2017 in songs

Technically I’m creating new playlists several times a year, discovering new songs almost every day. My collection of 2017 songs contains probably around a thousand songs.

Some of them I knew before but rediscovered them, some of them were already published somewhere earlier but were released during 2017 and then there’s the Crème de la Crème, the ones I liked best and the ones that stuck in my head for the entireness of the year, more or less.

Creating playlists and annual wrap-ups helps me keeping a lot of nice memories for a long time: Upon hearing a certain song I can often recollect when and where I first heard it, e.g. in a coffeeshop or during a commercial or on a TV show.

To make a long story short here is my list for 2017, accompanied by a Spotify Link (duration 3h 12 min.):

Allie X – Downtown

Slowdive – Sugar for the pill

Beach Fossils – Down the line

VHS Collection – Waiting on the summer (one of the better summer songs 2017 had in store!)

Nicolas Jaar – No

Fazerdaze – Take it slow

CHAMPS – The garden is overgrown

Jonathan Bree – You’re so cool

Indochine – Station 13 (my favourite French band, already cult status, with another amazing album!)

Emancipator – Goodness (as a fan, I recommend listening to the whole new album ‚Baralku‘)

Glass Animals – Pork Soda (will be an evergreen for a long time!)

Alex Cameron – Politics of love (absolutely outstanding album ‚Forced Witness‘)

Ten Fé – Elodie

Purity Ring – Asido

Hugo Kant – Earth Dance (otherworldly Trip Hop – simply incredible)

Sky Ferreira – Easy (OST from the Baby Driver movie)

Eevee – Rosemary

Cut Worms – Song of the highest tower

Portugal. The Man – Rich friends (Consciously chose not to include their hit single „Feel it still“ – it’s overplayed by now)

Superorganism – Something for your M.I.N.D. (also super catchy!!)

Kevin Morby – Harlem River (excellent musician, still underrated)

Richard Ashcroft – This is how it feels (we all know how great Richard from ‚The Verve‘ was/is…)

Declan McKenna – Brazil (watch out for this versatile britsh newcomer!)

Inüit – Hush

Amber Coffman – No Coffee

Elohim – Sensations (Whethan remix) („We get sensations on the carpet, in the middle of your apartment…“)

Spoon – Shotgun

Sleaford Mods – B.H.S.

Chinese Man ft. Mariama – Stone Cold

Kasabian – You’re in love with a psycho

San Fermin – Belong

John Maus – Walls of Silence

Methyl Ethel – Ubu (also super catchy song)

Allie X – Paper Love

POP Etc – Outside Looking In

Lana del Rey – Love

Gandi – Escape from Boxtown (very very  little known band from Greek)

The Shins – Name for you

Emmit Fenn – Woman

Cigarettes after Sex – Sunsetz

Broken Social Scene – Stay happy

Tr/ST – Bicep (some darker stuff 😉 )

Satellite Stories – Heroine (not from 2017 but it’s so good I had to include it)

slenderbodies – anemone (same here…)

Torches – Future (and same here…!)

and to go out with bang:

2Cellos – Game of Thrones Medley (because 2017 was all about Game of Thrones, honestly 😀 )

Enjoy and stay safe!

 

 

 

 

 

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When life gives you rainbows…

….don’t miss them!

It was a mid-october Friday and there was one thing that has been on my mind at least once every day during the last couple weeks.

The weather in Vienna was imitating some Game of Thrones-style cliffhanger:

Every day you’d expect it to be your last day the last beautiful day for the remainder of the year – I would think „Winter is coming…“, „not today“, „Oh yeah, hopefully Winter is coming only within the 6th season of the show…“ and so on. I don’t know about you, but I’m absolutely a sun-dependent human being. If the sun is out there, I’m happy, I literally feel the solar energy being absorbed by my body. On the contrary, dark, freezing winter months without hardly any sun are rather depressing.

So, the weather is exceptionally good, I’m walking and suddenly I find myself in front of the fountain at ‚Schwarzenbergplatz‘. For obvious reasons I and every other person whose mind is not seriously preoccupied with other thoughts would stop to behold the water spectacle, taking some time off a hectic day, whatever.

Now read carefully and remember the scenery:

Sun’s out, but clouds are slowly moving across the blue sky. There’s this considerably high water fountain and the usual (not too many) tourists gathering around it, taking the usual pictures and selfies. You’re not only getting joy from staring at a water fountain like a child, also the location has the benefit of having really nice buildings (embassies, historical architecture,…) and the Soviet War Memorial around it.

