Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Compare the Champions

Right here on the eave of Game One of the long awaited World Chess Championship in Bonn, between WCC Vishy Anand Vladimir Kramnic, seems as good a place as any to highlite an excellent study by Charles Sullivan. Before my quoting much, but not all of the major parts of the article referenced at left, a small word on atribution:

Whether by my own failure to get new updates or simply that Mig Greengard had greatly updated his 'Daily Dirt Chess Blog' significantly is unclear, but all I know is that now Mig has a great site. I used to read it now and again, and find now that it always contains great riches--and with it, probably the smartest chess comments on all the web--never fail to miss it.

In fact, often reading his already excellent blog is but an excuse to then read the comments of his readers, often pointing out things from the side not easily found at chessBase, TWIC, or even chessVibes.com.

And it was there recently at his post, 'Awesome Augury Action' that a reader provided a link )Oct 8, 2008 7:59 AM) to this excellent study. The net result is that it compares the complexity of the games, with the raw error of the moves, and I reproduce the main body of the article here, as it is all said better than I can by it's originator:

'Truechess.com Compares the Champions:

'Who was the greatest chess player of all time? from
Truechess.com home.

'The Project:

' For 24 hours a day for 15 months (from February 2007 through May 2008), 12 computing threads (on three Intel quad-core Q6600 computers running at 3.0 GHz) analyzed the games of the World Champions. Entire playing careers were analyzed -- for example, 69,084 positions from 2318 games were analyzed for just one player (Smyslov). In all, 617,446 positions from 18,785 games were processed. (For comparison, a previous analysis of the World Champions by
Matej Guid and Ivan Bratko [1]-- that you can read about here -- examined about 37,000 positions.)

'The commercially-available program Rybka [version 2.3.2a], the strongest chess program available at the time, and a modified version of Bob Hyatt's open-source Crafty program [version 20.14] were used in the project.

'Calculating "Raw Error" and "Complexity"

'The first 8 moves in each game were ignored, but each subsequent position was searched three separate times. First, a search for a full six minutes (the average search was 17.4 iterations) by Crafty to determine a score for the best move available. A second search, to the same depth as was reached in the first search, assigned a score to the move played in the game. The difference between the move made and the best move in the position is the "raw error" score. Finally, a third search calculates the "complexity" score for the position.'

'Who Was "The Greatest"?

Here is the short case for -- and against -- each champion:

Paul Morphy (born 1837, died 1884)Although not usually recognized as World Champion, Morphy belongs on this list.
Pro: Morphy was clearly way ahead of his time: the numbers indicate he would easily have beaten Steinitz. Had he kept playing, Morphy surely would have been the strongest player in the world from 1857 until his death at age 47 -- a span of 27 years. Had he lived, he might have been the best player until the beginning of the 20th century!
Con: Judged by today's standards, Morphy's accuracy was just average. Also, his career in top-flight chess lasted only 3 years.

Wilhelm Steinitz (born 1836, died 1900)Steinitz was universally acknowledged to be the first World Champion after defeating Zukertort in 1886.
Pro: Steinitz had a complex style, won a high percentage of games, was successful as a match player, and was probably the best active player for about 20 years (although he was "official" Champion for only 8 years).
Con: Most of Steinitz's numbers place him at the bottom -- nobody else is even close!

Emanuel Lasker (born 1868, died 1941)Lasker was World Champion for a record 27 years.
Pro: Although Lasker played in an era which had relatively few great players, it is still remarkable that he was one of the very top competitors for more than 40 years (he won the strong New York tournament of 1924 by 1½ points over World Champion Capablanca)! According to the numbers, Lasker is the first chessplayer who could have held his own against the great champions of history.
Con: Lasker was absent for years at a time from competition, so it is difficult to get a fully reliable fix on his ability.

