Sunday, September 25, 2005

I truly am a knight errant

I started reading Don Quixote last week. It is fun so far, and feels quite fitting given that I am a knight errant. The translation by Grossman, linked above, is a smooth read and has useful historical footnotes so the 16th century references aren't all obscure. I never realized that Don Quixote was meant to be utterly nuts, driven mad by the chivalric tales popular in Spain at the time. I always thought he was just stupid. Now I see we are truly knights errant: not dumb, but crazy, driven mad by tales of chess improvement, especially the tales of one Michael de la Maza....

On a related topic, I have been chugging away at Tasc Chess Tutor (TCT). I have made some headway into the third Step, but am still repeating the final theme from Step 2. As you can see, there are various themes in Step 2: double attack, discovered attack, pins. This final, 12th theme in Step 2 is the well-known tactical motif of Tests. The right panel shows my performance on mini-circle two:

Sometimes these minicircles start to feel like a fight between Good and Evil, where TCT is Evil and I am a noble Knight. However, I usually end up feeling like Quixote after battling windmills:

[Don Quixote] spurred his horse, Rocinante, paying no attention to the shouts of his squire, Sancho, who warned him that, beyond any doubt, those things he was about to attack were windmills and not giants. But he was so convinced they were giants that he did not hear the shouts of Sancho, and could not see, though he was very close, what they really were; instead, he charged and called out: "Flee not, cowards and base creatures, for it is a single knight who attacks you."

Just then a gust of wind began to blow, and the great sails began to move, and seeing this, Don Quixote said: "Even if you move more arms than the giant Briareus, you will answer to me."

And saying this, and commending himself with all his heart to his lady Caissa, asking that she come to his aid at this criticial moment, and well protected by his shield, with his lance in its socket, he charged at full gallop and attacked the first mill he came to; and as he thrust his lance into the sail, the wind moved it with so much force that it broke the lance into pieces and picked up the horse and the knight, who then dropped to the ground and were very badly battered. (pp 58-9)

That's pretty much been my experience with chess so far.

Note: it seemed fitting to substitute 'Caissa' for 'Dulcinea', Don Quixote's actual damsel: my apologies to Cervantes. The above quote is from the version of Don Quixote cited above.


Blogger King of the Spill said...

hehe...good post :-)

9/26/2005 01:52:00 AM  
Blogger Pale Morning Dun - Errant Knight de la Maza said...

Brilliant post. I was the same way as you. I though Quixote was more stupid than actually insane. While I wouldn't say I'm insane, the man who has been talking to me through the fillings in my teeth would probably disagree.

9/27/2005 02:30:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Devil Knight,

As a true Knight, you must follow your heart.

However, like PMD, I do whatever the little voices in my head tell me to do. . .


9/27/2005 11:39:00 AM  
Blogger Temposchlucker said...

The windmills are the self-propelling thoughts in the mind which distracts you. Like "I don't want to loose because he has a much lower rating", "Why doesn't he give up, he is way behind" or "I hate people who trade off all pieces, don't they like chess?"
They grow if you pay attention to them, until they become giants. If you try to fight them you will be battered and loose your game.
The only way to get rid of them is to ignore them so they stop propelling due to lack of wind.

10/02/2005 12:25:00 PM  
Blogger Pale Morning Dun - Errant Knight de la Maza said...

You seem to know a bit about windmills. I wonder why that is? :)

10/02/2005 11:34:00 PM  
Blogger Temposchlucker said...

PMD, there are a lot milling in my head:)

10/03/2005 05:56:00 AM  
Blogger Sancho Pawnza said...

Great Post!

But I wouldn't say it was Michael de la Maza's tale that drives us.
But something more along the lines of adventure stories yet to be told. Our quest is for the treasure found only by those willing to suffer and sacrifice to uncover it.

MDLM's tale is only a small paragraph written in the book of Caissa. Satisfied with his little trinket he stopped his quest and returned to the safety of his cottage, ultimately his story will end up as a footnote.

It is those that continue with the quest that still produce the pages for the stories yet untold. Experiences to be shared and understood only with those like minded souls who refuse to give up, these are the spurs in our flanks that drive us!

10/04/2005 11:50:00 PM  
Blogger Ed Doyle said...

hi guys. I am loving these posts.
Can I sign up to be a Knight ?



11/16/2005 07:44:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Sure, Ed. For info on becoming a Knight, just check out this site:

Temposchlucker is the keeper of the list :)

11/17/2005 10:18:00 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home