Friday, July 1, 2011

The Dead C Files

Old English Translation 


TCN July 1964: (This article is reprinted with the permission by the editors of CHESS, a British chess magazine. It appeared in CHESS on Dec. 19, 1959. It is by H.E.G. Courtney.)

This little glossary of some of the more common chessversational ploys is especially designed for the newcomer to tournament or match play: it will help the beginner to understand better exactly what is being said to him, will show him the underlying and treacherous meaning of apparently harmless remarks to which he might otherwise all too easily fall a victim. Speaking to a man over a chessboard is like speaking in parliament: i.e. no one ever means exactly what they say. Here are a few examples of what I mean:


I am  little out of practice, I'm afraid.                   I haven't played a serious game since Tuesday.

Yawning: I got into bed at 2 A.M.                         i.e. after answering nature's call–otherwise,
                                                                            I had a jolly good night's sleep.

Resignedly: Don't say I'm Black again!               I was Black last game too.

Do you mind if I have the clock on the left?        The right-hand side of the clock gains 10 min. hourly.

Oh well, let's get away from the book.                I have forgotten how the book line goes.

Absent-mindedly: J'adoube.                                No, I won't take that move after all.

Petulantly, White remarks after the moves          I have looked up the latest Russian line against the 
1. e4 c5: Oh dear! and I wanted to play               Sicilian.                                                                        the King's Gambit.

Light-heartedly: Let's have a bit of fun.               If you take my knight, it's mate in three.

With a heavy sigh: Oh, lordy!                             I am going to set a trap.

Slowly, to himself: That is very interesting!        Your move is a blunder.

Confidently:  It looks a bit drawish now?            Your last move has me flummoxed. 

Rather piqued:  Can I see your score-sheet?   My position is terrible–surely there must be a mistake.

Smiling friendly:  Don't forget the clock,             I have been thinking 20 min. on your time and am
 will you?                                                            now ready to make a move.

Soothingly:  Would you like a cup of tea?          I have just launched a winning attack.

Urgently: Try one of these ginger nuts?             I've just noticed that my attack is unsound after all.

With concern, on seeing both sides have          I'm the local lightening–chess champion, so that's OK.
a bit of time-scramble:  By jove, we'll have
to get a move on!

Self-accusingly: Oh dear! I'm sorry                   You have just made a brilliant winning move!
about that; that's spoiled it!

Ingratiatingly: Let's have another friendly?       I want revenge–and NOW!


How is your game going?                                     Come on, ask me about mine.

I've got him in time-trouble now!                           He kept forgetting to press his clock.

I think he is trying to swindle me.                          I've messed up what should have been an easy win.

Not a very good game: too many mistakes.          I lost.

I had a very interesting game: quite a pretty         I lost.


I couldn't resit that Knight's Pawn.

Where did I go off the book. . .?

It was just one pawn that did me.

I suppose I really shouldn't have gone to that party last night.

All I needed was just one more move. . .

Arkansas Standard Version

1993 Mid-South Advocate
by our 'Foreign Corespondent' in Arkansas
David Timberlake

1. Noral Kalantarlan (2485/Provisional). This Armenian was mistakenly listed as being from Arkansas on an annual USCF list. You could look it up! Well, the first two letters are the same (AR)!
2. Paul Kuroda (2420) their six-time state champ! Be ready for a long, grueling battle with Kuroda, his games Average 175 moves & 9 1/2 hours! Don't even think about playing him without a sudden death time control. He'll squeeze the stuffing out of you. Played board 2 for Japan in the 1976 Olympiads. 

3. Bill Orton (2225). Old Bill is a flower-child relic of the late sixties. He chain smokes Cool, wears flamboyant clothes. Probably still in Frisco....
4. Chris Nigel (2220). Not yet 21 years old, Chris closely resembles Gilligan (the first mate) without the sailor's hat. Chris is the son of Chuck Niggel.
5. Tony Davis (2220). Tony is the quintessential Little Rock Coffeehouse Master. Only been in tournaments for 10 years. He beat old Ken Smith in Dallas a few years back.
6. Tim Smith (2208). Tim has nine or ten kids, depending on which census you use. Quit chess immediately after he got his Master's Certificate, of which he shows to total strangers on the street.
7. David Timberlake (2203). Infamous sand-baggier, he seriously considered pushing 'Kolty' off a mezzanine balcony in Hot Springs. Hey: It would have been ruled justifiable Kolticide.
8. Gary Huber (2201). Has won state champ belt in '91 and '92. Biggest fibber this side of the Atlantic Ocean. Always 'Talks a great game'...
9. Chuck Niggel (1800+). Chuck is a former postal player, and a known Master-beater. He drives a 'Stealth' van with dark windows: uses Vitalis...
Tennessee Footnotes 

by Robert Coveyou, Tennessee Chess Champion

This game was played in the first USCF Rating Improvement Tourney in New York City, Jan. 11-12 1959.  After witnessing a skittles session at the Marshall Chess Club between two very young (but anonymous) Grandmasters, I was impelled to annotate this game as follows.  Needless to say the game as played was conceived in no such spirit.  As to my results in said tourney, I scored three wins and a draw.  But an initial forfeit due to a late train somewhat tarnished my score.  So did the fact that I was the highest ranked player in the tournament.  However, I suspect that this fact saved me a loss in a game in which my opponent agreed to draw at a time when I was not at all happy with my position.

Ruy Lopez
New York, January, 1959

 White, R. R. Coveyou                                                        Black, David Ames          
Oak Ridge, Tennessee                                                       Quincy, Massachusetts    

Tennessee Chess News - March - April 1959


  1. Thanks again. The humorous side of chess is often overlooked though it's just as integral to the culture of the game as any other accoutrement.

  2. David Timberlake's ACA newsletters from the 90s were nothing short of hysterically funny! Course and politically incorrect, these newsletters weren't "ready for prime time", shall we say? I still have a few of them.
    Larry Carroll
    Bossier City, La.