Saturday, June 21, 2008

Prolegomena To any Future Blogger Community, or ReAssembler, The Nimble Epicure: Essay Eleven

What exactly does applying to become a 9-1-1 Dispatcher for a large city Police Department have to do with being an epicure, a chess expert, an editor of a security magazine, and a parser of unusual English words? What does this have to do with phenomenology, or French Deconstructionism or Structuralism, German anthropology, fencing, demi glace, or vinology? Kind readers are invited to read on:

I think of myself significantly eclectic, but our subject for today wins the blogger Ne Plus Ultra Award for catholic breadth and scope, reaching far corners of learning, culture, and taste and--yes--this includes chess too. Without further ado: we now bring you Derek Slater to our series, otherwise known as what I myself like to express as reAssembler.

Before we embark on our essay, let us visit for a moment recent essays along these lines and, in so doing, reintroduce or recapitulate the Prolegomena Series dating from the summer at our blog here.

I commenced an essay series, of course, starting with the mighty Temposchlucker, the omnipresent and nearly unstoppable Blue Devil Knight, continuing through the superior in all ways Wormwood, then introducing the wildcard feature, including topics or guests such as Peter Norvig--Director of Research at none other than Google; the essays continued with ventures to Grandpatzer and Robert Pearson or Wahrheit, and some others too many to mention or elaborate here. Readers can find these in my archives at right (Chess Relearner, WFMU, and the once infamous but now good friend chessDog).

Since we left off last with Blunderprone as Essay Ten, and he hales from Boston, it is perhaps not at all inappropriate we continue our connnect to the Boston Brahmin's by picking up on Derek here.

I am very proud of having found Derek here before, I think, most of the regular bloggers seemed to have found him, sporting him high up in my blogroll from the very inception of my efforts to give the broadest inclusiveness to the list.

Early readers who are alert will recall that he used to call his blog Chess Cooking (housed at the svelt and savy and semantical Wordpress), of all things. What strikes us as apparent and still remains is how evenhanded and wide ranging his blog is. His blog is funny and engaging in the same way Liquid Egg Product's is--a not wholy unrelated associated alternate wordpress blog--but perhaps without the degree of Saturyday Nightlivesque Jocularity of the latter.

Derek is marvelous in his use of language, explicating the lattest etymologies for us less prolix or polymorphic or euphoneous writers, commentating on the lattest episode of Top Chef (yum, Padma Lakshmi's features and charms), or as the case may be bringing our attention to a new classic chess game of Nakamura against Krashenkow involving bombardement of heavy artilary such as not seen since the days of Morphy or Tal, writing about modern safecracking,

He exhibits his urbane, no fuss, no muss--use of English in a way that hardly gives surprise when discovered that he is a professional editor for CSO, a publication about security. That such a man entrusted me with his direct email was endearing to me, and while we do not correspond regularly, when we do it is never without profit or succinct charm. He is one of the rare chess bloggers to engage me on the stock market, humble in these ways, and never ever unappreciative.

If I were to come back to earth again as one of the other bloggers, creation would indeed tempt me to perhaps come back as temposchlucker, or BDK, or even Blundcerprone. I might even wish to be Grandpatzer, or Phaedrus. What could that be like?

Well, if I were temposchlucker, I might get to focus on myself free of distraction, like a vast combine in some vast Ukranian estate run by serfs relatively free of rebelion.

And if I were BDK, would get to experience keen inteligence unfettered by neurotic complication with an academic position, a wife, a dog, a triathlon training regimine, and the ability NOT to save (never mind all my books) all my papers and emails from as far dating as the paleolithic era. Why stop here?

If I were Blunderprone, I would get to be the head of a family, with a solid job, music, food, drug memories of the 70's, and a now a solid recovery and the bonus of great practical inteligence keeled by a giantly good heart; or if I were likeForests, I would get to see what it is also like to never express resentment or blame, with a daughter that I love, and, again, undistracted chess study??

And if I were Grandpatzer, I could see what it would be like to live without an emotional merry go round going on inside my head like a Carnival bar no other.