José Raúl Capablanca (born 1888, died 1942)Capablanca awed all those who saw him because of his extremely rapid comprehension of the position on the board. Lasker famously said, "I have known many chess players, but only one chess genius, Capablanca."
Pro: Capablanca's numbers are universally excellent. He played with great accuracy, committed relatively few blunders, and won a high proportion of games.
Con: He suffered an unexpected loss to Alekhine in 1927.

Alexander Alekhine (born 1892, died 1946)Alekhine was not born with the Capablanca's natural talent, but he showed what an unparalleled love of chess and a fanatical will to win can do. He played several of the most-admired games of all time.
Pro: He defeated the "invincible" Capablanca in 1927 and decisively defeated the underappreciated Euwe in a match in 1937.
Con: The numbers suggest that Alekhine was not quite as good as his reputation. He also suffered a most surprising defeat to Euwe in 1935.

Max Euwe (born 1901, died 1981)Euwe had a successful life away from the chessboard, which cannot be said for most World Champions.
Pro: He convincingly defeated Alekhine in one of the biggest upsets in chess history. The numbers say that Euwe was better than his reputation.
Con: Euwe's reputation as a player who blundered often is, sadly, richly deserved.

Mikhail Botvinnik (born 1911, died 1995)Botvinnik was so strong that he could have become World Champion as early as 1935. He finally become champion in 1948 and held the title for most of the next 15 years.
Pro: According to the numbers, Botvinnik was probably one of the five best players of all time. In addition, his fighting spirit must have been very resilient -- after losing matches to Smyslov and Tal, he won return matches a year later.
Con: After winning the title in 1948, Botvinnik became simply the first among equals and lost matches to Smyslov, Tal, and Petrosian.

Vasily Smyslov (born 1921)One of those rare players who played almost as well in his sixties as he did in his thirties.
Pro: A player with impressive numbers -- he ranks 2nd behind Capablanca in the 15-Year Rankings (above). In 1984, he reached the Final of the Candidates' Matches in his 63rd year!
Con: There always seemed to be at least one player better (or luckier) than Smyslov: Bronstein, Botvinnik, Tal, Fischer, Kasparov.

Mikhail Tal (born 1936, died 1992)Beloved by most everybody, Tal deserved a better fate: he was plagued by health problems throughout his life.
Pro: He had a sensational rise to the top in the late 1950's and early 1960's. He probably was an objectively better player in the 1970's.
Con: Although he was always among the handful of great players, he could never quite match his achievement of beating Botvinnik in 1960.

Tigran Petrosian (born 1929, died 1984)In many ways, the anti-Tal: solid, possessor of a puzzling style, and widely unappreciated.
Pro: He won the Candidates in 1962 (over such great players as Keres, Geller, Fischer, Korchnoi, and Tal), handily defeated Botvinnik in 1963, and beat the great Spassky in 1966.
Con: His tournament results were usually mediocre and the numbers say he is not one of the greatest Champions.

Boris Spassky (born 1937)World-famous because of his two matches with Fischer, Spassky was probably the best player for most of the 1960's.
Pro: Spassky proved his strength by winning the Candidates' Matches in both 1965 and 1968. He also proved his superiority in the 1966 Piatigorsky Cup where Fischer finished second. The numbers show that Spassky was an impressive player into his mid-forties.
Con: Spassky was not able to sustain the high level of brilliance he evidenced in the 1960's.

Bobby Fischer (born 1943, died 2008)Like Morphy, "The Pride and Sorrow of Chess." Fischer coupled the precocious talent of Morphy and Capablanca with the obsession of Alekhine.
Pro: The sustained level of his play from 1967 through the 1972 match with Spassky is unmatched, as the numbers show.
Con: He quit too soon.

Anatoly Karpov (born 1951)A steely competitor who, unlike most previous champions, was extremely active and competed successfully against the very best players of his time.
Pro: The numbers and the results show that Karpov was the best of his time.
Con: Karpov was not quite as good as either his predecessor or his successor.

