Opinion / Chess, Football, Cricket, Sport

Cheating at Chess

The normally placid backwaters of the chess world are foaming with controversy! Why is world champion Magnus Carlsen refusing to play young US chess player Hans Niemann, while dropping ill-disguised hints or insinuations that Nieman has been cheating? Boo! See eg here: England’s leading female player, Jovanka Houska, accused Carlsen […]

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Ukraine v Russia: Chess

Almost everyone in Russia’s chess elite has come out against the Russian attack on Ukraine. Really impressive. Two notable exceptions are former World Champion Anatoly Karpov (whose whole career was all about being the Moscow ‘establishment’ figure) and Sergey Karjakin, whose tone-deaf banal sycophancy towards the Putin regime has destroyed […]

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Chess and Sportsmanship

Remember this one from 2011 on India’s cricketing sportsmanship? The amazing thing here was that at this point of the match, Bell was crushing the Indian bowling and had turned the whole match strongly in England’s favour. So to allow him to continue when the Indians could easily have said […]

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Sir Roger Scruton

So so sad to hear that Sir Roger Scruton has died. As readers here know, I have been working for an MA in Philosophy on Sir Roger’s programme at the University of Buckingham. He had his cancer diagnosis soon after our 2018/19 formal seminar series concluded last summer. I’d heard […]

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The Philosophy of Games: VAR

Football (English-style) has a new companion – the video assisted referee (VAR). The proliferation and tumbling price of video technology have made it possible for plays and incidents in a football match to be scrutinised from many different angles at great speed, so that a referee not on the pitch […]

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Chess and Philosophy

I head towards the end of my Master’s degree programme with University of Buckingham. My paper will be on What is Chess?  The problem with philosophy is that one issue drifts inexorably into another and it’s next to impossible to write something self-contained that is not either hugely over-detailed (boring) […]

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Gender Categories and Philosophy

Here’s a question. What are some philosophical aspects of the increasingly bewildering ‘gender identity’ battlefield? Here is a transgender weight-lifter setting new records: The organization Save Women’s Sports also drew attention to Gregory on Facebook. “Mary was born a man and is very proud of this cool new trophy from […]

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Wittgenstein and Chess

Ludwig Wittgenstein! There’s a name for us newbie philosophy fans. Wittgenstein burst into the tranquil Cambridge life of the then mighty philosopher Bertrand Russell and was soon arguing with him intensely about the presence or absence of a rhinoceros in the room. Or was it a hippopotamus? Wittgenstein often used […]

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Tottenham Shed Spursitude

My new piece for The Spurs Web on how Tottenham have moved on to a completely new level in the past two seasons. Nothing like this since 1961. A LONG time ago. Look at the season goal difference stats: In the first sixteen years of the Premier League era Tottenham […]

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More Chess and Diplomacy

A canny reader spots a fine reference to chess in Sir David Omand’s evidence to the Iraq Inquiry (pp 56/57): The second point that strikes me is that greater care is needed in threatening the use of military force to back up diplomatic measures. It is quite an easy thing to […]

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