Saturday, November 29, 2008

Leeroycal's BB5 piece

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, they say. This truism is at its truest when it comes to television programmes. UKTV Gold and its constantly multiplying off-shoots are testament to just how lucrative the fuzzy memory of the viewers can be. (It is a little known fact that by 2015, 85% of digital TV output will be repeats of Howard's Way and Turnabout). But, if you actually take the time to watch any of it, the overriding feeling is not of fondness, more the dull yearning of disappointment. An emotion all too familiar for viewers of Match of the Day.

The BBC lost Match of the Day to ITV between 2001 and 2004. MotD was and is the fulcrum of the average football fan's Saturday night - or Sunday morning if you have small children and it's your turn to get up - and this loss in itself was difficult enough for the average football fan to bear. This was before the full horror of ITV's The Premiership was unleashed.

The list of problems with the ITV offering was fulsome. It was on at the wrong time; U2 theme tune; only 28 minutes of actual football in a 70-minute show; punditry featuring Andy Townsend in a trailer; and there was an inexplicable "Premiership Parliament" section featuring invariably fat fans yapping pub level analysis and rants. Even the presence of Des Lynam, who jumped from the BBC and over the shark simultaneously, could not save it from losing a ratings war with The Weakest Link. The whole debacle was overseen by the then ITV Head of Sport, Brian Barwick, who so impressed the FA a few years later they put him in charge of the English game.

By week three of the 2001-02 season fans were screaming for Match of the Day to return.

On its reappearance in 2004 very little had changed, but who cared? It was the BBC; it was Gary, Alan and Lawro; no adverts; not a single faux-Irishman in a trailer; no U2: the world was back on its axis. However, like having your hand trapped in a car door is preferable to having it hacked off with a rusty machete but still not exactly a pleasurable experience, the return of the BBC flagship may have been preferable to the dreck served up by ITV, but this did not mean it was a great programme.

Michael Robinson, former Liverpool striker and the writer, director, presenter, doyen and darling of Spanish TV's La Liga highlights show El Dia Despues is withering of the great BBC beast. "It's been hijacked by ex-footballers." he said "There is a screaming necessity for a journalist to challenge them." How right he is. Like so much other sports coverage, Match of the Day has fallen into the trap of exclusively hiring armies of former pros, and this increase has unfortunately coincided with an exponential decrease in the quality control of the personnel they hire. Alan Hansen was a true maverick when he appeared in the early 90's: articulate, insightful and brave - can any of these adjectives apply to latest recruit Alan Shearer?

"There's no recognition of culture." Robinson continued, highlighting another issue. "Just get Lineker, because he was football's Julie Andrews. Sling him on with Hansen. The others are cheap ex-players throwing three dodgy verbs around. They don't feel football". .

So where do the BBC go with their coverage? The answer may in fact lie within their own network. Match of the Day 2 is a lighter mix of quirky analysis, press reviews, and a little bit of fan culture that is less reverential and certainly a lot braver. Adrian Chiles is not to everyone's tastes, but you can at least feel the love of football in his work, and he is prepared to challenge the accepted clich├ęs of punditry as opposed to using his presenter's chair as a platform to launch sub-Lynam, teeth-scrapingly awful one-liners. It could be time for the corporation to bring another good show over from the second station to BBC One.

Another truism that the ubiquitous 'they' offer up is "be careful what you wish for". In the case of the return of Match of the Day, four years on, they are probably right.

The Rome derby on a laptop - PrivateDic

Sports fans of a certain age reminisce about huddling round a crackling wireless to listen to the ‘Matthews Final’, or joining half the street in cramming into the living room at no. 20, where they had a TV, to watch England win the World Cup in black and white. It sounds quaint in the age of wall-to-wall Sky and Setanta, yet a fortnight ago I found myself experiencing the modern equivalent as I hunched over my laptop squinting at the windowette of live feed from Rome’s Stadio Olimpico, scene of the biggest football match in Europe that weekend.

It seemed worth it when, on 50 minutes, a Lowry-esque figure swung in a threatening cross and Roma’s Julio Baptista—unmistakable, even in low-definition—rose to guide a perfect header low to the left of the Lazio keeper. It reminded me of Jurgen Klinsmann in his early 90s pomp, whose brilliant headed goals I’d seen so much more clearly on my mum’s clapped-out cathode ray Ferguson. Now, via broadband, I watched a cubist mass of colour pulse in triumph on the curva sud, while the blob warming up for Lazio on the touchline could only have been a kitchen sink, given the desperation with which the biancoceleste pixel-men began to pour forward.

