domenica 19 agosto 2018

Under the Volcano

Ester Marra, ballerina of Associazione Culturale “Il Delta della Luna”, challenged herself to accomplish a mission impossible in the week of Ferragosto, when, accompanied by two friends (who gave her only the minimum of help necessary), she bravely trekked and hiked on Etna’s wuthering heights, finally fulfilling her dream of moving into the scenes of the Arthurian legend. Photos courtesy of her herself.

The Taming of Chance

Fabiano Caruana – Alexander Igorevich Grischuk
6th Sinquefield Cup; Saint Louis, August 18, 2018
Two Knights Defence C55

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. d3 Be7 5. 0-0 0-0 6. Re1 d6 7. a4 Kh8 8. Nc3 Ng8 9. Nd5 f5 10. h3 fxe4 11. dxe4 Nf6 12. a5 a6 13. Ra3. Here’s just a brevity: 13. Ng5!? Nxd5 14. Nxh7 Nf4?? (14. ... Rf4! 15. Qxd5 Nb4!) 15. Nxf8 1 : 0 A. Rombaldoni – Timmermans, 14th Unive Open, Hoogeveen 2010. 13. ... Be6!? Not surprisingly, Grischuk provides a providential improvement on 13. ... Nxd5? 14. exd5 Nb8 15. Bd3 Nd7 16. c4± Howell – Pavlidis, 22nd World Youth Chess Championship U18, Vũng Tàu 2008. 14. Nxf6 Bxc4 15. Nd5 Bb5 16. Be3 Qd7 17. Nd2 Nd8 18. c4 Bc6 19. Qg4 Ne6 20. b4 Rae8 21. Nf3 Bd8 22. h4 h6 23. h5. Caruana pushes hard for a win. 23. ... Nd4 24. Qxd7 Nxf3+ 25. gxf3 Bxd7 26. Kg2 Rf7 27. Rh1 Ref8 28. Bc1 c6 29. Nb6 Be6 30. Rd1 Bxb6. Grischuk, very short of time as usual, judges — perhaps too hastily — the ensuing Rook and Bishops of opposite colours is drawn; he may be right, but White can hold the cards as long as he pleases. 30. ... Bc7(!) seems to offer ground for interesting complications. 31. axb6 Rf6 32. Rad3 Bxc4. 32. ... Rd8(!) 33. f4 Bxc4 34. fxe5 Bxd3 35. exf6 Bxe4+ 36. f3 Bd5 37. Bb2 Re8 38. fxg7+ Kg8 may be a simpler way of drawing (Stockfish’s analysis). 33. Rxd6 Rxf3 34. Be3 R3f7 35. R1d2 Kh7 36. Rd7 Rxd7 37. Rxd7 Rf7 38. Rc7! Be6 39. Bd2 g6 40. Bc3 g5 41. Bxe5 Kg8 42. f3 Bb3? With the tricky threat of ... Bb3-d1, but it could have proved to be a lost tempo.

43. Kf2? However strange it may appear, Stockfish’s mandatory transition to a pure ending with Bishops of opposite colour with 43. Bd6! (Δ Bd6-e7) 43. ... Rxc7 44. bxc7 Be6 45. f4! gxf4 (otherwise f4-f5 follows) 46. Bxf4 Kg7 47. Be3! followed by the penetration of White’s King along the dark squares could well have been White’s best chance to win. 43. ... Be6. Gone crazy and back again. Suddenly Grischuk realises that after 43. ... Bd1? 44. Bd6! White would win on the spot. 44. Ke3 Kf8 45. f4 gxf4+ 46. Bxf4 Ke8 47. Bxh6 Bg4 48. Bf4 Bxh5 49. Rc8+ Kd7 50. Rh8 Bg4 51. Bc7 Rf3+ 52. Kd4 Rh3 53. Rb8 c5+ 54. bxc5 Kc6 55. Bd6 Bd7 56. Ke5 Rh6 57. Rg8 a5 58. Kf4 a4 59. Ra8 Rh4+ 60. Ke3 Kb5 61. e5 Bc6 62. Kd3 Rh3+ 63. Kd2 Rh2+ 64. Kd3 Rh3+ 65. Kd2 Rh2+ 66. Kd3 Rh3+ 67. Kd2 ½ : ½.

