LT Panel
RT Panel

 

Chess & StarCraft: The Troll

TheOnlyShaft 2015-04-10 08:12:39
“Thou smell of mountain goat.”

–William Shakespeare

 

:: The Troll || Naniwa and Howard Staunton :: At the opposite end of the spectrum, in stark contrast to the childlike archetype, lies the Troll, a super-serious provocateur who advances the game in a way that only he can. Enter renowned former Warcraft 3 player Johann “Naniwa” Lucchesi. This guy is a superstar, dominating the foreign scene in the void left by Stephano’s retirement, but he also wished to go to University. For him, like Ilyes “Stephano” Satouri, the two had to be mutually-exclusive. This motivational schism would play a hidden role throughout Naniwa’s StarCraft 2 career, slowly poisoning the well. Before that, at least before it became apparent, Naniwa’s legacy was cemented by his innovative playstyle. He played Protoss, a race that at that time felt very stagnant. In the sense of bringing new life to the game, Naniwa was the foreign hope. One particularly devastating all-in he developed, the Immortal-Zealot, comes to this anxious Zerg author’s mind. And yet, despite any accidental good Naniwa may have done for the game, he is also extremely skilled at self-sabotage. As early as 2010, Naniwa was ruffling feathers; he was released from MeetYourMakers for showing up late to matches in ESL, resulting in his disqualification and ban from the tournament. Naniwa would often be seen as a sore sport. At MLG Raleigh 2011, for example, one fan approached Mr. Lucchesi to congratulate him on a well-played series against then-tyrant Nestea and console him on his eventual loss. Naniwa notably told that fan that he didn’t care and didn’t want to “**** talk about it.” At a later date in GSL’s Blizzard Cup against this same player, Naniwa would throw his match (which he couldn’t win; it was being played for ranking in the tournament, and could affect later matches; in short, a very important match for the tournament but one which meant absolutely nothing for Naniwa personally) with a probe rush out of frustration at his loss. This would result in the removal of his Code S spot in the upcoming tournament. Naniwa would often cite tournament organizers, tournament organization, as well as general game balance, as primary reasons for his losses. As of the date of this article, Naniwa’s last major action in StarCraft 2 was IEM Katowice, where he faced Choi “Polt” Seong Hun. Naniwa had proxied a gateway, earning a response from the crowd. Polt, in response to the crowd or out of some sixth StarCraft 2-spidey sense, scouts the proxy and responds appropriately.  

“xD so fun to play without soundproofing”

–Johann “Naniwa” Lucchesi.

Naniwa would forfeit his later matches, pack up his stuff, and walk away, head bowed low amidst the boos of the crowd. In a bizarre twist of fate: IEM Katowice was run by the ESL, that very same organization that originally banned Naniwa, resulting in his dismissal from MeetYourMakers! As one might expect, Naniwa’s antics at Katowice anticipated Alliance’s ax. This article seems like a fairly negative depiction of The Dragonslayer. But it is this author’s position that not only are players like this an unavoidable part of the game, but that their behavior, nay, their role, is in fact beneficial. StarCraft 2 had reached a lull. The people wanted to be stirred up a bit. The community needed controversy, the kind that only The King in the North could provide. Now, is this to say that the community is toxic, fostering, even benefitting from such players? No more than any other. Every community yearns for excitement; every community needs a villain to combat each hero. Take Chess’s Howard Staunton for example. A literary figure, editor of many newspapers and Chess columns, publisher of several magazines and a Shakespearean scholar to boot, Staunton seemed to see himself as God’s gift to Chess. The Chess community, or so his behavior suggested, was lucky to be blessed by his presence. Staunton deserves his place in history. He was one of the founding players of the English school; he propagated Nathaniel Cook’s design for a Chess set and received royalties for that throughout his life, a design that is still revered as the best to this day dubbed the “Staunton set.” Staunton was a great organizer. He set up some of the first international Chess tournaments and was instrumental in financing some of the world’s best. But as a player himself, he was not very sportsmanly, unlike his contemporary Adolf Aderssen. While a strong player himself, when he did lose, as all are wont to do at some point, he would display an extreme temper, often using his newspaper column to discredit his opponents, excuse his losses, and to puff himself up. In later years, Staunton would use his literary obligations as an excuse to dodge games. In one notable example, he used his editorial to lament that the American prodigy Paul Morphy was so far away, because he (Staunton) would like so very much to play him. The following paragraph was written on April 14, 1858, in the Illustrated London News, a much more colorful reply than the one he addressed to the New Orleans Chess Club directly:  

 