After some minutes, I decide to move on, walk a few steps, take a look back and there it was: Some kind of loophole, Harry Potter hidden door-stuff the rest of the people didn’t notice – a rainbow within the water fountain! The first thing I noticed was that almost none of the people present took notice of it because of the following factors:

  1. The sun: It was only visible when the sun was „intense“ enough, meaning that every time a cloud was hiding it there would be no proper rainbow.
  2. The angle: I was standing on the exact same spot for 15 minutes and the rainbow appeared consistently. Trying a different angle meant there was no rainbow visible.
  3.  The wind & water: The most unsteady parameter was the water that was pumped into the air and descending towards the ground again. As our basic physics knowledge tells us we can only see the rainbow where the water molecules reflect the (sun) light. That meant even the wind had to deflect the water into the right direction!

Having processed that information I was simply standing there in awe, just observing and admiring the small things that painted this lovely picture (at some point you could even see a full circle rainbow!!). The only sad thought was that my phone died and I couldn’t capture that memorable composition. I started asking people with cameras and luckily, a nice Dutch couple who hasn’t noticed the rainbow before took several snaps and sent them to me (thank you Tarita and Frans!).

Every story should have some kind of (little) moral so here is mine (even if it sounds like a worn-out phrase):

Create good memories for yourself, try to take them like a picture, you might be grateful later in your life when you need to cheer up. Yes, you can use your camera, but you should also use your imagination and your heart – after all, they need a proper storage room 🙂

Do the things you really love and if you want my advice, start with the little things. Smile at something/someone funny when using public transport, don’t be afraid to speak up because of getting an angry answer, etc….  Always speak up for what you believe in!

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Open Città di Bolzano

Während in Wien die Semesterferien begannen, nutzte ich die freien Tage für einen Wochenendausflug nach Norditalien – genauer gesagt in die Südtiroler Landeshauptstadt Bozen (ital. Bolzano), welche von Wien in guten 6 Stunden Autofahrt zu erreichen ist.

Von 3.-5. Februar gab es dort ein kleines aber feines Turnier, gespielt wurden 5 Runden, pro Partie gab es 90 Minuten + 30 Sekunden/Zug für jeden Spieler, was bei zwei Doppelrunden (jeweils beginnend um 9 Uhr morgens) optimal war, da nicht allzu kräftezehrend.

Man ist schon froh, wenn man aus der Großstadt „flüchten“ kann, insbesondere, wenn es ins malerische Südtirol geht. Das Wetter war nicht so sonnig wie erhofft, dennoch waren die Plusgrade im Vergleich zu Wiens kältestem Jänner seit 30 Jahren eine angenehme Überraschung – während der Partien konnte man durch offene Fenster sogar immer wieder munteres Vogelgezwitscher hören.

Das Highlight des Turniers war für mich die Spielstätte, das Schloss Maretsch fast inmitten der Stadt – nicht – wie man es sonst kennt, außerhalb oder an einem Anstieg gelegen. So konnte ich vom Stadtteil Gries, wo ich untergebracht war, gemütlich in 15 Minuten zur Partie spazieren. 20170205_130623

Erbaut zu Beginn des 13. Jahrhunderts, ist es freilich einige Male überarbeitet und erneuert worden, doch man hat trotzdem das Gefühl, dass noch sehr viele Teile es vermögen, einen altertümlichen Eindruck zu vermitteln. Hier ein Photo des Spielsaales des A-Turniers (hier sogar in 360°-View zu betrachten):

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Nun zum Schachgeschehen: Ich startete als Startnummer 6 ins Turnier und konnte mit etwas Glück meine ersten drei Partien gewinnen. Sonntag um neun Uhr früh wartete die Nummer 1, Großmeister Siniša Dražić auf Brett 1. Nach einigen Minuten beehrte uns sogar der italienische TV-Sender Rai, die ein kurzes Video vom Turnier machten und wahrscheinlich schuld daran waren, dass ich diese wichtige Partie verloren habe 😛

Spaß beiseite, ich spielte seit langem wieder meine „alte Liebe“, die französische Verteidigung, und wurde durch eine Nebenvariante des GM’s überrascht:

Dražić – Sadilek

 (Open Città di Bolzano 2017)

1.e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. c3 Sc6 5. Sf3 Db6 6. a3 Sh6 [6…f6!? ist eine eigenständige Variante, die zu kompliziertem Spiel führt und durchaus interessant ist.]

