Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Murders in the Rue Morgue

Edgar Allan Poe, Murders in the Rue Morgue:
I am not now writing a treatise, but simply prefacing a somewhat peculiar narrative by observations very much at random; I will, therefore, take occasion to assert that the higher powers of the reflective intellect are more decidedly and more usefully tasked by the unostentatious game of draughts than by all the elaborate frivolity of chess. In this latter, where the pieces have different and bizarre motions, with various and variable values, what is only complex, is mistaken (a not unusual error) for what is profound. The attention is here called powerfully into play. If it flag for an instant, an oversight is committed, resulting in injury or defeat. The possible moves being not only manifold, but involute, the chances of such oversights are multiplied; and in nine cases out of ten, it is the more concentrative rather than the more acute player who conquers.

You've got to wonder what Poe would have made of four-game Candidates' matches [more on them, btw, in a bonus post tomorrow]. Anyhoo, onward.

In draughts, on the contrary, where the moves are unique and have but little variation, the probabilities of inadvertence are diminished, and the mere attention being left comparatively unemployed, what advantages are obtained by superior acumen.

Chess is the second best game after draughts? Would that it were.

Whist has long been known for its influence upon what is termed the calculating power; and men of the highest order of intellect have been known to take an apparently unaccountable delight in it, while eschewing chess as frivolous. Beyond doubt there is nothing of a similar nature so greatly tasking the faculty of analysis. The best chess-player may be little more than the best player of chess; but proficiency in whist implies capacity for success in all these more important under-takings where mind struggles with mind.

Cards are where it's at?. Perhaps that explains poker-loving Alexander Grischuk making it to the Candidates final, then.


Jonathan B said...

You may have thought you saw something else published here earlier. It was not, repeat not the post you were looking for.

Look into my eyes, into my eyes, not around the eyes, but into my eyes. When you come back tomorrow you will ignore the technical hiccup - my mistake - and think you had not seen the post today.

Even if in fact you did. If you didn't - please ignore the above.

Anonymous said...

Damn. Did I miss something more interesting earlier?

Re: Grischuk. This anonymous poster loves his approach. Hang on grimly with Black with almost no time on the clock, find a drawing line with White, and head for the Blitz where his opponent also has almost no time on the clock and he is therefore on level ground.

Jonathan B said...

It pays to get here early before we've had time to clean up the mess, my anonymous friend.