“We have been favoured with a copy of the defi which the friends of Mr. Paul Morphy, the Chess champion of the United States, have transmitted to Mr. Staunton. The terms of this cartel are distinguished by extreme courtesy, and with one notable exception, by extreme liberality also. The exception in question, however, (we refer to the clause which stipulates that the combat shall take place in New Orleans !) appears to us utterly fatal to the match ; and we must confess our astonishment, that the intelligent gentlemen who drew up the conditions did not themselves discover this. Could it possibly escape their penetration, that if Mr. Paul Morphy, a young gentleman without family ties or professional claims upon his attention, finds it inconvenient to anticipate, by a few months, an intended voyage to Europe, his proposed antagonist, who is well known for years to have been compelled, by laborious literary occupation, to abandon the practice of Chess beyond the indulgence of an occasional game, must find it not merely inconvenient, but positively impracticable, to cast aside all engagements, and undertake a journey of many thousand miles for the sake of a Chess-encounter? Surely the idea of such, a sacrifice is not admissible for a single moment. If Mr. Morphy?for whose skill we entertain the liveliest admiration?be desirous to win his spurs among the Chess chivalry of Europe, he must take advantage of his purposed visit, next year; he will then meet in this country, in France, and Germany, and in Russia, many champions whose names must be as household words to him, ready to test and do honour to his prowess.”

–Howard Staunton

Hearing that Staunton’s sole objection was that it must take place in New Orleans, Morphy travels to England eleven months ahead of schedule, but after much stalling and delay on the part of Staunton, moves on. Staunton had begged for more time to prepare, desperately afraid of losing face to this young upstart from New Orelans. Morphy, after traveling across Europe playing some of the world’s finest, returns to London hoping to match the great Howard Staunton at long last. After much correspondence and difficulties with preliminaries (think tournament format, and its prize pool [stakes]), in a final attempt to secure his match against the masterful Howard Staunton, publishes an open letter to Staunton and all who concern themselves with matters of Chess:  

“I beg leave to state that I had addressed a copy of this letter to the editors of the Illustrated London News, Bell's Life in London, the Era, the Field, and the Sunday Times; being most desirous that our true position should no longer be misunderstood by the community at large. I again request you to fix a date for our commencing the match. [...] Since my arrival in Paris I have been assured by numerous gentlemen, that the value of those stakes can be immediately increased to any amount, but, for myself, personally, reputation is the only incentive I recognize.”

–Paul Morphy

Ultimately the match never happened. Among all his “reasons” for this, Staunton blames Shakespeare. He was a famous scholar on the work of William Shakespeare and had largely abandoned Chess in its pursuit during his later life. This, it seems, was due in large part to an inability to travel. On several occassions, traveling for important Chess matches had rendered Staunton physically unsound–or perhaps this was yet another excuse. At this point in time, it’s hard to separate fact from fiction. Like Naniwa, though, Staunton felt like his chosen game was tearing him away from more important academic pursuits. This is evident at times from the way he speaks with regard to the subject among many other factors:  

“A match at Chess or cricket may be a good thing in its way, but none but a madman would for either forfeit his engagements and imperil his professional reputation. [...] The result is not, perhaps, what either you or I desired, as it will occasion disappointment to many; but it is unavoidable, and the less to be regretted, since a contest, wherein one of the combatants must fight under disadvantages so manifest as those I should have to contend against, after many years retirement from practical Chess, with my attention absorbed and my brain overtaxed by more important pursuits, could never be accounted a fair trial of skill.”

–Howard Staunton

One can eavesdrop on either Staunton’s or Naniwa’s internal dialogue, listing all of the opportunity costs of preparing for an upcoming match. This internal conflict would then manifest in both players careers’ in a multitude of ways, but beneath it all: fear of failure behind a furious facade. No one could put this into better words than the esteemed Mr. Staunton himself. Bear in mind, when the above was written, Staunton was 48 years old and had been playing Chess longer than Morphy, 21, had been alive. It is now October 1858 and three months have passed since Morphy arrived in London for the match that Staunton counter-proposed in reply to Morphy’s initial challenge in February 1858. Morphy would remain in Europe until March or April of 1959, but to no avail. Staunton organized some of the most prestigious tournaments of his era. He has two different openers named after him, and founded a school of thought regarding the game itself. At its heights, his Chess column reached thousands, perhaps millions of people. No one is better at stirring up excitment and competition, better at getting the crowd’s attention, than the Troll. For better or worse, he is the heart and spirit of competitive gaming.

? The Gentleman-Child Pride & Sorrow ?