My frustration at having to watch this brilliant sporting spectacle on a post-it note of a screen is only partly explained by my love of Serie A. The annoyance is doubled by the meaningless alternative fixtures offered on Sky and Setanta, clogging the EPG like cholesterol in a furred artery. I could have sampled Lille v St Etienne, or Estudiantes v Argentinos Juniors—but to me, those games didn’t matter.

In the last fortnight we have endured the fourth round of the Carling Cup (is it nearly over yet?) and a midweek of international friendlies. I enjoyed Wales’s performance in Denmark; shame it didn’t count for anything. Why schedule these games for mid-November, four months ahead of the next meaningful qualifier? Plenty of Premier League managers asked the same question. We must pity the poor sports journalist, who not only gets a press pass to the Champions League final, but also has to cover the dross that acts as filler in the cable and satellite schedules.

We are in danger of creating an era of Meaningless Sport. Our summer game, cricket, is practically dead at domestic level. Attendances go unpublished, for the excellent reason that they would be hugely embarrassing. Aside from the handful of teams that find themselves in contention, no-one cares about the myriad county tournaments, which seem to find their raison d’etre as sponsorship opportunities more than sporting contests. It’s widely believed that the only appeal of the IPL is the money, but how about the attraction of playing in front of passionate full houses?

Rugby is going the same way as our domestic cricket, particularly in Wales, where artificial ‘regions’ field weakened sides against unfamiliar opponents while waiting for the Heineken Cup to come round. Even England’s feted Guinness Premiership schedules games to clash with internationals—while England took on the world champions at Twickenham, Leicester were playing Harlequins at Welford Road. As for football, most of its competitions have been fading for years, with the FA Cup, Carling Cup, and UEFA Cup reduced to a status similar to the Pontins Reserve League of seasons past.

How to sustain interest when your channel of choice shows the England U-16s, but not the senior side? What to do when you’ve seen the first leg of a tie live, but the second leg’s on another channel, which you don’t have? How to get worked up about Vitesse-Feyenoord in lieu of the Rome derby? What interest in pitting Arsenal’s youth team against Wigan? Advice is helpfully provided during the commercial break: ‘It matters more when there’s money on it’, Skybet tells us.

Here’s a thought—and let’s hope it occurs to the broadcasters and administrators who schedule our sporting entertainment: perhaps it matters more when we care about it. I’ll take the Rome derby on a laptop ahead of mid-table Eredivisie any day.

Football crunch - MacMillings

Those of you wondering how the global financial crisis is going to affect football might be asking the wrong question. It may not simply be a case of football clubs being affected by the Wall Street collapse. What if they are being run just like failed and failing lending institutions and Wall Street firms – with, at best, scant concern for shareholders and consumers, and sometimes outright incompetence?

The boom years that allowed anybody to get easy credit because lenders couldn’t imagine that the housing market would ever fall again, saw huge overspending and inflated home prices. As businesses with potentially large profits (like housing in a rising market), football clubs shifted their emphasis from means-based spending, to overspending based on projected revenues. But if the market predictions of mortgage lenders, Wall Street firms and the US Federal Reserve could be so far off, why should we think that the projections of the biggest football clubs’ ownership have been any better?

Did it occur to clubs that a shift towards heavy borrowing based on predicted future profits might leave them vulnerable to the same kind of financial difficulties that lenders faced in the US when homeowners saw gas prices go up and their jobs lost, and they could no longer afford to make their payments? That official club shirts and other merchandise are discretionary spending items? That there might be a financial downturn one day, and that, when it comes to choosing between making a mortgage payment and buying a season ticket, a family’s home might just come first?

There is one big club whose buyer funded his purchase by taking out a huge loan, based on high risk debt notes, backed by three US hedge funds. Yes, hedge funds. You may have heard that some of those aren’t doing so well right now. Currently, the debt’s interest payments alone are huge, and the onus for making those payments has, in effect, been passed on to the consumer by large increases in ticket prices.

