ICS Interview – MrPink

THE ICS INTERVIEWS SERIES – No. 006 – MRPINK
Interview conducted March 2011
First published March 2019

 

INTERVIEWER

Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed as part of the ICS Interviews series. You’re well known as both a suicide and wild 5 player. Which variant of the two do you prefer?

MRPINK

I happen to like them both a great deal, still, tho I’ve not played “competitively” or even regularly for quite awhile.  I’d probably have to say Suicide, merely because it’s so much easier to find a game of that.  If there were a thriving wild 5 community, I’d be happy to be a part and might even get heavily back into it.

INTERVIEWER

Do you enjoy any other variants as much as the previously named two? I know you’ve had “Paranoia Chess” as part of your fingernotes for a few years, but it’s rather hard to find anybody to play that specific variant! Are there other common variants that you enjoy?

MRPINK

Hah, Paranoia Chess just mesmerized me with how clever of a variant it was; your opponent loses a piece if you predict his move before he moves!  I’m a novice Crazyhouse player and I used to like Atomic chess before I forgot all the standard defenses.  Bughouse is a fun and somewhat infrequent party game around here.  Losers’ chess — “chess for losers”, in other words — is the one specific variant on FICS I’m proud to have never played.

INTERVIEWER

Do you still play chess either online or offline?

MRPINK

Not hardly.  I taught some silly thing for fifth-graders a few years back, and occasionally at one of my annual DorkFest parties chess will be a part of it; I know quite a few of the guys in the local chess scene.  But aside from that, almost never.  If I found myself with a preponderance of free-time I might get back into playing online tho…

INTERVIEWER

How did you get introduced to playing chess online? What server did you start on?

MRPINK

There was a chess club meeting during freshman year of college where someone recommended I sign up on FICS, as it was (and still is, thank you very much) free.  The guy gave me a 3.5″ disk with some dilapidated user interface files on it and gave me the telnet address (fics.onenet.net 5000!) and that was that.  I either didn’t like or (more likely) couldn’t figure out how to use the interface, so for quite awhile I just played with the stanky text interface, no timeseal, etc.  Those were some horrific conditions, as far as online chess goes, but I still have fond memories of strolling over to main campus computer-lab at 2am on a weeknight and playing hours of bad chess on FICS.

Really, aside from a two-week ICC trial membership, visiting GICS for Atomic, and an abortive and abbreviated attempt at being anonymous on chess.net, the only sites I ever played were FICS and the dearly-departed MEWIS.

INTERVIEWER

Why did you select the name “MrPink”?

MRPINK

I signed up back in ’95 or so — maybe ’94 — which was right after Pulp Fiction was released, which rapidly became my favorite movie of all-time.  I got into all things Quentin Tarantino around then, and his earlier film Reservoir Dogs really resonated with me and my friends that I knew from high school the year before.  Steve Buscemi’s character, who was unwillingly given the codename Mr. Pink, was quite memorable and my favorite from the movie, and I thought his name made for a good handle.  It made for some laughs over the years from people who had seen the movie and would throw some quotes around with me.

INTERVIEWER

How did you get introduced to wild 5 and did you have a teacher?

MRPINK

I think I probably was just on the site and was bored with (or sick of losing at) blitz and sniffed around for something new.  For all I know I was fodder for some eeker looking for fresh meat; I’ll ask TheRaven if I ever meet him.  The game appealed to me due to the sheer firepower aspect of it, and how much activity there was all over the board.  I’m too impatient and undisciplined to ever really dig into the nuts and bolts of playing superior standard chess — how moving your king to one wrong square during endgame can turn a win into a loss, stuff like that.  Well, Wild 5 didn’t strike me as the type of game that would have a lot of endgame to it, so how could I resist its charm?

Looking back — and really, I seem to have forgotten nearly everything about my Wild 5 days — I can’t imagine I had a teacher, as I would always play such junk lines, on either side of the board.  ChSte probably showed me a few tricks early on, and maybe loney too, but I think much of my lines were homegrown or were beaten into me by consistent losses.

INTERVIEWER

How did you get introduced to suicide chess and did you have a teacher?

MRPINK

When it was new — 1997? — was around when I was playing regularly and had my own computer in my dorm room.  Its calculations seemed like the sort of thing I could get my mind around, as so rarely would there be multi-piece combinations leading to some killer attack.  To a certain degree, it’s more about the other guy’s pieces — getting some rogue bishop to mop up all your pieces, for example — than it is about gradually building up a positional advantage through a series of advancing moves.  Well, I should say at least that’s true at the 1 0 and 0 1 games that I used to frequently play.

Furthermore, I knew (and know) that I’m decades behind others in chess knowledge and was hoping the “newness” of this variant would put me on a level-footing with everyone else who was also probably just now hearing about it.  And since none of the real chess “elites” seem to waste their time with piddly variants (certainly not Suicide!), I figured all the conditions were there for me to maybe become one of the better players on the site, at least at those silly fast time controls.

As for a teacher — I remember spending some time talking to Thunderstorm, who I seem to recall was a friendly German fellow who had played Suicide for awhile — maybe even was one of the instigators who got the game onto the site.  So indeed, I have him to thank for my learning of the “forced” e3 b5 defense, a line I’ve mercifully avoided for the last ten years and which I believe is a forced win for white.  We were so cute back then, eh?

INTERVIEWER

Although we’ve established your love for some chess variants, and we know you played on MEWIS-2 for a few months. Thai chess (makruk) was one of the variants we both enjoyed and loved. MEWIS-2 had an online title system based on rating and games. I played you in the final game required to gain the grandmaster title if I won, and promptly lost. Do you still play makruk? Do you have any of the games archived?

MRPINK

Hah, I was hoping you’d bring that up!  Truth be told, I actually found Thai Chess…kinda boring!  I don’t know how I beat you that one time — my guess is you probably let up due to your inferior opposition!  Anyhow, aside from my FICS journal — and maybe journals on other sites (didn’t MEWIS have 100 slots or something?) — I don’t have any online games archived.  It’s probably just as well! 🙂

INTERVIEWER

What were your favorite variants to play on MEWIS-2?

MRPINK

For sure Wild 5, as at least you could find a game of that regularly on there, even with only ten members online or whatever.  I also remember there being some sort of “Pawns vs. Pieces” wild game that I enjoyed.  There were so many variants from which to pick that I even tried to popularize “Ironman” matches, where you’d play a handful of matches of seven different variants and victory would require winning four of them.  To a certain degree, the variety got me to consider real “greatness” (*cough*) to be more about winning at several types than just mastering one type.

INTERVIEWER

How old were you when you first began playing on ICSes and how old are you now?

MRPINK

I was 18 when I first logged onto FICS, and am now 34.  Wow, that was half-a-lifetime ago!

INTERVIEWER

What were you doing back then and what are you up to now?

MRPINK

I was a college student studying math and chemical engineering, and got two degrees that I…never really used!  I got a MS in Statistics in my second collegiate stint, and used that to work at a National Labs doing some reliability analysis.  Over the last couple of years I’ve been a math and statistics instructor at various campuses in town.  Nothing’s permanent, and I don’t know where I’ll be living or working six months from now.


MrPink was one of the earliest strong xICS players in a variety of chess variants. At the time of this interview, MrPink had stopped playing chess for the most part several years earlier. He’s since embarked on a new hobby, competitive Sudoku – since 2007, he has qualified for the US Sudoku (and Puzzle) team multiple times, including several first place finishes in the Sudoku qualifiers. It seems that he’s continued to be an early adopter for competitive online pursuits.

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