The Turk

https://performancevenues.group.shef.ac.uk/events/the-turk/

The Turk is supported by The Arts Council of England and is a piece of dark mystery, philosophical adventure and dramatic showmanship. Here’s a quick introduction…

The History:
In 1770 an incredible ‘thinking machine’ was presented to Empress Maria Theresa of Austria that was to influence and bamboozle the world for over 80 years.

A life-sized automaton in the fashionable garb of a ‘mysterious’ Turk gazed down onto two opposing armies of chessmen. A Key was inserted, the mechanism was wound and in a whirring of cogs The Turk came to life, raising its head and making its move.

With historical opponents from Napoleon to Beethoven, Barnum to Babbage, Benjamin Franklin to Edgar Allan Poe, The Turk’s enigmatic legacy of technology and chess paved the way for the future of computing, automation, artificial intelligence and even magic.

The Show:

1838. Interior. Ships hold. Night.
Surrounded by well-travelled packing crates and empty wine bottles, a drunken and dying Johann Nepomuk Maelzel revisits scenes from his life, losses and adventures with the amazing, chess playing automaton known as, The Turk.

Fuelled with alcohol and yellow fevered madness, Maelzel and The Turk explore the sacrifice of the showman, the promise of the engineer and the passion of the dreamer against a philosophical backdrop of life, love, cognition and existence.

…The show incorporates intrigue, mystery and dark humour along with atmospheric sound, music, song…and even robotics!!! I wondered if you might be interested in perhaps letting your adult members know as it has an obvious chess connection and really tries to open up discussion into how we process our own ideas of self, being and existence through reason and analysis alongside our ever moving relationship with the machine. There are telling connections here with computing, artificial intelligence and, of course, chess itself.

Joining the ECF

Following the demise of the Chessnuts grading site, the Sheffield League have voted to join the ECF (English Chess Federation) so that games will continue to be graded.

As discussed at our AGM in June, due to the charges a club can be liable for if a non member plays more than three games, we decided that to play for Nomads this season, you need to be a member of the ECF.  This means we would very much appreciate it if club members could join ahead of the season starting, certainly by the end of September.

Nomads fees for the coming season only will be a straight £5 for all members, to assist in the costs for joining up.

The facility is now up and running to either join or renew membership for the 2018-19 season.  The minimum membership level is Bronze, this is £16 for the year and covers just League chess, if you think you will play in Congresses or other events, you may find the Silver or Gold membership more cost effective (as these give discounts on the event entry prices).

For existing members (approximately 10-12 of these), go to https://www.englishchess.org.uk/guide-to-renewing-your-ecf-membership/  The instructions are quite elaborate but hopefully clear enough. If you get stuck, you can shortcut the process by calling the ECF directly on 01424 775222.

For non-members, go to https://www.englishchess.org.uk/guide-to-joining-the-ecf/  Again, if you get lost with the online instructions, just call ECF directly, on the number above!

One point to make: in the Club option (which is miss-able), make sure you include Sheffield Nomads (as well as any other clubs, such as Sheffield, that you play for).

Please get back to Jeremy or Jo if you have any problems!

You can check on existing or previous grading references by going to the ECF grading database (these date back up to 20 years, so it is worth checking if you are on there, even if you haven’t been a member you may well have games, and therefore a grading reference logged) – http://ecfgrading.org.uk/new/menu.php , putting your name in the search box and pressing enter. If you’re a current member, your name will appear on the right – you can select it and see your membership status. If you were a previous but not a current member, you can change the ‘Graded Players’ selected to ‘Players Total’ in the top right  drop-down menu – this pulls up details of everyone.