If you enjoyed this content, feel free to follow the author at @theonlyshaft on Twitter.

Chess & StarCraft: The Troll

TheOnlyShaft 2015-04-10 08:12:07
“Thou smell of mountain goat.”

–William Shakespeare

 

:: The Troll || Naniwa and Howard Staunton :: At the opposite end of the spectrum, in stark contrast to the childlike archetype, lies the Troll, a super-serious provocateur who advances the game in a way that only he can. Enter renowned former Warcraft 3 player Johann “Naniwa” Lucchesi. This guy is a superstar, dominating the foreign scene in the void left by Stephano’s retirement, but he also wished to go to University. For him, like Ilyes “Stephano” Satouri, the two had to be mutually-exclusive. This motivational schism would play a hidden role throughout Naniwa’s StarCraft 2 career, slowly poisoning the well. Before that, at least before it became apparent, Naniwa’s legacy was cemented by his innovative playstyle. He played Protoss, a race that at that time felt very stagnant. In the sense of bringing new life to the game, Naniwa was the foreign hope. One particularly devastating all-in he developed, the Immortal-Zealot, comes to this anxious Zerg author’s mind. And yet, despite any accidental good Naniwa may have done for the game, he is also extremely skilled at self-sabotage. As early as 2010, Naniwa was ruffling feathers; he was released from MeetYourMakers for showing up late to matches in ESL, resulting in his disqualification and ban from the tournament.Naniwa would often be seen as a sore sport. At MLG Raleigh 2011, for example, one fan approached Mr. Lucchesi to congratulate him on a well-played series against then-tyrant Nestea and console him on his eventual loss. Naniwa notably told that fan that he didn’t care and didn’t want to “**** talk about it.” At a later date in GSL’s Blizzard Cup against this same player, Naniwa would throw his match (which he couldn’t win; it was being played for ranking in the tournament, and could affect later matches; in short, a very important match for the tournament but one which meant absolutely nothing for Naniwa personally) with a probe rush out of frustration at his loss. This would result in the removal of his Code S spot in the upcoming tournament. Naniwa would often cite tournament organizers, tournament organization, as well as general game balance, as primary reasons for his losses. As of the date of this article, Naniwa’s last major action in StarCraft 2 was IEM Katowice, where he faced Choi “Polt” Seong Hun. Naniwa had proxied a gateway, earning a response from the crowd. Polt, in response to the crowd or out of some sixth StarCraft 2-spidey sense, scouts the proxy and responds appropriately.  

“xD so fun to play without soundproofing”

–Johann “Naniwa” Lucchesi.

Naniwa would forfeit his later matches, pack up his stuff, and walk away, head bowed low amidst the boos of the crowd. In a bizarre twist of fate: IEM Katowice was run by the ESL, that very same organization that originally banned Naniwa, resulting in his dismissal from MeetYourMakers! As one might expect, Naniwa’s antics at Katowice anticipated Alliance’s ax. This article seems like a fairly negative depiction of The Dragonslayer. But it is this author’s position that not only are players like this an unavoidable part of the game, but that their behavior, nay, their role, is in fact beneficial. StarCraft 2 had reached a lull. The people wanted to be stirred up a bit. The community needed controversy, the kind that only The King in the North could provide. Now, is this to say that the community is toxic, fostering, even benefitting from such players? No more than any other. Every community yearns for excitement; every community needs a villain to combat each hero. Take Chess’s Howard Staunton for example. A literary figure, editor of many newspapers and Chess columns, publisher of several magazines and a Shakespearean scholar to boot, Staunton seemed to see himself as God’s gift to Chess. The Chess community, or so his behavior suggested, was lucky to be blessed by his presence. Staunton deserves his place in history. He was one of the founding players of the English school; he propagated Nathaniel Cook’s design for a Chess set and received royalties for that throughout his life, a design that is still revered as the best to this day dubbed the “Staunton set.” Staunton was a great organizer. He set up some of the first international Chess tournaments and was instrumental in financing some of the world’s best. But as a player himself, he was not very sportsmanly, unlike his contemporary Adolf Aderssen. While a strong player himself, when he did lose, as all are wont to do at some point, he would display an extreme temper, often using his newspaper column to discredit his opponents, excuse his losses, and to puff himself up. In later years, Staunton would use his literary obligations as an excuse to dodge games. In one notable example, he used his editorial to lament that the American prodigy Paul Morphy was so far away, because he (Staunton) would like so very much to play him. The following paragraph was written on April 14, 1858, in the Illustrated London News, a much more colorful reply than the one he addressed to the New Orleans Chess Club directly:  

 

