Dunkirk: Why you should watch the film

Disclaimer: I’m a Christopher Nolan fan, but I’m not recommending the film because of his direction. It’s just not a visceral piece of film making. The film portrays one of the most important incidents of the Second World War which I believe the current generation should be aware of – it takes you through a sheen of nostalgic sentimentality. It’s about both bravery and suffering, individuals who care less about themselves than about a greater good.

Dunkirk is a war film written, co-produced and directed by Christopher Nolan. Christopher Nolan is known for his films – The Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception & Interstellar. The music is composed by German composer & 4 time Grammy Award winner Hans Zimmer. Cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema shot the film on IMAX 65 mm and 65 mm large format film stock.

Let’s look at the history

The film depicts Operation Dynamo, also known as the Miracle of Dunkirk – the evacuation of Allied soldiers during World War II from the beaches and harbour of Dunkirk, France. A large numbers of British, French, Belgian, and Canadian troops were surrounded by the German army during the Battle of France between 26 May and 4 June 1940.

The Nazi Germany invaded Poland in September 1939. The British Empire and France declared war on Germany and imposed an economic blockade. The Germans invaded Beligum and Netherlands on 10 May 1940. The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) was sent to aid in the defence of France. However, they were surrounded by the German forces. The German army halted their advance to Dunkirk after a German High Command order, with Adolf Hitler’s approval.

It is one of the most debated decisions of the war, since it gave time for gave the Allies to organise the Dunkirk evacuation and build a defensive line. The Siege of Lille also gave time for the BEF to evacuate the forces from Dunkirk. British casualties amounted to 68,000, while French losses totalled around 290,000 with more than that either missing or taken prisoner.

In a speech to the House of Commons, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill called the events in France “a colossal military disaster”, saying “the whole root and core and brain of the British Army” had been stranded at Dunkirk and seemed about to perish or be captured. In his We shall fight on the beaches speech on 4 June 1940, he hailed their rescue as a “miracle of deliverance”. Most importantly the decimation of the British at Dunkirk may have resulted in the U.K.’s capitulation to Hitler and no American involvement in the European war. It was Hitler’s best chance to win the war.

The film depicts three distinct perspectives, based on fictionalized characters.

  • Land: Tommy (Fionn Whitehead), plays a young soldier who is stranded on the Dunkirk beach and unfolds the tale of the men on the beach.
  • Sea: Dawson (Mark Rylance) is a Brit who decides to rescue survivors using his small boat.
  • Air: Farrier (Tom Hardy), a fighter pilot in a Spitfire who has one hour to take out Nazi planes and protect the men on the ground and in the water.

The film has been made extensive use of practical effects – employing 6,000 extras, assembling boats that had participated in the real Dunkirk evacuation, and using genuine era-appropriate planes for aerial sequences. With Hans Zimmer’s pulsating background score and extra-ordinary effects, the film is a must watch in theatres.

Not going to put forward any more spoilers. To put in one word, the film is a massive Nolanesque scale film. It’s definitely going to go down into the history as one of the greatest war films of all-time.

10 Things to do as a Chess player

Let me give some insights what a budding chess player can do.