Garry Kasparov (born 1963)Kasparov showed that aggression pays on the chessobard. Also, he demonstrated the importance of the computer as a training aid.
Pro: The numbers confirm that Kasparov was one of the greatest players of all time.
Con: His blunder rate (as defined by this project), is surprisingly high. And, almost unbelievably, he lost a match to Kramnik without managing to win a game.

Vladimir Kramnik (born 1975)Kramnik, at his best, is one of the most difficult players to defeat who ever played. He has had some health problems in the last few years.
Pro: In 2000, he defeated the truly great Kasparov (who was at or near his peak strength) in a match by two points without losing a game.
Con: Although he appears to have the talent to be the dominant player of his generation, he seems content to win by attrition. Also, perhaps because of his health issues, his form has been inconsistent.

Vishy Anand (born 1969)As a youth, Anand shocked the chess world with his strong moves that were played at blitz speed. After several years of steady improvement (and learning to curtail his impulsiveness), he became Champion in 2007.
Pro: Anand's numbers have been outstanding in recent years -- his performance in 2006-2007 was almost flawless.
Con: Anand is at the top now, but he needs to sustain his current form for a few more years before he can be mentioned in the same breath with Capablanca, Fischer, and Kasparov.

The Greatest Was ...I think you can reach your own conclusion! And of course, it depends -- what are the necessary qualifications for the world's greatest chess player?'

With a match about to begin, with two of these mighty fifteen chess greats having a showdown, and one of them who wrested the crown from a third among them (Kramnik from Kasparov), this makes the match about to begin in Bonn of potentially great historic importance, not to mention enormous potential chess pleasure, creativity, imagination, and of course beauty.

Warmest, dk

[1] Attentive readers know that I also referenced that study here, a little more than a year ago.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Kramnik of the Far East: Wang Yue

Needless to say, right before the Anand-Kramnik match in Bonn is as good a time as any to broach the subject of the highest ranking Chinese Chess Grandmaster, Wang Yue [0].

I have wanted to write this for weeks since his recent top result at the second FIDE Grand Prix in Sochi. You see, it all started with a snide viewer remark at ICC, while watching the last FIDE World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk, in December 2007 where some ‘mere’ Grandmaster asked “WHO is Wang Yue?”, wishing to disparage him, dismissively saying that he was lost, and that he “couldn’t play’ My antenna went right up that moment! And you know what, he won the game!

After that tournament, where he scored very high into the double elimination, it seemed like his time had come. Adding to his obvious imprimatur, he then went on to share first place with Gashimov, Carlsen at the First FIDE Grand Prix in Baku in May, and clear second place with Gata Kamsky at the Second FIDE Grand Prix in Sochi early this August.

His rank today, at Live Ratings, at 2740.5 ELO puts him fair and square at number ten in the world, just below what Mark Crowther of TWIC recently called nine who ‘clearly form the current elite’ (excellent table, enhancing the FIDE ratings).

And now for our simple and clear major point: he did not loose ONE single game, among those two sets of 13 game tournaments (26 games) among many of the world best chess players at their best preparedness [1].

In fact, I have just created a chessBase file, and compiled all the data, and he only lost NINE times among 222 games in the last two years [2]. More to the point, the bulk of those were among seven losses in 2007 across 148 games (1 with White and 6 with Black), and even more remarkably, only two of those occurred in 2008 across 74 games (both with black)! His last loss that I can detect was on March 3rd, at the Reykjavik Island 23rd Open [3]. One loss with white in all those games back in 2007. Man.

Hence our title of his starting to be recognized as ‘the Kramnik of the Far East’. He is plays very super solid. Like Vladimir Kramnik, he proves very, very difficult to win against. You don’t think he gets major support from the Chinese leadership now? Think again.