At least one big English club has a creaking stadium, too small to create the revenue it wants, and is trying to borrow huge amounts of money to finance a new stadium that will make all its dreams come true. Assuming a sufficient loan is secured, is there any guarantee that the money won’t disappear half-way through construction? What if future revenue from success on the pitch, ticket sales, and TV and sponsorship deals don’t match up to projections? Ask Leeds United fans what division their team is currently in – and their club made its mistakes in far less difficult times, economically speaking.

There are clubs run by rich men with little actual interest in football. Sometimes a billionaire drops his toy after he finds a shinier one to play with. Ask Oxford United fans how they like life in the Conference, if you think that won’t happen.

The free market says that a house is worth precisely what a buyer is prepared to pay for it. That’s just as true in a down market. If a club’s having a fire sale, and needs to shift a player and his £5 million/year contract, and all the other clubs in the land are downsizing and economizing in the face of financial difficulties, even if the selling club can find a taker for him, that buyer won’t care how well he’s playing, or how much he was last bought for. If the club needs the money to stay afloat, his value is whatever they can get for him.

Are there any positives? Who, if anyone, will not only survive, but prosper? If you’ve been moaning that your team’s owners lack ambition, don’t buy success in the transfer market, and are thus keeping the club from regaining its “rightful place” among the big boys, stop complaining. Suddenly, running your company with a fiscally conservative business model doesn’t look quite so foolish. Give it a couple of years. If the big boys fall, the meek might be about to inherit the League.

It's a Sin - Sisu

The late Washington Post correspondent Mary McGrory once wrote: Baseball is what we were. Football is what we have become. She could not have known how right she may turn out to be. Today, as the MLB seeks to exorcise the asterisks that will forever stalk its record books, the NFL could be on the verge of its own BALCO moment.

After crossing for a franchise-record 54th career touchdown with a trademark rush against Green Bay on Monday night, New Orleans Saints running back Deuce McAllister slowly walked back towards the sidelines, cradling the ball. While the crowd bellowed the Mississippi native’s name, Sean Payton, the Saints coach, met him with a lingering embrace.

Touching as the moment was, it is hardly in keeping with the way stat-happy Americans generally celebrate their sporting achievements. But then, McAllister was not in the mood for celebration. After eight seasons and a rollercoaster career with his one club, that touchdown is likely to be his closing contribution in front of the Saints faithful. And they might never have known.

The reason? A batch of spiked weight-loss pills.

McAllister is one of a group of players handed a four game suspension after testing positive for bumetanide, a loop diuretic used to relieve fluid retention by those suffering from congestive heart failure. This alone, while ethically questionable, is not enough to bother the testers, but its ability to flush traces of steroids out of an athlete’s system is.

The thing is, nobody believes McAllister intentionally took it. Not because of his reputation – born, raised and educated in Mississippi, a record-breaking college footballer who matured into a Pro Bowl player with the Saints, twice battling back from knee injuries to the starting line up, and founding his own kids’ charity and car dealership along the way – or even his understandable popularity.

McAllister was taking StarCaps a fairly poor excuse for a weight-loss pill. None of its listed ingredients appear on the NFL’s banned list, but it has now emerged that not all of the ingredients were listed – including that pesky bumenatide. Instead, the NFL’s anti-doping administration is in the dock, as it transpires that they had been aware of the supplement’s secret ingredient for two years. Dr. John Lombardo, the long-standing advisor on NFL steroid policy, apparently learnt that StarCaps had been spiked with bumetanide in late 2006.

However, fearing that other players testing positive for bumetanide would claim that they were taking StarCaps, even if they weren’t, he decided to keep it to himself. Which begs the question – has the NFL lost sight of the point of an anti-doping policy? How can they push for the banning substances on the grounds of protecting athletes, while knowingly allowing them to continue taking a banned medication in order to prevent others from finding a loophole to take something else?

The ethics of doping policies cannot be allowed to produce false positives. Once that happens, once you lose faith in the testers, the game is up.

David Cornwell, representing McAllister, told the league’s appeals committee last week, said: “If Dr. Lombardo had notified NFL players that StarCaps contained bumetanide, Deuce would have never used the product to lose weight.”

Despite all of this, McAllister is expected to lose his appeal. He faces four weeks without pay, the Saints – already denied Reggie Bush – are left without a recognised running back, as their hopes of making the play-offs fade. Worse still, McAllister’s contract will most likely be terminated at the end of the season to reduce the Saints’ payroll – his reward for eight years service, such is the nature of NFL salaries.