7. Ld3   [7. b4  Ist die unumstrittene Hauptvariante]

drazic

Eine Nebenvariante, deren Existenz mir bewusst war, doch an die Feinheiten konnte ich mich nicht erinnern. Schwarz könnte nun oder im nächsten Zug …Ld7 spielen, wonach er droht, den Bauern d4 zu gewinnen. Im Moment verhindert Weiß dies noch durch einen kleinen taktischen Trick, der wohlbekannt für französische Stellungen ist. Es folgte 7…cxd4 8 cxd4 und nun zum Beispiel 8…Ld7 (ich spielte 8…Sf5):

drazic1

Weiß kann nun den Bauern opfern, z.B. mit kurzer Rochade 9 0-0, ähnlich dem Milner-Barry Gambit (ebenfalls in der Vorstoßvariante der französischen Verteidigung), wonach Schwarz 9…Sxd4 10 Sxd4 Dxd4 11 Sc3 a6 spielt – Weiß sollte nicht genug Kompensation für den geopferten Bauern besitzen.

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Die interessanteste Stellung ergibt sich jedoch dann, wenn Weiß statt Rochade 9 Lc2 spielt und den d4 so deckt:

drazic3

TRAINING: Schwarz verfügt über eine starke Ressource, stellungsgemäß und zugleich ästhetisch (Tipp: Der Lieblingszug jedes Französisch-Spielers!)

 

❆❆❆❆❆

 

Lösung: 9…g5!

drazic4

„The Black Jet!“ (Moskalenko)

Ein typischer Gegenschlag an der Flanke, um gegen den schwächsten Punkt im weißen Lager zu spielen – den Bauern d4! Ja richtig, Weiß kann den Bauern g5 auf zwei Arten schlagen, aber z.B. 10 Lxg5 scheitert an 10…Dxb2! und 10 Sxg5 verliert nach 10…Sxd4 den wichtigen Zentrumsbauern. Weiß sollte vernünftig 11 Lc2 spielen, wonach Schwarz 11…Sf5 spielt und nach 12 Lxf5 exf5 eine komplizierte Stellung erreicht, die mit Sicherheit nicht schlechter für den Nachziehenden ist (g5 still untouchable):

drazic5

In der Partie spielte ich 8…Sf5, was den Abtausch 9 Lxf5 exf5 forcierte und nach 10 Sc3 Le6 entstand folgende Stellung:

drazic6

Der Charakter der Stellung hat sich deutlich verändert, nun hat Schwarz einen vorläufig schlechten Läufer e6 und durch die Transformation der Bauernstruktur hat die schwarze Stellung einiges an Flexibilität und Dynamik eingebüßt. In der Partie stand ich weiterhin ok, verlor aber nach einigen Zügen den Faden und beging zwei grobe Fehler in Folge, wonach der GM ohne Schwierigkeiten verwertete….etc. 1-0

Anschließend präsentiere ich noch zwei Fragmente aus anderen Partien, die man mit den nachfolgenden Links bequem nachspielen kann (einfach draufklicken):

Gianni De Vita – Peter Sadilek, Open Città di Bolzano 2017

Peter Sadilek – Davide Olivetti, Open Città di Bolzano 2017

 

Als Abschluss möchte ich unbedingt Ablauf und Details zur Siegerehrung erwähnen, da dies für mich eine Neuerung darstellte. Diese fand in einem Innenhof statt und die Preisträger wurden auf eine Bühne gerufen, wo ihnen nicht nur gratuliert wurde, sondern der Bühnenauftritt eines jeden einzelnen nochdazu von zwei Musikern mit Streichern begleitet wurde! Hier gehts zum Video.

Endstand des Turniers: http://chess-results.com/tnr255951.aspx?lan=0&art=4&fed=ITA&wi=821

 

Until next time, Mambo Italiano! 🙂

 

 

 

2016 – A musical reflection

Trying to put everything that happened during the span of a whole year into one playlist is impossible. Usually, I tend to connect certain memories of moments to certain songs (wow, finally feeling as normal as ordinary people! 😀 ). Initially, I intended to make a list of songs that I connected with memorable events from the past year. Since there were just too many, I’m going to stick with a small playlist (70 songs – probably to be extended once a forgotten song comes to mind). I will enlist the titles and a brief description/connection to my „real life“ (ok you got me, I’m bluffing there, obviously 😉 ) hoping to help you understand the reason behind my choices of songs a little better. A source for many songs have been TV shows I was watching, e.g. such as Lucifer, Banshee, Better Call Saul, and also through following music blogs and my favourite bands and labels on facebook/youtube. Special mentioning goes to David Dean Burkhart and the Mondobongo Radio, both of them playing a big role in my musical discoveries, as well as the excellent labels Secretly Canadian, Jagjaguwar, Matador Records, Domino Recordings and many more. Checking them out is a big MUST not only for indie music fans (Mondobongo Radio is offering a web player and many many excellent mixtapes).

