Looking for a mate? Want to construct a mating net? Larry Christiansen can teach you how. No, he is not an online relationship expert, but rather a chess grandmaster and three-time national champion. In honor of CPW, the MIT chess club hosted Larry last Friday to lecture, regale and battle a field of prefrosh and undergrads in the game of chess.
A few years ago when I was 18 and moving out to university, my mom gave me an iron. Don’t get me wrong, practical gifts are great and by no means am I ungrateful. I’m sure you can imagine every 18 year old male, bags packed, shipping out to the big city, dreams of receiving an iron to go with that kiss from his mother. The truth is I don’t remember using an iron in the first 18 years of my life. Why not just keep it that way for another 18? It’s not like one needs an iron to navigate the tribulations of frosh days. Rather, one could dream up half a dozen more vital items: a coffee machine, a hockey stick or a gross of Mr. Noodles. I contained my thoughts, graciously accepting the iron wondering if I would ever actually use the thing. So it sat in my dorm, unopened for months, as a bookend holding up our friend Michael Spivak’s <i>Calculus</i>.
Everyone has, had, or will have this problem. Some have solved it. Others have given up. Colloquially, we refer to the problem as “picking up.” Here, one can’t help but draw a natural comparison to “picking up” hardware at a computer store. If only things were as simple as ordering to specification or as exciting as a buy-one-get-one-free sale. But perhaps the real dilemma lies in the vagueness of our colloquial talk. In light of the fact that MIT students are such unbelievable pset solvers, we might as well reformulate our problem in a more familiar language: