Chess Grandmaster Garry Kasparov Relives His Four Most Memorable Games

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Many consider Garry Kasparov one of the greatest chess players of all time. And for good reason. In 1985, at the age of 22, Kasparov defeated the reigning champion Anatoly Karpov. From that moment, until his retirement in 2005, he dominated. For the next 225 out of 228 months, he was the #1 ranked player in the game. Above, in a video created by The New Yorker, Kasparov "replays some of his most unforgettable games," and "relives the happiest and the most painful moments of his career," including:

  • Garry Kasparov vs. Anatoly Karpov: World Championship Match 1985
  • Garry Kasparov vs. Anatoly Karpov: World Championship Match 1987
  • Garry Kasparov vs. Viswanathan Anand: PCA-GP Credit Suisse Rapid Final Blitz Playoff 1996
  • Garry Kasparov vs. Deep Blue: I.B.M. Man vs. Machine 1997

In recent months, Kasparov has also created an online course for Masterclass, Garry Kasparov Teaches Chess, which--in 29 video lessons--offers a deeper exploration of his chess theory, tactics, and strategy.

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The Science of Beer: A New Free Online Course Promises to Enhance Your Appreciation of the Timeless Beverage

The brewing of beer is as old as agriculture, which is to say as old as settled civilization. The oldest recipe we know of dates to 1800 B.C. Over centuries, beer moved up and down the class ladder depending on its primary consumers. Medieval monks brewed many fine varieties and were renowned for their technique. Beer descended into pubs and rowdy beer halls, whetting the whistles not only of farmers, soldiers, sailors, and pilgrims, but also of burghers and a budding industrial workforce. During the age of modern empire, beer became, on both sides of the Atlantic, the beverage of working-class sports fans in bleachers and La-Z-Boys.

A craft beer Renaissance at the end of last century brought back a monkish mystique to this most ancient beverage, turning beer into wine, so to speak, with comparable levels of connoisseurship. Beer bars became galleries of fine polished brass, pungent, fruity aromas, dark and serious wood appointments. Craft beer is fun—with its quirky names and labels—it is also intimidating, in the breadth of complicated concoctions on offer. (Hipsters and penurious revelers revolted, made a fetish of Pabst Blue Ribbon, Milwaukee’s Best, and ye olde malt liquor.)

“Has craft beer peaked?” wonders The Washington Post’s Rachel Siegel. You can probably guess from the question that most trends point to “yes.” But as long as there is wheat, barley, and hops, we will have beer, no matter who is drinking it and where. One lasting effect of beer’s highbrow few decades remains: a popular scholarly appreciation for its culture and composition. You can study the typography of beer, for example, as Print magazine has done in recent years. A new online course applies the tools of empirical and sociological research to beer drinking.

“The Science of Beer,” taught by a cadre of student teachers from Wageningen University in Holland, explores “how [beer is] made, the raw materials used, its supply chain, how it's marketed and the effect of beer consumption on your body.” (This last point—in a world turned against sugar, carbs, and gluten—being partly the reason for craft beer’s decline.) Should your voice quaver when you approach the upscale reclaimed walnut bar and survey unfamiliar lagers, ales, stouts, bocks, porters, and hefeweizens… should you hesitate at Whole Foods when faced with a wall of beverages with names like incantations, this free class may set you at ease.

Not only will you learn about the different types of beer, but “after this course, tasting a beer will be an entirely new sensation: you will enjoy it even more since you will better understand what’s inside your drink.” Enrollment for the 5-week course began this past Monday and the class is currently open and free. (Make sure you select the "Audit" option for the free version of the course.) You should expect to devote 2 to 4 hours per week to “The Science of Beer.” Please, study responsibly.

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Dire Straits’ “Sultans Of Swing” Played on the Gayageum, a Korean Instrument Dating Back to the 6th Century

Every now and then, we check in on the fascinating musical world of Luna Lee--a musician who performs Western music on the Gayageum, a traditional Korean stringed instrument which dates back to the 6th century. Over the years, we've shown you her adaptations of Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Voodoo Chile;’ David Bowie's “The Man Who Sold The World;” Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah;” blues classics by John Lee Hooker, B.B. King & Muddy Waters; and Pink Floyd's “Comfortably Numb,” “Another Brick in the Wall” & “Great Gig in the Sky.” To keep the tradition going, today we bring you Luna's virtuoso take on Dire Straits' "Sultans Of Swing."

