Wednesday, May 30, 2007

3001 A Chess Odyssey: age Fifty overload

I am a bit of a freak. I hope that this doesn’t come as too much of a surprise to familiar readers, but I thought that it was time I came clean. Yes, yes, this IS about chess today, but a moment of patience, I promise to make this worth your while. To write of the core of ones life, or how one allocates that core, with chess at the very center of it necessarily cannot be ten words!

You see, the thing is, I have like twenty+ years of experience in taking raw chaos, analyzing it into elements, patterning it, then defining it to be built or to perform, then executing. First, I am a classically trained architect--from infancy—literally. I am to planning what a fish is to water.

I can take, for example, a university building, say a physics department, map the number of students, the lab equipment, the flow of persons, and arrange it all, get the air in, get the water in, keep the water out, and budget it with time, money, material, and conflicting needs. I can do this not just physically, but in time, so that, for example, you can allocate half a year to draw it up, three months to put it out for bid, and get a contractor on site with labor and materials, then fourteen months till classes start with reliability, all on a big slope of dirt, nestled between classic campus buildings, on soil which is not fully stable but which must be stabilized, and put a heavy building on it with, for example, very heavy magnets on the floor, and plan how much it will sink, or as we say, differential settlement--in short, architects take all THAT, and REDUCE all those disciplines into a plan in project management and facilities.

I can also take three years, and figure out how to raise ten million dollars, by making a bunch of phone calls, or take six million, and make a bunch of phone calls about THAT while finding new customers, delicately or at times brutally and heavily dancing around the most complex capital markets on the planet, involving information systems, health care, transport, energy, basic materials, financials, media, etc. I can do that. I can talk to the customers about it, and guide them, or let them allow me to guide IT. I can record what they say, or remember all of it--in short, I can manage risk in relationships and assets combined.

Then I have plans for my plans. I have folders for plans, plans for folders, maps of civilization, maps of ideation, etc. Really--more than really I aught to talk about. I have athletic plans, climbing plans, blog plans, and nutritional plans. The thing is, I don’t just create them like the perennial overweight person who has read all the diet books, while eating Haagen-Dazs ice cream. No. I do my plans. So I take the making of my plans very seriously. Target a rocket to a far off galaxy, and in time, you will get there.

So now for chess. In 500+ days (believe me, I know the number, but identity theft I do not invite now!) I turn fifty, and have the intention to do all of the 3002 problems of Reinfeld's 1001 Winning Sacrifices and Combinations, 1001 Brilliant Ways to Checkmate, and Emms's The Ultimate Chess Puzzle Book by then. I figure, that by then or after this, I will be a real chess player, as in able to play 'real chess'.

What is reasonable--given other chess efforts in chess outside those--is that this amounts to four per day in two years, putting me half a year after age 50, or May 2009, and I don’t want to wait that long. So do I do five per day, instead of four? I know I can do that, but then I will suffer quality, or must not then other efforts falter (endings, live chess, blogging), or need I give up other parts of life??

For seven weeks, I have managed twenty per week, or just under three per day, but it is more like one or two per day, with bursts of delightful and satisfying effort on my weekends, or late at night in bed, when I cannot sleep. So, you see, if I do four a day, then that is 28 per week, and while many are easy problems, some are not easy, and take an entire day or session for one problem. And for those thorny problems that just wont budge, but which are solved in time, we need to sit on them with Zitsfleisch, and it defeats the entire purpose of the exercise to just say, 'ok, this is too hard, let me peek at the solution!' No. This is exactly wrong. It is the whole quality versus quantity thing, as we all discuss here.

Which takes me back 180 degrees to my goal of four per day, and my wish that I were polishing off five or six per day...

chess is the application of mental force

I have already made it part of the way, but have far to go. For example, Monday night, when I was at puzzle number 144, and needed to be at 148 Tuesday night, after doing only ONE last night [time was eaten and I was already spent from 12 upper level four CT-Art problems in the last three nights done slowly and carefully, my main chess focus right now in a big way], but solving five Reinfeld problems tonight, I am now minus one off of plan. Daily this effort is made--and this is on top of whatever CT-Art 3.0 I do, whatever CTS I now manage to do, and whatever chess I play, chess books I manage to read, rapid or blitz chess games played, correspondence games wrestled in depth, blogging about chess, email to chess buddies or Grandmasters, or analysis or annotations made, or Grandmaster games visited. Wew.