Taming the Chaos

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave – Magnus Carlsen
6th Sinquefield Cup; Saint Louis, August 18, 2018
Sicilian Defence B30

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 e5. Morphy is probably turning in his grave. 4. Bc4 g6 5. h4!? This super-aggressive approach may well give Carlsen credit for his opening oddity. 5. ... h6! 6. h5 g5 7. Nh2!? Quite an obvious improvement over 7. d3 Bg7 8. a3 d6 9. Nd2 Nf6 10. f3 Be6 11. Nf1 Ne7 12. Bxe6 fxe6 13. Be3 b6 with Black enjoying a comfortable equality (and probably earlier he could have aimed for more), Gulamali – Marosi, Budapest 2015. 7. ... Nf6 8. d3 d6 9. Nf1 Bg4 10. f3 Be6 11. Ne3 Bg7 12. Ncd5 0-0 13. c3. “Really poor opening for Magnus. Making a draw would be a success with those squares on d5 and f5”, three-time Norwegian Chess Champion Jon Ludvig Nilssen Hammer tweeted. 13. ... Rb8 14. a4 a6 15. g4. White seems to have no clear idea about what to do of his “dogmatic advantage”, and, of course, his opponent seizes the opportunity of aiming for the most convenient coordination possible. 15. ... b5! 16. axb5 axb5 17. Bb3 Ne7! 18. Nxe7+ Qxe7 19. 0-0 Qb7! 20. Bxe6 fxe6 21. c4. White seems to lack of any will to win, and with the text move he even concedes his opponent a venial strategic triumph. 21. ... b4. Now, curiously, it is White who has a hole in d4, as Black’s doubled e-Pawn has nullified both the holes on d5 and f5. Black stands better, but probably not that much to score the goal.

22. b3 Nd7 23. Qe2 Rbd8 24. Nc2 Nb8 25. Be3 Nc6 26. Kg2 Rf7 27. Ra4. The a-file is White’s lucky saving clause. 27. ... Rdf8 28. Bg1 Bf6 29. Rfa1 Bd8 30. Ra8 Rxf3 31. Qxf3 Rxf3 32. Kxf3 Kg7 33. Ke2 Bb6 34. R8a6 Kf7 35. Ra8 Kg7 36. R8a6 Kf7 37. Ra8 Kg7 ½ : ½.

sabato 18 agosto 2018

Ole, quid ad te? (Olus, what’s it to you?)

Pedicatur Eros, fellat Linus: Ole, quid ad te,
de cute quid faciant ille vel ille sua?
Centenis futuit Matho milibus: Ole, quid ad te?
Non tu propterea, sed Matho pauper erit.
In lucem cenat Sertorius: Ole, quid ad te,
cum liceat tota stertere nocte tibi?
Septingenta Tito debet Lupus: Ole, quid ad te?
Assem ne dederis crediderisve Lupo.
Illud dissimulas, ad te quod pertinet, Ole,
quodque magis curae convenit esse tuae.
Pro togula debes: hoc ad te pertinet, Ole.
Quadrantem nemo iam tibi credit: et hoc.
Uxor moecha tibi est: hoc ad te pertinet, Ole.
Poscit iam dotem filia grandis: et hoc.
Dicere quindecies poteram, quod pertinet ad te:
Sed quid agas, ad me pertinet, Ole, nihil.

Eros is buggered, Linus fellates—
Olus, what’s it to you
what use each may make of his own outside?
Matho whores at a hundred thousand—
Olus, what’s it to you?
Not you but Matho will thereby a pauper.
Sertorius feasts till daybreak—
Olus, what’s it to you
Since you may snore the whole night away?
Lupus owes Titus point-seven-million—
Olus, what’s it to you?
Don’t give or lend a penny to Lupus.
You pretend not to see what is
Your business, Olus,
What touches more your own concerns.
You owe for your scanty toga—
This is your business, Olus.
No one now will lend you a farthing — this too.
Your wife’s an adulterous tart—
This is your business, Olus.
Your strapping daughter demands a dowry — this too.
Another fifteen times I could tell you
What is your business,
But what you do is no business, Olus, of mine.