As a final insult, had the test result not been leaked, McAllister would have left with the indelible mark of drugs cheat against his name. The NFL are adamant that positive tests should remain unreported until the player has had the chance to appeal, in an effort to prevent innocent players facing unjustified suspicion tainting their careers. But the circumstances of a failed test also go unreported, as does the substance, leaving fans to think the worst.

"I'm just going to get ready to play Sunday," was all McAllister, resigned, could say on the matter. "I can't worry about what I can't control."

If this is what they have become, walking off for the last time, you’d keep the ball, too. Everything else, it seems, is there for the taking.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Eight rule changes - Mouth of the Mersey

Like a love affair, if a sport isn’t improving, it’s dying, especially in an age when there has never been more competition for diminishing attention spans. Sports’ rulebooks have always been mutable things, intermittently updated to move the sport forward, but not too far forward – you can leave your core audience behind. The best rule changes should simplify and not complicate – the competitors are perfectly capable of complicating matters themselves. Lastly, rule changes should work at all levels of a sport, not just for the elite.

So what rule changes do sports need today and do they meet the three criteria above?

Football – the distance defenders must retreat from a free-kick to be increased to twelve yards (eleven metres). This change would give full value to free-kicks just outside the box and encourage the return of the
free-kick specialist (preferably temperamental and feuding with whoever is available). Prosaically, the extra two yards in the rulebook would guarantee the full ten yards on the pitch, as opposed to the nine or so granted to attacking sides by most referees too reluctant to stop the charging defender or the creeping wall.

Football – No automatic red card for the “professional foul” if a penalty is awarded. This is simply a re-interpretation of the current rule – a defender fouling an attacker in the box does not deny a goal-scoring opportunity, but creates one through the award of the penalty. The punishment would fit the crime and the fans would have the eleven vs eleven match they have the right to expect.

Football – the fourth official to keep time, stopping the clock for all breaks in play (at his sole discretion and not including time when the ball is off the field in the normal course of the game, eg preparing for a goal-kick). The fourth official to blow the whistle at half-time and full-time himself. 90 minutes football should mean exactly that, not 88 minutes football and 2 minutes sorting out substitutions or getting the physio on and off the field. In the often crucial and frenetic closing passages of play, the referee could concentrate fully on the play, not be glancing at two watches every ten seconds. When there is no fourth official, timekeeping reverts to the referee.

Cricket – “Bad light stops play” to be modified to “Dangerous light stops play”. Just one playing condition to apply worldwide. Floodlights must be used if available. The judgement of light to rest solely with the umpires and the deciding criterion to be danger, taking account of the protective equipment worn by batsmen. This is the de facto situation in the recreational game, so the change would apply through all levels of cricket.

Cricket – The match referee to decide on each session’s reasonable number of overs (with 15 the norm adjusted for genuine hold-ups in play) and penalise the fielding side one run for each ball not delivered, updating the extras on the scoreboard before the start of the next session. Everyone would know where they stand, as would spectators, who would get value for money. Outside the professional game, there are often local conditions for failure to bowl the required overs in the stated time – such conditions would remain.

Formula 1 – Pit stops for tyre changes to be allowed only if the tyre is “burst”. No re-fuelling allowed during the race. Managing tyre wear is a driving skill (as is fully accepted in motorcycle racing). Fans want to see overtaking on the track, not in the pits. Pit stops should be exceptional, not the product of computers modelling telemetry data. If a discarded tyre is assessed as functional in the parc ferme after the race, the driver is re-classified as DNF.

Boxing – Judges’ scores to be displayed on a scoreboard updated at the end of each round. The audience and the boxers would know where they stand, making fights more interesting and tactics towards the end of the fight more considered.

Tennis – Allow just one serve. The game would become more varied with the big serve a tactic instead of the norm. The serve earns too many cheap points, especially at junior level.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Return of Lance Armstrong - mimi

Whatever you think, this is the BIG story of cycling for at least the next seven months. And headlines in the cycling press about Lance will ensure that successes earned by others on the road - eg Mark Cavendish - will be forgotten.