Can I do it? For sure. But making a long term plan really brings you face to face with cost, or budget, or relative value... In the recently begun concerted job search, I am necessarily keeping detailed track of my time by category IN COMPARISON TO CHESS and other life areas, and it is shocking what I do...! How easy it is to drift when we 'say' that we are resolution in attaining a major life goal, seeking instead distraction or comfort in dissolution!

(link to"Have It All" parody!)

So willy-nilly, And we get around to asking, 'is this project worth doing?' Absolutely! Then after that, we ask, do I do it faster, or better, or what other projects must I contract, or give up?

Then there is a little thing called the 'real world', which many of you have heard of? I seem to somehow recollect something called a job, and relationships, then get the odd sensation of some stuff called bills, pet, maintenance, cleaning for house and vehicle, laundry, low fat cooking (often organic, whole vegetables--not fast or easy), fitness, trading markets and financial reporting, record keeping, filing, taxes, television, and then, last of all, rumor of sleep, and romance between waking and sleeping or between?

If you don't want to be low functioning or mediocre, then this takes the effort of mighty Sisyphus. And unlike other, more significant bloggers or chess players than me, I have no children, wives, employees or clientele, church, publishers, or property to consider, so how do all you other people do it, who, I surmise, have it no less easy than me? My goodness. A breath mint, somebody.

And how popular do you want to be at blogger, or if you prefer, well connected, or hemmm, ' ** in touch **' or polite in reading those who read you, as a true friend would--cum Quid Pro Quo? You don’t want to be a jerk or total narcissist. So you read, comment, reply to comments, etc... And all this takes time... The better your comments the more does this elicit comments on those, and you deal with THOSE? You get the reward, then, the ultimate, the penalty, the curse of interesting times and most interesting friends here, as you all are...

Then the little matter of staying abreast of the sonic cone of hyper global-planetary change--just the little matter of strategically remembering to look at that, and make sure you are not building your palace in Bagdad or your tiny but sweet chateau in pre-Nazi in Berlin, as Lasker did--loosing all his doubtlessly hard earned money, despite being the wily, foxy, crafty, mind that he was? Just the little matter of being able to see outside or beyond the throngs of true believers, in sustainability, energy, land, money, society, media, technology? So there we are--we need more chess study? I need more study of chess? Chess is the elixir?

Then the matter of being a master--now lets get serious. Do YOU really want to be a master? I don’t. I just want to be really, really good, but given X hours, I don’t want to spend 70% of my time necessary to do that, but more like a good 30% towards becoming 'class A' or 'expert' but THEN use the next 40% in thirds, and do two or three OTHER things superimposed on top of that. Look at that one. When you get old, do you want to say, I was 2100 FIDE, but I never knew my kids or neighbors, but I did learn the Alapin Counter Gambit book inside and out?

Me? I want to do the best 20% that gives me the best chance of getting 80%... right now, it is taking 40 to 60% to get there, and it is costing me too much. I love chess; but I don’t want to overpay for it, and need to contain my effort. Some need to try harder. My struggle is NOT to try harder, and to balance and allocate and contain my efforts and my territory.


Sunday, May 27, 2007

Magnus Carlsen blog, by Henrik Carlsen

This is too good not to reproduce directly from the text quoted today, at, of the harrowing experience of getting to Elista, writen by Magnus Carlsens Dad (who across many highly inteligent blogs, shows no less brilliance than his own son), and posted at his blog:

"After the arrival of the players in Elista FIDE Press Officer Dr. Peter Rajcsanyi issued the following statement: " During the transportation of the players and journalists of the Candidates Matches from the airport, a local child unexpectedly runs to the road. In order to avoid a serious accident the drivers of the buses had to apply a forced breaking which however pushed some of the passengers forward and they got some injuries. After careful medical examinations they were released from the medical control as their injuries were not serious and did not require further treatment."