  1. Love the game: Simple. Point blank. Chess players are not known for their “Stylish” demeanor. Play the game only if you like it 100%, else money is going down the drain.
  2. Play without pre conceived notions: When you’re a novice, say 1 to 15 months into the game, try to be fearless. You will be able to figure out what style suits you the most. Be shrewd and save emotions for post-match celebrations.
  3. Have an idol: This would motivate you and help you in understanding different styles. Analyze his/her matches. Keep a separate book for analyzing his/her game to entice your grey cells and constantly enhance your game.
  4. Start playing against bots: In today’s world of Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence, you can find immaculate bots which finds millions of permutations and combinations while making a move. This will boost your creativity and widens the scope for learning. Online sites like Chess.com and King Chess enable you to play P2P for free.
  5. Make “Sacs”: “Sac”- is a short form for sacrifice. In games where you’re confident try something extra-ordinary. Doing this once in a blue moon will help you gain immense confidence and puts your opponent on the toes, forcing him/her to put on the thinking hat. Be prudent enough to understand the gravity of the matter though! Blunt Sacs are Suicidal.
  6. Play Different Formats: Try to play at different time scenarios. Blitz, Rapid and Classic are conventional formats. Try lighting as it speeds up the ante and makes you much more sensible before touching a pawn. (I was a District Champion at the age of 13). Lighting is 5 seconds per move. If you even touch the pawns before they call out your color, you lose the game!
  7. Adept and Adapt: These two words fit in a utopian manner here. You must be adept in using all 32 pieces effectively. (Including opponent’s pawns) Be adaptive in starting with different openings right from Queen’s Gambit to Great Indian Defense to Sicilian. This helps you think the breadth of the board.
  8. Think big: Getting a pawn is not a big deal. Think Big. Watch games of Judit Polgar, Magnus Carlsson, Vishwanathan Anand, Gary Kasparov and other Grand Masters (GMs). The entrapment should be your goal, not just acclaiming a pawn or a piece. Do not make mistakes if you’re a defensive player, instead wait for the opponent to make one. I was known for defense prowess. I used to kill games defensively with lethal counter attacks and have also lost some games as my defense didn’t possess a kill switch. Be at your ease while playing.
  9. Do not ask for a draw unnecessarily: Asking for a draw shows that you’re sheepish and cowardice, especially when the game is on a level playing field, even odds of 40-60 is a fair play. Play smart and ask when you’re sure that you would lose, if the opponent makes the ideal move.
  10. Keep your education ticking: Education must back your chess career as an alternative. This will make you eligible for Sports Quota (If it exits in your country) and a basic qualification should support Chess. Many players had advised me to make Chess and Education Prima Donna in life. Chess alone wouldn’t suffice most of the times.

I was a Professional Chess Player for 10 years. I have played over 900 games in District, State and National Level, winning 80+ accolades. I still play online, but have detached myself from competitions. Education and music confronted Chess badly in my life. I was unable to devote 100% of my time to Chess and hence I decided to call it a day.

Enjoy playing Chess and become Sharper!

Indo Pak Match – Bans, Betting and Business

Much hyped cricket match of the year is yet to be played in few hours. Prayers have begun across the country and so does betting. In a shocking move, Zee, one of the largest Indian media groups, has banned match. The match also acts as a centre of burgeoning businesses. Around 300 million viewers are expected to tune in to the match and all the Corporates are geared up to drag their attention. Amidst all these happenings, Indian team Captain, Virat Kohli, has played down the match and considered it as one of the other matches. This is how a matured leader would react to shield the team from external pressure.

Indo Pak matches have always been a matter of pride for both the countries. Particularly, when the relations between the countries are at the rock bottom, the match mandates much more importance. Cashing this Nationalistic tendencies, Zee media has exasperated the situation by banning the entire match. After all, Zee also needs some TRP ratings and cannot miss out on this glorified event. Star Network and Zee Network have always been arch rivals in the media industry. Zee could divert a portion of viewers towards its channels by taking the name of Indian military personnel. Shubash Chandra argument that Cricket and the war cannot go together is illogical. The ultimate aim of sports is to act as substitute to wars. If the humanity is devoid of sports, then it would have seen more wars by now.

According to All India Gaming Federation, around Rs.2000 Crore is expected to be gambled for the match. Cutting across all the sections, the betting is practised with much passion. Personally, I have seen the enthusiasm among the gambles during these type of matches. It’s the time the rich becomes poor and vice versa according to their luck. For every Rs.100, the person who bets on India gains Rs.147 and one who bets on Pakistan receives Rs.300. Hope the government legalises betting soon. Atleast, it could reap some benefits.

Coming to the business. Flipkart has already promised to install Televisions at discounted prices by the time match begins. Though the offers are the result of GST roll out, the cricket fever is not to be side-lined. Social media is filled with jingoistic posts to garner more likes for their pages. The more the Pakistan is criticized and trolled, the more are the popularity of the page. And the ultimate beneficiary is Mark Zukerberg who gains profit through advertisements. According to some news channels, restaurants in Delhi are customizing their menus to match with the game. New cocktails and special dishes are ready to be served by 3:00 P.M IST. We are missing the main business if the advertisement in the Television are missed. A 30 sec slot in the TV channel would cost Rs.1crore. This is 10 times that of normal rates. Now you could guess the cost of sitting in the stadium!!