And the best for last, if I were Phaedrus, I would get to see what it would be like to be a chess expert, with a decent position in society, the sort of beautiful wife who never leaves me bored without fiery emotions and spice, and two adorable children that I truly love, and limitless tolerance. How can you not like all these possibilities?

But if I really had to come back to earth as another blogger, much as I would enjoy being tempo or BDK for a week or a month, I would first choose to be reAssembler. Why allow such a thing?

ReAssember, for me, affords the possibility of hard work while always appearing to have fun, a life always free of blame or vindictiveness, and subtle taste embracing food, current affairs and popular culture, words, sport, chess, and the lattest in technology.

How can we not admire others and respect them greatly without revealing so much about ourselves, but Derek seems to swim in life with much better shock absorbers than me, doubtlessly making for a smoother ride, and I truly admire than, all done without a hint of possible narrowness, and a good kind heart. I do greatly appreciate him, and hope that you will too!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

More Equals Less

The Trojan Horse
Here I am feeling the need to think out loud ala temposchluckeresque.

Last night I attained a big milestone. For it was only last July that I resumed my close study of Grandmaster Chessgames. And after ten months of sustained effort, I have completed the second major tranch of game viewing. Because not only did I actually view or visit at least four hundred games since then [1]--by itself alone this is actually quite a sizable accomplishment--but in so doing incorporated another 3,496 Classic GM Chess games to my collection. This often meant going back and comparing among game versions--using the chessBase reference function [2]--and comparing versions side by side, not analysis for sure, but in so doing learning to recognize on sight many famous games and growing my game knowledge. This also sometimes having to manually enter some of the games. Yes, I am too lazy as you all know. Smiles.

As those of you who in the last year saw the game collection (or one of it's earlier versions) already know, I had elected to preserve duplicates games (while marking them for deletion but NOT deleting them), so the entire collection now amounted to as many as 3,991 Classic GM Games once the file was copied then compressed, of which I have now viewed 1514 of them. More on this at the end of this post, to wrap up this summary.

Trailer Parks in Palm Springs, California USA: Row after row of pitiful sameness
Also with my partner Phaedrus, I helped launch the gmC or Global Middlegame Collaborative, where we have produced much that has remained out of view and will remain so. Suffice to say, much writing and thus planning has already been accomplised since as early as March, and we have now assembled a truly great team, even including someone who was closely connected to GM Ram author Rashid Ziyatdinov. When you remember the wave coming from my post 'Raming GM Ram', this is for me evidence of true cosmic resonance and synergy.

And let me not fail to mention that we still have room for four more of the RIGHT persons. And this whole project takes a lot of time, since we must manage it. Each email takes time such as qualifying each person, answering questions, forwarding key emails, and the scope of the entire endeavor swells with each new person and the cross currents of implication mushroom each month. As Wittgenstein said [3]: "And the rest, is silence".

Corporal Life is one of the most unpredictable things there is

Along with that, we are now talking about my flying to Chicago for two days, to meet the Saxion University department chairman who must be there early this summer for a conference, and so the possibility exists that this could afford our first meeting, get acquaited in real time. This is wonderfull but of course involves more work. I say 'we' because while my application to be a professor at Saxion University of the Netherlands is seperate from gmC, early on it organically grew out of that collaboration, and so eventuated our now extensive communication. In fact, according to temposchlucker, I 'had hijaked Phaedrus'. Can you imagine!
At CTS or chess tactical server, as my friends already know, I have now attained the rank of number thirty two for 'number of tries' out of some 2,742 tacticians. But far more significantly, I have finally surpassed Morkovkin in both 'accuracy' and 'tries' all within a few days at 83rd in rank [4]. Since this might only mean something to those who make effort there (or anyone else active at a 'hosted chess training web site' where comparative results are illustrated), this note must be brief:

Don't Mess With My Shit

First: you all know how you try, try, and try and on matter how much work you do, there is always somebody ahead of you. So that when the day comes that you equal then surpass this person looming over you in a key measure (or two!), it is a most pleasant feeling, even if you know that their real chess strengtt far exceeds yours. So whom I like to call 'The Mighty Morkovkin' is now below me now and will remain so.

