Friday, November 30, 2012

ChessBase 9 or 11: Para--Pro, Besides, Next to, Near, With, Any of These Words Work.

I have been feeling guilty about my last post.  But I also stand by it.  So now let me take the other side, so that I do not take unwary readers by surprise.  I don't always but usually do like to provoke.  But I love chessBase, consider it to be a necessarily if not MOST worthwhile investment for serious and aspiring chess players.

If I say less now, and have said less in the past, it is like two old friends taking a long drive in silence.  Or a short drive might be a better analogy.  They decide not to talk, knowing that it must be a gigantic conversation.  Maybe not a difficult one, but once started cannot stop.

I have a LOT, a very lot to say about chessBase, and over many years evolved my own ways of organizing the material, my games, the work in progress.  This day will come.  When I will talk.  I am very, very particular as to how I do it.  To me, it is Zen chess work.  It is heuristical art.

The day to day mechanics of chessBase, despite what some think, is relatively easy.  Does it take some getting used to?  Of course.  Some very odd quirks?  Of course.  Germanic circumlocutions if you will....

The harder part is not how to use it or use it well, but how to organize the vast forestt--reference games, our own games, studies, openings, current GM games, problems, tactics, files.  I love chessBase.  I really want to make videos on it, but how much time does a man have?

I eat very, very well.  I am actually interviewing with the top organic grocer in Tacoma Washington.  I make all my own food.  I run three to four hours on Saturdays, and it takes me two days to prepare, two to recover, sometimes three.  I study chess, have my blog, my work on sustainability.  All that.  I am very directed in my tactical study, running, diet.

The Elvis of Asia.  Serious.  ... He is the Michael Jackson of Asia.  Only near 1B hits, 3M comments.  This cannot be just a fad.  It is art.   That he is a genuinely real, nice person who has worked to create his art, cannot hurt.  Lovely interview here.  If I were gay I would track him down and ask him out.  Not that he is gay.  Just a lovely man....

Love to you all.  So let me close by saying that I worship upon the alter of chessBase.  Daily.

PS:  I have prepared my second article for ChessCafe (published on in early April).  I plan to submit, but need to work on it more.  I have all the source data, my own measures, like alchemy, comparing ICC to PlayChess to, and a bit of chessCube.  So much to do.  The limitation is NOT mental, but as my guru Joy always said, 'Enlightenment is always embodied in physicality'.  So here.  It is the limitation of fingers, typing, revision, typing, mental energy, will, time, choices.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

ChessBase 12: Argumentum--Contra, Against, Doubt, Worry

I had no idea there was a ChessBase 12 coming out. If I had the time and energy, I would verily DEMAND that chessBase make me a beta user. But what the fu_k?  When you are not surprised that you are surprised is hardly a surprise.  New Obama.  New Windows, New Macs?  New ideology, new economics?  WTF?

I do not use the term expert lightly. I am NOT a chess expert. But I am, quite assuredly a chessBase expert, having used it every day for seven years, probably ten years+ of use. I know all of it. Every single corner of it. I know how to do stuff that I do not know how to do.

And chessBase 11 was a major fu_k up. I used ChessBase Version Nine for six years, starting in 2005. Broken save functions. History for interupted saved games messed up, drag and drop within the 'fixed sort order' rubric WAS VERY messed up, crashing, replacing games messed up. But version nine was completely stable. Foolproof. Zero problems. But we hear of improvements, read ring the cash registered. Jesus!

Need I say that a former world junior chess champion, latter ranked eleventh in the world was it, asked me five or six years ago to send him ALL his GAMES with the former World Chess Champions in chessBase, read Karpov, Tal, Kasparov, for his book about his games with them?   Is this a fool, a total fool who asked me for help???  He beat Kasparov several times, and Karpov as well.  Dugh!

And asking him, a year latter, 'Did I miss any of them?' 'No, you got em all'. That simple. God strike me dead if I lie.

Well, lets see what chessBase gmB or whatever it was, gmH created. I have my doubts. Think Internet Explorer Eight then Nine, after Seven, which did lots of things neither of those did, total crap. Just crap.  I am afraid.  I hear of improvements.  Give me a stiff drink.  Not gazpacho but Gestapo.  Oh my god.

I am utterly filled with hyperbole, but I earned it.  What did they say of Nietzsche?  He was obviously a very agitated but alert mind, at a pivotal time of change.  'Let them eat cake'.

