Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Chess and S-_-X

Credit: Sodahead.com

I noticed a "spike" of interest in my blog lately. I asked some people why and it turns out I have been noticed by a certain well-known chess blogger and GM who had linked to my post about chess in music.

I thank the man for the attention, but I cannot link "back" there since his chess blog, to my great surprise, is full of nude pictures! (No, not those chess players...). Why would someone feel the need to "spice up" a chess blog, of all web sites, with nude pictures? What is the motivation?

This is, to the best of my knowledge, the only well-known chess site that does anything like this. Occasionally some web sites like "chess base" may "spice up" things a bit by, for example, posting photographs of chess players participating in a tournament (especially attractive female ones) in "glamour shots", but certainly will not post nudity or sex.

Let me emphasize that it is certainly not the case that the author of the blog is using chess as an excuse to run a "porn" blog. First of all he is a GM, and, second, the chess context of the blog is certainly the main point of his blog. The "nudies" are an afterthought. For that matter, he doesn't seem to be making some sort of political point against censorship laws, either.

It seems that his motivation is different -- the same as that of John Speelman or the late Larry Evans, as Edward Winter noted in a review of one of Speelman's books (C. N. 332; scroll down from the top of the web page to find it). Winter writes that some authors are so fearful of making chess seem dull, that they must "spice things up": in Speelman's case with over-the-top prose ('the game looks like a blue-print for a cosmic junkyard!', for example), here with nude pictures.

Matters of taste aside, does this really work? I doubt it. I find it unlikely that anybody who is looking for chess on the Internet would be more likely to visit a chess blog because it has nude pictures. Like the overheated prose in certain chess books, it seems to me that it's more likely to achieve the opposite of the intended effect. Besides, unlike heated prose, nude pictures make the blog inappropriate for children, who are a major target audience for chess, and are distasteful for many men and (especially) women.

Finally, a point of fairness: shouldn't such a blog include a warning that it is inappropriate for children?

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