“We have been favoured with a copy of the defi which the friends of Mr. Paul Morphy, the Chess champion of the United States, have transmitted to Mr. Staunton. The terms of this cartel are distinguished by extreme courtesy, and with one notable exception, by extreme liberality also. The exception in question, however, (we refer to the clause which stipulates that the combat shall take place in New Orleans !) appears to us utterly fatal to the match ; and we must confess our astonishment, that the intelligent gentlemen who drew up the conditions did not themselves discover this. Could it possibly escape their penetration, that if Mr. Paul Morphy, a young gentleman without family ties or professional claims upon his attention, finds it inconvenient to anticipate, by a few months, an intended voyage to Europe, his proposed antagonist, who is well known for years to have been compelled, by laborious literary occupation, to abandon the practice of Chess beyond the indulgence of an occasional game, must find it not merely inconvenient, but positively impracticable, to cast aside all engagements, and undertake a journey of many thousand miles for the sake of a Chess-encounter? Surely the idea of such, a sacrifice is not admissible for a single moment. If Mr. Morphy?for whose skill we entertain the liveliest admiration?be desirous to win his spurs among the Chess chivalry of Europe, he must take advantage of his purposed visit, next year; he will then meet in this country, in France, and Germany, and in Russia, many champions whose names must be as household words to him, ready to test and do honour to his prowess.”

–Howard Staunton

Hearing that Staunton’s sole objection was that it must take place in New Orleans, Morphy travels to England eleven months ahead of schedule, but after much stalling and delay on the part of Staunton, moves on. Staunton had begged for more time to prepare, desperately afraid of losing face to this young upstart from New Orelans. Morphy, after traveling across Europe playing some of the world’s finest, returns to London hoping to match the great Howard Staunton at long last. After much correspondence and difficulties with preliminaries (think tournament format, and its prize pool [stakes]), in a final attempt to secure his match against the masterful Howard Staunton, publishes an open letter to Staunton and all who concern themselves with matters of Chess:  

“I beg leave to state that I had addressed a copy of this letter to the editors of the Illustrated London News, Bells Life in London, the Era, the Field, and the Sunday Times; being most desirous that our true position should no longer be misunderstood by the community at large. I again request you to fix a date for our commencing the match. [...] Since my arrival in Paris I have been assured by numerous gentlemen, that the value of those stakes can be immediately increased to any amount, but, for myself, personally, reputation is the only incentive I recognize.”

–Paul Morphy

Ultimately the match never happened. Among all his “reasons” for this, Staunton blames Shakespeare. He was a famous scholar on the work of William Shakespeare and had largely abandoned Chess in its pursuit during his later life. This, it seems, was due in large part to an inability to travel. On several occassions, traveling for important Chess matches had rendered Staunton physically unsound–or perhaps this was yet another excuse. At this point in time, it’s hard to separate fact from fiction. Like Naniwa, though, Staunton felt like his chosen game was tearing him away from more important academic pursuits. This is evident at times from the way he speaks with regard to the subject among many other factors:  

“A match at Chess or cricket may be a good thing in its way, but none but a madman would for either forfeit his engagements and imperil his professional reputation. [...] The result is not, perhaps, what either you or I desired, as it will occasion disappointment to many; but it is unavoidable, and the less to be regretted, since a contest, wherein one of the combatants must fight under disadvantages so manifest as those I should have to contend against, after many years retirement from practical Chess, with my attention absorbed and my brain overtaxed by more important pursuits, could never be accounted a fair trial of skill.”

–Howard Staunton

One can eavesdrop on either Staunton’s or Naniwa’s internal dialogue, listing all of the opportunity costs of preparing for an upcoming match. This internal conflict would then manifest in both players careers’ in a multitude of ways, but beneath it all: fear of failure behind a furious facade. No one could put this into better words than the esteemed Mr. Staunton himself. Bear in mind, when the above was written, Staunton was 48 years old and had been playing Chess longer than Morphy, 21, had been alive. It is now October 1858 and three months have passed since Morphy arrived in London for the match that Staunton counter-proposed in reply to Morphy’s initial challenge in February 1858. Morphy would remain in Europe until March or April of 1959, but to no avail. Staunton organized some of the most prestigious tournaments of his era. He has two different openers named after him, and founded a school of thought regarding the game itself. At its heights, his Chess column reached thousands, perhaps millions of people. No one is better at stirring up excitment and competition, better at getting the crowd’s attention, than the Troll. For better or worse, he is the heart and spirit of competitive gaming.

If you enjoyed this content, feel free to follow the author at @theonlyshaft on Twitter.

