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Status Updates posted by Grazza

  1. So copies of the English edition of my latest book have just arrived, and I realized something about the cover seemed eerily familiar:




  2. ¡Caramba! ¡Número uno en Amazon.com.mx!


    Yes, my new Spanish-language book is currently the top-selling chess book on Amazon Mexico. Just don't ask how many sales that requires. :P

    1. Endless


      Probably because of the badass name! If I'd saw a book like that, I'd be pretty damn interested as a novice chess player myself :D

    2. Grazza


      It's actually just a series title from the English edition. But yes, not a bad title. I've been told it sounds a bit funny when translated into French, but who knows? I suspect the colour scheme is helping too - it is very eye-catching even as a mini-image.

  3. I finally capitulated.


    Yeah, got on social media.




    A guy with 300k+ followers offered to link to my Twitter account and I felt too embarrassed to say that I didn't have one.

  4. Cape Washington 22nd December 2008




    Click the image for videos.

    1. TwinBeast
    2. dew


      Awww... you always go to the coolest places! (Not always literally.)

    3. Redneckerz


      @Grazza I've tried to send a PM, but sadly you cannot recieve any messages. Is there a way i can address you directly?



      It concerns a port called JrBoom.

  5. Some fractal stuff


    I have been spending a fair bit of time generating fractals with the Fractview app. I can highly recommend this app to anyone with an interest in the subject. I find it easier to use and to get good results from than any PC program I have found.


    Anyway, here is a link to the "favourites" file I have made (it's a 10 MB text file - just download it). It features 500(!) entries. Once you have installed the app, you can install this file by going to "Favorites" in the top right and choosing "Import Collection". There's all sorts of stuff in there, almost all with non-standard formulae that I've devised myself. This isn't just different zooms of the basic Mandelbrot/Julia set, etc. It's whatever I found that was mathematically or visually interesting, or both. There also a series called "scale", starting with the Planck length and ranging up to the observable universe, via semi-truck, Asteroid Belt, Oort Cloud, etc.


    If you just want to look at pretty pictures, here is a gallery with 315 images. It starts with the more recent ones, which tend to be more sophisticated/experimental and have more tweaking of the less standard settings. Note that while these are not the full-quality original images, some of the file-sizes are still pretty big.


    Oh, you want some examples? I was happy to make some pistachios...



    ...and to get some weird intrusions into the boring old Mandelbrot set (which is universal - an interesting but technical read):



    And is this some kind of cityscape?



  6. It seems the curse hits again.

    the moral is that one shouldn't travel somewhere just before or just after me.

    Yes, I was on that stretch of I-70 in Denver early on Thursday. And I'd been mocking all the trucker-friendly signs on the way down from the mountains. Hmm, one guy's brakes presumably weren't "adjusted and cool".




    I tend to avoid that whole stretch of road at busy times, though I thought I was maybe being a tad overcautious this time getting up at 1 am so as to be on it around 3.30 am.

    1. Hellbent


      Dang, gnarly! As DW's infamous driver I generally do not take into account busy times when driving as far as safety considerations (only traffic), though that is beginning to change in regard to driving in snowstorms. I do have a lot of confidence in myself regards to reacting to harry situations, though, and my track record in that regard is pretty good. 


      Last summer a bike pileup happened right in front of me in the line of bikes I was riding in. I was squeezing the brakes while swerving out of the way of the collapsing/piling up bikes in front of me. Was *super* close to being entangled in the bedlam, but somehow remained upright as I went offroad. I had a few super close calls to hitting the deck on my back last summer but somehow remained upright in all instances, including one where I went into a super steep, super tight S turn too hot and ended up going off the road (with a few other experienced cyclists as well).


      I once slept under the stars in Grizzly country a couple states over from where two campers were mauled to death in their tents a week earlier. Not quite the same as your thing, though. My sister once was on a flight that was about 12 hours different from an airline that crashed (in other words, had she been on the slightly later flight it'd be sayonara). 


      Anyway, I think I'll just avoid the places you travel, though you do go to all the coolest places!


    2. Grazza


      I try to stay out of trouble, and use flexibility in terms of schedule and route as far as possible. There are dozens of routes between Minnesota and the Rockies, after all, and you're often threading your way between an icestorm and a snowstorm.


      Ah yes, the old "one/two week before/after" phenomenon. I've got these:

      • Used that very same escalator one week before the King's Cross fire
      • At the Grand Chancellor one week before the big earthquake (in the room immediately above one where people were trapped for many hours)
      • October 2017: in Las Vegas two weeks after the massacre and in parts of northern California two weeks before they became fire-disaster areas (I could just have easily done that trip in reverse order and been there for both)


    3. Hellbent


      Jeezus--I can imagine you had already made your reservations for the vegas/cali trip before the massacre happened.


