Latest / page 4

World Open, Part Two

As happy as I was to salvage the half point in my fourth round game, I was still pretty down about missing that fork. I decided a nice meal would cheer me up. So I hopped on the Metro and went into DC, to have dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, Tono Sushi, conveniently…

World Open, Part One

Hello. I’m still here. Let me get you caught up on some things. In graduate school I was required to take a battery of four qualifying exams before I could be “advanced to candidacy.” These exams were conducted orally, meaning you had to stand in a room with two faculty members and answer questions for…

Sunday Chess Problem

My SIWOTI syndrome has not returned, the end of the semester notwithstanding. Watching the daily broadcasts from the recently completed U. S. Chess Championship, however, has certainly gotten my chess juices flowing. So here’s another installment of Sunday Chess Problem! Another mate in two for you this week, but with a twist. The problem below…

Sunday Chess Problem

Clearly there is only one way to celebrate the end of the semester. With the return of Sunday Chess Problem! For our return to the world of chess composition, I have chosen a charming, but not too complex, direct mate problem. It was composed by O. Strerath in 1948. White is to play and mate…

Musing About Graduation Speeches

It’s the season for graduation speeches, and let’s be honest, most of them aren’t very good. They tend to be very banal and cliched. So let’s begin this post with a strong candidate for best graduation speech ever. I am referring to Woody Allen’s speech: More than at any other time in history, mankind faces…

My Speech To the Graduates

Graduation was this morning, and it just so happens that I was the speaker. That I am posting the speech below should tell you that I thought it went pretty well. I’ll do a separate post describing some of the reactions, and commenting on a few of the other graduation-speech related stories that have been…

Sunday Chess Problem

Blogging has been a low priority lately, partly because there’s been too much other stuff going on, and partly because I haven’t had much enthusiasm for it. The end of the semester is always a bit of a grind. But the long-suffering fans of Sunday Chess Problem should not have to wait another week! So…

Sunday Chess Problem

I guess it’s been clear that I haven’t been in a blogging mood lately. There’s plenty of fodder out there, but somehow every time I sit down to write about it I suddenly remember I had something else to do. But that doesn’t mean that fans of Sunday Chess Problem should suffer! So this week…

Sunday Chess Problem

Well, it’s eleven o’clock at night and I just remembered I forgot to do a Sunday Chess Problem for this week. So I guess we’ll have to go with one of those charming lightweights whose main point is a shocking key. This one was composed by Gerhardus Goethart in 1952. White is to play and…

Non-Classical Knights and Knaves

Recently I mentioned my new book Four Lives: A Celebration of Raymond Smullyan. I see the Kindle version is now available, so if you preferred an e-version, now’s your chance! The book is a tribute volume to mathematician Raymond Smullyan. He is best known for his numerous books of logic puzzles. In particular, he took…

A Follow-Up To the Previous Post

I’m back from Atlanta. Did anything happen while I was gone? Well, some people replied to my previous post. Of course, I knew when I posted it that many would disagree with my views. What I had not anticipated was that the main criticisms leveled at me would be so far removed from anything I…

To Atlanta!

Having thrown some red meat with that last post, I guess it’s time to leave town. So, tomorrow I’ll be flying down to Atlanta to participate in the Gathering For Gardner Conference. Lucky me! That’s Martin Gardner, for those not in the know. The conference brings together mathematicians, magicians, puzzle makers and other supercool nerdy…

The Script

Among those who argue that science and religion are compatible, there is a standard script that goes like this: In the late nineteenth century, John William Draper and Andrew Dickson White published, respectively, History of the Conflict Between Science and Religion and A History of the Warfare of Science With Theology in Christendom. In doing…

Coyne and Moran On Teaching ID

Jerry Coyne liked yesterday’s post about teaching ID. I do just want to clarify one point, though. Coyne writes: Jason has a good point. And that point is that although it’s illegal (as well as dereliction of duty) to teach intelligent design creationism in public schools and universities, it is okay to criticize it, for…

Sunday Chess Problem

After our recent excursions into the wacky world of selfmates, it’s time to get back to saner fare. This week’s problem was composed by Milan Vukcevich, who is a strong contender for greatest problem composer ever. This problem calls for Mate in Three: Recall that when we write down chess moves, we label the vertical…