Last week in a feverish state of aaargh! I wrote with all emotions spilling freely about Lance. Thanks to our wonderful editor, Lord Ebren, none of you were subjected to my wroth.

I am now re-thinking my words, but you know what? I still feel the same.

So that there is no doubt here, I’ll lay my beliefs right on the line. I hate Armstrong. I don’t think he is a cheat, but he rode the Tour as a bully and there were team members who have been proved cheats.

I don’t think he would have won seven times if everyone cycled clean. That’s my viewpoint but now we have to face the fact that Mr Armstrong is coming back to the peloton.

He has already had the rules changed so that he can ride in The Tour Down Under – not a race we usually look at for any sort of form guide for the main season, but whoops a daisy – rules bent for Lance next year.

Now here’s the thing – since Monsieur Armstrong rode as a professional cyclist, a lot of rules have changed. Doping is no longer “de rigeur” and some teams, such as Columbia and Garmin, are leading the charge in “clean cycling”. Team CSC is not far behind.

But who has Lance signed with? None of these. No – he’s going to ride for Astana. What a wonderful legacy they have! Say Vinokourov. Vino, Vino, where do you get your speed from?

Apparently Lance is worried about how the fans who line the roads in France will feel about his return. He has said that he has received death threats. Well there are a few steps to travel before he even gets to the Tour.

Is he fit enough for a Grand Tour? Three weeks of hell is a tough challenge and after a few years of chumming with pop stars and politicians isn’t a great way of warming up for a Tour that is so very much not tailor-made for Armstrong.

Why don’t we see how the warm-ups go? I’d like to see Lance barred from the Tour Down Under – why should they change the rules for him? Let him do a couple of Classics to prove his form.

Go head to head with Contador to see who is strongest in Astana. Make it true that Periero, Contador and Sastre have issued a statement: “We are pathetic and weak compared to him [Armstrong]. Our victories [in Le Tour] feel hollow.”

I think these and many others in today’s peloton have the legs on Lance.

There is no doubt that Lance’s putative participation in Le Tour is garnering column inches (in newspapers that don’t even cover cycling!), but it’s wrong. All wrong.

I would never go as far as accusing Armstrong of being dubious, but the last few years of Le Tour have been so much more interesting without him. He ruled the peloton in a way that we have never seen before. Not in the days of Big Mig, or even The Badger.

I really didn’t like how Armstrong did it. Whether he cheated or not, I don’t care about that. I care that he spoilt the race. For years.

Now he’s coming back, and that is already making me like the race less. There’s a piece in the press about Lance using the Large Hadron Collider as a way to win the Tour. A joke, obviously, but I laugh, hollowly, because this man will be there on the start line.

The Tour next year will be all about Lance, and it shouldn’t be. It should be about which sprinter will take over from Robbie (that’ll be Mark then), and who will climb – maybe Robbie Hunter, or a Spaniard or Italian.

There was a wee bitty in the press today about LA. Apparently he is still a wee bitty worried about the “cheese-eating surrender monkeys” – ie the French. Armstrong claimed in the Guardian (an interview with Donald McRae) that the French physically threatened him. Frankly, insisting on having eff off great body guards when he rode to glory in his hay-day is likely to piss anyone off.

So there we go – I admire Lance, and enjoyed the book – It’s Not About the Bike. But never liked how he rode the Tour, never liked that he cared nothing for the Classics, and, you know, if he does ride in 2009, it’ll be the same.

I’d rather follow the Tour for the sprints next year. To see the mantle passed from Robbie to Mark. I am pretty damn sure that the top sprinters are clean, so that’ll be fun.

Overall – for GC – if they allow Lance back, well, crap, and bollocks again. I cannot see for one tiny moment how Armstrong coming back is a good thing for the sport.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Irish eyes aren't smiling - seand

Finally! Another dismal season of League of Ireland football shudders to a merciful halt. The final table may reflect Bohemians' supremacy on the pitch, but as ever in the shambolic League of Ireland the real drama occurred off the pitch.