      It is a bit eerie you've been temporarily so close to so many disasters. Most people experience that sort of thing about 0 to one time in their life.

  7. 25


    Yes, my 25th book has recently been published. (Actually, it was published on Chess Studio a couple of months ago.) The timing - just before Christmas - is deliberate, but coinciding with a world championship match was accidental.




    Click the image for Amazon links for hardcopy and Kindle. The Kindle free sample includes the introductions and the first 10 sections or so. There's also a PDF free sample on the Gambit website.


    This is the most elementary book I have written for some years, but is by no means a babyish book. It should be useful for players up to decent club standard too. Choosing good clear examples was a big task, and avoiding excessively complex language was a challenge. I also wanted to write a book that presented a modern view of opening play, rather than the inflexible and unrealistic "rule-based" approach that you tend to find in old books (even though it has never accurately represented how good players handle this phase of the game). This runs the risk of confusing readers, but should lead to better opening play.


    1. Show previous comments  1 more
    2. Grazza


      Now and then. Less than I used to.

    3. KVELLER


      And what are your other books about?

    4. Grazza


      Clicking on the author link on the Amazon page will list many of them.

  8. Cheetahs, ten days ago at Sabi Sands, South Africa:











  9. http://www.20q.net/


    Q20.  I am guessing that it is a galaxy?
    Right, Wrong, Close
    19.          I guessed that it was a wedding cake? Wrong.
    18.          Is it made in many different styles? Irrelevant.
    17.          Is it a synthetic material? No.
    16.          Can it be used more than once? Irrelevant.
    15.          Can it bend without breaking? Irrelevant.
    14.          Can you control it? No.
    13.          Does it burn? Irrelevant.
    12.          Can you sit on it? No.
    11.          Does it get wet? No.
    10.          Can it be painted? No.
    9.          Can it be placed on your head? No.
    8.          Is it colourful? Yes.
    7.          Is it something you can wear? No.
    6.          Does it eat grass? No.
    5.          Is it white? Usually.
    4.          Does it come in different colours? Yes.
    3.          Is it larger than a microwave oven (or bread box)? Yes.
    2.          Does it break if dropped? Irrelevant.
    1.          It is classified as Other.[code]



  10. Sphere Camera


    Yay, new toy. Basically a 180-degree fisheye that makes panoramas easy, as well as getting distorted images of fingers, etc., around the edge of the image.



    Forest canopy



    Ice cave






    new possibilities in alcohol photography


    1. Show previous comments  6 more
    2. Memfis


      They kinda look like crystal balls with tiny worlds inside.

    3. Grazza


      Linguica: no, selfies suck.


      Glad people like the ice cave. Though it should be said that any photos of the cave looked amazing. If you want to see it, it is at the Perito Moreno Glacier (around 50.4906 S, 73.0532 W), but it will soon be gone as water pressure will break it apart. New ones will form of course, here and in other places, but this one was relatively stable and pretty easily accessible (well, once you were in that part of Patagonia...).

    4. Grazza


      Another one, taken today:


      Champagne Pool, Waiotapu, New Zealand

  11. The night before last, I gave a lecture about my new book (and preparation/finding ideas generally) at Chess Castle in Minneapolis. With the audience ranging from three grandmasters to several non-players (0-2800 FIDE Elo!), it was hard to get the level right, so I mostly tried to throw in a few jokes.


    For those unfortunate enough not to be enjoying the Minnesota winter and who couldn't attend, I have attached some materials from the lecture - a ChessBase file and a PDF.


  12. 24


    Yes, my 24th book has just been published. (Actually, it was published on Chess Studio a couple of months ago.)




    Click the image for Amazon links for hardcopy and Kindle. The Kindle free sample includes the introductions and the first 15 sections or so.


    It was a fairly large amount of work. Even though it is "just" a new edition, updating the original content was as much work as writing the book in the first place had been. And there is a bunch of new content (which includes some Alekhine and King's Indian stuff, for those interested - some of that is in the free PDF sample from the Gambit website). The updated material includes the "whole truth", as I see it, on the Nescafé Frappé Attack. So that's something for the conspiracy theorists to chew on.


    And in case you are wondering, I am not looking to buy a kettle or a toaster at this point.


    Just to be clear: this isn't an elementary book. My next one probably will be though. I might need a new fridge by then, you never know.


    1. Megalyth


      I miss chess. Playing online isn't quite the same as sitting down at a hand-crafted board for a gentlemanly game.

