Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Christmas in September

The Package Arrived

Some months ago I sent some rare figures over to Peter from Peter's Cave (see Blogroll) and now he has sent a bunch of figures back my way. The package arrived today, and I have been sorting these figures out like a happy wargamer's jigsaw puzzle.

There are about a hundred of them, infantry, cavalry, Nassau Grenadiers, men with Baker Rifles and sword-bayonets, Old Guard Grenadiers, the Dutch or Belgian Jaeger bugler, cuirassiers and carabiniers--it is a bunch of them. It is very enjoyable just sorting them out by their colors and characteristics to try to figure out (pun intended) what they all are.

Well that pic emphasizes the bottoms of the bases, where they were cut from the sprues.

So here's a view flipped around.

There must be elements of between seven and ten sets here at least, and it feels like a kid at Christmas. These are figures I have never seen before in person, only in pictures, and I did not pick them out myself as I usually do, so there's a feeling of surprise and wonder that is beyond what usually happens when you open your new figs.I can recognize them, but at first glance I can only see--they are Napoleonic.

There are Zvezda, Italeri, Hat, who knows what, all mixed to be sorted.

To save on postage, they are cut apart, and so the sorting is based on colors, and then off clues in the uniforms, like the Baker rifles, or the shape of the shakos or other headgear, and even from counting the buttons.

More Bloggers Should Try This

This is great, and other wargamers should try this. Send some other blogger a mystery pack of figures and let them figure out what they are.

The rare figures are from the American Revolution, where Imex took over a line from Accurate, and changed several figures so there would be Cavalry and a few others, and sold them for several years...but then they changed their minds and changed the figures back to the first design with no Cavalry.  So now you cannot get them any more.

Even if you follow Plastic Soldier Review's advice and try to know what you're getting, that won't work They forgot to change the boxes, which still say there are cavalry, but there are not. You just can't get them any more.

"Es Suyo!"

When Peter commented about them saying he hoped one day he would find them, I went into the Es Suyo mode. That is Spanish for 'It's Yours!"

In some of the Latin American countries, if you pick up and/or admire an object, even in another Caballero's home, he may stun you by announcing Es Suyo, and now it is yours. The only way out is to immediately and insistently refuse in an increasingly firm voice three times at least, and even that may not work. To get out of what?

Dramatization of Chivalry

I will slightly exaggerate to explain the interplay of Honour that the Host has launched here, and remember that this occurs silently, inside the recipient's conscience. He realizes all this, and then has the feeling that he must get back to an even keel. That he must now do something in return, every bit as equally dramatic, every last bit or it is still not enough to equal the original grand gesture. Unless, of course, he is a Pirate. But for the Chivalrous it is not so easy.

Women never understand this, either.

This gesture demonstrates silently that the object itself, regardless of its value or how precious, even one's grandfather's watch or anything, is not nearly so important as your pleasure right now. Also the tremendous magnanimity of the host, in seeing that what you said you would like, you will have and you will have it right now. Because the Host has it in his power to see to it that you shall have it, as fast as you can clap your hands twice, it is done.

Of course this doesn't usually happen in my country because it would be seen as an exaggeration, even a caricature of Honour, to a degree that regular guys do not carry it. Just get the beer next time, they would say, or else Don't worry about it.

That was why I said at the time, along with the Es Suyo, that all I need back is that Peter paint the figures that I sent him, and let me use the picture as a Header picture for this blog, since I don't have one. Most of the good pictures out there are copyrighted to someone else, unless you make your own, so I thought that was good enough compensation. Anyway he would paint them better than I would.

That would be completely satisfactory.

But I recognize the interplay of the Es Suyo thing, since it has happened to me many times in other situations, and that Conscience and Honour demand something dramatic, so I have added some imitation Belgian Lace to the backdrop.

When I let my brother stay in my place, I refused to charge him rent, and he almost went crazy from it. But what's even worse is that when it happens to me, I almost can go crazy from it too, so I have had to eliminate most of my social life except with confirmed and known cheapskates, just to be able to keep up. It's a crazy thing, the Es Suyo thing. Be careful with it; it can cause madness when carried to extremes.

