Raymond Dypski notwithstanding, Kate Smith—first in person, now in a recording—sings God Bless America instead of the national anthem before Philadelphia Flyer games and supposedly brings great good luck to the two-time National Hockey League champions. If this heresy distresses Dypski, he will be pleased to hear about Hamilton College of Clinton, N.Y.
Hamilton had a history of poor basketball teams, losing frequently even at home. Then, in 1974, some Hamilton students bought a Kate Smith recording, not of God Bless America but The Star-Spangled Banner, and began to play it before every home game. A strange thing happened. Hamilton turned into a small-college power. Over the past two years the Continentals are 43-9 and, presumably aided by that old Kate magic, are unbeaten in 23 straight games on their home court. When Hamilton students were asked to name the 15 women they most admired in the world, Miss Smith made the list. Several students circulated a petition asking that she be granted an honorary degree.
If anything was needed to prove to Hamilton undergraduates Miss Smith's extraordinary powers, it came during this month's small-college basketball championship tournament at Utica, N.Y. Although Hamilton, the defending champion, was the host school, it was decided not to play the Kate Smith record at the tournament. Instead, an instrumental version of the national anthem was played. Naturally, Hamilton lost.
THE RUY DIODE OPENING
When computers first played chess some years ago, they were easy prey for any competent player. But times change—1984 is only seven years away—and according to Larry Eldridge, sports editor of The Christian Science Monitor, computers are now moving into big-time chess.
During the recent American Class Championships in California, Control Data's chess-programmed Cyber 170, which played its matches via telephone from its home base in Minneapolis, wiped out all five of its opponents to win the Class B section. After the tournament a Class A player took on Cyber 170 in an attempt to vindicate humanity, but he was beaten, too. Finally an expert class player was called on and he was able to defeat the computer, but only after a 94-move marathon.
What this means is that computers are now capable of beating the vast majority of chess players, including those good enough to compete in tournaments. The computers' presence poses a problem for chess. In California, Cyber 170 upset the competitive balance, giving an advantage to those lucky enough not to have to play it while creating an insurmountable obstacle for those who did. In the final round, for instance, a player with a 4-0 record got paired with the computer, was beaten and fell out of first place. This sort of thing resulted in a mini-revolt at the end of the tournament, with one of the losers grabbing a microphone and calling for a meeting of all those who had played the computer. Someone else snatched the mike away and told the audience to ignore the message.
That putative rebellion was quashed, but tournament directors are going to have to reckon with computers. Eldridge suggests that when computers play they be forced to compete in the Open section, where sooner or later they would face a master or even a grandmaster and find their transistors shorting out. As in whirr, click, bang, it does not compute.
As all hoop fans know, Springfield, Mass. is the place where Dr. James Naismith nailed up two peach baskets in a gym shortly before the turn of the century and invented the game of basketball. This week the NCAA Division II basketball tournament is being held at Springfield's Civic Center, the first time an NCAA basketball championship has been held in New England. To help celebrate the occasion, Springfield decided to hang peach baskets from lampposts on the main street of the city as a salute to Dr. Naismith.