Not all songs are in the best possible (based on style) order, I was just too lazy for that, but I think it’s quite okay. Also descriptons on potential background of my choices are given – as this will reveal details about my complex emotional thought processes  – I will take care of my explanations thoroughly 😉 ).

To start listening on Youtube (My channel), just click here (I’m planning to create a Spotify playlist later as well) or on the first song in the list and it will start playing in a new tab.

1. Motopony – Daylight’s gone

Not long after my return from London I stumbled across this song. Not sure if it’s from an episode of Lucifer but I instantly liked this song. It’s catchy and very upbeat.

2. Kings of Leon – Waste a moment  ★

My heartbeat was going up as I was so happy to hear some new stuff from them after quite some time. Reminds me of my „older days“ when ‚Sex on fire‘ and ‚Use somebody‘ were literally in our blood…

3. The Growlers – I’ll be around

Also some new stuff by those „Hippies of the Indieworld“ 😀 Groovy and funky as always, gets you going when you’re having a bad day.

4. POP Etc. – Bad Break

Not exactly published in 2016, but another song on the list of catchy, upbeat, indie rock (pop) songs. Check out this band, they seem like really humble, nice guys – always smiling!

5. Juliana Hatfield – Needle in the hay

Very nice cover of an evergreen Elliott Smith song. From the album ‚Say yes – A tribute to Elliott Smith‘ (various artists).

6. Grimes – Kill V. Maim  ★

Well I just have no words for this. It’s a crazy song that came out long before Suicide Squad hit the cinemas but looks almost like the official background video. Special taste required, otherwise you’ll say it’s shit.

7. Men I Trust – Lauren

Typically slow, relaxing, dreamy indie pop sound. Lean back and enjoy!

8. Frankie Cosmos – On the Lips

Good mood guaranteed! Check out her Album ‚Next thing‘.

9. Savages – Adore

One of the most talked about and praised songs/albums („Adore Life“) of 2016. Not that I would give a shit, but this one is definitely worth it.

10. Massive Attack ft. Hope Sandoval – The Spoils  ★

Ok, it’s Massive Attack AND Hope Sandoval (from Mazzy Star), do I need to say anything more? Dive deep!

11. Colleen Green – Deeper than love

Sounds cool aaaand again it’s from the indie pop category. Smooth!

12. Sofi Tukker – Drinkee

If I had to choose the catchiest song from 2016 – ‚Drinkee‘ it would be! VERY fresh sound by the newcomer duo from New York.

13. Mike Posner – I took a pill in Ibiza (Seeb Remix)

No comment necessary, nice song often played on the radio but not too annoying 😀

14. Alle Farben – Bad Ideas

Late discovery. Especially suited if you’re feeling down. Sounds like: ‚Vance Joy – Riptide‘ meets Milky Chance.

15. Rae Sremmurd ft. Gucci Mane – Black Beatles

I noticed this guy (Rae Sremmurd) for the first time in 2016. This song has a pretty cool vibe to it, the rap part is ok and not too dominant, which I like.

16. Yelawolf – Daylight

Once under the wings of rap god Eminem, Yelawolf got better and better in recent years. This track is simply badass. If you’ve seen the trailer to the Johnny Depp movie ‚Black Mass‘, you know what to expect from Yela.

17. No money kids – Government

„Really the only song I need for the entire year“ – I posted on Facebook some time ago in 2016. Relatively unknown band, they have a unique sound (remotely comparable to ‚The Neighbourhood‘).

18. Warpaint – New Song

It takes some time to get a feel of the characteristic Warpaint sound, but once you like it, it’ll stick.

19. Michelle Gurevich – Russian Romance

Formerly known as ‚Chinawoman‘, Michelle Gurevich impresses with her soothing, at times melancholic touch. IMHO, still one of the more underrated artists.

