Feb 18, 2010
Last Online
Apr 21, 2013

Hey.  I'm Mark, and I'm a lecturer in English Literature.  At the moment, I'm writing a book on the nineteenth-century's finest writer, John Ruskin, and I'm particularly interested in his work on natural history, society, and culture.  I tend to distract myself from work either by playing chess or growing plants (cacti, succulents, herbaceous perennials, alpines).

In terms of chess, my limited abilities force me to say things like 'I only play chess as a bit of fun', which is true, of course - where's the point in turning a game into a joyless grind? - but which of us would turn down the chance to be as good as Bobby Fischer or Kasparov?  So knowing that I will never be more than moderately mediocre, I try to steer a line between fiercely competitive and intensely laid back, and hopefully arrive at philosophical.

In the meantime, it's nice to use chess to get to know people from all over the world - particularly from far-flung places - and to have a good chat.  There are too many players out there whose conversational gambits don't go much further than 'good luck' and 'gg'. :)  Nice, too, to have made some good friends here, particularly in my team, The King and Castle.