Brilliant, hilarious, unpatriotic

6/25/2003 – When you try to be funny in chess and go out on a political limb you are bound to get reactions. Like the hundreds of letters we received to Mig Greengard's "Weapons of Match Distruction" column (one came from the head of a psychiatric clinic). 80% were positive, 19% took offence at the unpatriotic contents of his satire. Here are excerpts.

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"I hear a teacher in Scotland was arrested at Glasgow Airport on suspicion of being a terrorist," wrote John Henderson from Seattle. "In his possession were compasses, protractors, straight edges, and triangulation devices. He is suspected of being a member of Al Gebra, bearing weapons of maths instruction." Boom, boom!

There were other attempts to top Mig Greengard's latest "Weapons of Match Distruction" column. The government of Nigeria had fallen, we were informed, ousted by the people who have never overcome their outrage at the willful destruction of any chances of holding the "Miss Universe" competition there. A German company, Conrad Elektronik, had brought out a flame-thrower like device that is used to destroy weeds and moss in your garden. And guess what somebody said the executives of Enron were using when they brought down their company. Correct: Weapons of Cash Destruction.


Hiding behind a Notebook: chess humourist Mig Greengard

There was an extraordinary number of letters in reaction to Mig's column. About 80% were positive, cheering the man on (we from ChessBase have always considered that reckless), while 19% took offence at the unpatriotic contents of his satire. Needless to say we distance ourselves from the writings of Mig and specifically state that any opinions expressed by him are his and his alone.

[What? Oh, yes, they thought the piece was simply not funny.]

Here is a small selection of the reactions that we received. Once again we would like to stress that the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the various submitters do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the the editorial staff of this web site (boy, are we being chicken today!).

  • Don Pilgrim: Thanks Mig for that thoughtful and funny article. My biggest laugh came at the place where the French Defense will now be known as the "Heroic Freedom Defense." Thanks for the humor.

  • Tony West: That has got to be one of the funniest columns I have ever read!

  • Holger Lieske: This is a MoC the way I love it (really). Great. Suggestion: 1. Black pieces will in future be called "afro-american pieces". 2. Berlin Defense (correct... Germans were not in the coalition) gets replaced by JFK-Defense (Ich bin ein Berliner).

  • Igor Freiberger: Outstanding! Your #191 is simply brilliant. LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL. You're a genius, Mig.

  • Joseph Sucher: Bravo! A great piece. I especially liked "one of the known knowns we know".

  • Jonathan Shockley: Almost as funny as Charles Chaplin playing Hitler with the world in his hands. Keep making fun of Dubya, King George II. I love it!!!

  • J Adams: Way off. You must be some kind of fascist anti-American loser. Only your irrelevance saves you from the persecution you should suffer. I had heard that Mig on Chess was funny and gave insight into the world's top players. This is proof that you are just some left-over cold-war clueless, leftist lover of the communist system and everything not American. Your father should have beaten you more (not just in the head).

  • Wallace H: Brilliant. I laughed aloud several times. I wish more chess writers were this "human" from time to time. Really funny stuff, keep it up. I've got to go work on my Heroic Freedom Defense and brush up in on my Liberty Stars Attack (formally the confusing and obviously foreign sounding "Giouco Piano" or worse Italian Game).

  • Michel van der Stappen: I'm Belgian, and we refused to join the coalition too, so we too deserve some punishment. Regrettably no Belgian opening exists, except in that joke: Italian = 3.Bc4, Spanish = 3.Bb5, Belgian = 3.Ba6. Only the "Colle-defense" was named after a Belgian master, so you can have your way with it. Great article!! (as usual)

  • Denis Bilunov: Cool! Great Column!

  • Greg van Scoy: Hilarious! How difficult can it be for FIDE to put together a championship process? All were talking about at this point is staging three matches! Isn't that one of their primary purposes as an organizing body for chess? How incredibly disappointing.

  • Gustavo Pereira: Thank you Mig for such an excellent article. It had been a long time since I last read something so intelligently written.

  • Francois Dongier: I just hope it won't take you to Guantanamo.

  • Shawn (Ottawa): I use to come visit your website for news and information concerning chess. Seeing as you decided to inject your own personnal opinions on the global situation and skew it so it fits your own agenda(Does FIDE possess weapons of match destruction?), I will not be visiting your website anymore. I hope you have a nice day.

  • Andreas Eleftheriou: Laughing...with tears in my eyes. Fantastic article. Please more like that. Just... Thank you from a chess fan

  • Joachim Rang: your Mig on Chess #191 is really great. I enjoyed it very much. Thank you for that very funny and intelligent report. I'm imaging that you'll get a lot of hate mails which call you unpatriotic. Well I can't decide, I'm from "old europe" so I probably do not understand what is going on in the world ;-).

  • "Jackie Chan": I'm not much for being sucky-sucky, but I've just read MoC #191 and can't stop laughing. It's pure bloody genius. I hope someone from FIDE reads it. It'd bloomin' shame me into getting off my backside and doing something. I personally like the dolphin named Kevin.

  • Dr. Jan Martz (Psychiatric Polyclinic Winterthur): Thanks for your column, immensely amusing and just as heart-wrenching.

  • Mig Greengard: Thanks to everyone for all the kind words. I had fun with the article, particularly the goat photo! God I love that goat photo! In chess articles I just try to lean toward "funny," not right or left. In this case, there is rarely any humor in agreeing with government, or anyone for that matter. Humor is usually at someone's expense and parody is by definition. I used to make jokes about Clinton, now I make jokes about Bush.


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