20. Natalie Taylor – In the air tonight

Another one from the cover section, this time from the witty TV series Lucifer. A successful version of Phil Collins‘ all-time hit.

21. MILCK – Devil Devil

Hailing from ‚Lucifer‘ again, this song fits into the same category as the previous one. Starting slow, building up some drama and also quite emotional.

22. Kurt Vile – I’m an outlaw (live)  ★

Former member of ‚The War on Drugs‘, Kurt Vile has done pretty good solo work and in my view his distinctive vocals adds the special something to his songs.

23. Saro – Test

A new and pleasant discovery at the end of the year from the French electro/indie rock label Kitsuné. Anything they deliver is always FRESH!

24. Mike Perry ft. Shy Martin – The Ocean

Pretty mainstream (commerce), nevertheless and uplifting tune. To me it sounds like: Kygo meets Benjamin Francis Leftwich. Nice!

25. MØ – Final Song

And on we go with the popular music we all heard blasting from our radios. Another mainstream tune you really like listening to until it gets annoying 😉

26. Austra – Future Politics

Not much to say about this one except mentioning the unrivalled voice of Katie Stelmanis. Make Austra great again!

27. Leonard Cohen – You want it darker

One of his latest works until this true legend left our world.

28. Rationale – Fuel to the fire

From my days in England when I went for an evening/night run in the Hendon park. Another (at the moment) underrated great artist (vocalist!).

29. NEEDTOBREATHE ft. Shovels & Rope – Great Night  ★

Thanks to the series Lucifer again! Belongs to the kind of (rock) song you listen on a hot summer day driving with your top down. One of my favourites of 2016.

30. Cigarettes after Sex – K.

This band shows that not only Trip Hop can be sexy. Absolutely amazing sound – and yes, it’s definitely „bedroom music“ 😉

31. Tegan and Sara – 100x

The two Canadian siblings made their way to my list of preferred bands a long time ago – eight to be exact. Nice album as always – they are already evergreens of Indie pop/folk/rock.

32. Allie X – BITCH: XHIBIT I   ★

Allie X was a nice new 2016 discovery for me. Lovely trippy sound and video there, cudos! Sounds like: „When your getting groceries and the acid kicks in.“

33. Wax Tailor ft. IDIL – For the Worst

Not the usual Wax Tailor, but maybe even better. Has a Lana del Rey-ish sound but with more guitar and a touch of ‚Wicked Game‘ – definitely recommended.

34. L.E.J. – Summer 2016   ★

Ok, if you don’t already know the French girl trio L.E.J., shame on you! They are really GREAT and this is their mashup from some of the most popular songs of 2016.

35. Agnes Obel – Familiar

Danish singer/songwriter Agnes Obel has impressed me ever since I fell in love with one of her first songs – „Just So“ (2009).

36. San Cisco – B Side

Pure indie. Even the band’s name and the song title. Also quite addictive and upbeat.    When you should listen to it: While having a picknick in the park on a nice and breezy spring day.

37. Silversun Pickups – Circadian Rhythm

38. L’Aupaire -The River

39. Charlie XCX ft. Lil Yachty – After the Afterparty

Lil Yachty is a bit annoying here, but hey, as long as it’s Charlie XCX, it has to be an awesome song.

40. Alice Phoebe Lou – Berlin Blues

Very nice – sounds a bit like Brandi Carlile so it has to be good 🙂

41. Mitsky – Happy

42. Sia – Cheap Thrills

That song just rocked the scene! (and I’m not that big of a Sia fan). P.S.: Better listen without Sean Paul!

43. Twenty one pilots – Ride

Even better than their debut single „Stressed out“. They managed to bring in some fresh sound we don’t already know from other bands.

44. The Temper Trap – So much Sky   ★

Finally, after a long time, a new album from this amazing Aussie band. Lead singer has long hair now and shakes a rattle during their songs – but hey, they kick ass! Other great songs from the album are „Alive“ and „Burn“. If you liked „Sweet dispositon“ in 2009, you’ll love them again!

45. Blues Saraceno – Run on for a long time

A pretty cool song sampling Johnny Cash’s „God’s gonna cut you down“ – also discovered through ‚Lucifer‘.

46. Alex Cameron – She’s mine

Listed as one of the overlooked artists/albums of the year 2016. I don’t share this opinion, but he definitely brought some new sound to the scene and this song is easily the best off his album „Jumping the shark„.