"A rather more vivid description of these occurrences, and of the adventure of getting to Elista, can be found on the Magnus Carlsen blog, which is painstakingly maintained by his father Henrik. We quote:

"We (Magnus, his second Kjetil A.Lie and I) left Lommedalen, Norway 04:25 and arrived in Chess City, Elista 12 hours later. Not bad taking into account some hick-ups on our way and a solid combination of poor planning, helpfulness and risky car driving.

"About a month ago we were told that the organiser would charter a plane to bring candidates and others from Moscow to Elista, leaving at 17 hours on the 25th. Having guessed that this might leave from the airfield for domestic flights (Vnukovo), some 70 kms from the international hub Sheremetyevo, we booked an early morning flight via Helsinki to arrive in Moscow at 12:05, and were happy about this choice when Vnukovo was confirmed as the airport for the chartered flight. That is, until.... yesterday (Thursday 24th) when we were informed that the departure time for the charter plane had been brought forward to 13:40.

"The plan would be to still try to reach this plane, and the backup would be a flight to Volgograd and a four-hour (hazardous) drive to Elista today or tomorrow.

"The plane from Helsinki landed on time and after running to the passport control and luggage pickup we were met and led to the waiting car. 12 minutes later a FIDE Vice President arriving from Frankfurt joined us and the driver took off (like a bat out of h....).

"Unfortunately the traffic was heavy and by 13:30 we were still far from Vnukovo. We were passed by a police car with a blinking blue light, acting as an involuntary "escort" until traffic got lighter about 15 kilometer from Vnokovo. The remaining distance was covered in about 170 km/hour zig-zagging along the highway. A team of about six persons helped us through two security checks, a passport control, with the receipt of tickets, and a bus drive out to the plane where we arrived about ten minutes after leaving the car and, we had made it. Puh!

"In Elista we were greeted in the most friendly way, beautiful sunshine and about 35 degrees C. After a while the busses headed for Elista and Chess City with police escort.

"In the middle of Elista the police had to make an emergency break ahead of a careless pedestrian, the first bus stopped but the second (our) didn't in time and crashed in the bus in front, severely damaging our front and diesel started leaking from the bus in front. Some bruises were treated and some possibly hurt necks investigated by medical personnel and a new bus arrived to take us to Chess City.

"One thing that troubled me was that the bus seemed to continue at an unexpected high speed in spite of the driver pulling the breaks. We seemed to float like on a wet road. When inspecting the break marks on the road, I found a ten meter break mark behind the right hand front wheel, but only a five meter mark behind the front left wheelm, and none behind the back wheels (which I thought normally takes most of the break power). The tires also seemed quite worn out. Old tires combined with uneven or missing break power obviously did not contribute positively in a dangerous situation.
Well, after an eventful (and dangerous) journey, it is finally time to concentrate on the task at hand; beating Aronian!

FIDE saw fit to make a last minute change, moving the final connecting flight up, and in many ways typlifies the whole operating chaos of that organization. Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt, but this incident seems to symbolized what goes on there...

And finally, this great chess match begins!

I almost feel embaressed to say, but to give you an idea how good a friend GM Seirawan is, after a several hour commentary at for this great match, broadcast to thousands, he immediately wrote me a note in reply to the forward of a major email I had writen my dad, and forwarded to him. What a treasure for a friend!

There I had described how just hours after finishing a revision of my resume which took years to finish (I'd just collapse in exhaustion, and knew I was not ready to move on with my life till this week), a top Japanese American architect in Seattle approached me in my tool department (after looking at a 15 amp Hitachi circular saw!) and after hearing the breadth of my background, asked me if I had 'ever considered returning to architecture', to which, much to my own shock, said 'yes', even surpising myself! As Pascal said in his Pensees, "The heart has its reasons that the mind knowest not of".

I had even gone so far as to interview with the firm that won the National AIA Gold medal, kind of the Superbowl of architects, and they honestly said that I was "as talented as person as they had ever seen". Immodest, but true. What can I say? A part of me was ripped when I left. Then I went to Wall Street, and, ultimately, was ripped there to. Why? A. arrogance, and B. spiritual awakening!

The thing is, when I left, in 1992, his was the last design firm I had ever interviewed with in this city, vowing to either start my own firm or leave the business! Can you imagine? but I have read enough Jung, and prayed so deeply, that I knew that I had to look at this, for I know not why but must...

The numinosity!