Some consider me to be a very disturbing person.  Well if only I tried not to.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Grab Bag: Recent Comments at CTS

I should tidy this up.  But what the F.  Who has time or energy?   I am busy with finishing this cycle of CT-Art 3.0, and in view of going back to blitz to test how much of the last seven weeks of this study has helped result in seeing more in chess, have in the last day or two gone back to CTS, aka as Chess Tactics Server.  It is the sh_t! [No time here.  Quickly.  Version four has problems.  Be sure to get 3.0].

The skill had gone fast, but I am also very confident that this does not mean that I lost it.  Slow calculation, standard as it were, is not the same as blitz, but at least from where I live, from where I stand, the one is connected to the other.  Blitz feeds real chess, and real chess feeds blitz.  Blitz is not food.  It is fuel.  You have to do a lot of it to get the raw experience, and the more you do it, the more you see.  Comments below more than share my peripatetic thoughts.

Its Saturday, tomorrow promises to be the second nice day in three weeks.  Some hate the weather here.  I am among those who love it.  The rain holds me in its gentle arms, bathing my sorrow, washing my heartache.  But now that I am clearly defined as training for my first 30 mile run, but next year, and I need to put the miles in, and every two weeks need to do something big.  And this is always best in the forest.  That day is tomorrow.  Those sort of runs can happen in horrid mud, but its good to be able to see where you are going, even if the mud is still there.  OK, here goes:

Date From Message

2012, Nov 24 dktransform Play blitz all the time? Sure. But then the skills start to plateau. Most of all, fatigue sets in. 3 min chess day after day can be stressful, at least if you are doing it for real, that is to say, not 'for kicks', but full on, urgent, each and every game, for real, life or death, get a peak all time rating. Then you know--relative to yourself--repeat, to yourself--you are on form. Then you need to refresh and retrain. Train all the time? Sure. But then you run into lack of practical application, making comfort a value greater than struggle. But if you are not doing tons of training, it is not fruitful. Then you don't have muscle building but 'routine maintenance'.

Then you have to go and retest. The cycle repeats. Play lots of blitz, go back and run your games in chessBase, not for deep Fritz as it were, but to see where you have habitual bad opening habits and constructs. You determine to eradicate them, at least the way I do it, go into chessBase and if you have narrowed down your repertoire, you get to repeat. Getting to repeat, you get to see what you do that does not work. Better players punish you. You do deeper work, then do tactics, then blitz. Do it all, then play standard chess. See how good you are, and prepare for punishment. But you get to experience yourself, in relationship to others.

2012, Nov 24 dktransform OK. Nothing to brag of here. Just report on recent effort, as but one example of how one more CTS person goes about his or her efforts. First bad form. Hard to do 85% at 1600, 1500 level. So last day or two, retooling. Now that I can do 1f/138s= 139t @ 99.3% for 1100 elo level. Now I step up to 1300. Once I can do those around 97/98%, then I go back to 1500 level problems. Once I can do those at 91% and push up into the mid 1500's, then it is time to play blitz again. It takes time, but you get back in shape. First and foremost, by consistent success. 1100 is really not so completely easy. Easy? Yes. But perfectly? Not so easy. About 63% of those are 1300/1400 level. The issue is not difficulty. The issue is determination to correct thinking. Not most of the time. But each and every time.

2012, Nov 23 dktransform Hello CTS friends and associates, and Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who are in an America or American.... OK: 'How quickly it goes!' I've been busy at CT-Art 3.0 and just about finished the entire cycle. Great stuff. But it is also another world. I am ramping up here again, really, really starting to hunger for blitz, not for stimulation as such alone, but to start feeding my brain lots of chess to see how much I have absorbed in the last five or six weeks. I certainly know not to loose all this hard work, by total loss of confidence, by playing blitz, and having a rating sink like a stone as I resync my brain to faster board evaluation. As such, I am doing what I have always done, and found to work, and that is work hard, and steadily, and in size at CTS till I can do lots of problems accurately.