47. ALMA – Karma

Found on the „SELECTED“ channel, this song immediately kicks in and itches to be played in a club where you just wanna dance your socks off to it.

48. Enrique Iglesias – Duele el corazon

The ultimate spanish summer hit – „SI TE VAS YO TAMBIEN ME VOY …“

49. The Cactus Channel ft. Chet Faker – Kill the doubt

Cool song I got to know from the Aussie label HopeStreet Recordings. You can’t go wrong with Chet Faker…

50. Wiley ft. Devlin – Bring them all/Holy Grime

Well, part of my music taste is still connected with British sounds of all kinds. Once you’ve lived in London, you HAVE to get a little bit into some Grime! Don’t google it, just listen to this song and you’ll know what I mean.

51. Run the Jewels ft. DJ Shadow – Nobody Speak

Could be more popular – Hip hop meets DJ Shadow – this is good stuff.

52. Ellem – That thing you do

Catchy song – also from a ‚Lucifer‘ episode, you’d think you rather clean up your flat to this or walk out of something with a big smile upon your face 😀

53. Craft Spells – Our park by night

54. La Femme – It’s time to wake up 2023

La Femme – this French band is labelled as ‚Psychobilly‘, don’t ask me what that is but they are definitely cool!

55. Neroche – And then she was gone  ★

Slow, downtempo, relaxing . Yes, the kind of song  you start thinking about life listening to it.

56. Lucifer (Tom Ellis) – All along the watchtower

Speaking for itself – a great version and I especially like Lucifer’s (Tom Ellis‘) emotional adding to it.

57. Nicolas Jaar – Space is only noise if you can see   ★

Once, I came home after an exhausting day, opened a bottle of red wine, had a bath and listened to that song. Says it all – and hey! – Nicolas Jaar!

58. Birdy Nam Nam – Abbesses  ★

A simply amazing DJ crew from France. When those guys are on the turntables – they rock the house! Incredible feel for rhythm and beat!

59. Sylvan Esso – Radio

Number 2 on the list of catchy songs of 2016. You just wanna MOVE to this song!

60. Robin Schulz ft. Akon – Heatwave

One of my ’summer songs‘ of 2016, each and every time I went swimming I had this playing. Ok it’s kind of mainstream (at least in Germany and Austria Robin Schulz is already famous) but as I said, it has a nice summer vibe to it.

61. Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders ft. Sharon van Etten – To keep and to be kept

A very soft song that makes you feel comfortable and safe.

62. Misun – Eli Eli

Another catchy one from the Kitsuné label – I told you, they are fresh.

63. Black Sabbath – Planet Caravan (DJ Steef edit)

Ideal for middle- or long distance train rides, especially when the rain is whipping the drops against the glass.

64. Bobby Gaylor – Suicide

A classic spoken word song. Contains lots of wisdom and good spirit – try listening to the whole thing at least once.

65. Estas Tonne – Who am I?

Brilliant musician Estas Tonne also uses spoken word in his songs – slow, clear and very very calming song.

66. Klemen Slakonja – Putin, Putout (Vladimir Putin)   ★

One of my favourites from the year 2016. Slovenian comedian Klemen Slakonja is INDEED overlooked by the media and deserves to be more well-known. His parody of Vladimir Putin is a brilliant act of healthy critic concerning current world politics. Must watch and must laugh!?

67. Modest Mussorgsky – The Old Castle (Pictures at an exhibition)  ★

68. Modest Mussorgsky – Bydlo (Pictures at an exhibition)   ★

Somehow this brilliant Russian composer kept crossing my mind several times and still continues to do so. Although it’s said that ‚Pictures at an exhibition‘ is from a time where he was way past his peak (his state of health was already declining) I’m not able to notice anything of that. It’s simply outstanding and those two ‚Pictures‘ are my favourite pieces from the suite.

69. The Chemical Brothers ft. Beck – Wide Open  ★

If you ask me, THE BEST song of 2016, if not one the best songs ever produced. Sounds like: Not from this world!

70. BBC’s Luther: There is love in the world! (Outro)

DCI John Luther has the last word. Enjoy 2017!

 

Boom like that

We all love entertaining games. It’s up to you to define the term entertaining but in this post I will show you two different kinds of very interesting chess gems. The first will be a tactical masterpiece by the vicious attacking player from Azerbaidzhan, Shakhriyar „Shakh“ Mamedyarov, whereas in the second example, we’ll deal with a beautiful study by famous Russian chess study composer Alexey Troitsky that is no less fascinating.