  13. This just spotted on CNN.com:




    Only an actual trainwreck is missing.


    1. Show previous comments  3 more
    2. Albertoni


      Unless your point was that they're intentionally putting those things side by side, in that case... Gotta agree with you.

    3. Fonze


      I like how the first pic seems to be entirely about the US, then the next, clarification pic is mostly Britain. Funny coincidence.

    4. Armaetus


      It's corporate news, what do you expect? Both sides do this shit.

  14. In commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the worst air crash in history, here are a few pictures taken at the memorial in La Laguna, Tenerife, two weeks ago.


    The airport and Teide are visible in the background.


    The plaque.


    The airport tower and runway can be seen behind the base of the memorial.


    The layout of the runway and taxiways hasn't changed much. When my flight left a few days later, I recognized the point where we took off as being pretty much exactly the same as the point of impact in 1977.

    1. Show previous comments  1 more
    2. Grazza


      Yeah, pretty much a worst-case scenario.

    3. Fonze


      That's a terrible, tragic story of everything going wrong, but it's nice that they made a pretty memorial for it. Good pics, btw.

    4. Devalaous


      I learned something today. Something sad, but something nonetheless

  15. If I write "poop" here, will anyone notice, or is this some kind of dead zone now?

    1. Show previous comments  6 more
    2. Voros


      Ball shit snake, notice me.

    3. Da Werecat

      Da Werecat

      There's something really wrong with your senpai, Voros.

    4. Voros


      Yeah there is. I don't know what, but there is.

  16. Sunrise at Ashford Mill Ruins

    Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America

    Salt crystals in Badwater Basin

    Pretty colours at Artist's Palette

    Golden Canyon

    Warning sign at the entrance to Golden Canyon

    A relatively cold day in hell

    View down towards Badwater Basin from Dante's View, more than 5000 feet above it

    View north/west across Death Valley from Dante's View

    1. Show previous comments  10 more
    2. Grazza


      85.5 meters. Though the conversion is a bit off.

    3. Hellbent


      Ahh.. not dyslexic, just blind.

    4. Grazza


      Two depth-related pics:

      Bunch of info (though apparently a little out of date). I often take pictures of these things to save time - I can read them later.

      You can make out the "sea level" marker part way up the cliff. Somewhere on the top (right of centre) is Dante's View.

  17. Some random recent-ish pics:

    Full-size image: http://imgur.com/fUaEViN.jpg
    White House seen from Washington Monument. Something was going on there (zoom in on the full-size image).

    Full-size image: http://imgur.com/OFx3inW.jpg
    Finsteraarhorn, my favourite mountain in the Alps (it looks pointier from the side), viewed from Nufenenpass. Note the hang glider or whatever it is.

    Full-size image: http://imgur.com/5oaW3IG.jpg
    KVLY-TV mast, near Blanchard, North Dakota. World's tallest radio mast. Fourth-tallest man-made structure in the world. World's tallest man-made structure 1963-74, 1991-2010.

    Full-size image: http://imgur.com/gYn2fWB.jpg
    Hiking on the Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand.

    1. Show previous comments  6 more
    2. Grazza


      A guide. See the link in my last-but-one post.

    3. Memfis


      Grazza's last pic reminded me of this classic sky texture:

    4. Grazza


      That looks totally like a picture I might have taken, though I don't recognize that precise scene.

  18. Back in 1998 I wrote a little book called The Quickest Chess Victories of All Time. Among the many games featured in it was one where a Mr Kock played White against a Mr Sucher - by standard convention referred to as the game "Kock-Sucher". While I didn't wish to draw too much attention to this unfortunate pairing, I naturally couldn't let it pass totally without comment.

    Inevitably it made its way onto the Interwebs; e.g.:
    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/AccidentalInnuendo/RealLife (about three quarters of the way down the page)

    It could be worse; there are players called Kunte and Fuchs, but as far as I know they have never played. Let's hope that if they did, it would be in Condom.

    Anyway, just in time for Xmas, a new edition has been published.
    There's a big free sample of the Kindle edition, as usual. Sorry, this does not feature Kock-Sucher. (I think we improved the cover; you can see the old one amazon.com/dp/1857445384]here.)

    The book contains about 50000 chess moves, so if you are actually interested in reading it, the Chess Studio edition might be a better option. Note that each purchase will provide enough income to feed my two starving cats for a day.

    1. Csonicgo


      I bet Robert Hyatt would buy this (again). I'll let him know.

    2. MajorRawne


      Let's face it, after your rather amusing advert, no-one here will buy this for the 50,000 chess moves. They're buying it to laugh at the funny names.

