Saturday, May 29, 2010

The way of the draw

[We are fortunate to be able to present to you a guest post by the influential monk, thinker and chess guru, the great honoured Zen chess master Seung Shant.]


Observe the chessboard. Do not disturb the silence, for only in silence is there perfect harmony.

Observe its symmetry, its perfection. Observe therefore its harmony.

Can these be improved upon? Can an artist improve upon the harmony of Nature?

Do not spoil what is now unspoiled.

You are now students, but you aspire to be masters. Observe therefore these masters, how they approach the chessboard, how they approach one another. The master Reuben is White. He represents White, and White represents him. The master Miles is Black. He represents Black, and Black represents him. They are White and Black. They are yin and yang.

They are masters not for what they have learned, but for what they have unlearned. They do only what they need to do. They do not do anything that they do not need to do. They do not need to do anything that they do not need to do and therefore do only what they do and not what they do not need to do.

What they do is what you need to do.

Do not know any opening theory, for theory is unnecessary and what is unnecessary is what we do not need.

Do not play any moves, for moves are unnecessary and disturb the harmony.

Shake hands, for you are a warrior and a warrior loves only peace.

Sign your scoresheets. Write modestly, for it is not what you are, but what you have not done that is significant.

Do not have a post-mortem, for there is a limit to how much even a Zen master can get away with.

Chess is harmony and harmony is chess. Silence is golden. The cat sat on the mat.



Anonymous said...

Wasn't that game "played" in Luton, not Birmingham?

ejh said...

It may well have been. Thanks for the correction!

Anonymous said...

If it was played in Luton I can understand why they wanted to draw asap and get the hell out of the place!

ejh said...

....writes a Watford fan.

Anonymous said...

2nd Luton Congress - The Second Luton Chess Congress, held at the recreation Centre over February 7-8-9 [1975], attracted 328 competitors. Prize money totalled £1,000 plus trophies and special prizes. The event was sponsored by the Luton Recreation Services Dept. who granted free use of the centre and facilities plus a generous underwriting allowance. The prizes were presented by GM Lajos Portisch.
The organizers were dissatisfied with the way in which some players made sure of their prize money: ‘The first prizes in the Open and Major were decided in a most unsporting fashion. In the Open, Miles and Reuben agreed to a draw without playing a single move. This incident ... was almost infectiously copied in the Major where Smith and Lobo managed four trembling moves before the thought of record prize money for a sub-170 tournament got the better of them and a draw was agreed.’
Results, all tournaments were 6-round Swisses, were as follows: Luton Open Championship: 1. AJ.Miles 5½; 2-5. M.J. Basman, S.Reuben. D.E.Rumens. D.Wright 5. Grading prizes were awarded to (I71-180) D.J. Stone. M.K. Jones. N.P.Alexander. and (U-170) S.K.Fishburne. Major - 1-3. B.D. Smith. A.J. Bagley. R.C.Lobo 5½. Minor - 1. El Mekkawi (Egypt) 6; 2. M.Krawczynski 5½.

Anonymous said...

The 1970s were the real heyday of tournament chess with some huge turn outs. I only caught the tail end of this decade, tournament chess wise. I remember the Aronson (Harrow- organised by former Streatham player Bill Philips), LARA (Lambeth) and the daddy of them all The Evening Standard (I can't remember if this morphed into the Islington tourney or not). I remember playing in Islington where Miles and Nunn were battling it out. Miles turned up at the the last minute one tournament and was made to pay a late entry fee. This somewhat surprised/annoyed him, with his comment that he should be given free entry as it was good for publicity being countered with noone knew you were playing so how can we get publicity from that?
It would be good to get a return to these mega weekend opens, although I have benefitted through much more modest (in strength and numbers)turnouts in recent years by occasionally making the prize list.