Eros va coi ragazzi; embè, Olo, che te n’importa
di quel che Lino e lui fan della propria pelle?
Sciala con donne Matone; embè, Olo, che te n’importa?
Matone solo — e non tu — andrà alla miseria.
Fino all’aurora sta a cena Sertorio; Olo, che te n’importa,
se tu per conto tuo puoi ronfar tutta notte?
Lupo è pieno di debiti; embè, Olo, che te n’importa?
Tu certo non hai dato neppur un soldo a Lupo.
Pur dissimuli quello che a te ben più importa, od Olo,
e taci tutto ciò che ti dovrebbe importare.
Non hai pagato il sarto; questo sì che t’importa, od Olo.
Nessun ti fa più credito; oh, questo sì t’importa.
Tua moglie ti cornifica; questo sì che t’importa, od Olo.
Tua figlia non ha dote; oh, questo sì t’importa.
Mille volte potrei dir quello che bene t’importa;
ma di quel che fai tu non me n’importa nulla.

Martial, Epigrams, Book 7, X
English translation by William G. Shepherd
Italian translation by Giuseppe Lipparini

Lara beach, Cyprus: Just after hatching, a sea turtle strains to reach the waters of the Mediterranean Sea as the sun sets on the protected beach. Cyprus’s Green and Loggerhead turtles have made a strong comeback thanks to pioneering conservation efforts stretching back decades, after being hunted to near extinction in the first half of the last century. Photo: Petros Karadjias/AP.

Hey Edna, are you sure “A Flicker in the Clarity” is the book you want to read?

A Passage to Kandahar

An Afghan health worker (left) administers the polio vaccine to a child, as other members of the vaccination team wearing burqas look on, in Arghandab District of Kandahar province. Photo: AFP/Jawed Tanveer.

Blowin’ in the Wind

Kofi Annan, the Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1997 to 2006, has passed away in Bern, Switzerland on August 18, 2018 aged 80 (he was born in Kumasi, Ghana on April 8, 1938), following a short illness. Annan and the UN were the co-recipients of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize. Pictured above, from left, are Nelson Mandela and Annan in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2006. Photo: Kim Ludbrook/EPA.

The Importance of Not Being Arcovazzi

Another street renaming and another tribute to Aretha Franklin in the subway station in Manhattan, New York City, United States. Photo: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters.

Slow down, Edna, take it easy, it is just holiday time! Do not torment him as badly as you afflict me during non-holiday hours

Artwork © LaDauty

The Journey Never Ends

The return of Tarzan

venerdì 17 agosto 2018

Tiger in a Cage

The OHCHR (UN Human Rights Committee) ruled on Friday that jailed former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva must be allowed to run as a candidate in the Brazilian presidential election in October. Lula, nominated as a candidate by the Workers’ Party, is leading the polls by a wide margin, despite he is currently serving a 12-year sentence on political charges – which his opponents considered more than enough for getting him out of the race. Instead, the Committee issued the finding following an urgent request filed by Lula’s lawyers on July 27, urging Brazil “not to prevent him from standing for election in the 2018 presidential elections, until his appeals before the courts have been completed in fair judicial proceedings”. Because Brazil has ratified both the CCPR – International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the CCPR-OP1 – Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights treaties, it is technically and juridically obligated to abide by the Committee’s findings. Photo: Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters.

Hello, Edna! Are you having fun on your holiday? And what about your chaperone? Was she sleeping in the room next to yours as usual, or, since there were no free rooms until next month, the inn’s staff put her to sleep in yours?

Meeting each other halfway

Mentula tam magna est quantus tibi, Papyle, nasus,
ut possis, quotiens arrigis, olfacere.

Your prick is so large,
And your nose so long, Papilus,
That when you have a hard-on,
You can smell it.

Tu, o Papilo, hai una mentula sì smisurata,
ed un sì gran naso,
che potresti,
ogni volta che arrigi fiutarla.

Martial, Epigrams, Book 6, XXXVI
English translation by Holden Caulfield
Italian translation by Giuspanio Graglia

Walk on By

Blowin’ in the Wind

A Yemeni artist paints a graffiti on a wall in the capital Sana’a calling for peace and tolerance and rejecting the ongoing conflict in the Arab country. Photo: AFP/Mohammed Huwais.

The Other Side of the Mirror

Lorries abandoned by their drivers still stand on the Morandi Bridge three days after a section collapsed in Genoa, Italy. Photo: AFP/Piero Cruciatti.

Dance and Drama

traditional dancer looks on before performing ahead of the 18th Asian Games to be held from 18 August to 2 September 2018 in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia. Photo: AFP/Money Sharma.

Street renaming

“Aretha” is spray-painted next to a sign at the Franklin Street subway station in Brooklyn, New York City, United States. Photo: Lucas Jackson/Reuters.