  19. An article by me has just appeared at ChessCafe. Milton is featured too!

    1. Memfis


      Nice retrospective, I've never thought about just how "dangerous" it was to write chess books back when people didn't have chess programs and the authors had to do all the analysis by themselves. Managing an opening library must have been hell as well, having to deal with countless papers and to follow the latest findings all the time.

      I see that Alexander Kotov's books are known in the US as well. Just recently I've read his "В шутку и всерьёз" (1965), an inside look at a grandmaster's life (no analysis or anything, just stories and anecdotes). In one of the chapters he talks about the practice of adjourning games after 40 moves. I thought it's a shame that that wouldn't work today since we have computers, it sounded like an interesting part of the game, like an ultimate test of player's analyzing skills.

    2. Grazza


      Thanks - glad you liked it.

      Memfis said:
      I see that Alexander Kotov's books are known in the US as well. Just recently I've read his "В шутку и всерьёз" (1965), an inside look at a grandmaster's life (no analysis or anything, just stories and anecdotes).

      It's really only his book Think Like a Grandmaster (Kak Stat' Grossmeisterom) that he is widely remembered for in the West, and in fact just the first part of that book. It is viewed as a somewhat unrealistic model of how to think, but at least it gets people to think about how they think. A generation of players were probably too embarrassed to admit that they didn't think in that way, but in the last couple of decades there have been some critiques that present a more realistic view. Perhaps the most telling point is that even computers think in a much more flexible way than Kotov advocated, and his whole point was to get people to think more like a machine. Anyway, I felt pretty safe in this piece referring to Kotov's model as an archetype of excessively regimented thought.

      In one of the chapters he talks about the practice of adjourning games after 40 moves. I thought it's a shame that that wouldn't work today since we have computers, it sounded like an interesting part of the game, like an ultimate test of player's analyzing skills.

      Actually, there was a recent event that experimented with adjournments. It is indeed possible that they were abandoned without sufficient reason. At the time (early 1990s) it just seemed self-evident: computer use could simply decide the result of some adjourned games, so there should be no adjournments at all. The upshot, however, is that most endgames are now played with very little time to think, with the outcome depending on stamina and bladder stength as much as chess skill. We've swapped the occasional injustice for a general lowering of the level of endgame play. On the other hand, events can run on a faster schedule, with no need to build in extra days for adjournments.

  20. Some photos of this morning's lunar eclipse:

    About 50 minutes before totality.

    Start of totality (c. 5.25 am).

    "Blood moon".

    Totality has ended.

    Partial eclipse continued through moonset/sunrise.

    All photos taken with my Nikon, and hand-held (tripods are for wusses).

    1. Show previous comments  9 more
    2. Grazza


      Two weeks on, and the three bodies are in pretty good alignment again, albeit in a different order. Only a partial eclipse (no corona), but still interesting to see a bite being taken out of the sun. Once again a clear sky, and the eclipse continued through sunset. Here are some pictures, all taken looking west across the Mississippi from just south of Prescott, WI. (GPS: <a href=https://www.google.com/maps/place/44%C2%B044%2734.4%22N+92%C2%B047%2729.8%22W/@44.7428884,-92.7916111,15z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x0>44.7429° -92.7916°</a>)

      <a href=http://i.imgur.com/Lesiqsm.jpg><img src=http://i.imgur.com/Lesiqsml.jpg></a>
      OK, so using an improvised dark filter may not have been the greatest idea.

      <a href=http://i.imgur.com/tOWSEuc.jpg><img src=http://i.imgur.com/tOWSEucl.jpg></a>
      View up-river.

      <a href=http://i.imgur.com/yoVPyfq.jpg><img src=http://i.imgur.com/yoVPyfql.jpg></a>
      The top of the sun is missing!

      <a href=http://i.imgur.com/Ili03MQ.jpg><img src=http://i.imgur.com/Ili03MQl.jpg></a>

      <a href=http://i.imgur.com/ohyYPz8.jpg><img src=http://i.imgur.com/ohyYPz8l.jpg></a>

      <a href=http://i.imgur.com/22B0u5v.jpg><img src=http://i.imgur.com/22B0u5vl.jpg></a>
      The round ball is one of those things they put on high cables crossing the river to make them more visible.

    3. GreyGhost


      Grazza said:

      The round ball is one of those things they put on high cables crossing the river to make them more visible.

      Or a UFO, since it's a bit too large to be Mercury.

      They're still not visible enough to keep crop-dusting pilots from hitting the wires.

    4. Dragonsbrethren


      Completely clouded out again. Today? Beautiful, not a cloud in the sky.