Mamedyarov,Shakhriyar – Savchenko,Boris

(Turkish Superleague Izmir, 2016)

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Bg5 Ne4 5.Bh4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 dxc4 7.e3 Be6 8.Be2 Bg7 9.Nh3!?

shakh-savch

This slightly odd move became more popular recently. White provokes Black to take on h3, thus accepting an inferior pawn structure which is compensated by the newly created open lines and diagonals for White’s bishop pair. (Instead the mainline begins with 9.Nf3) 9…c5 [the most popular alternative is the obvious 9…Bxh3 10.gxh3 Nd7 introducing the knight manoeuvre Nd7-b6-c8-d6 as essayed by Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (or simply 10…0–0); other viable moves are 9…c6 and 9…f6]  10.Nf4 Bd7 11.Bxc4 cxd4 12.cxd4 Qa5+ 13.Qd2 Nc6 14.Nd5N 14…Rc8 15.Rc1 Qxd2+ 16.Kxd2 Be6

shakh-savch1

The first critical position in the game. Queens have been exchanged and Black has played sensibly so far. Now the question is: How to proceed? How can White improve his position? What’s his plan? 17.Rc3! White wants to exert pressure along the b-file. The rook move also enables him to put his other rook on b1 whilst keeping the bishop protected. 17…Kd7 One could argue about the soundness of this king move….let’s say „hmmm….?!“ 18.Rb1 b6 19.Rbc1 Out of nothing White has put his opponent in a difficult situation. 19…Rhd8

shakh-savch2

Already the black position looks a bit smelly but to find something tangible it takes a deadly tactician like Shakh ‚Shakhnado‘ Mamedyarov. Here he unleashed the brilliant 20.Nxe7!!

shakh-savch3

Booom! Ok so what’s the catch? Why can’t I just take everything here? Let’s see: 20…Nxe7 21.Bb5+ Kd6 22.Rc7!!

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Now that’s the real shocker! A rather beautiful bolt from the blue. Black has to give in: 22…Rxc7 [Savchenko could have avoided the neat finish by the means of 22…Bd7 23.Bxe7+ Kxe7 24.Rxd7+ Rxd7 25.Rxc8 but here White has a close to winning endgame] 23.Bg3+ Kd5 24.Rxc7 Bf6 (24…Bf8 doesn’t change anything) 25.Bc4+ Ke4 26.Bd3+ Kd5 27.e4+ Kxd4 28.f4! 1-0

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                    A picturesque finish – „Resign – you are surrounded!“

 

„KREPOST“

 

        Troitzky

                                       A. Troitsky

Before I commence with the chess content, I’d like to make a small linguistical excursion. The following study was created by the famous  Russian chess study composer Alexey Troitsky. In chess studies, it appears quite often that one side, in most cases the side with a huge material deficit, manages to save the day by building a „fortress“. Now, not to give away the solution but giving you a hint, the following example is no difference and, given its russian origin, I used the title „Krepost„, which means the same as fortress but in a more metaphorical way could also be understood as „taking care of your health“. For example, in another Slavonic language, namely Serbo-Croatian, the term „okrijepiti se“ means to refresh yourself! Enjoy:

krepost

                         White to move and draw (Troitsky, 1910)

1.Nc6! Clearly, there is nothing else to stop the d-pawn [1.Nd7? doesn’t help: 1…d3 2.Nf6

krepost1 Bb8+! and Black is winning (not 2…d2 3.g3+ Kg5 4.Ne4+ would pick up the enemy pawn)] 1…d3 2.Nxa7! (against other moves Black always has the nasty insertion …Bg1+!)

krepost2

2…d2 3.Nb5! d1Q

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4.Nc3! You can already see how White’s health has visibly improved!

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4…Qd6+ 5.Kh1 [5.Kg1?? Qc5+ drops the knight] 5…Qe6 6.Ne4

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                      Black can’t make further progress – Krepost complete!  🙂

Till next time!

Back again

Dear all,

It’s been a really long time since my last blog post (you can find something from 2011 on the old site) and many things have happened since then. Let’s just make it short and say that I’m planning to bring up a more detailed (chess related) post before the new year has arrived. See it as a Christmas special, as a minor comeback just like BBC promised us to bring back (at least for one or two episodes) Luther and Sherlock around this time of the year after a long break 🙂

serve you soon! 😉

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