Second: I will do another 7,575 tries at =>97.4257% (or one wrong allowed in every 38.8 tries) and be at 90.05% at 49,800 tries. Initially in my future planned effort I will use the last 200 tries to 50k to reach towards 1600 elo =>90.1% thereafter, so that one in ten wrong will be remarkably different than the 98.5% that I am currently sustaining (recently: 31f/1,969 = exactly 2,000 tries @ 98.450%). My target is 90.1% and aught not to be 90.0% because if you get to 90.00% and start to slip, mathematically the real prospect exists that you can fall to a true 89.9501% and not even know it (where 90.0% would still be indicated). So when in the future 90.1% is shown at my user profile I will know that I am => 90.05%, etc. Wew.

Lastly, as far as chess goes, I am almost finished with the first Reinfeld book as planned. Admittedly it goes slow at times (I love the book. So no--not 'that kind of slow') but don't use a board or a game viewer, and can spend days on a problem.

Problem 738 from Reinfeld's:
1001 Winning Chess Sacrifices and Combinations
, Fritz 7 (5 sec.), 05.01.2003 1.Qxh7+ Fritz 7: 1) 1...Kxh7 2.Nxf6+ Kh6 3.Neg4+ Kg5 4.h4+ Kf4 5.g3+ Kf3 6.Be2+ Kg2 7.Rh2+ Kg1 8.0–0–0# #7/7 Line

Now, seeing Qxh7 is not difficult. Nor maybe even seeing Nxf6, but to see it through all the way to the end is not easy. I do NOT wish to rush this in seven circles fashion cum MDLM (and MDLM2), but instead experience the effort, instead of the imaginary realm of 'thinking that I did a chess problem' by memorizing it through seven interations all out of breath and never once 'seeing it', convering one's eyes like a child with one's fingers.

I get the same chills watching this video when I see Fischer, the younger Mohamed-Ali boxing, videos of Kasparov playing against Karpov. Impatient viewers go to the 3:17 mark for an astounding succession of volleys.

I have not been playing much chess, I must admit it. I had tried to play 'off and on' all winter, but gmC, Saxion, and the Classic GM Chess Game database, and finally CTS have all combined to take the best of me. For me, playing chess is all or nothing. I play to win. Of course, there is this same janus faced flip, where I do not play to win, but only to improve, but the tension is there between two distinct factors or feelings.

I continue to update my databases from my now beloved chessVibes,, The Week in Chess,, listen to audios such as John Watson's chess talk at ICC Chess FM, as well as of course, stay aware of if not view the major games of high level chess at the major tournement level.

In sales, there is a thing called 'call reluctance', which I never really suffered from, but all sales persons can have it. Well we can have what might in kind be called 'chess reluctance'. Playing live chess--for me--is not enjoyable when mentally spent, or mentally overstimulated. I am very, very, very 'type A' as a personality, and chess study gives me relief from that; chess play does not. I found enormous comfort in the routine of study, comfort in iterative programmed rounds of repetition.

Radjabov,T (2751) - Bu Xiangzhi (2708) [D15]
4th M-Tel Masters Sofia BUL (7), 15.05.2008

"White's next move is a bolt from the blue!" 24.Rf7

"Dennis Monokroussos writes: 'The game has a bit of everything: former prodigies who are now elite GMs facing off in a popular (but positionally grounded) line, a transition to a remarkable tactical moment too deep for many computers to handle, followed by an amusing and instructive endgame. It's a very smooth performance by Radjabov, demonstrating both his skill in positional play and his considerable tactical ingenuity (It also serves to remind us that tactics are generally needed to subserve strategic goals.)."

The game continued: 24...Bxg4 25.Bf6 exf6 26.Rxd7 Bxd7 27.exf6 a4 28.fxg7+ Kxg7 29.Kf2 h6 30.Ke1 Re6 31.Qg3 Be8 32.Kd2 g5 33.Kc3... and the Radjabov runs his white king runs up the board:

...Kf8 34.Kb4 Bf7 35.Ka5 Kg7 36.Kb6 Kf8 37.Kc7 Kg7 38.Kd7 Kf8 39.Qf2 Rg6 40.Qf5 h5 41.g3 1-0.

