Daily Archives: July 14, 2008

Book Review: My One Contribution to Chess, F. V. Morley

The Crossroads chess club provides me with the entertainment of watching chess games, along with the discussion that is natural to accompany such. Only rarely does my excessive kibbitzing force me to accept a challenge to play; though I have been practicing with such books as 1001 Brilliant Ways to Checkmate, my ability is somewhat lacking (too much mathematics, perhaps, which spoils one by allowing one to easily retract errors). My feeling is that chess is like football. It’s relaxing to watch a game but far too much effort to play. If I’m going to endure an hour of aggravation, memorize sequences of play and their likely chance of success, suffer nervous sweat until it drools down from my armpits to my belt, and run up my heart rate, I’d like to reach orgasm at the end of it. And with much better odds than the (under) 50% I achieve at the chess club.

Anyway, while observing a game, Nathan Jermasek (perhaps with the object of quieting my comments) handed me a slim book by F. V. Morley, “My One Contribution to Chess,” the subject of this book review. It should probably be noted that F. V. Morley and his book are supposed to be fictional creations of Stephen Potter in his famous 1952 book on gamesmanship, at least according to Wikipedia’s entry on fictional books:
Wikipedia entry on Stephen Potter\'s \"Gamesmanship\" showing F. V. Morley\'s book as fictitious
You can’t buy My One Contribution on Amazon at the moment, but you may be able to find a used copy if you look around a bit. Perhaps eBay once caught a whiff of one.

Does the book exist or not? It’s hard to say, and certainly I’m not going to “correct” wikipedia on this. But the choice of the name F. V. Morley is interesting in that it leads to some mathematics which might vaguely have something to do with the physics we’re working on around here.
F. V. Morley\'s one bad idea about chess

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Filed under book review, chess