Chess & StarCraft: The Troll

TheOnlyShaft 2015-04-10 08:11:49
“Thou smell of mountain goat.”

–William Shakespeare

 

:: The Troll || Naniwa and Howard Staunton :: At the opposite end of the spectrum, in stark contrast to the childlike archetype, lies the Troll, a super-serious provocateur who advances the game in a way that only he can. Enter renowned former Warcraft 3 player Johann “Naniwa” Lucchesi. This guy is a superstar, dominating the foreign scene in the void left by Stephano’s retirement, but he also wished to go to University. For him, like Ilyes “Stephano” Satouri, the two had to be mutually-exclusive. This motivational schism would play a hidden role throughout Naniwa’s StarCraft 2 career, slowly poisoning the well. Before that, at least before it became apparent, Naniwa’s legacy was cemented by his innovative playstyle. He played Protoss, a race that at that time felt very stagnant. In the sense of bringing new life to the game, Naniwa was the foreign hope. One particularly devastating all-in he developed, the Immortal-Zealot, comes to this anxious Zerg author’s mind. And yet, despite any accidental good Naniwa may have done for the game, he is also extremely skilled at self-sabotage. As early as 2010, Naniwa was ruffling feathers; he was released from MeetYourMakers for showing up late to matches in ESL, resulting in his disqualification and ban from the tournament.Naniwa would often be seen as a sore sport. At MLG Raleigh 2011, for example, one fan approached Mr. Lucchesi to congratulate him on a well-played series against then-tyrant Nestea and console him on his eventual loss. Naniwa notably told that fan that he didn’t care and didn’t want to “**** talk about it.” At a later date in GSL’s Blizzard Cup against this same player, Naniwa would throw his match (which he couldn’t win; it was being played for ranking in the tournament, and could affect later matches; in short, a very important match for the tournament but one which meant absolutely nothing for Naniwa personally) with a probe rush out of frustration at his loss. This would result in the removal of his Code S spot in the upcoming tournament. Naniwa would often cite tournament organizers, tournament organization, as well as general game balance, as primary reasons for his losses. As of the date of this article, Naniwa’s last major action in StarCraft 2 was IEM Katowice, where he faced Choi “Polt” Seong Hun. Naniwa had proxied a gateway, earning a response from the crowd. Polt, in response to the crowd or out of some sixth StarCraft 2-spidey sense, scouts the proxy and responds appropriately.  

“xD so fun to play without soundproofing”

–Johann “Naniwa” Lucchesi.

Naniwa would forfeit his later matches, pack up his stuff, and walk away, head bowed low amidst the boos of the crowd. In a bizarre twist of fate: IEM Katowice was run by the ESL, that very same organization that originally banned Naniwa, resulting in his dismissal from MeetYourMakers! As one might expect, Naniwa’s antics at Katowice anticipated Alliance’s ax. This article seems like a fairly negative depiction of The Dragonslayer. But it is this author’s position that not only are players like this an unavoidable part of the game, but that their behavior, nay, their role, is in fact beneficial. StarCraft 2 had reached a lull. The people wanted to be stirred up a bit. The community needed controversy, the kind that only The King in the North could provide. Now, is this to say that the community is toxic, fostering, even benefitting from such players? No more than any other. Every community yearns for excitement; every community needs a villain to combat each hero. Take Chess’s Howard Staunton for example. A literary figure, editor of many newspapers and Chess columns, publisher of several magazines and a Shakespearean scholar to boot, Staunton seemed to see himself as God’s gift to Chess. The Chess community, or so his behavior suggested, was lucky to be blessed by his presence. Staunton deserves his place in history. He was one of the founding players of the English school; he propagated Nathaniel Cook’s design for a Chess set and received royalties for that throughout his life, a design that is still revered as the best to this day dubbed the “Staunton set.” Staunton was a great organizer. He set up some of the first international Chess tournaments and was instrumental in financing some of the world’s best. But as a player himself, he was not very sportsmanly, unlike his contemporary Adolf Aderssen. While a strong player himself, when he did lose, as all are wont to do at some point, he would display an extreme temper, often using his newspaper column to discredit his opponents, excuse his losses, and to puff himself up. In later years, Staunton would use his literary obligations as an excuse to dodge games. In one notable example, he used his editorial to lament that the American prodigy Paul Morphy was so far away, because he (Staunton) would like so very much to play him. The following paragraph was written on April 14, 1858, in the Illustrated London News, a much more colorful reply than the one he addressed to the New Orleans Chess Club directly:  

 