But also as always, starting back, you find that you cannot just will yourself into form. It was hard to do 70 or 80% at > = 1600 level with 1500 level problems, and I can assure you, since I cannot easily do 1100 level problems at 95%, it means my form is way off. CTS is a skill like anything else, and you just don't show up, and voila! It takes time. I will get it back, but until I can get back to a 91% run rate, and steadily and consistently, there will be no blitz for me. Its running laps, hill work, the gym, sit ups. Then when the work outs are good, and consistently, then the fight or the track or cross country match. That time is not now! Warmly, dk

2012, Nov 19 dktransform Good. Even better: 'Learning How to Learn: Bateson'sDolphins. One of the best stories about learning how to learn comes from anthropologist Gregory Bateson In his book, "Steps to the Ecology of Mind". In these collected stories, Bateson describes how he saw dolphins working it out for themselves in a dolphinarium. On the first day of a new routine, the dolphins were taught a new trick. If they performed it correctly, they were rewarded with a fish. The next day, when they performed the trick, no fish were given. Fish were only given when a new trick was mastered. This continued for two weeks. Then on the fourteenth day, the dolphins performed four new tricks they hadn't been shown before but had learnt by themselves. The dolphins had learnt that learning, not tricks, is what gets rewarded. It's precisely this skill that we all need to learn for our own personal effectiveness at work.'

2012, Nov 16 chessisajedrez 'If you were to visit a chess tournament and watch a grandmaster in action, you would be able to observe a surprising range of emotions. Sometimes, in apparently simple positions, the grandmaster might lapse into lengthy periods of concentration, where ten minutes or more might be spent on a move. At other times the moves will come very quickly, even in complicated positions. You might even be shocked if the grandmaster suddenly wins the game with a lengthy and brilliant mating sacrifice – after thinking for just a few seconds. Clearly the analytical process is not always directly related to how complicated the position is on the surface. The reason for this is pattern recognition.

If the grandmaster can recall similar positions encountered in the past, the same themes and concepts might be applicable to the game in hand. This makes it much easier and quicker to analyze a position. It especially applies to the most basic attacking formations around the enemy king. Once a known motif is spotted, the moves of the potential combination are analyzed to check that it does indeed work in the particular position on the board. It is clear then that chess analysis is a mixture of calculation of individual moves and pattern recognition'. – Murray Chandler, How to Beat Your Dad at Chess [dk:  Quoted here.  Great book.  He is part of the Emms, Nunn, Burgess nexus at Gambit Publications, UK]

2012, Nov 16 e4e5f4 Do you want to get better results on this site? Read and use "Thinking fast and slow" from Daniel Kahneman.

2012, Nov 15 chessisajedrez @dktransform - "Soilent Green is Coca Cola!"

2012, Nov 15 dktransform Soylent Green is a 1973 American science fiction film directed by Richard Fleischer and starring Charlton Heston and, in his final film, Edward G. Robinson. The film overlays the police procedural and science fiction genres as it depicts the investigation into the murder of a wealthy businessman in a dystopian future suffering from pollution, overpopulation, depleted resources, poverty, dying oceans, and a hot climate due to the greenhouse effect. Much of the population survives on processed food rations, including "soylent green". The film, which is loosely based upon the 1966 science fiction novel Make Room! Make Room!, by Harry Harrison, won the Nebula Award for Best Dramatic Presentation and the Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film in 1973.

2012, Nov 15 dktransform Friends and loved ones at CTS, lets not rot our bodies and brains while we try to build our mental acuity here. Worth the while. Love to all of you, David Korn PS, now at problem 1,063 at CT-Art 3.0. This stuff is the sh_t! I will finish it this time, in about 65 days this time, then 47, then 23, then 11, then plan to make the move to 1800 blitz, up one notch, then from nascent 1700 USCF to 1800+ (OK, not quite, but I refused like 97 draws in my recent games, lost when thinking i was even, even when i thought i was winning, all of them! try this:

2012, Nov 13 dktransform nice to see you. i am here twice a day, always enjoy the notes. currently, after four attempts at the seven circles, each time getting stuck at problems six hundred, seven hundred, eight hundred, biting through with deep, very deep commitment. drafted a xls schedule. discipline was not and is not the issue. these are hard problems, some mind bending. 'click, click' and too fast, might as well not call it standard tactics, but my old hobgobblen of 'guessing'. this time i am biting hard. on problem 1,049, and on my way to 1209. i do this at waking, before work, now, and before bed. i was going to stop at level six, problem 1,039, my aim of weeks, and repeat that circle first in 40 days again recently, then 28, 14, and seven.