*                     *                    *

There used to be another Imex figure considered rare, that is no longer rare. This was the General George Armstrong Custer figure. He was added to the ACW  Union Cavalry but sold only in a large boxed set of the Battle of the Little Bighorn. There was no other way to get it, and regular US Cavalry sets did not have the special figure. But then when people were scrambling around   trying to get the rare figure, they changed it so now all the
US Cavalry sets have one, so now every eleventh figure is a Custer. I have a bunch of them.

We never know when the American Revolution Dragoons may reappear like that.

Many thanks to Peter, and do go check out his 'Happy  Wargamer' post.

*                           *                             *

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Saxon Artillery in the 18th Century

 Link Over to Scheck's Blog (or See Blogroll)

Anyone interested in the Saxon artillery of the 18th Century should probably go have a look at the post on Scheck's blog. He has repainted his Saxon artillery on the basis of what he found in the book, published in the old DDR about the Army of Augustus the Strong, he of the 365 children including Marshal Saxe.It is in German and the pictures are multilingual.

Too bad they do not sell it here, since this is where their customer is, but maybe there is a way after all.

He found the book at the fair in Kulmbach that I was trying to find some months ago when I was posting about the tremendous battle at Kesselsdorf just before Christmas of 1745, which was also just before Frederick, about to be called 'the Great,' went to the Opera in Dresden to see the performance by the incomparable Faustina Bordoni.

If I remember correctly in my articles on that subject mostly December 2010 I also link out to some other Saxon uniform pictures, and other information such as OB and narratives, for infantry and cavalry also.

The Saxon artillery was responsible for blasting apart the pre-planned combined arms divisional attack that started the winter battle, and Frederick was not present. The remarkable attack, which was blasted by this artillery,  was set up by the Alte Dessauer, and the king showed up after it was over.

We do not know exactly how much he ate his impatient words from the week before, trying to rush the AD, nor how jealous he was, when he saw what happened before he could get there in person.

*               *                    *

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Pounding a Pirate

I Win More as Black Than as White

Actually I lose more than I win by about seven percent but those are left over from several crazy-risky Danish Gambits I had the nerve to try against the Nemesis, and I am still trying to make up the difference against the good players of the world. He put me below .500 as mentioned in February or March, and since he is hiding, I am having a hard time making up for it.

It's not easy, because I give myself a disadvantage almost every time by using one Gambit or another.
The reason for that is because most players use the e4 move to start, that is to advance the King's Pawn two steps, the classic way. I think the late great Bobby Fischer did it all but one game famously. Some go first with the Queen's Pawn, and  some hate when they do as it slows the game and makes it more intricate generally.

I do that usually if I have White, leading off with a Queen's Gambit most times, unless they show fianchetto immediately. It's as much from familiarity as anything else.

 And  Here is Why--the Icelandic Gambit--it throws them off

But the reason I win more with Black, bucking the statistical trend of maybe 5 to 8 percent better results for White from that first-move advantage, is because when I have Black, and they do the King Pawn first, which is most of the time, I go into an Icelandic Gambit and many opponents are surprised and cannot cope with it.

It doesn't always work. There are ways to screw it up from both sides, and for it to really be an Icelandic Gambit, the other side would have to follow a natural script for four whole moves, and they often don't, so it doesn't always even occur because they can do whatever they want. All openings end up that way eventually, some fall off script quickly and others  follow one a long time. If you don't want or like that, then you avoid it.

You can't always get an Icelandic Gambit, since only so many guys will follow the steps laid out for as many as four moves, so it may just be a Scandinavian Gambit if they only follow the script part way. But if they take all four steps as desired, it is the Icelandic Gambit.

A Gambit is a Gamble, a Gambiteer is a Gambler

All Gambits are risky, what it is is you let the guy take a piece or two hoping you can turn that to your advantage somehow, either off the little time it gives while he's busy cutting off your leg, or else the space opening behind his sword arm while he's whacking at you elsewhere.