It is very, very hard to combine inside/outside sales, broad engineering design, keen analytics, zen, writing, and public speaking, and health all into one resume! I did it. I am ready now.

[addendum, 6:30 pm est: the following position reminds me of the most famous game Reti-Alekhine Baden-Baden 1925 [replay here:] where the latter planted his rook, 26. ...Re3, with Reti calmly replying 27.Nf3 but loosing in a battle, grandee royal:

but here, as described by Mark Crowther at, in his flash report, Carlson "was mown down" by Aaronian's also 26. ...R, but Rf3! Seeing is believing! Chess imagination at its best!

warmly, dk

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Eighty Six

Eighty Six percent at chess tactical server, for dktransform at 1500.3 elo for 29,031 tries. My next goal is eighty-seven percent for 40,000, which only requires that I do the next 10,969 tries at 90.00%, putting me at 87.08%.

Due to diminishing returns, short of exceeding 90%, I cannot get past 87.66% for 50,000 tries unless I raise my accuracy (towards a prefered 'clean' 88.0%). Since too much accuracy would unduly inhibit a higher incidence of more challenging problems, I am happy to continue with 'always!' having sessions >90.00% as my dictum. Of course, some sessions can be 93 to 95% (i.e. tonight i finished with 4f/119s = 123 @96.7% but this won't always happen).

Either I will raise the accuracy by holding 1500 again, or, perhaps experiment at a latter time with allowing a higher elo through the natural mastery of the local "problem set".

Since when I hit 1591 at around 24,000 tries I had fallen to 84.9% and at that time firmly resolved to hold this standard of ALWAYS +90, this means that I have done the last 5,000 or so tries at 91.1%, and not many have done that at at or near 1500 elo; of course, some persons surely have also done this, but, again, not many [tjeulesbeles, firegarden, trallala, Morgh, Quietus, bahus, morkovkin, bani (GM), jmsharez, helmt3, Alvis, dktransform (with me surely the least among these mighty practitioners) followed by Kawala =13 in top 171 by % among ranking large users: 108 bows to them and the 10,000 shimmering golden arms of Buddha as Kwan Yin!].

Many folks want to raise their rating. Sometimes I have to TRY to keep it from going up. I am seeking a rythm and a pace rather than an absolute amplitude.

I am forging ahead with Reinfields 1001 Sacrifices and Combinations daily. The most advanced work? No. But easy to carry, read in bed, or other uniqued sitting places! And as I have said in the past, some of the problems however are indeed quite thorny, posing a good challenge.

I am resting from 'real chess' play, and consciously accumulating mental energy for my next big push. When I launch a new push, I do NOT STOP. So this pause is critical for me.

Don't forget, Candidates matches in Elista. I exchanged a few emails with GM Seirawan in the last few days, and he is as alert as ever. May all users enjoy his live commentary!

warmly, dk

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Part III: Fox or Hedgehog the Tolstoy question & Part IV: wide/shallow or narrow/deep chess analysis following play of many fast or fewer slower games

The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.
(7th-century b.c.e.)

After Adam Smith I just knew it was time to bring in the ultimate master of portraits in human character writ large--Count Tolstoy, author of no less than both War and Peace, Anna Karenina, and The Death of Ivan Ilyich. Whether at a future time this of course means I would need to escalate to Dante, Goethe, Homer, and then of course up to Confucius or Lao Tzu, must remain a question for another day. For as long as I could remember, I have wanted to read War and Peace, for no less a reason than to be able to read the great Russian philosopher of the history of ideas Isaiah Berlin's canonical book, The Fox and the Hedgehog where he explicates the conflict inherent in Tolstoy's identity, whereby it is conjectured that he was a fox who wanted to be hedgehog, that is to say, be able to take his preternatural yearnings or tendency towards the infinite centripetal multiplicity of the soul and channel into the singularity of the more contained orthodoxy or centrifugal primacy of a specific all embracing or unifying idea.

Berlin while Russian was able to latter teach at Oxford and even did some work in Washington D.C., so of course not totally foreign to a wider occidental perspective. He was close friends with Logical Positivist philospher Ayer, the great British logician and logician in the era following Russel, Whitehead, and Wittgenstein.

