Category: Sports

Free Solo

The impossible is possible. We understand the concept in theory; films like “Free Solo” remind us of the thrilling truth. The movie documents climber Alex Honnold’s attempt to scale Yosemite’s iconic El Capitan cliff face — more than 3,000 feet of virtually perpendicular rock — without ropes, clamps, or nets, using only his claw-like hands,...

On Chess, Mind Control, and Smashing Paradigms

As in any ideological system, young chess players are inculcated with seemingly inviolable commandments:  Thou Shalt Arrange Your Pieces to Control the Center, Thou Shall Not Move the Same Piece Twice Until All Other Pieces Are Developed. In what you might call the romantic era of chess, before the development of artificial intelligence, these commandments...

Rescuing a Hippo, Killing a Horse

At the World Championship Match, in Helsinki, Finland, they reached a complicated position where The Champion intended on sacrificing a knight. The giveaway was not an obvious tactic; with all the minor pieces still on the board, the position offered a large number of possible variations, all of them leading to interesting circumstances, but nothing...

Further Refinements to the NFL Anthem Policy

The National Football League recently announced a change in their rules regarding the playing of “The Star Spangled Banner,” that great paean to durable fabric. They understand the symbolic importance of standing and pretending to know the words to a song about a symbol. It’s symbolism: Singing a song that pays homage to a symbol...

Colin McGourty, Chess Reporter

As the roving reporter for the Website Chess24.com, journalist Colin McGourty follows the best chess players around the globe, filing daily missives from tournaments and competitions, interviewing the best minds in the game, and generally keeping the chess public updated on the latest goings-on. In his colorful articles, McGourty elegantly pulls off the difficult trick...

Taking a Knee

A wealthy white friend of mine includes me on occasional BCC emails containing golf jokes, sex jokes, and, every now and then, political jokes. The latest one I got  — and I thought it was pretty funny — proposed a massive boycott of the NFL on our most sacred holiday weekend (Veteran’s Day). The humorous...

The Polgar Variant

Is genius hereditary? Or can every child be groomed to be a genius? One brilliant (and controversial) father believes environment and training fosters genius. He attempts to prove his theory by raising all three of his young daughters to be world champions of chess. The engrossing Israeli documentary The Polgar Variant, about a family of Hungarian Jews living...

The Struggles of Garry Kasparov

In 1986, when Jack Nicklaus won the Masters golf tournament at age 46, it was hard for us to understand what all the fuss was about. Sure, he made history, becoming the oldest player to win one of the four “majors.” But he was a lifelong athlete doing what he did best. Golf is a...

Poem: The Guy in the Seat Next to You [Dodger Stadium Suite]

The challenge for a poet at the ball game is a triplicate predicament. He must not swoon over the greenness of the grass. He must not view every little lovely detail as a metaphor waiting to be transcribed for posterity. He must not recite rambling stories with no discernible point except to subtly imply it...

NOlympics

The quadrennial Olympic Games are often visually spectacular, emotionally stirring and wonderfully sexy. A civic virtue they are not. In September, Los Angeles will be “awarded” the right to host the Games in either 2024 or 2028. Great, right? A wonderful boon for our city, right? Ask the people of Rio de Janiero what they...