The Vintage Years
Construction boom of 1960s led to mafia involvement and use of cheap materials to boost profits

The collapse of a bridge in Genoa on Tuesday, which killed 39 people, is the latest symptom of Italy’s infrastructure woes. More than 2m homes across the country are unstable, according to figures from the national statistics agency, Istat, and more than 156 school ceilings have fallen in over the last five years.
The Morandi Bridge, considered an engineering jewel when it was inaugurated in 1967, was the 12th bridge to have collapsed in Italy since 2004. Five of those were in the last five years.
Many of the problems can be traced back to the construction boom of the 1960s, when bridges, roads, buildings and schools were being built, often with weak or cheap material to increase profits, and ending up in the hands of the mafia. [Read more].
The buildings beneath the collapsed Morandi Bridge. Photo: Laura Lezza/Getty Images.

The Importance of Not Being Arcovazzi

Aretha Franklin was crowned “Queen of Soul” by disk jockey Pervis Spann on stage in 1968.

Goliardic youth

On Wednesday, August 15, 2018 three young people, including two minors, shot pellets from a window in Aprilia, a town south of Rome, Italy and wounded a Cameroonian man in the foot. The incident follows the killing of a Moroccan man in the same city last July 29, when three men — who later said they took him to be a thief — decided to take justice into their own hands. With respect to Wednesday’s shoot-off, the three young people deny any racial reason.

A young man removes graffiti reading “Free Mandela” from a wall of King’s College Chapel in the University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England in 1965. Nelson Mandela was imprisoned in 1964 for opposing the Apartheid of the South African government and was not released until 1990. He later became South Africa’s President. Photo © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/Corbis via Getty Images.

giovedì 16 agosto 2018

Oh, Edna, I am pretty confident that whatever you may drink, you will never ruin your new friend’s birthday party

Artwork © Kosna (

A Treasury of Hours

Milia viginti quondam me Galla poposcit
et, fateor, magno non erat illa nimis.
Annus abît: “Bis quina dabis sestertia” dixit.
Poscere plus visa est quam prius illa mihi.
Iam duo poscenti post sextum milia mensem
mille dabam nummos. Noluit accipere.
Transierant binae forsan trinaeve kalendae,
Aureolos ultro quatuor ipsa petit.
Non dedimus, centum jussit me mittere nummos:
sed visa est nobis haec quoque summa gravis.
Sportula nos iunxit quadrantibus arida centum;
hanc voluit: puero diximus esse datam.
lnferius numquid potuit descendere? fecit.
Dat gratis, ultro dat mihi Galla: nego.

Galla formerly demanded of me twenty thousand sesterces,
And I allow she was not too dear.
A year goes by: “You will give ten thousand?” she said;
She appeared to me to be demanding more than before.
Then after six months, when she demanded two thousand,
I offered a thousand: she would not accept them.
Two, or perhaps three kalends had passed,
And voluntarily she herself asked for four gold pieces:
I did not give them. She bade me send her a hundred sesterces,
But this sum, too, seemed to me stiff.
A starveling allowance of a hundred farthings allied me with a patron:
This she wanted; I said I had given them to my slave.
Could she come down to lower dephts? She achieved this.
Galla offers me her favours for nothing,
Offers of her own accord: I decline.

Ventimila sesterzi un tempo per Galla io spesi,
e, lo confesso, il prezzo esagerato non era.
Passa un anno. Mi dice: “Oh, me ne darai diecimila”;
più della prima volta mi sembrò che chiedesse.
Sei mesi dopo, esigeva soltanto duemila sesterzi;
gliene proposi mille: non li volle accettare.
Eran passate due o forse tre altre Calende,
quando venne ella a chiedermi quattro monete d’oro.
Non gliele diedi. Allora m’invita per cento sesterzi;
ma questa somma ancora mi sembrò troppo cara.
Magra una sporta mi giunse: poteva valer cento soldi.
La voleva; le dissi ch’era già del mio servo.
Poteva ancor discendere più in basso? Ebbene, lo fece.
Gratis si dona Galla e s’offre. E io dico di no.

Martial, Epigrams, Book 10, LXXV
English translation by Walter C. A. Ker
Italian translation by Giuseppe Lipparini

This red squirrel seems to be recreating Michelangelo’s painting of the Creation of Adam on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel as it reaches for a walnut in a park in Mladá Boleslav, Czech Republic. Photo: Stanislav Duben/Solent News.

The Queen of Soul

Aretha Franklin
(Memphis, March 25, 1942 – Detroit, August 16, 2018)