His seminal book by that name, The Fox and the Hedgehog, while a fairly unlengthy work, was nevertheless thought of as to be so significant as to warrant mention as to make it to "number 65 in the National Review's article on "The 100 Best Non-Fiction Books of the [20th] Century." To quote on article then onto "real chess", or, to be more specific "real chess analysis":

"Basically, human beings are categorized as either "hedgehogs" or "foxes". Hedgehogs' lives are embodiment of a single, central vision of reality according to which they "feel", breathe, experience and think - "system addicts", in short. Examples include Plato, Dante, Proust and Nietzsche. Foxes live centrifugal than centripetal lives, pursuing many divergent ends and, generally, possess a sense of reality that prevents them from formulating a definite grand system of "everything", simply because they "know" that life is too complex to be squeezed into any Procrustean unitary scheme. Montaigne, Balzac, Goethe and Shakespeare are, in various degrees, foxes. Arvan Harvat personal correspondence, June 2004"

Secondly, for those so inclined and so as not to bury the citation in a tiny link for such a grand theme, let us have Mr. Berlin have the last word, and in so doing place the conflict between many and few into sharp resolution, then chess:

"Of course, like all over-simple classifications of this type, the dichotomy becomes, if pressed, artificial, scholastic, and ultimately absurd. But if it is not an aid to serious criticism, neither should it be rejected as being merely superficial or frivolous; like all distinctions which embody any degree of truth, it offers a point of view from which to look and compare, a starting-point for genuine investigation.

"Thus we have no doubt about the violence of the contrast between Pushkin and Dostoevsky; and Dostoevsky's celebrated speech about Pushkin has, for all its eloquence and depth of feeling, seldom been considered by any perceptive reader to cast light on the genius of Pushkin, but rather on that of Dostoevsky himself, precisely because it perversely represents Pushkin-an arch-fox, the greatest in the nineteenth century-as a being similar to Dostoevsky who is nothing if not a hedgehog; and thereby transforms, indeed distorts, Pushkin into a dedicated prophet, a bearer of a single, universal message which was indeed the centre of Dostoevsky's own universe, but exceedingly remote from the many varied provinces of Pushkin's protean genius.

"Indeed, it would not be absurd to say that Russian literature is spanned by these gigantic figures-at one pole Pushkin, at the other Dostoevsky; and that the characteristics of the other Russian writers can, by those who find it useful or enjoyable to ask that kind of question, to some degree be determined in relation to these great opposites. To ask of Gogol', Turgenev, Chekhov, Blok how they stand in relation to Pushkin and to Dostoevsky leads-or, at any rate, has lead-to fruitful and illuminating criticism.

"But when we come to Count Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy, and ask this of him - ask whether he belongs to the first category or the second, whether he is a monist or a pluralist, whether his vision is of one or of many, whether he is of a single substance or compounded of heterogeneous elements, there is no clear or immediate answer. The question does not, somehow, seem wholly appropriate; it seems to breed more darkness than it dispels. Yet it is not lack of information that makes us pause: Tolstoy has told us more about himself and his views and attitudes than any other Russian, more, almost than any other European writer; nor can his art be called obscure in any normal sense; his universe has no dark corners, his stories are luminous with the light of day; he has explained them and himself, and argued about them and the methods by which they are constructed, more articulately and with greater force and sanity and articulately and with greater force and sanity and lucidity than any other writer.

"Is he a fox or a hedgehog? What are we to say? Why is the answer so curiously difficult to find? Does he resemble Shakespeare or Pushkin more than Dante or Dostoevsky? Or is he wholly unlike either, and is the question therefore unanswerable because it is absurd? What is the mysterious obstacle with which our inquiry seems faced?"

Will Durant in his famous book the story of philosophy--which one college professor who had taught and read his most formidable highness Immanuel Kant (the Kasparov of philosophy if you will) said that he had not really understood Kant until after reading erudite but still lay philosopher Durant's chapter on Kant, as I recall, and as the latter said of Kant, "he proudly presented his categories: 'quantity, quality, relation and modality, each have three sub-categories, forming a typical example of a twelvefold, architectonic pattern'".

So in tandem, I move on from Part III, The Wealth of Bullets: Fast versus Slow to the Many and the Few, part IV to follow shortly... probably continued below instead of at a new post, so as to not to bait and switch readers above.