i do not do it the same as michael de Mazla, but similar. i decided two days ago not to go back, subverting my irrevocable plan to finish at 31 dec 2012, but now the whole thing, then repeat ALL of it. no blitz, no chessBase, just john emms ultimate chess puzzle book in bed. this is it. it is now time. leaving portland, going back to washington state, to work on sustainability, a 28th amendment to the american constitution, into law. so first finish CT-Art 3.0, prefatory to lots of USCF games back in WA state (not much here, and not ready, and way overpriced here, tournaments anyway), and nascent to that, will play lots of blitz, and before that, lots of CTS. I will be back, and believe me, my RD will not >100. i am awake.

2012, Nov 04 dktransform i have been eating pretty much having a full mean every hour for the last six hours, now constantly. when i did a guided climb of Glacier Peak in 2000, i had a large pizza two days before leaving for dinner, a large pizza for lunch the next day, and a large pizza for dinner. only 12,000 feet vertical in 1.5 days, carrying sixty pounds. the body needs deep fuel reserves, but water matters FAR more. i just got back from the trailhead,here in a far different place, driving 38 miles total, just to drop 0.8 gallons of water at the 9.7 mile mark off a access road along the way, to be ready to drink up, tank up, and have water for the trip back. in the forest, divine! then i am starving for two days after, cannot stop eating :-).

2012, Nov 04 dktransform larry kaufman smart motherF'r!

2012, Nov 04 dktransform i do not program chess engines, just from wide anecdotal chess reading...

2012, Nov 04 dktransform yes. some of the old guard have a cc of a pgn of the complete CTS problems, when there were 23k of them, the last seven years. to the operators credit, they added an additional 14k problems, but let it be reminded that on one has ever or does complain about the scope of prior. it is just that much better to have more. ways to improve the site and user experience? why yes, of course, but duly appreciated all the same. a matter of what is present, not what is absent.

please write me at, and I can send. the illustrious ginger baker, who i believe still lives in france (an american, and to my surprise, a man not a woman... by the name only would have thought not). i am preparing to run 22 miles to tomorrow, so if don't send it then will the next day. massive eating is real work :-). second, you can get pgn's of the two reinfeld books as well as, what is it called, the Brako or Bradko problems for testing engines here, which should be plenty. good luck:

2012, Oct 29 dktransform does anyone here, please, have any direct experience with the many variations of Renko's various tactics courses, CD's. to me, it is hard to tell. CTS, CT-Art 3.0, Reinfeld, Polgar's Chess Middlegames--4,158 Positions, TASC or Steppenmethod, at some point, become no more or no less, you do the work, there are no magic tricks. at the same time, if you aim too high, i kind of ruins better work for latter. you do not so much calculate or delve into the problems as memorize them, as my Zen Master Dae Soen Sa Nim called 'Number One Bad!'.

you do CT Art 3.0 too slowly, you just start to suffocate. do it too fast, its click, click, this is not memorization, but time calculating, with direct feedback. that said, its like the man said, 'so many girls, so little time'. so here. begs the question, what does Renko have that others do not? i duly note, the guy on paper seems like the real deal, a person of respectable intentions, effort, imprimatur. blessings, david korn portland oregon

2012, Oct 29 dktransform hello friends. i continue to work hard, very, very hard at CT-Art 3.0, this time, doing the real, full on, full-bore seven circles. not as de la Mazla described it, but in my own way, but more like what he did, than not. i plan to write about it, and already did, in a small way, and have drafted parts II, III, IV, V. just to let you folks know, i continue to read comments, always nice to see new blood. i wish that i could respond to the many astute, worthwhile, smart comments. briefly, thanks to you, Chessisajedrez, always nice to see your most worthwhile, astute comments. always.

i plan to be back here, but not right now. to me, CTS is chicken and egg--if i train for standard, i don't need it. if i am playing a lot of blitz, then it is the gold standard for training. chessTempo, of course. a great place. nothing bad to say about it, lots that is good. and yes, its free, despite what some say. that guy Richard is one smart motherF. that it is visually attractive, to my eyes, counts for a lot. smart is the word for him, his work, that place. i maintain, you don't go to CTS to learn tactics, but to practice them, duly on the clock. see you all latter, warmly, dk 2012

2012, Oct 20 dktransform last blog post is a draft, discovery writing. i make no appologies. been busy also doing seven circles at CT-Art, currently doing about 25 per days around problem 600, a real tough road. more latter, see ya, dk: . . i have given up fear in the current economy, and i dont care.

