Jolie Rouge

all ur parentheses Я belong to me

Understanding Common LISP

LISP is the perfect programming language. It is so perfect, it is shit. Well, okay it is not shit, it’s awesome, but when you first try to learn it, it is completely shit. It is the most obscure, abstract, whacked out language ever thought up. But it’s perfect. It is so elegant, and so simple, that  you just can’t believe it works that way. What makes LISP difficult to learn is that you spend half your time unlearning deeply ingrained prejudices about how things can or should be done.

Getting over this initial hump is the hardest thing about learning LISP. Oh, and the documentation can sometimes really suck. If LISP had PHP style documentation, it would totally rule. It would rule everything.

The Black Grimoire – Chapter 02 – Remember, remember

What is necessary to learn chess, and to become good at it, is to take on a kind of chess apprenticeship. Of course finding a chess coach is one way to do this, however; the problem with a chess coach is that he monetarily benefits the slower you learn. In the old days of an apprenticeship, the faster you mastered your trade, the more valuable you were to the master.

This system[apprenticeships] arose as a solution to a problem: As business expanded in the Middle Ages, Masters of various crafts could no longer depend on family members to work in the shop. They needed more hands. But it was not worth it for them to bring in people who could come and go – they needed stability and time to build up skills in their workers. And so they developed the apprenticeship system, in which young people from approximately the ages of twelve to seventeen would enter work in a shop, signing a contract that would commit them for the term of seven years. At the end of this term, apprentices would have to pass a master test, or produce a master work, to prove their level of skill. Once passed, they were now elevated to the rank of journeymen and could travel wherever there was work, practicing the craft.

Because few books or drawings existed at the time, apprentices would learn the trade by watching Masters and imitating them as closely as possible. They learned through endless repetition and hands-on work, with very little verbal instruction…

Mastery – Robert Greene(p59)


Apprenticeship is an inherently social learning method with a long history of helping novices become experts in fields as diverse as midwifery, construction, and law. At the center of apprenticeship is the concept of more experienced people assisting less experienced ones, providing structure and examples to support the attainment of goals. …  Apprenticeship as a method of teaching and learning is just as relevant within the cognitive and metacognitive domain as it is in the psychomotor domain.

The Black Grimoire – Chapter 01 – Chess, the absurd game

Chess is absurd. Philosophically it is the ultimate proof that strategic thinking is inherently, and morally flawed. Whatever you have been told about chess, you need to forget it very quickly because it is wrong. Most people think that the point of chess is to checkmate the opponent’s King, this is completely naive. The point of chess is to acquire advantage, and then destroy everything except what you have. This advantage becomes smaller and smaller the better at chess you become, until at high levels, the mere possession of a well placed pawn decides victory. The point of the Opening in chess is to establish a basic position and snatch an advantage, however small. The point of the Middle Game is to perform a series of equal exchanges so that you maintain your advantage. The point of the End Game is finish destroying whatever your opponent has left, then marching your pawn to the other side of the board and converting it into a Queen. At which point check mate is an epiphenomenon. Very few chess games get to this point. Normally the opponent simply resigns once it becomes obvious he cannot win.

The reality of chess is that check mate is a secondary consideration, it only occurs outside of the End Game when either party has made a serious error.

The method of chess has very little to do with anything approaching strategy. Chess is, or at least has in the last 100 years become, the art of memorization. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t some basic strategic rules that you should follow, it simply means that they are few, and secondary to memorization. If you memorize the correct sequences of moves for all variations of merit from a specific opening, and your opponent hasn’t, all of his strategic plans will ultimately come to nothing.

This all seems counter-intuitive to early chess experience, because we get beaten badly and often, but these defeats are simply the impetus to learn more moves, more variations, more Opening Theory.

Of course, the term Opening Theory is just as absurd a collection of words as chess is a game of absurdities. There is no theory, there are only Lines. Lines are the arcane magic of the Grand Master, he memorizes them, he studies them, he runs them through Chess Engines (or he pays someone to do it for him). It is entirely possible that some Grand Masters are not quite aware of this, or some Masters of Chess. They actually may think that they have some natural intuitive strategic gift. Show me a Grand Master who has never memorized Games and Lines and I will show you a liar.

The Middle Game of chess is about the only place where cleverness, based on experience(read: how many games you have memorized or played through), can be of any assistance at all. At this point in the game you are to move your pieces around, and around, and around trying to create exchanges that 1) favor you or 2) don’t favor anyone (equal). Of course you are always on the lookout for acquiring a better position during all of this moving about. If your opponent makes an error (played the wrong move order as was said by Vishy Anand in one interview) then you might be able to grab another small or large advantage. At lower levels this error might be so big you can even grab an early check mate.

The Black Grimoire – Chapter 00 – Introduction

This book is the chess book that I have always wanted. I have managed to collect together many chess books, all very good, but each has its flaws. I am not writing this book as a master attempting to explain good chess, but as a student who is learning. Here is where I will gather all the knowledge I have learned thus far, in the hopes that it will help others, as well as myself.

Black is the most important side of the game, because its response to the opening move of white determines the game, the lines, and all the strategies to be employed. White is, in a sense privileged with the first move, but at a disadvantage if black is well prepared. A well prepared black player will also be a well prepared white player.

It is for this reason that this entire book will be from the perspective of black, and that is why it is called The Black Grimoire.

Style Guide

There are many different ways to present and annotate a chess game, most of them are rather irritating. The first is the practice of using chess piece dingbats, which in this book will be conspicuously absent. I prefer the letter notation, it is clearer, and more in line with the internet and fonts.

The next issue which I have, and perhaps I am alone in this, is that annotations usually serve to confuse and irritate you when trying to play through the game. Most annotations are completely useless, sycophantic, or so obscure as to be pointless to anyone who isn’t a grand-master. In this sense, the average annotated game is written for those who wouldn’t read it and read by those who can’t understand it.