Monday, April 13, 2009

The cost of postage (Again)

Once again, Nathan the Nutter was angry at the world for yet another increase in the cost of stamps. So angry in fact, that a man needed a holiday to forget the heartlessness of government. So Nathan took himself off to Noumea and recharged his batteries in a pleasant land of sun and sand.
He arrived home refreshed, where 50 games awaited him. Now Nathan really liked postal chess, but felt that the latest indignity in postage rates should not go unresisted.
So Nathan carefully steamed open the 50 envelopes, made his moves and carefully sealed them up again. Now he had 50 games addressed to himself. He could mark them “Return to sender” but people may think he had left his home address and questions would be asked. However, his recharged brain thought of a simpler solution. Having left Noumea without leaving a forwarding address, he simply re-addressed the games to his Noumean hotel. The plan worked very cleanly : the bemused Noumeans simply returned them all to sender. 50 moves at no cost to Nathan. Nathan 50 Post Office 0.

Mammoth in the home

Elimination tournament have a habit of turning up some strange results and pairings. One of the more curious Australian ones was the pairing of Mrs. C.V. Henri vs Mr. S.J. Henri in the very first final of the Hammond Mammoth Tournament.
James and Carmelita saw great potential here for disruption in the home, so they soon resolved that all moves must be delivered via the post box. All temptations to hand deliver the next move after analysing over breakfast seem to have been resisted. Holidays, cessations etc were meticulously noted on the scoresheet.
Perhaps unfortunately for posterity, the game was not very interesting. James gained a positional advantage in the opening and slowly exploited it for another 40 moves. The most fascinating psychological gambit of the whole unnatural encounter was the curious note in the margin : “Holidays. It’s a boy!”
The sequel was rather ironic. With one game left, James playing rather well, was undefeated and had wrapped up first place (a silver bar and a nice amount of cash). Carmelita, not disrupted by her own psychological gambit, had also played well to hold second by half a point. James needed to win his last game for the household to clean up big. However, his attempt stir up complications was unsuccessful and he suffered his only loss, with Carmelita relegated to a meritorious third.

The cost of stamps

Once upon a time, there was a very keen player, an 80-game at a time man. To protect the guilty, we shall call him “Nathan the Nutter”.
And so it came to pass that the government of the land, for the third time in just a year or two, decided to raise the cost of postage. Now for a busy player like Nathan, this was not good news. As a matter of fact, he saw this latest impost as both capricious and unjust. So unjust in fact, that a man should protest at such injustice.
So Nathan went unto the post office and bought their entire supply of 1c stamps. After addressing his moves, he then plastered the envelope front and back with 1c stamps. He figured that if they wanted more money, then they should frank more often !
Nathan’s opponents, astonished at this excess, sent in the evidence to the committee. We could not decide exactly what, if anything, was illegal about the behaviour, but all agreed it was darn peculiar!

Among the cane

Once upon a time there was a player named Fred (though we change the names to protect the innocent)
Now Fred was a reliable player who always played within the rules, and he didn’t see why others shouldn’t too. Nothing wrong with that of course. He had been playing Keith quite uneventfully, when Keith started to become increasingly erratic. Transmission times were blowing out, postmarks bore little relation to the game score, there were periodic unexplained silences. Fred put up with this for a while, then complained to me as Tournament Secretary. I contacted Keith, and the reply was unusual, to say the least.
“Most of the year I live in Brisbane (the capital of Queensland), but when sugar cane season comes, I head north and do a spot of cane cutting. I am on a station about 100 km from Mossman (really wild North Queensland country). The cane season is also the wet season, the rain never stops and the roads are impassable. Even the air strip is under water. There are only two ways out, the motor bike and the horse. I crashed the bike and broke my leg, so I make my moves as soon as I can, but they have to wait until someone takes the mail through on the horse. I have no idea exactly when it gets dropped into a post box. I love playing, but the mail has a few problems at present.”
When the response was forwarded to Fred, he pondered and replied : “I withdraw my complaint. He can’t be cheating ... no one could make that excuse up !”