2012, Oct 20 dktransform sorry. speaking of accurate, not my typing. i just got off work, am dead brain tired. but you get the idea. you can view things in different ways. obama and romney alike, think that increasing GDP for the USA 4% annually for the next six years is accomplishing economic gain. economic gain, instead, would be taking first two percent, then four, then six percent of all GDP for the next three years, devoted to sustainable energy, sustainable life, while DECREASING GDP 2% a year for the next three years. for example, get every highschool kid, to work three times a week, ninety minutes at a time, going around with a glad bag and work gloves, and clean up roads and rivers.

but no, child labor laws and strict things about safety, toxicity, barrier protection prevents it. we pay unemployment, and the concrete exists, the men exists, the skills exist, the needs exist, but no, there is no money to retool america or rebuild roads, but rich civil servants and police have rich pension, congressional pages have smart phones. yea. so no, 74% at 200k is not progress, it is waking sleep.

2012, Oct 20 dktransform there are others who have done more, and or better than me. but let it be duly noted, going 70k at 91% is equal to the effort of 200k at 74%. it takes a LOT longer to do the problems, more tension, more going back, more time. at 74% you fly through the work. just try 1,000 each way, time it, and compare. see how you feel. even the difference between 90% and 95% is light years. one in twenty five wrong is not 62.5% harder, than one in gen wrong. it is exponentially harder.

if you are doing 98.5%, as i did for almost two years along the way here, that means if you get one wrong in fifty, you have to do the next hundred in a row to get back to parity. if you are doing one in twenty, and get one wrong in ten, you then have to do the next one wrong in forty to get back to parity. this takes great effort. same analogy. 74% at 200k can alternately be said to be gigantic evidence of someone in a hurry insuring the same mistakes keep getting repeated, not a badge of honor. chess is learning, chess is thinking, not gambling.

Friday, November 23, 2012


Look at Boris Gelfand.  He always has the slightly irritated look of a man who is forced to tolerate meeting with an IRS (US Internal Revenue Service agent--taxes!) half his age, who is officiating with out of bounds authority.  He has to be polite but knows its all stupid.

Svidler always looks like a guy who just got out of a mathematics final exam, where he knew all the answers, and found it easy.  The guy who always got tops grades without studying, and dated the best girls.

I love them both.  Amazing men.  Gelfand is a rock.  Svidler is the true, urbane man of the world.

Given proper opportunity, I would kiss the girl left of them--Press officer Anastasiya Karlovich, or ask her at the very least to give me a show, taking her top off.  That she also knows chess or has a sweet Russian accent in the complete certainty that a man can always be expected to behave as a man does not hurt.  She knows who she is, and is strong enough not to have to demonstrate it, knowing she holds power.  How erotic.

Live video feed here, but probably not active after the match (two more games continue during this postmortem).

Double click image to expand.

Calculators Versus Wizards

Notice how much time, here in Round Two of the FIDE Grand-Prix in Tashkent:

Kamsky 39:53 minutes to Karjakin 1:01
Svider 1:19 to Gelfand 21:41 minutes
Leko 0:25 minutes to Mamedyarov 1:16.

Double click image to expand view

A mix of feelings and perceptions, including deep caution, brilliant depth, over carefullness, certain to go down in flames for time trouble, pressured by rapid players--Gelfand just 21 moves, Leko 22 moves.  This is headed for trouble.  Hardly needs a mention.

But what does matter, is how each and every man demonstrates his character (Women's WCC here, faster control, so does not bear comparison at this time).

These players grind and grind and grind.  They hardly get out of the chair.  I totally respect that.  Takes guts.  Takes stamina.  Takes strength.  Takes will.  Takes balls.

Rapid Chess Improvement or Cheating?

Someone once asked the Buddha:

'Oh Lord.  Do you think the soul is eternal or temporal?'  The response is very wise:

'Of what use are these questions?'  Work on your own salvation'.

First, I have read through most, if not all of the referenced links or looked at the blogs mentioned in my first post, Four-Hundred points in 4,000 days.  I read them the moment I go the hat tip weeks ago.  I even then recently received an email from a truly beloved chess friend, a very strong one who said he USED to respect de la Mazla's work, as an example of great effort, but had serious questions, if not great reservations now.  I can respect that also.