“We have been favoured with a copy of the defi which the friends of Mr. Paul Morphy, the Chess champion of the United States, have transmitted to Mr. Staunton. The terms of this cartel are distinguished by extreme courtesy, and with one notable exception, by extreme liberality also. The exception in question, however, (we refer to the clause which stipulates that the combat shall take place in New Orleans !) appears to us utterly fatal to the match ; and we must confess our astonishment, that the intelligent gentlemen who drew up the conditions did not themselves discover this. Could it possibly escape their penetration, that if Mr. Paul Morphy, a young gentleman without family ties or professional claims upon his attention, finds it inconvenient to anticipate, by a few months, an intended voyage to Europe, his proposed antagonist, who is well known for years to have been compelled, by laborious literary occupation, to abandon the practice of Chess beyond the indulgence of an occasional game, must find it not merely inconvenient, but positively impracticable, to cast aside all engagements, and undertake a journey of many thousand miles for the sake of a Chess-encounter? Surely the idea of such, a sacrifice is not admissible for a single moment. If Mr. Morphy?for whose skill we entertain the liveliest admiration?be desirous to win his spurs among the Chess chivalry of Europe, he must take advantage of his purposed visit, next year; he will then meet in this country, in France, and Germany, and in Russia, many champions whose names must be as household words to him, ready to test and do honour to his prowess.”

–Howard Staunton

Hearing that Staunton’s sole objection was that it must take place in New Orleans, Morphy travels to England eleven months ahead of schedule, but after much stalling and delay on the part of Staunton, moves on. Staunton had begged for more time to prepare, desperately afraid of losing face to this young upstart from New Orelans. Morphy, after traveling across Europe playing some of the world’s finest, returns to London hoping to match the great Howard Staunton at long last. After much correspondence and difficulties with preliminaries (think tournament format, and its prize pool [stakes]), in a final attempt to secure his match against the masterful Howard Staunton, publishes an open letter to Staunton and all who concern themselves with matters of Chess:  

“I beg leave to state that I had addressed a copy of this letter to the editors of the Illustrated London News, Bells Life in London, the Era, the Field, and the Sunday Times; being most desirous that our true position should no longer be misunderstood by the community at large. I again request you to fix a date for our commencing the match. [...] Since my arrival in Paris I have been assured by numerous gentlemen, that the value of those stakes can be immediately increased to any amount, but, for myself, personally, reputation is the only incentive I recognize.”

–Paul Morphy

Ultimately the match never happened. Among all his “reasons” for this, Staunton blames Shakespeare. He was a famous scholar on the work of William Shakespeare and had largely abandoned Chess in its pursuit during his later life. This, it seems, was due in large part to an inability to travel. On several occassions, traveling for important Chess matches had rendered Staunton physically unsound–or perhaps this was yet another excuse. At this point in time, it’s hard to separate fact from fiction. Like Naniwa, though, Staunton felt like his chosen game was tearing him away from more important academic pursuits. This is evident at times from the way he speaks with regard to the subject among many other factors:  

“A match at Chess or cricket may be a good thing in its way, but none but a madman would for either forfeit his engagements and imperil his professional reputation. [...] The result is not, perhaps, what either you or I desired, as it will occasion disappointment to many; but it is unavoidable, and the less to be regretted, since a contest, wherein one of the combatants must fight under disadvantages so manifest as those I should have to contend against, after many years retirement from practical Chess, with my attention absorbed and my brain overtaxed by more important pursuits, could never be accounted a fair trial of skill.”

–Howard Staunton

One can eavesdrop on either Staunton’s or Naniwa’s internal dialogue, listing all of the opportunity costs of preparing for an upcoming match. This internal conflict would then manifest in both players careers’ in a multitude of ways, but beneath it all: fear of failure behind a furious facade. No one could put this into better words than the esteemed Mr. Staunton himself. Bear in mind, when the above was written, Staunton was 48 years old and had been playing Chess longer than Morphy, 21, had been alive. It is now October 1858 and three months have passed since Morphy arrived in London for the match that Staunton counter-proposed in reply to Morphy’s initial challenge in February 1858. Morphy would remain in Europe until March or April of 1959, but to no avail. Staunton organized some of the most prestigious tournaments of his era. He has two different openers named after him, and founded a school of thought regarding the game itself. At its heights, his Chess column reached thousands, perhaps millions of people. No one is better at stirring up excitment and competition, better at getting the crowd’s attention, than the Troll. For better or worse, he is the heart and spirit of competitive gaming.

If you enjoyed this content, feel free to follow the author at @theonlyshaft on Twitter.