Part IV, Wide/Shallow or Narrow/Deep Chess analysis following play of many fast games, versus fewer slower games: assets versus.

Now for the chess part after above prefatory exegesis. But let me warn the kind reader first--I don't have many ready made answers, but rather intend to inquire into these questions and above concerns. One last related digression: I am east, visiting my Mother for Mothers Day.

Early in my visit, my sister and I walked through what was once one of the last pieces of farmland outside New York City, and needless to say, there is now being put in roadwork infrastructure, and water/sewer hookup amenities for what will soon enough to be large, palatial Toll Brothers like "McMansions", to use her term. While of course we have similar in Seattle, not quite on this scale or pervasiveness--lock, stock, and barrel--since this is a bedroom community for what is one of the planets greatest cities. I had heard this term and hereby adopt it. So those seeking McChess perhaps can move onto more cathectically oriented blogs designed to produce immediate gratification.

From 2002 to 2005, as I have said now and again, I spent three years slowly going through 941 Grandmaster games, which I had very copiously rendered or copied into pgn format. These were not annotated, and my goal in the first pass was to try to apprehend the entire board, understand possible plans, and sense tactical threats, and thereby attempt to guess the next best move, that is to say, sit on the games. This amounted to roughly one game a day, but since I tended to cluster the work, it was more like two per day at most with apt pauses along the way. Even when I was tired from work, I always tried to do even ten or twelve moves, etc, rather than none, and so feel the vital pulse of Lasker, Tal, Pillsbury, and other pedigree.

When that was done, I started over, taking the best third, and planed to then attempt to annotate the games myself, by hand--no Fritz, no ChessMaster, no ChessBase9 nor Chess Assistant--laboriously like a Medieval Archivist, page after page. To start, I set out to go through one of the very finest chess books ever compiled for the non-master, again, as I have said many, many times, Irving Chernev's The Most Instructive Games of Chess Ever Played. Someone at Amazon in a review once said that this book lacked tactically interested games. Yes, if you want that, then Igor Stohls far richer Instructive Modern Chess Masterpieces is one of those, and is the last part of the 341, games 292-341. But you have to walk before you can run. I spent six months on the first game. Were there many stops? Yes, of course. But by the end, I had gone through the famous Capablanca-Tartakower game, where C. sacrifices the central pawn and flanks his king up to the f6 and g6 area, and takes a mighty pawn to promotion. Genius. And bold, and dazzlingly confident.

My analysis was not very profound, but the effort so see WITHOUT A BOARD, as Silman says to do in HTIYC, move by move, one variation at a time, is the main value. The key is to ATTEMPT EVALUATION. Thereafter, in learning how to learn or what Mind and Brain researcher and husband to Margaret Mead, Gregory Bateson called "type III learning", in his Mind and Nature book, and Steps to an Ecology of Mind, referenced nicely in Dr. James Paul Gustafson, Chair of the Psychiatry Department at the University of Madison Wisconsin ( often conducting client therapy on the campus lawn, sitting in folding lawn chairs :)), and Harvard MD, in his book Brief Versus Long Psychotherapy, or his Self Delight in a Harsh World. I corresponded with the latter, writing him, and evidentially I was the only person to write him about the latter in TEN years. Dr. G. was no slouch, and wrote a Tolstoy scholar in Italy IN ITALIAN mentioning me, and what he learned from my letter--never mind his Russian. So there is that persistent Tolstoy nuministic shadow brushing me again in synergy. Am I many or few? Am I a polymath and polyhistor, combining pantheons of pantheistic Hindu gods with nutrition, stock market, and game theory, or I a monist and integrator compressing with deep UV ultrastepers lasers onto tiny silica wafers?

My plan was to continue Chernev, but then I discovered CTS, and thereafter CT-Art 3.0, and after buying a new Dual Core desktop computer and delighting on an extra copy of Fritz8 gifted to me, then latter RAPTURING on a copy of ChessBase 9 gifted to me, I was toast. I did the first 13 games, and somehow exhausted. My plan was to do all 62 games, then the 30 Nunn Understanding Chess Move By Move book, then the 24 Jan Timman selections in The Art of Chess Analysis, then the 55 games from Romero's Creative Chess Strategy, 50 Stohl, etc. The third step which awaits is to take MY ANALYSIS and then COMPARE IT TO THE AUTHORS ANALYSIS, but only then, and see what I had missed! Himm? Job? Girlfriend? Meditation? Trading markets? Low fat food prep? Running? Alpine mountaineering? Blogspot??? When???????? Himmmmm. Deep organization!