Eight of the twelve Premier Division clubs hit major financial problems. The most spectacular meltdowns, so far, have been at two of the country's most successful clubs of recent years, 2005 champions Cork City and 2007 champions Drogheda United. Both clubs based their budgets on unrealistic financial projections and fell apart when the cash dried up. Cork's budget was built on an apparent guarantee from erstwhile owners, venture capital company Arkaga. It became apparent that no legally binding agreement was in place when Arkaga pulled out and City hit the rocks. When planning permission for Drogheda's proposed new ground was denied, and with the club's town centre home ground no longer a lucrative development prospect, the businessmen bankrolling the club soon skulked away. Both clubs entered examinership , the Irish equivalent of administration. Cork have emerged, chastened, from the process, while Drogheda's future hangs in the balance.

Things are far from rosy at champions Bohemians too. Pat Fenlon's expensive all-star squad swept to the title but the club's finances are in a parlous state. Fenlon's flamboyant spending and Bohs' ever increasing debt were based on the assumption that many millions were coming Bohs' way from the sale of Dalymount Park. However, Bohemians recently lost a court case over ownership of part of the ground, and will not be able to sell Dalymount as planned. At best Bohs should still be able to sell, build a modest replacement stadium and clear their debts, though the value of the venue has been slashed. At worst the ground will be pretty much unsaleable, the potential purchaser will want his seven-figure deposit back, and Bohs, owing many millions, could soon be homeless and pretty much penniless.

In another league in another season the stories of Galway, Sligo, Finn Harps, Cobh and Bray all failing to pay wages at various stages, St Pats' Gary Dempsey betting on his own team to lose , Drogheda's Stuart Byrne tapping up team mates, the arbitrary decision to reduce the Premier Division to ten teams and Dundalk's extraordinary last-gasp promotion would be headline grabbers in their own right, but in the quagmire of the 2008 League of Ireland season they were mere footnotes.

It is now apparent that the touted professional All Ireland League is dead in the water. Clearly there is not enough interest in Ireland to support a professional football league. It is a pity because some progress has been made in Europe, with good performances from Pats and Drogheda this year, and others recently. It seems unlikely that a semi-pro league will be able to sustain those recent improvements, which is a sad state of affairs, but one which the 'great Irish sporting public' (who are watching rugby this week, I believe) deserve.

When Father Time Whispers - PhilWest

Twenty-three years ago I played football for a staff team in West London. I was a dreadful footballer, but 1500m track training added to 80 miles/week meant I had a fair turn of speed and I was sometimes able to wear down markers by non-stop running. I could at least give the (usually false) impression that I was a danger.

I remember a player on our side who was so old/unfit/useless that no one even bothered to mark him. He traipsed up and down the wing and every so often our centre half would gently float a pass to his feet, resulting in a throw to the opposition. We offered encouragement, but I could see his frustration and sadness, and consoled him with a beer afterwards.

Three years ago I gave up football. I’m still fit for my age, but I realised with horror that no one was marking me………

I heard that voice in my head, whispering the sad truth, and I listened.

I used to believe that the Sporting Gods didn’t have this problem. They know how ruthless sport can be, and when their ankles/knees/hips/backs start to complain, they listen to them sooner rather than later.

Some exceptions to this rule exist and have a special place in our hearts: Steve Davies, Tugay Kerimoglu, and Carlos Lopez to name just three of my personal favourites.

What drives on people like these? Love of the sport? Fear of their life after retirement? Sheer bloody-mindedness?

Does it matter?

Usually not, but when I hear that Evander Holyfield is signing up to face Nikolai Valuev for the WBA boxing title, I shudder.

He has money problems, and is due to receive $750,000 for putting his life at risk so that we can talk about “the changing of the guard”.

Evander is 46. Forty-six! He will be giving away 10 inches in height and around 100lbs in weight. He hasn’t fought for over a year, and is up against an opponent who has a 70% knock-out ratio. If things go badly he’ll need a lot more than a friendly word and a pint.

If he is choosing not to listen to “the voice”, we should try our best to dissuade him.

Unbelievably, today we hear reports (actually, more like taunts) that one of only three World Heavyweight champions to have retired at the zenith is considering a return to the ring.

Lennox Lewis, one of the world’s few lucky people who can look at himself in the mirror each morning and say, “I have nothing to prove”, is reportedly considering a come-back fight.

Depressingly, many people would back him to win should he decide to take up the offer.

Lennox is an avid chess player; that game of logic and strategy, and I respect him enormously for using his intellect and quitting while his body and mental faculties were unharmed.

The next time he is locked in silent contemplation over the 64 squares, I hope he hears a voice.

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