Chess & StarCraft: The Troll

TheOnlyShaft 2015-04-09 02:09:58
“Thou smell of mountain goat.”

–William Shakespeare

 

:: The Troll || Naniwa and Howard Staunton :: At the opposite end of the spectrum, in stark contrast to the childlike archetype, lies the Troll, a super-serious provocateur who advances the game in a way that only he can. Enter renowned former Warcraft 3 player Johann “Naniwa” Lucchesi. This guy is a superstar, dominating the foreign scene in the void left by Stephano’s retirement, but he also wished to go to University. For him, like Ilyes “Stephano” Satouri, the two had to be mutually-exclusive. This motivational schism would play a hidden role throughout Naniwa’s StarCraft 2 career, slowly poisoning the well. Before that, at least before it became apparent, Naniwa’s legacy was cemented by his innovative playstyle. He played Protoss, a race that at that time felt very stagnant. In the sense of bringing new life to the game, Naniwa was the foreign hope. One particularly devastating all-in he developed, the Immortal-Zealot, comes to this anxious Zerg author’s mind. And yet, despite any accidental good Naniwa may have done for the game, he is also extremely skilled at self-sabotage. As early as 2010, Naniwa was ruffling feathers; he was released from MeetYourMakers for showing up late to matches in ESL, resulting in his disqualification and ban from the tournament. Naniwa would often be seen as a sore sport. At MLG Raleigh 2011, for example, one fan approached Mr. Lucchesi to congratulate him on a well-played series against then-tyrant Nestea and console him on his eventual loss. Naniwa notably told that fan that he didn’t care and didn’t want to “**** talk about it.” At a later date in GSL’s Blizzard Cup against this same player, Naniwa would throw his match (which he couldn’t win; it was being played for ranking in the tournament, and could affect later matches; in short, a very important match for the tournament but one which meant absolutely nothing for Naniwa personally) with a probe rush out of frustration at his loss. This would result in the removal of his Code S spot in the upcoming tournament. Naniwa would often cite tournament organizers, tournament organization, as well as general game balance, as primary reasons for his losses. As of the date of this article, Naniwa’s last major action in StarCraft 2 was IEM Katowice, where he faced Choi “Polt” Seong Hun. Naniwa had proxied a gateway, earning a response from the crowd. Polt, in response to the crowd or out of some sixth StarCraft 2-spidey sense, scouts the proxy and responds appropriately.  

“xD so fun to play without soundproofing”

–Johann “Naniwa” Lucchesi.

Naniwa would forfeit his later matches, pack up his stuff, and walk away, head bowed low amidst the boos of the crowd. In a bizarre twist of fate: IEM Katowice was run by the ESL, that very same organization that originally banned Naniwa, resulting in his dismissal from MeetYourMakers! As one might expect, Naniwa’s antics at Katowice anticipated Alliance’s ax. This article seems like a fairly negative depiction of The Dragonslayer. But it is this author’s position that not only are players like this an unavoidable part of the game, but that their behavior, nay, their role, is in fact beneficial. StarCraft 2 had reached a lull. The people wanted to be stirred up a bit. The community needed controversy, the kind that only The King in the North could provide. Now, is this to say that the community is toxic, fostering, even benefitting from such players? No more than any other. Every community yearns for excitement; every community needs a villain to combat each hero. Take Chess’s Howard Staunton for example. A literary figure, editor of many newspapers and Chess columns, publisher of several magazines and a Shakespearean scholar to boot, Staunton seemed to see himself as God’s gift to Chess. The Chess community, or so his behavior suggested, was lucky to be blessed by his presence. Staunton deserves his place in history. He was one of the founding players of the English school; he propagated Nathaniel Cook’s design for a Chess set and received royalties for that throughout his life, a design that is still revered as the best to this day dubbed the “Staunton set.” Staunton was a great organizer. He set up some of the first international Chess tournaments and was instrumental in financing some of the world’s best. But as a player himself, he was not very sportsmanly, unlike his contemporary Adolf Aderssen. While a strong player himself, when he did lose, as all are wont to do at some point, he would display an extreme temper, often using his newspaper column to discredit his opponents, excuse his losses, and to puff himself up. In later years, Staunton would use his literary obligations as an excuse to dodge games. In one notable example, he used his editorial to lament that the American prodigy Paul Morphy was so far away, because he (Staunton) would like so very much to play him. The following paragraph was written on April 14, 1858, in the Illustrated London News, a much more colorful reply than the one he addressed to the New Orleans Chess Club directly:  

 