But it is a way even a nerd can demonstrate King Kong Cojones.

Figuratively it is a little bit like when Beowulf was fighting the Monster's Mother, and the little opening let him get at her heart, but he took a lot of damage in order to get there.   I mean in the Neil Gaiman version of Beowulf.

  You give him your pawn or piece or even two pawns like here and try to beat him anyway. It only appeals to a certain kind of player, and the majority frown on it and think you're crazy, and so it is taught that if you find yourself playing a gambiteer, just take it, and chances are he cannot pull it off anyway.

That Danish Gambit I mentioned is really crazy because you give up three and maybe even four pawns, it is the Gambiteer's craziest gambit of all and often doesn't work.

I haven't got time to figure out how to put up chessboard diagrams although there is bound to be some way to do it that I haven't seen.

If I just nicked the one off the site, that'd probably be copyrighted to them, but the moves are mine. There must be someone who could read the algebraic notation, this is almost international language but not quite, because the letters are based on English piece names. There are ways to do this notation understood in all countries, but this is easier for me and pretty well-known anyway.

So I'll put the moves of my 41st win here, as it is an almost perfect result and has really ticked off a pirate type player more than 250 rating points above me and utterly crushed his ego, humiliating him tremendously and I will bet he even considered breaking his computer or quitting--it happened five hours ago. This guy beat me in the previous game just when I thought I had him.

Ego Destruction Worse Than Regular Sports

Chess is uniquely able to affect the person's ego more than other games, because it is seen as intellectual, so to lose is to be proven a stupid dolt, unless they have better emotional preparation than most actually do. This can result in temper tantrums, and I remember I mentioned how I quit for four years after the Nemesis beat me four and a half years ago.

Excuses Always Are Great to Hear Because of the Ego Thing and the Cover-Ups

By the way, the Nemesis quit in July and says it was 'distracting him from his work too much.'

Tuerckenkriege on Two Fronts
I've been in a tournament that started in August with ten games, and then another one started on schedule the first of September with as many more, plus I already had a few private ones going, and I have been pretty busy fighting it out.

There are three days per move allowed, but you can move immediately if the other guy is online, wherever he or she may be in the world, so I have been fighting two simultaneous Tuerckenkriege at all hours of the day and night, among others, as there is one Turkish guy in each of my two tournaments. One of them is a fast mover, so we are almost done already with that set.

Normally in the tournament there are a certain number of players in a group, it could be four, six, ten, or whatever, who play each other one game as White, one game as Black, as statistics show whoever has White has a first-move advantage. So you do one each as Black and White.

But this September tournament has both games at the same time, instead of back-to-back, so it is a lot of games.

Luckily a week into it I see there are a bunch of fast guys here, so it'll be over probably before the first one is.

In that August one I have moved up to fourth place out of ten for the time being, above several guys better rated.

Break Out Your Chess Sets and Follow Along

This shows a bloody pirate getting humiliated in a bare fourteen moves. He falls from 1705 to 1658 rating, and I move up from 1443 to 1473. He is furious about this, believe me.  The first four moves define the Icelandic Gambit because each one he did what I hoped for, and then in just ten more moves he resigned this afternoon while I was sleeping.

Pirate 1705-1658   v. mekelnborg 1443-1473

1. e4          d5
2. exd5      Nf6
3.c4           e6
4.dxe6       Bxe6              there is the Icelandic Gambit, the rest will vary
5.Nc3        Nc6
6.d3           Bb4
7. Nf3        Qe7
8. d4          0-0-0
9. Bd2        Nxd4
10. Be2      Bxc4
11. Be3      Nxf3+
12. Bxf3     Rxd1+
13. Rxd1    Rxd8+       ouch that was the Queen!
14. b3        Bxe3+
White (pirate) resigned. Kicks dog repeatedly, falls 50 rating points.

*                      *                        *