According to Guitar Player, Mark Knopfler originally wrote the song on a National Steel guitar in an open tuning. “I thought it was dull, but as soon as I bought my first Strat[ocaster] in 1977, the whole thing changed.” "It just came alive as soon as I played it on that ’61 Strat." Above, you can hear Luna play the song on a very vintage Gayageum. Be sure to catch that solo at the 1:28 mark. Enjoy...

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200+ Films by Indigenous Directors Now Free to View Online: A New Archive Launched by the National Film Board of Canada

The struggles of First Nations peoples in Canada have loomed large in the news, showing a far harsher side of a country Americans tend to caricature as a land of bland niceness, hockey fandom, and socialized medicine. Huge numbers of missing and murdered indigenous women, high rates of suicide, a multitude of health crises, and—as in the U.S.—the ongoing encroachment onto Indigenous lands by toxic pipelines and oilsands development…..

As with issues affecting other beleaguered communities across the globe, suffering from the continued depredations of colonialism and capitalism, these problems can seem so overwhelming that we don’t know how to begin to understand them. As always, the arts offer a way in—through humanizing portraits and intimate revelations, through detailed and compassionate stories, through creativity, humor, and beauty.

In March of this year, the National Film Board of Canada launched an “extensive online library of over 200 films by Indigenous directors,” reports the CBC, “part of a three-year Indigenous Action Plan to ‘redefine’ the NFB’s relationship with Indigenous peoples.” You can read the NFB’s plan here, a response to “the work and recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.”

Their free online film collection is searchable by subject, director, or Indigenous people or nation, writes Native News Online, and “many of the films in this collection are currently being screened in communities right across Canada as part of the #Aabiziingwashi (#WideAwake) Indigenous cinema screening series.”

Some of the highlights of the collection include Alanis Obomsawin’s The People of the Kattawapiskak River (top), a 2012 documentary that Judith Schuyler, of the Toronto-based ImagineNATIVE film organization, describes as “highlighting the government, the diamond mines and the skyrocketing freight costs as the contributing factors keeping the [Kattawapiskak] community in impoverished third world conditions.” Below it, see Lumaajuuq, a beautifully-animated short 2010 film by Alethea Arnaquq-Baril that tells the Inuit story of “The Blind Man and the Loon.”

Further up, see First Stories—Two Spirited, a 2007 film by Sharon A. Desjarlais that filmmaker Bretten Hannam describes as “a message of hope and healing not only for two-spirit people, but for all indigenous people," and, just above, Dennis Allen’s CBQM, a documentary about a radio station in Fort McPherson, Northwest Territories, which ImagineNative’s Jason Ryle describes as “a tender, intimate portrait of a northern community.”

Native News Online and the CBC list several other recommendations from the collection, or you can simply dive in and start watching here. Also, check out this crash course on rising Indigenous filmmakers. And if at any point you feel inspired to don the garb of a First Nations people and hit the clubs or music festivals, well, maybe heed the ultra-short public service announcement, “Naked Island—Hipster Headdress,” below, and “Just Don’t Do It.”

via @sheerly

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Apply to Become an Archivist Overseeing Prince’s Artifacts & Archival Materials: Applications Are Being Accepted Now

Image by Ann Althouse, via Flickr Commons

If all of Prince’s official releases somehow disappeared from history—no Controversy, 1999, Purple Rain, Sign o’ the Times, Lovesexy—you could still make a case for him as a singular, if unheard, musical genius based on his massive trove of unreleased material alone. At least that’s my theory, but the evidence is somewhat lacking since we’ve yet to hear much from the notorious Paisley Park vault. We do know, as Rolling Stone reported in 2016, that it’s full of “thousands of hours of unheard live and studio material—jams, random songs and entire albums”…enough material, it seems, to recreate Prince should his career somehow get erased from the timeline.