“We have been favoured with a copy of the defi which the friends of Mr. Paul Morphy, the Chess champion of the United States, have transmitted to Mr. Staunton. The terms of this cartel are distinguished by extreme courtesy, and with one notable exception, by extreme liberality also. The exception in question, however, (we refer to the clause which stipulates that the combat shall take place in New Orleans !) appears to us utterly fatal to the match ; and we must confess our astonishment, that the intelligent gentlemen who drew up the conditions did not themselves discover this. Could it possibly escape their penetration, that if Mr. Paul Morphy, a young gentleman without family ties or professional claims upon his attention, finds it inconvenient to anticipate, by a few months, an intended voyage to Europe, his proposed antagonist, who is well known for years to have been compelled, by laborious literary occupation, to abandon the practice of Chess beyond the indulgence of an occasional game, must find it not merely inconvenient, but positively impracticable, to cast aside all engagements, and undertake a journey of many thousand miles for the sake of a Chess-encounter? Surely the idea of such, a sacrifice is not admissible for a single moment. If Mr. Morphy?for whose skill we entertain the liveliest admiration?be desirous to win his spurs among the Chess chivalry of Europe, he must take advantage of his purposed visit, next year; he will then meet in this country, in France, and Germany, and in Russia, many champions whose names must be as household words to him, ready to test and do honour to his prowess.”

–Howard Staunton

Hearing that Staunton’s sole objection was that it must take place in New Orleans, Morphy travels to England eleven months ahead of schedule, but after much stalling and delay on the part of Staunton, moves on. Staunton had begged for more time to prepare, desperately afraid of losing face to this young upstart from New Orelans. Morphy, after traveling across Europe playing some of the world’s finest, returns to London hoping to match the great Howard Staunton at long last. After much correspondence and difficulties with preliminaries (think tournament format, and its prize pool [stakes]), in a final attempt to secure his match against the masterful Howard Staunton, publishes an open letter to Staunton and all who concern themselves with matters of Chess:  

“I beg leave to state that I had addressed a copy of this letter to the editors of the Illustrated London News, Bell's Life in London, the Era, the Field, and the Sunday Times; being most desirous that our true position should no longer be misunderstood by the community at large. I again request you to fix a date for our commencing the match. [...] Since my arrival in Paris I have been assured by numerous gentlemen, that the value of those stakes can be immediately increased to any amount, but, for myself, personally, reputation is the only incentive I recognize.”

–Paul Morphy

Ultimately the match never happened. Among all his “reasons” for this, Staunton blames Shakespeare. He was a famous scholar on the work of William Shakespeare and had largely abandoned Chess in its pursuit during his later life. This, it seems, was due in large part to an inability to travel. On several occassions, traveling for important Chess matches had rendered Staunton physically unsound–or perhaps this was yet another excuse. At this point in time, it’s hard to separate fact from fiction. Like Naniwa, though, Staunton felt like his chosen game was tearing him away from more important academic pursuits. This is evident at times from the way he speaks with regard to the subject among many other factors:  

“A match at Chess or cricket may be a good thing in its way, but none but a madman would for either forfeit his engagements and imperil his professional reputation. [...] The result is not, perhaps, what either you or I desired, as it will occasion disappointment to many; but it is unavoidable, and the less to be regretted, since a contest, wherein one of the combatants must fight under disadvantages so manifest as those I should have to contend against, after many years retirement from practical Chess, with my attention absorbed and my brain overtaxed by more important pursuits, could never be accounted a fair trial of skill.”

–Howard Staunton

One can eavesdrop on either Staunton’s or Naniwa’s internal dialogue, listing all of the opportunity costs of preparing for an upcoming match. This internal conflict would then manifest in both players careers’ in a multitude of ways, but beneath it all: fear of failure behind a furious facade. No one could put this into better words than the esteemed Mr. Staunton himself. Bear in mind, when the above was written, Staunton was 48 years old and had been playing Chess longer than Morphy, 21, had been alive. It is now October 1858 and three months have passed since Morphy arrived in London for the match that Staunton counter-proposed in reply to Morphy’s initial challenge in February 1858. Morphy would remain in Europe until March or April of 1959, but to no avail. Staunton organized some of the most prestigious tournaments of his era. He has two different openers named after him, and founded a school of thought regarding the game itself. At its heights, his Chess column reached thousands, perhaps millions of people. No one is better at stirring up excitment and competition, better at getting the crowd’s attention, than the Troll. For better or worse, he is the heart and spirit of competitive gaming.

If you enjoyed this content, feel free to follow the author at @theonlyshaft on Twitter.

 

Latest Poll

first poll

Who is the strongest CS:GO player this year so far?