Here is my position.  There is merit in these blogs.  Many smart persons, with work of real worth.  If I had the time or inclination, or is it more like the energy, right now, to link to them, I would.  You can find them in recent comments to posts here.  Thank you.  But its Thanksgiving night, I just got back from work on a most special American holiday, and I am pooped, tired.  And CT Art is tiled below my browser below me now, and this is just a break in hard work.  The best kind, when your eyes are drooping.  Like the burn running up a very steep hill, when you can barely breath yet get that last bit of work out in.  Build it within you.

Double Click to Enlarge Image

I do not believe he cheated.  I have also read through many, a great many comments on his book at Amazon--there must be sixty or more of them, some very astute in perception.

So many (and this is not in any way to disparage my esteemed fellow bloggers here, I respect every single one of you)--there wish to bash RCI.  But Rapid Che... need not be a perfect plan, or sustain bold claims for greatness to have value.  Like those books, Learn a Language in Ten Days, or the Diet Audio tapes or video classes, Loose Fifty Pounds in Fifty Days, or Flat Abs (abdomen) in six weeks--six pack abs.

What matters is doing the work.  You want to gain 125 points?  Do it.  You want to take Four Hundred Weeks, not four hundred days (less than eight years), its OK.  Do it.

I am willing to bet many in those reviews either did not do all the work, or hard enough, or fast enough to get the full compression.  But even then, I feel no need to judge or compare.

Do the work.  I do not believe de la Mazla was all about money.  Did he sell a book?  Yes.  Just as others have.  Don't feel it has value (I never bought it), then instead just read the wonderful two articles at Chess Cafe, Parts I and Parts II here, then skim the book standing in a bookstore without buying, get started, then read the Chess Cafe articles again.  Don't agree?  Ok.  Form a plan.  Take action.  Do it.

Me?  I have done my spreadsheets, and done my calculations of time and energy, mixed rate of speed with quality, and am doing the work.  Too slow?  It takes too long.  Too fast?  You miss the calculation time.  Too tedious?  It can ruin chess as a game.  Too easy?  Superficial.

Cheater?  Who cares.  Don't cheat yourself.

Now, I have a more to say, a lot more to say on this.  I drafted Part II of my own comments six weeks ago more or less simultaneous to Part I, and went to publish, but Google ate my revisions.  Even then, do I blame them?  No.  I have been blogging here since 2005.  I know many a trick, and take great care not to loose work.  But guess what--sometimes I goof.

I have ways I take exception to his work, others could not agree more, but whatever it is, I do not doubt he did the work, and he is one smart fuc_ker.  His Doctoral Thesis at MIT shows as much, his current professional life is not exactly stupid either.  That is rate of improvment cannot be duplicated except by one in five thousand, an aspiring Life Master.  Well, OK.  You do the work, attain one-quarter as much in four times the elapsed time, and take what you can.

Me?  I love to study more than play.  Far, far more.  And if this was not such a provocative way to study, nee, a very very provocative discussion, so many would not be so riled by it all.  Get to work and just try it.

Monday, November 19, 2012


I never set out to be big.  In fact, I seem to have reverted now to a stance or profile that will repel as many readers as possible, save the most veterant if not idiosyncratic kind.

Yet I cannot not admit it.  I am soon to approach my 100,000th site visit.  How disturbing.  I try.

Come and get me, here I come [1].

[1]  Acerbic but true.  You cannot blog the same crap for five or six years.  No.  Or if you are, then why?  This is not the same blog as seven+ years ago, at inception.  Nor two years ago.  I continue to evolve, and continue to modify what I think is worth saying about what I see.  Who speaks of the economics of Chinese chess or says that Afghanistan, like a Queen radiating her force upon a mighty chess board, touches upon no less than six countries [2]?  Why the big fight?  Read the junction of mighty forces. 

[2] 'Afghanistan (Persian/Pashto: افغانستان, Afġānistān), officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country forming part of South Asia, Central Asia. and to some extent Western Asia. With a population of about 30 million, it has an area of 647,500 km2 (250,001 sq mi), making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world. It is bordered by Pakistan in the south and the east, Iran in the west, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in the north, and China in the far northeast. '

Womens Chess in China or Pax Sino

A full three eights of the eight advancers to the quarter finals of the 2012 Women's World Chess Championship are Chinese.  Think about that.  Go back, what, six, ten, fourteen years ago?  This is an event which cannot even been seen then.

