead graduated from Columbia University in 1835 and then undertook the study of law and was eventually admitted to the New York Bar and looked to have a brilliant career ahead of him. However, being restless by nature, after ten years' practice he took off for Europe where he remained for several years. 
     His interest for chess was developed early and he was known to haunt the local chess clubs and around 1840 he began working with the prominent New York player, James Thompson. During his European travels Mead sought out and played all the strong masters he could find and while living in Paris he became a student of Lionel Kieseritzky at the Cafe de la Regence.  As a result he became one of the strongest players in Paris. Later in Florence he wasn't quite so successful as he met his match in von Heydebrand und der Lasa. Upon his return to New York the local players all welcomed him, but at that time he was only playing chess for amusement and didn't seek out any serious competition. Mead did however introduce several novelties in the Evans Gambit which was popular at the time. He often challenged friends to try out his discoveries, but wasn't interested in trying them out in serious play; it appears that his confidence had been shaken when he had met his match against his redoubtable opponent in Florence.
     When officers were chosen for the fledgling New York Chess Club in 1856 he was elected club president, a post he held until 1865 when ill health forced him to withdraw from all chess activity. He was suffering from a malady of his nervous system that had the doctors baffled.
     When the first ever national chess organization congress was held in October of 1857 Paul Morphy nominated Mead to be president. However, when Morphy returned from Europe in May of 1859 and was greeted with great enthusiasm in the chapel of the University of New York, the festivities were marred when Mead, President of the American Chess Association and Chairman of the Reception Committee, greeted Morphy and in his welcome address made allusions to chess being a profession and referred to Morphy as its most brilliant example. Morphy's reaction with resentment to being called a professional was so great that it stunned Mead to such an extent that he withdrew from any further participation in welcoming Morphy.
     Described as a modest and quiet man with an “ample fortune,” he occasionally tried his hand at politics.  Mead was also a Freemason. He died on September 24, 1876. The title “Colonel” was genuine as Mead served in the New York Militia. About all I could find out about his military career was that served as Judge Advocate and retired from the Militia in 1865 for health reasons.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

How Big Was Louis Paulsen's Head?

     In the book The Fifth American Chess Congress published by Charles Gilberg in 1889 there was an interesting article, Phrenological Character of Mr. Louis Paulsen by L.N. Fowler, a Professor of Phrenology.     
     Phrenology was a pseudo-medicine that focused on measuring the skull. It was developed by German physician Franz Joseph Gall in 1796 and became very popular in the 1800s. Gall's assumption was that a person's character, thoughts and emotions are located in specific parts of the brain. Although it has a basis in reality, phrenology taught that you could know a person's mental capabilities based on skull measurements.
    The various areas of the brain were believed to be proportional to a person's propensities. It was believed that the cranial skull, like a glove on the hand, accommodates to the different sizes of these areas of the brain, so that a person's capacity for a given personality trait could be determined simply by measuring the area of the skull that overlies the corresponding area of the brain. See Phrenology Diagrams from Vaught’s Practical Character Reader (1902) HERE
     A popular movement, especially in Europe, the intellectual elite of the United States found phrenology attractive because it provided a biological explanation of mental processes based on observation. As usual, some questioned its validity and by the 1840s there were many successful attempts to refute it and by the 1840s the practice had lost its credibility.
    In the southern United States phrenology also faced an obstacle in the antislavery movement. While phrenologists usually claimed the superiority of the European race, they were often sympathetic to liberal causes including the antislavery movement; this sowed skepticism about phrenology among those who were pro-slavery.
     The rise and surge in popularity in mesmerism (hypnosis) also had a hand in the loss of interest in phrenology among intellectuals and the general public.
     According to Fowler, Paulsen was remarkable for the size of his brain and its separate “facilities.” The ordinary size of a male head was 22 inches, but Paulsens' was 24.5 inches. 
     By the way, people are bigger today than they were during Paulsen's day.  Today the average head circumference for a white male is 24 inches. The average for a Latino male is 21.5 inches. The average for an Asian male is 23.6 inches. The average for an African-American male is 23 inches.  Historian Bell I. Wiley, who pioneered the study of the Civil War-era common soldier, put the average soldier at about 5 feet 8 inches tall and about 143 pounds. Today the average American height for men is 5 feet 9.7 inches and 195.7 pounds according to data from 2011 to 2014. The former average, 180.7 pounds, was based on data from 1988-1994.
     Paulsen's head was 2.5 inches larger than average, so by today's standards that would put it at a whopping 26.5 inches.  When I checked hat size charts they only went to 25 inches.  So, for his day Paulsen must have had a really big head!
     One leading feature was its “ comprehensiveness, largeness and expansiveness of thought and feeling.” As a result Paulsen was said to be able to see further, carry more in his mind and more easily understand the “adaptations ans relations” than most men.        
     Paulsen wasn't “smart in small things,” but was at his best when he really had to think. He was prudent, very cautious and exercised restraint. He possessed tenacity and perseverance. His self-esteem and steadiness gave him a steady hand. Circumspect and consistent, Paulsen had a sense of moral obligations and was a good executive and manager and if he was interested in a subject he could give it his full attention.
     Analysis showed him to be remarkably warm hearted and social. He wasn't cunning, selfish, ambitious or vain and had an unusual degree of sympathy, tender heartedness and goodwill. He was respectful and interested in things of a spiritual and supernatural nature. Fowler also stated that Paulsen was ingenious, constructive and versatile with a lot of imagination and a sense of beauty. At the same time those characteristics were more of an intellectual nature than a “poetic” nature. While he was quick witted and enjoyed a good joke, Pauslen was not frivolous.
    Paulsen's particularly large frontal lobe meant he was unusually intelligent and possessed the ability to make minute observations with a good perception of forms, faces, shapes and outlines. With remarkable powers to plan, systematize and ability to to reach the desired results, he was able to expend as little mental energy as possible on problems. He could remember locations and the relative beatings of things after having seen them only once. But, his memory of events and dates was good, but not great. His reasoning ability was unusually strong. He wasn't given to talking much unless excited and was generally taciturn. 
     Fowler concluded that Paulsen's talent as a chessplayer arose first from the fact that he had a large brain of good quality. Secondly, from the fact that he was cool, prudent and had foresight. Thirdly, he was perceptive, systematic, had a good memory and was philosophical. Fowler's final conclusion was that Paulsen's phrenological development was perfect to make him a good player.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Continuing My Losing Ways

    Yesterday was another bad day online. The following game is a good example...I lost an instructive Pawn down Bishop ending.