Monthly Archives: March 2014

Three’s a Crowd

Skimming through A. V. Murali’s book Chess Variants & Games, I’m finding lots of intriguing board geometries, some of them deft and some outrageous. Tiling the plane with alternating squares and octagons? Murali’s got you covered. But he seems not … Continue reading

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A book called Chess Variants & Games, by A. V. Murali, looked interesting, so I bought it. I haven’t read much of it yet. It strikes me as quite scattered — one of those books written by a bright guy … Continue reading

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Chess Refreshed

There are lots of ways to mess with the rules of chess. You can play it on a board of hexagons, for instance. But you can do quite a lot to freshen up the game without needing any special equipment. … Continue reading

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Arimaa (Boggle)

Discovered a new board game called Arimaa. It’s been around for 12 years. Lots of people are playing it — mostly online, I’m sure, but the inventor is selling a reasonably priced set, which I bought. Being a maniac, I … Continue reading

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Variations on a Theme

It’s a bit of a surprise to me how many websites cater to chess players — yet how few of them show any interest in, or even awareness of, chess variants. Other than Chinese and Japanese chess, of course. One … Continue reading

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Not Exactly Chess

I’ve never actually managed to play a game of Ultima all the way through. I have a couple of computer programs that will play it, but I usually bail after only a few moves, because Ultima it pretty confusing. It … Continue reading

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Sometimes I’m excited by musical ideas. I play around until I find a chord progression or a bass line that stimulates me, and a week later I’ve expanded it into a new piece. Other times my musical ideas bore me. … Continue reading

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Bank Shot

For the past few years, Livermore has had a wonderful local theater, the Bankhead. Our local community orchestra performs there, as do the local opera company and theater company and a wide variety of touring professional artists. It’s a 500-seat … Continue reading

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Bringing It All Back Home

Last week in this space I was musing about how the personal life of the detective has invaded the mystery genre. The genre has hybridized with the soap opera. But it’s not just about milk and cookies (though sometimes it … Continue reading

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Facebook Follies

I tend to use Facebook as a sort of miniature blog. I might post a two-sentence comment about how my day is going, or a link to a news story that I think is interesting. I might share a home-made … Continue reading

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