One former Paisley Park employee, Scott LeGere, witnessed the Purple One’s manic energy during many a long recording session, as he churned out music at a superhuman rate, then relegated much of it, for reasons known only to Prince, to the Vault—an actual basement bank vault “complete with a time lock and large spinning handle.” Only Prince knew the combination. “At one point,” LeGere remembered, “I was holding tapes and he would beckon me to come in. I said, ‘Actually, sir, I’d rather not. That is your space and your work.’” I don’t know about you, but I probably would have gone in. Then again, I’ve never actually been to Paisley Park and experienced what seems to have been a very humbling atmosphere.

As you must have heard by now, the Vault is open, and unreleased material has begun to trickle out, like the original studio recording of “Nothing Compares 2 U,” above with previously unreleased rehearsal footage of Prince and his band. He “recorded every part himself,” writes Jon Pareles, as was his custom, “except some backing vocals (by Paul Peterson and Susannah Melvoin) and a saxophone solo (by Eric Leeds).” It is, without a doubt, “a crescendo of heartache underscored by everyday details, a finished song.”

If you’re a Prince fan (and how could you not be?), you’ll have to wait until September for the first full album of songs from the Vault. But one lucky person with the relevant skills and experience in archival work and conservation will get the chance to work directly with the materials at Paisley Park, now a permanent museum, as the Archives Supervisor reporting to the Director of Archives. “Some knowledge of Prince is helpful,” the job announcement—posted on April 12th—specifies.

You’ll have to be prepared to work weekends, holidays, evenings, and overtime. Benefits are not guaranteed but “may be be offered after successful completion of a sixty (60) day introductory period.” You must have a car and “adhere to a pescatarian environment.” I can’t speak to how these conditions compare to similar kinds of employment, but hey, for the chance to “work in a confidential work area,” including, we might assume, the mysterious Vault itself, some sacrifices may be worth it. You'll likely get to see and hear, before anyone else, the profusion of unreleased film and audio Prince left behind—a lifetime's worth of work that puts most other musicians to shame, stashed away in the basement for future generations to find. You can apply here.

via Rolling Stone

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Watch Life on the Streets of Tokyo in Footage Recorded in 1913: Caught Between the Traditional and the Modern

What cities have, over the past century, defined in our imaginations the very concept of the city? Obvious choices include New York and London, and here on Open Culture we've featured historic street-level footage of both (New York in 1911, London between 1890 and 1920) that vividly reveals how, even over a hundred years ago, they'd already matured as commercially, technologically, and demographically impressive metropolises. At the turn of the 20th century, the 6.5 million-strong London ranked as the most populous city on Earth, and New York had overtaken it within a few decades. But by the mid-1960s, a new contender had suddenly risen to the top spot: Tokyo.

Historically speaking, of course, the word "new" doesn't quite apply to the Japanese capital, since as a settled area it goes back to the third millennium BC. But Tokyo didn't become the capital, effectively, until 1869 (not that even today's denizens of Kyoto, the country's previous capital, seem ever to have ceded the distinction in their own minds), around the same time that the previously closed-off island nation opened up to the rest of the world. Provided by Amsterdam's EYE Filmmuseum, the footage at the top of the post dates from less than half a century thereafter and conveys something of what it must have felt like to live in not just a country zealously engaged in the project of modernization, but in the very center of that project.

These clips were shot on the streets of Tokyo in 1913 and 1915, just after the death of Emperor Meiji, who since 1868 had presided over the so-called Meiji Restoration. That period saw not just a re-consolidation of power under the Emperor, but an assimilation of all things Western — or at least an assimilation of all things Western that official Japan saw as advantageous in its mission to "catch up" with the existing world powers. For the citizens of Tokyo, these, most benignly, included urban parks: "Japanese enjoy to the fullest the pleasures afforded by the numerous parks of the Empire," says one of the film's title cards. "Uyeno Park, Tokio, is a very popular place, especially on Sunday afternoons." But then, going by what we see in the footage, every place in Tokyo seems popular.