Then after my injuries, I played those 1250 bullet games, with about 300 rapids between late November and mid April, and with some large pauses during that term--if you picture the video commercial Girls Gone Wild--really played about twenty games a day, or more, or what I like to call ChessPlayer Gone Wild (just imagine the graphic, men taking tops off).

I quickly realized that I could NEVER get through those 1250 bullet games (while I realistically and sincerely have not given up the thought or ambition or desire to review, even for a moment, like some crazed two month deep UV dig in a cleanroom wearing gloves and gown); so I set out to analyze those 300 rapids, which I did the first half of.

Here is the rub: when I study those game, I feel pain. It is so hard. How much easier it is to play more games! But as many a GM has said, or as Bruce Pandolfini so well articulates: "you really are not gonna get any better until you find out what it is you are doing wrong". I like to jibe wormwood at times (usually privately but not always), probably because he has so much raw talent and, for mine, substantial genuine practical raw intelligence bar none among us, and "only the worthy are worth criticizing". But mark my words, his 239 correspondence games is a most impressive feat. Not thirty slow games. Not 1250 bullets in four months. But 239 postal games in two years, maybe ten minutes at a time (I can figure this out, but for literary purposes, let me postulate that provisionally), combined with 84,407 CTS tries. This is perfect balance. Bravo!

Back to my mainline discussion: It was once said that the world top 100 GM Psakhis became a grandmaster BY ONLY studying ONLY 200 GM games from Informator THOROUGHLY, EVERY MOVE, EVERY VARIATION, EVERY ENDING, EVERY OPENING. I also met a bright young man once who was a terribly wicked 3/0 bullet player who as a raw beginner was told by a candidate IM he met at the downtown Seattle Public Library, with the usual semi-homeless, near genius unshaved contingent of persons, that to get really good at chess, he needed to study Alekhines Games, whereby Eliot "only got as far as thirty games", or so, I think it was, he told me, but boy did he study THEM! The master who suggest this told him to not move onto the next move until he had examined all the possibilities.

So there it is--the crux of the matter, after Tolstoy, Type III Learning, and Alekhine:

If we study many games, we exhaust ourselves for such time as when we play chess but necessarily loose decidedly in depth.

If we study fewer games, we save some energy, and allow more energy for such time as when we play chess but necessarily loose in breadth.

If we play many games, it makes it harder and harder to ACTUALLY go back and look at them--the acid test of becoming a really, really good, a really, really SOLID CHESS PLAYER who has been forged at the table of analysis off the scrapes of battle. Conversely, it amplifies our base of "real chess" experience--even if not of the best reference quality.

If we play lesser games, it makes it more feasible to METABOLIZE them--the ne plus ultra gold standard of learning what we need to learn. But conversely, it diminishes our ability to test or practice live the many types of endings, at once sharpen and amplify our opening repertoire, and sample the many types of styles of play among those outranking us one class, not to mention the swarms adjacent to us in rank, of which, by definition, there are many!
Whether it be Fritz Perls of the Human Potential Movement, Arnold Toynbee and Oswald Spengler or Fernand Braudel of the total school of historiography, or whether alternately it be therapy, marital therapy, and facing addiction and grief work, whether it be Karl Poper's Open Society and Its Enemies with his urgent prehitler era critique of fascism versus democracy and the city states era of Plato's Republic and Aristotle, or lastly whether it be Korchnoi or Ivanchuk each of which restlessly globetrotted and competed in myriads of chess tournaments (or still play for his age in an usual number of events per year in the latter), or alternately the elegant monastic numesmatically precise few games of Robert J. Fischer who sometimes only played 13 games in two years was it (but what what games they were, rampages of pent up missing father figure rage directed at his usually outclassed opponents), seeing what few other could at that time understood... all cases, in all instances here we have the same problem again and again, the problem of growth: what to keep, what to revisit, what to see, what to discard, the work of a lifetime for all ages, in an inexplicable dance of soul, self, society, and mind. As someone once: "Chess is War", and as Kasparov once said: "Chess is Mental Torture". And we all here love its beauty and elegant cogent reduction of chaos, compressed like carbon diamond into dense richness of unimaginable scope and imagination.