China is big, China is strong, and with so many persons to choose from, can afford to cherry pick many categories for talent, by science and athletics.  Art, no.  Architecture and literature, maybe not.

Like the Japanese, cf. GB Sansom's 'Japan: A Short Cultural History', whereby, despite the great technical refinement known less for invention and far more for great ability to reproduce, such as is witness in Tokyo whether it be in fashion, Italian or French cuisine, or Jazz, so here.  They take what you have, incorporate it, integrate it, and willy-nilly when practicable transcend it [1].

Whatever it is, the Chinese are coming.  And come they will.  Did you check your national sovereign accounts?

[1] Not quite China, but ne plus ultra, good enough.  'Le Quang Liem and the Soviet School of Chess'.  Fu_king god da_n great article.  Damn:

'What a school is and what its presence or absence means is something that you can understand very well if you analyze with Asian chess players. In February and March I worked a little bit with Le Quang Liem, and I will say honestly that sometimes my eyes popped out of my head. He is also a very talented boy (maybe not a Carlsen, but definitely out of the ordinary), and he is trying very hard to grow. 

'But at the moment all he does is calculate and calculate variations. He calculates very well, by the way. But a school is, in my opinion, what you would call a basis of positional principles, playing from general considerations and this sort of thing.

'It’s very hard to learn it even from good books. In order to know which pieces should go where and when to exchange what, that is when it is very important to work with a qualified trainer':

as quoted by 'Top-player/coach was former FIDE World Champion Alexander Khalifman', at the ever inimitable Crestbook, 'Chess in Translation', what is it, by Colin McGourty.  A great man who makes a great, unending, albeit humble, but most valuable effort.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Brooklyn Castle

The success of the recently launched movie about the single most successful high school chess team in the United States ever, hardly needs comment.

Duly so, they have publicized the movie very well, even writing me a year ago, asking me to mention the movie at The West Orange Chess Club, whose blog I ran for a year, eventually voted in as Secretary.  A great club.  We won the 41st World Team Amateur in Parsippany New Jersey, in 2011.  The blog post, Community: Documentary Brooklyn Castle, ex-Chess Movie, is linked here.

Also, for those who want more, here is a great interview: 'The Creativity of Chess: a Conversation with Elizabeth Spiegel'.

[Addendum, Sun 18 Nov 2012, Nice feature on ever informative NPR's All Things Considered, linked here:   'Kids Prove They're No Pawn in 'Brooklyn Castle'.  Webpage has brief but at top left, click circular audio icon, 'Listen to the Story'.]

I even got to play one of Elizabeth Vicarys' students at the 42nd World Team this last spring.  A no non-sence person if ever there was one, worthy of great respect.  Her blog Lizzy Knows All has been known for some time, I think recently married and now certainly Elizabeth Spiegel [1].  She just went through Hurricane Sandy.  Her blog shows that she has been at this long, long before her school was so well known.

And I have often thought, that with a name like Vicary [2] and such amazingly pretty blue eyes, how can you EVER go wrong??  Seriously.  We wish her the best.

Well, talk show host Jon Stewart is not one to suffer fools very well, so when he goes easy on someone, it is worth taking note who it is, what they are doing, and what they stand for.  Video link here:

[1] Being married to chess IM Greg Shahade, brother of also stunning, well known chess darling, Jennifer Shahade, whether by cause of effect, surely cannot hurt either.

[2] Vicar, def:  'In the broadest sense, a vicar (play /ˈvɪkər/; Latin: vicarius) is a representative, deputy or substitute; anyone acting "in the person of" or agent for a superior (compare "vicarious" in the sense of "at second hand"). In this sense, the title is comparable to lieutenant. Linguistically, vicar is the root of the English prefix "vice", similarly meaning "deputy". 

 'The title appears in a number of Christian ecclesiastical contexts, but also as an administrative title, or title modifier, in the Roman Empire. In addition, in the Holy Roman Empire a local representative of the emperor, perhaps an archduke, might be styled "vicar"'

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Chess Is

Ultimate concentration.  Just try it for yourself.