On the brink of thoroughgoing urbanization, the cityscape includes shrines, woodblock prints, signs and banners filled to bursting with text (and presumably color), and hand-painted advertisements for the then-novelty of the motion picture. The Tokyoites inhabiting it wear traditional kimono as well as the occasional Western suit and hat. Young men pull rickshaws and ride bicycles (those latter having grown much more numerous since). Peripatetic merchants sell their wares from enormous wooden frames strapped to their backs. Countless children, both in and out of school uniform, stare curiously at the camera. None, surely, could imagine the destruction soon to come with the 1923 Kanto Earthquake, let alone the firebombing of World War II — nor the astonishingly fast development thereafter that would, by the time of the reborn city's 1964 Olympic Games, make it the largest in the world.

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Enter an Online Interactive Documentary on M.C. Escher’s Art & Life, Narrated By Peter Greenaway

Despite their enormous popularity, the enigmatic works of Dutch artist M.C. Escher have not, perhaps, received their due in the high art world. But he is beloved by college-dorm-room-decorators, Haight-Ashbury hippies, mathematicians, doctors, and dentists, who put his art on their walls, says Micky Pillar, former curator of the Escher Museum in The Hague, because “they think it’s a great way of getting people engaged and forgetting about reality.” Mathematical giants Roger Penrose and HSM Coxeter “were dazzled by Escher’s work as students in 1954,” notes The Guardian's Maev Kennedy. Mick Jagger was a huge fan, though Escher turned him down when asked to draw an album cover, annoyed at being addressed by his first name (Maurits).

Escher, says Ian Dejardin—director of the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London—“may have been the only person in the world who had never heard of the Rolling Stones.” It wasn’t that he ignored the world around him, but that he focused his career on inventing another one, taking inspiration first from the Italian countryside and cityscapes, after settling in Rome, and later turning to what he called “mental imagery”: the paradoxical portraits, fantastical shifting shapes, and mind-bending patterns, so absorbing that people in waiting rooms forget their discomfort and anxiety when looking at them.

One of the most famous of such works, 1939’s Metamorphosis II, owes its creation to the historical pressures of Italian fascism and the geometric fascinations of Islamic art. After leaving Rome in 1935 as political tensions rose, Escher found himself inspired by his second visit to The Alhambra in Spain. Its “lavish tile work,” as the National Gallery of Art writes, “suggested new directions in the use of color and the flattened patterning of interlocking forms.” So intricate and technically dazzling is the four-meter-long print that it merits an in-depth look at its context and composition.

That’s exactly what you’ll find at a new “interactive documentary” on Metamorphosis II, by the makers of a similar feature on Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights. The online resource lets users scroll across the print, zooming in to an extraordinary level of detail, or zooming out to see how it transitions section by section, from the word “metamorphose,” to a checkerboard pattern, to lizards, honeycombs, bees, hummingbirds, fish, etc.. Along the way, you can click on little colored hexagons (that transform into cubes) and bring up short articles on Escher’s life and aspects of the work at hand. Each of these featurettes is narrated (in the English version) by British filmmaker and artist Peter Greenaway. Once you open one of these explanatory windows, a navigation tool (above) appears at the bottom of the screen.

We see how the various animals in Escher's “systematic tessellations,” as he called them, were chosen by virtue of their shape as well as Escher’s interest in their life cycles and methods of organization. “Nature was a source of wondrous beauty for Escher,” the documentary explains. “In his journals and letters, he often wrote about what surprised, amazed or moved him” in the natural world. Some of the Metamorphosis II sections appeared in later works like 1943’s Reptiles. Escher drew attention both to the natural world’s variety and its genius for repeated patterns. But the movement from one animal to the next has nothing to do with zoology.

Escher delighted in playing “mind association games.” We learn that as a child, “he would lie in bed and think of two subjects for which he had to create a logical connection.” In one example he gave, he would attempt to find his way from “a tram conductor to a kitchen chair.” Metamorphosis II gives us a visual representation of such games, mental leaps that challenge our sense of the order of things. The documentary situates this fascinating work in a historical and aesthetic context that allows us to make sense of it while adding to our appreciation for its strangeness, offering several different ways of approaching the work, as well as an invitation to make your own.

One feature, the “Metamorphosis Machine,” lets you choose from a selection of starting and ending patterns. Then it fills in the transformation in the middle. The results are hardly Escher-quality, but they are a fun and accessible way of understanding the work of an artist whose vision can seem forbidding, with its impossible spaces and disorienting transformations. Enter the Metamorphosis II interactive documentary here.

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

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