Alert readers might quickly associate this with the famous Nigel Short game (active link to applet) versus Timman:

'Black Resigns. There is no defense to 35.Kh6 and 36.Qg7#. 1–0'

I finally found time to get an additional two ram added to my dual core Dell XPS Desktop pc, and the first thing I did was to test this position (I plugged this in seconds after the Dell Service tech standing right here told me that the new ram was active!). Fritz8 couldn't find this move in forty minutes, but am sure that once I get a dual processor version of Rybka or the lattest version of Fritz11 will realize better use of all this speed. I went back to work after lunch, and when I got home, Fritz8 had of course finally seen 24.Rf7 but cannot know if this took only an hour, two, or four!

Radjabov is indeed a genius, as many of these guys are. How many billions of positions, at 900k per second, did it take to find what he realized over the board?

Speed and Power

I am now ready for a modern chess engine, but for long have resisted it, as I do not want to get too dependent on these 'critters', yet they do have their place in the search for 'real chess truth'.

And a few odds and ends: I continue to listen to every single IM John Watson 'Chess Talk audio'. The recent one from 05.13.08 where on GM Simen Agdestein discusses his training of 'The Mozart of Chess' was just fantastic. It was wonderful. But last night, I listend to all of his interview on 05.20.08 with GM Fabiano Caruana who currently lives in Hungary, but lived in The United States, Spain, and Italy (he has dual citizen there with the USA) [5].

If you are not an ICC member, then you are missing out. And if you are a member and not hearing the best of these interviews, then you are seriously missing out. I would have to say that this last one was the best of all of them, from Short to Shirov to Nakamura--but of course, all of these are really great. Here you get to walk into the training mind of a truly bright young man, in it's broader, heuristical senses. Please.

Did any of you know that Rybka lost a match in Mexico City, against Zappa (September 20-27, 2007 and concurrent with the epic WCC Chess Match where Kramnik gave up his crown to Anand)? I don't want to have to dredge up all the details now, but do recall something about the time frames not being ideal for it's creator Vasik Rajlich. Not my point. Did any of you know that Zappa was created by a student still in graduate school? You think he gets any job offers for his brain? Notes from Wikipedia:

Zappa (Zap!Chess) is a chess engine written by Anthony Cozzie, a graduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The program emphasizes sound search and a good use of multiple processors. Zappa scored an upset victory at the World Computer Chess Championship in August, 2005, in Reykjavík, Iceland. Zappa won with a score of 10.5 out of 11, and beat both Junior and Shredder, programs that had won the championship many times. In the speed chess portion of the tournament Zappa placed second, after Shredder. In Mexico in September 2007 Zappa won a match against Rybka by a score of 5.5 - 4.5. Zappa and Rybka are generally considered the two strongest commercially-available chess programs. Some speculate that Zappa's more efficient SMP parallel search could make it stronger on enough processors.
In March 2008 Anthony Cozzie announced that "the Zappa project is 100% finished", which includes both tournaments and future releases.

Displaced residents at Dujiangyan in Sichuan Province

I will have to continue this post latter, such as about some wholistic health things that have markedly improved, news of my father whom I fly east to see in nine days, and what I derive from all this chess work, and where I plan to go from here and specifically and concretely how I aim to make more out of less hereafter... It is very, very tempting to go on and write on gigantic post, but honestly, who wants to read it all? I must be realistic and split it up, when its banks already swell with gushing water!

[1] Since I took weeks off at a time from viewing classic GM games, this is actually a larger effort than might otherwise appear: when I view these games, it is at the rate of 25 per week (3 per day, and as many as 5 per day on days of--not as might seem only 1.2 games per day!
[2] And on rare occassion necessarily instead refering to (filled with errors! Do not depend on it!)
[4] While 83rd in rank for accuracy sound trivial, let it be gainsaid that only six tacticians of out 2,746 users at CTS defined as 'Active' have accuracy =>than 87.7% AND tries => 27,375 and that I am one of them.
[5] Lev Alburt on 5.27.2008! Rock and roll baby! Silman on 3.04.2008.