creativity: ways to develop a chequered career

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The Independent Online
Kings, queens, bishops and the occasional knight featured prominently in your suggestions for the useful redeployment of chess grandmasters, rendered obsolete by machine intelligence.

"Grandmaster, you're old," the circuit board said,

"And your moves are increasingly slow;

Your mind's on the blink and your heart is like lead,

Don't you think it is time you should go?"

writes Geoffrey Langley.

Judi Shepherd suggests that Princess Diana might benefit from the advice of a grandmaster - "a Rook in Knight's clothing to help her deal with a few awkward Bishops, one Queen and a would-be King."

AW Lane sees a vacancy in the Northern Ireland Office, to resolve the position of the Queen vis-a-vis the Bishops, the Knights in Stormont Castle, and the politicians who imply that their opponents are Rooks and treat the public as Pawns.

"You're right," said the master, "my technique is lame,

There's no future in playing this joker.

I'll forego my fame, I'll give up this game,

And prepare to take up topless poker,"

Geoffrey Langley continues.

AJ Brewer points out that "grandmaster" is an anagram of "mad stranger", and gives the following advice to any offered redundancy terms: "Take the cheque, mate."

Chris Bell thinks that chess grandmasters always have been redundant. Nicholas E Gough is convinced they never will be. Rosie Trevelyan thinks that redundant grandmasters are the only people who could possibly program the computers that would make them redundant in the first place. She's deeply worried about what Deep Blue would have spent the prize money on had it beaten Kasparov last month.

"Quoth the wondrous machine, "that would be a real sin;

We'll share our great talents between us.

I'll choose the numbers, you mark them in,

And we'll take Camelot to the cleaners,"

Geoffrey Langley concludes.

Tony Haken thinks they should be deployed in railway ticket offices for those passengers who want the quickest way to get from Haverfordwest to Fort William, with two parents, one child, one student, a railcard and a granny with a bicycle. "While your average booking clerk will knit his brow until the end of the shift, then slam his window shut, and Deep Blue would perform several squillion calculations before igniting with railroad rage and running into the electric buffers, Garry K will have the tickets issued before you can say Staff Shortage."

"Laying lino tiles," says RJ Pickles. "Open a pawn shop," says Patricia Watkins. "Pawn movies," says Harold Stone. "Connect several hundred in parallel to replace a computer," advises Frank Card.

Prizes to Geoffrey Langley (for his italics), Tony Haken (for social realism), Patricia Watkins (for simplicity). Next week - Worm Awareness Week, as we are sure you are aware - things to do with worms. Meanwhile, Mollie Caird is worried about the brain cells she keeps losing. "Surely there's something better to do with them than just hoovering them up with the rest of the house dust?" All ideas to: Creativity, the Independent, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL. Chambers Dictionary prizes for the best.

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