  21. OMG, Road Trip!!!

    Just travelled from Woodbury, MN to Las Vegas, NV, over the course of three days. Something like this:

    <iframe style="height: 270px; width: 450px;" src="http://www.mapquest.com/embed?hk=LVtBIb" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe>

    Actually, pretty much exactly like that (overnight stops in Murdo, SD, and Grand Junction, CO).

    Virtually none of the driving was on snow (the only trivial exceptions were in some towns in Nebraska on Highway 83; outside the towns, the wind had swept the roads clear of the previous night's inch or two of dry snow). I'll claim that was due to good route planning. The Sandhills were kind of cool, and eerie-looking on a clear and very cold morning.

    1. Show previous comments  2 more
    2. GreyGhost


      TheCupboard said:

      pot in Colorado

      I still believe that's what John Denver was alluding to when singing "Rocky Mountain High".

    3. Krispy


      Good job making it through Grand Junction. I got stuck there for a whole week once when the car broke down. Nice town though. Did you happen to see the old hotel or water park or theater or awesome tea shop?

    4. Grazza


      No, but thanks for the pointers. I'll spend a little more time in GJ when I pass through it again on Monday. My schedule will be more relaxed then.

  22. I spent a week in Chile just before Christmas. A few pictures:

    High up near the border with Argentina (c. 3930m). The road referred to in the sign was a dirt track with 44 hairpins.

    A jewel lizard in one of the National Parks.

    The San José volcano venting.

    Here (attached) is a kmz file that you can load with Google Earth. It features the GPS coordinates of places where I took photos. (To attach it, I needed to give it a .zip extension; either rename it with a .kmz extension or use the enclosed .kml file.)


    1. Show previous comments  2 more
    2. Grazza


      TheCupboard said:

      Cheers! The first picture would make a great FSKY1.

      Glad you like it. FWIW, the rightmost peak in the mountains in the distance is Alto de Los Leones.

      Obsidian said:

      I see green, yellow, blue and possibly orange on that lizard. It's the M&M Gecko! :P

      The orange ones don't appear to be scales like the other colours. Even on the original image, I find it hard to make out what they are. Maybe it is skin in the process of being shed.

    3. GreyGhost


      Maybe faded flecks of blood from the last tourist it ate? I know they're tiny, which means they must hunt in packs to take down large prey.

      Is that crucifix in the third picture a wayside shrine?

    4. Grazza


      Something like that. It was near a trail, and also on the edge of a small settlement (Latitude=-33.823693; Longitude=-70.050217; Elevation= 1883 m).

      The name on it is Juan E Molina N, 4 April 1965 - 1 April 2002 (the last digits uncertain, since there's undergrowth obscuring them on my photo).

  23. No, not my age.

    My 23rd book has just been published. The Kindle edition is actually out before the print edition this time.


    Probably not of much interest to anyone below good club level, but there's a free sample if you like.

    <a href=http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00F0OABLY#reader_B00F0OABLY><img src=http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/511gDvkJxxL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-62,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg></a>

    1. Show previous comments  10 more
    2. Grazza


      Funny; these ASINs normally don't look anything like a word. One of our earlier books was assigned B00ASHEFBA, while you might also consider B00AKXIOGO just about readable, and Jersey Shore fans may find something in B007JVO0WW.

      Edit: lol, hottest new release at the moment. :P

    3. TimeOfDeath


      Those would make some good black metal band names. :)

    4. baronofheck82


      I knew you wrote books or whatever, but I didn't know you've written 22 previously. Respect :D

  24. My flight from Warsaw to Chicago a couple of days ago took me further north across Greenland than I am used to, so I got a view of the capital, Nuuk (Godthaab).

    It was in the distance (c. 25-30 miles away); the first two pics are "establishing shots", and the last two are with 30x zoom. You can easily make out the airport's runway and a fair number of buildings (well, you can see square blobs).

    I'll be going to Nuuk later in the year, so it was interesting to see it from the air, still snow covered.

    1. Show previous comments  6 more
    2. dew


      icewind dale...

    3. DooMAD


      I snapped this pic somewhere over Greenland back in August. Stunning terrain all over that region.

    4. Grazza


      I was briefly in Nuuk again yesterday, where they had their first snow since last winter. Our tiny plane (from Narsarsuaq) skidded on landing, but the pilots didn't seem unduly perturbed.

      The last few days in South Greenland were warmish and sunny, so the sudden arrival in wintry conditions came as a bit of a shock. We dined at a Thai restaurant with "porn" in its name before boarding another little aeroplane for the flight to Reykjavik and a return to normal civilization.