Warm Regards, David

Friday, May 04, 2007

Garry Kasparov makes TIME 100 list

source and Time Magazine:

Garry Kasparov makes TIME 100 list

04.05.2007 – Once a year Time Magazine compiles a list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Oprah Winfrey made the list a record five times, Bill Gates four times, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Nelson Mandela and Condoleezza Rice three times. The 2007 list which hits the newsstands today includes a chess player who today is "leading a lonely fight for greater democracy in Russia."

TTIME 100 is an annual list, compiled by Time Magazine, of the 100 most influential people in the world. The list was first published in 1999 as a list of the 100 most influential people of the passing century. It soon became an annual feature, listing the 100 people influencing the world most greatly every year. They are separated into five groups: Leaders and Revolutionaries, Builders and Titans, Artists aand Entertainers, Scientists and Thinkers, and Heroes and Icons. Each category has 20 nominees, sometimes in pairs or small groups. The magazine made it clear that the people recognized are those who are changing the world – for better or for worse.
Record holders for TIME 100 nominations are Oprah Winfrey, who was listed five times, followed by Bill Gates (four times), George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Nelson Mandela and Condoleezza Rice (three times).

This year's list includes Queen Elizabeth, US presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Pope Benedict XVI, YouTube founders Steve Chen and Chad Hurley, film director Martin Scorsese, and supermodel Kate Moss. Separately, Time named 14 "power givers" including Bill and Melinda Gates, Angelina Jolie, Queen Rania al-Abdullah of Jordan, George Soros. The list includes 71 men and 29 women from 27 countries. It does not include President Bush. On the current TIME 100 list we find actors Leonardo DiCaprio, Sacha Baron Cohen (of "Borat" fame), as well as entertainment newsmakersBrad Pitt, Justin Timberlake, Cate Blanchett and America Ferrera. Politicians include California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nancy Pelosi (writeup by Newt Gingrich!), Michael Bloomberg, Angela Merkel, Tzipi Livni, Sonia Gandhi and Ayatullah Ali Khamenei. Amongst the Scientists and Thinkers we find Al Gore, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Richard Dawkins. Builders and Titans include Richard Branson and Steve Jobs, while Heroes and Pioneers include (tennis star) Roger Federer, Oprah Winfrey, George Clooney and Michael J. Fox.

"The TIME 100 is not a hot list. It's a survey not of the most powerful or the most popular, but of the most influential," writes Editor Richard Stengel. "We look for people whose ideas, whose example, whose talent, whose discoveries transform the world we live in. Yes, there are Presidents and dictators who can change the world through fiat, but we're more interested in innovators like Monty Jones, the Sierra Leone scientist who has developed a strain of rice that can save African agriculture. Or heroes like the great chess master Garry Kasparov, who is leading a lonely fight for greater democracy in Russia." Here's his writeup:

Garry Kasparov
By Michael Elliott
Garry Kasparov likes to say he has been in politics all his life. In the Soviet Union, the nation in which he grew up, chess was a way of demonstrating the superiority of communism over the decadent West, and a chess prodigy was inevitably a political figure. Kasparov never dodged that fate; when he took on and eventually defeated Anatoly Karpov, the darling of the Soviet chess establishment, in 1985, his image as a prominent outsider – Kasparov is half Jewish, half Armenian – was fixed.

Kasparov's status has been maintained in post-Soviet Russia. His organization, the Other Russia, a coalition of those opposed to the rule of President Vladimir Putin, has held a series of demonstrations, often broken up by the police. For Kasparov, Russia today, dominated by a combination of huge energy enterprises and former security apparatchiks (such as Putin), is a betrayal of those who dreamed of democracy in the early 1990s.

Putin's foes are fragmented and run from old-fashioned nationalists to modern liberals; Kasparov, 44, insists he is just a moderator, not a leader, of the movement. But by giving a voice to those who believe that Russia can develop in a way different from the authoritarianism that seems always to have been its fate, the retired grand master shows that he has not yet made his last move.