Monday, 14 July 2003
Summer shines on Gouda on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. A few gentlemen play a game of chess in the city centre. They walk around the board, large chess pieces in the open air on an old city square. These gentlemen are members of the oldest chess club of the Netherlands, messemaker-1847 who invite the public to play a game. Several members of the public dare to play a game.

It's odd for me that I haven't noticed these chess players until last week. I have never seen the tiles that make up the board either. That is right, as the chess board is rather new.

I stay and watch a few games. Strange how difficult it is to keep an overview with these large pieces. Overview needs distance. It happens several times that the game unwinds in a way I did not foresee. The spectators should watch the game from a large circle, as public in an amphitheatre.

Overview needs distance. This sentence keeps resonating in my head. Overview needs distance. Hm, this could be applicable for more subjects than just a chess game. Last couple of weeks I've spent puzzling about a Queen offer and an unpleasant personal stale mate, a position without winners.

The same afternoon I burst right into the middle of a radio broadcast of the Dutch Telescoop Magazine. Dr. Rens Kortmann talks about spatial and temporal resolution. (listen in Dutch from 25:54.0 till 34:39.0). Huh? Excuse me? What is this about?

The story is about different ways of viewing.
Fly Human Combination
A fly is able to see fast, but with little detail. That explains why it is so hard to hit a fly. These insects see your hand coming and have all the time to fly away. A human sees a lot of details, but needs time. A human compensates his inertia by thinking ahead, anticipating the things that are yet to happen. A lack of light prevents the combination of a good temporal AND a good spatial resolution.
Hm, so flies will never be good in playing chess, where anticipating is a prerequisite, but where speed is redundant.

In the evening I adjust a few screens for huizentoppers.nl. I love to work on a laptop in shorts, seeing the summer sun setting slowly. A fly disturbs my joy, tickles my bare legs. I try to hit the insect, but fail of course.

I'm not going to win this battle on temporal resolution. To get rid of him I'll have to use my spatial resolution to my full advantage. I have to think ahead, anticipate the escape route of the fly, even before take off. Overview needs distance. I have to use my advantage of overview, strike precisely at the right spot from a distance.

I don't own a swatter. My alternative design is simple yet effective: a towel, grabbed in the middle, so a wide cone hangs down. Strike with the widest part, like a shot of hail. Whichever direction the fly heads, it will always be his final journey. Anticipating is actually temporal overview, facilitated by taking distance from moments that are yet to come. The second strike is a hit.


Till next nut,