“Napoleon’s Retreat From Moscow”

napoleon's retreat from moscow

Russian champion Alexander Petrov composed this study in 1824. Galloping Cossacks chase Napoleon from Moscow (b1) across the Berezina (the long white diagonal) to Paris (h8), “where the Czar achieves his victory, by a ‘check by discovery’.”

White’s knights accomplish the task in 14 moves. All the black king’s moves are forced:

1. Nd2+ 2. Nc3+ 3. Nb1+ 4. Na2+ 5. Na3+ 6. Nb4+ 7. Nb5+ 8. Na6+ 9. Na7+ 10. Nb8+ 11. Nc8+ 12. Nd7+ 13. Ne7+ 14. Kg2#

napoleon's retreat from moscow - end

No Exceptions


In 1907, Wilson Mizner ran a theatrical hotel in New York.

He posted two rules:

“Carry Out Your Own Dead”

“No Opium Smoking in the Elevator”

“Be nice to people on the way up,” he once said, “because you’ll meet them on the way down.”

Mr. October

America’s favorite film monsters, according to a 2005 study by California State University:

  1. Vampires (Dracula)
  2. Freddy Krueger
  3. Godzilla
  4. Frankenstein
  5. Chucky
  6. Michael Myers
  7. King Kong
  8. Hannibal Lecter
  9. Jason Voorhees
  10. Alien

“Younger people were the more likely to prefer recent and more violent and murderous slasher monsters, and to like them for their killing prowess. Older people were more attracted to non-slashers and attracted for reasons concerned with a monster’s torment, sensitivity, and alienation from normal society. … Overall, … monsters were liked for their intelligence, superhuman powers and their ability to show us the dark side of human nature.”


  • Can one keep a promise unintentionally?
  • The plural of u is us.
  • 1676 = 11 + 62 + 73 + 64
  • DISMANTLEMENT and SKEPTICISM are typed with alternating hands.
  • “He was lucky and he knew it.” — Clark Gable’s proposed epitaph


At Frank Sinatra’s funeral, friends and family members were invited to place items of personal significance into his coffin. Reportedly these included:

  • several Tootsie Rolls
  • a pack of Black Jack chewing gum
  • a roll of wild cherry Life Savers
  • a ring engraved with the word Dream
  • a mini-bottle of Jack Daniel’s
  • a pack of Camel cigarettes and a Zippo lighter
  • 10 dimes

Why 10 dimes? “He never wanted to get caught not able to make a phone call,” his daughter Tina told Larry King.

A Household Name

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Halle Berry was named after a department store.

“My mother was shopping in Halle Brothers in Cleveland,” she told the New York Daily News. “She saw the bags and thought, ‘That’s what I’m going to name my child.'”

(By the way: “No one ever says it right. It’s Halle, like Sally.”)