This situation was seen by all men of state and the people, and they understood that he was psychologically disturbed.

Boston StranglerThe Boston Strangler is a far less exciting opening than the name suggests. Occurring in an inexplicably high 4.7%, this is the 29th most popular opening in the game and fifth most common for Turkey, it’s fair to say it’s a hopeless opening that consigns Turkey to a defensive position, and a weak one at that.

Ostensibly testing the trustworthiness of the Russian, all the opening accomplishes is a horrific tactical bottleneck and wasted units while opening opportunities for Austria and Russia to quickly establish a dominant attacking position – even without Italian help. With no strategic options and a weak tactical set-up, there is very little to recommend this opening.

Karl Popper

Good tests kill flawed theories; we remain alive to guess again.

Unknown.jpegKarl Popper (1902- 1994) was one of the foremost philosophers of the twentieth century, specialising in the philosophy of science and modern democratic political philosophy (in particular, the importance of critical discussion about political issues).

Born and educated in Vienna, his early dalliance and disaffection with Marxism he considered a defining moment in his thinking – a theory of social order that was tested and found wanted should be discarded or amended, a thought that led to the above quote and, more importantly to search for a better process than revolution by which societies could test and adopt new systems.

Initially this led him to Psychology (then an emerging science), but his unusually brilliant doctoral work pushed him away from that field too, commenting that the unscientific nature of early psychology was a stark and damning contrast to the brilliance of physicists such as Einstein.

After achieving a break through academic position in New Zealand and some impressive (but, sadly, futile) work in opposition to facism in Europe he set about constructing a philosophical basis for science. He succeeded in this, giving a formal structure to the scientific theory, introducing principles such as the need for falsifiability (a stab at psychology), discussing induction in detail and even providing a (more questionable) basis for mathematical philosophy.

Following these landmark contributions he turned his attention to applying similar robust methods to social and political philosophy. While his work was less dramatic, his contributions to principles such as tolerance and anti-historicism are recognised as beneficial stepping stones toward a modern basis for political reasoning.

In something almost unique amongst famous twentieth century philosophers, Popper was happily married and remained devoted to his wife throughout their 55 year marriage and even moved back to Austria so that she could spend her last months with her family. Nine years later he was suddenly taken ill, diagnosed with cancer, and died two weeks later.

Good tests kill flawed theories; we remain alive to guess again.

Hungarian HouseboatThe Hungarian Houseboat is the fourth most popular opening for Austria, used in 4.8% of games. This is despite there being no known tactical or strategic reason why this move is better than any number of alternatives that achieve similar defensive outcomes against Italy and positional outcomes against Russia (including F Tri – Ven varieties and A Vie – Gal options).

Most likely conceding Greece to Turkey the move is certainly pro-Turkish. The implication is that Rumania is threatened in Fall and that Austria will dismantle Russia while Turkey attacks Italy. The strategic idea is sound, but the tactics are highly questionable. Why not open to Galicia? If it bounces then it needed to, and if it doesn’t then this is more a headache for Russia than Budapest is while achieving everything the latter move does.

It’s hard to recommend the opening and certainly no-one historically has stuck their neck out in favour of it. With such a poor reputation it is often seen as a sign of incompetence, and when playing Austria that usually leads to a quick death. For this reason alone, the opening is best avoided.