Much like Carlsen, he is often seen winning seemed drawn endings, and converts to win with unrelenting if not manically calm pressure, not unlike the patent boa constrictor squash Nakamura applies when he is in form and refuses NOT to not win or just as Fischer did in the early 70’s. This guy is tough! Just look at him. We could also call him the Clint Eastwood of Chess. Just look at this guy:

Look at this game, which he won when no one could see any real large advantage:

'Our surprised and respectful attitude to the Chinese grandmaster slowly turns to sincere admiration. [Source, you guessed it: ChessVibes, here! Very convenient viewable java applet. dk] He demonstrates not only typically Chinese composure, tenacity and good calculation skill, but also shows good chess education. His endgame technique is very high.

'Today Wang Yue won another complex bishop ending, against Radjabov, after going through the storm of complications and obtaining a slight advantage against a dangerous opponent…. Radjabov showed his ambition by not looking for equal positions. He was determined to play for a win, and missed the moment when he had to secure the equality.

'His last chance was 19...Rxd3! (instead of 19...Rdc8) 20.Rxd3 Bg5 21.h4! (21.Rd7? Bc6 22.Rc7 Be8) 21...Bxe7 (21...Bf6 22.Rd7 Bc6? 23.Rd6!) 22.Rd7 Bc5 23.Rxb7 Rxa2 24.Rd7 Rxb2 25.Rd2 Rb1+ 26.Rd1 Rb2 with a move repetition.

'After that Black desperately fought for a draw, but Wang Yue's technique was superior to Radjabov's. The Chinese player calculated a bit deeper and maneuvered a bit finer. I (Shipov) think, Teimour could and should have taken White's dangerous central pawn.'

'He played 24...Bxa2, but I failed to fins any danger after 24...Bxe4. For example, 25.Bc4+ Kh8 26.Re1 (26.Rff7 g5!) 26...Bf5 27. Rxe8+ Rxe8 28.Kf2 Bb1!, and Black will not lose in this sharp ending. However, this was not the critical moment of the game!'

'In my opinion, the game was decided in the bishop ending. Radjabov's passive strategy proved wrong. He could transfer the king to c5 by

31...Kd7! (instead of 31...Ke7) 32.Kf2 Kc6! 33.Bg8 h6 34.Bf7 (34.Ke3 Kc5!) 34...Kc5! 35.Kg3 (35.Bxg6 Kd5; 35.Ke3 g5) 35... Be4 36.Kf4 Bb1, creating an unbreakable fortress. After the move in the game, the Chinese grandmaster prepared a zugzwang position (46.Bf5!) and took the b4-pawn. Then the b6-pawn fell as well. I was impressed by 55.Ba6! (intending 55...Ke7 56.b5!). Compared to that, 58.Bd7! looks really simple. White created an adjacent passed pawn, and secured a win. Wang Yue is now one of the leaders!'


I expect that we will be hearing a lot more from him in the future and certainly this is one more facet of major evidence of the rising supremacy of China.

Warmest, dk

[0] Did you know that China is now third among all chess nations, for having the near highest average chess rating of it's top level grandmasters? See FIDE Country chart, at this link. They now surpass even Israel, Azerbaijan, USA, Hungary, India, Armenia, and Bulgaria in the top ten. Of course, Russia and the Ukraine occupy the strastophere for ELO density and elevation.

[1] Needless to say, I have objectively aggregated the data in xls of the two tournaments, but this is a matter for another day. Yasser kindly sent it to the editor of chessBase for me and I also sent it to TWIC, also Peter Dodgers at ChessVibes, but the feeling was that its still early yet. At the third tournament, I will be ready to resubmit! Remember, there are six tournament, you play in four, and get to pick your best three results, dropping your fourth worst. Wang Yue wont be dropping any of these two [4]!

[2] Please email me at the email provided at my Classic GM Game Collection file, and I will gladly send the cbv file (no pgn’s please for this file. I am not a web service in this case please).

[3] That I have found. Not perfection, but probably very, very close to accurate.
{addendae: I did exact checking today, and had to revise these figures, and THESE are now perfectly accurate. cf. FIDE player data, directly. Thur 09 Oct 08 dk}

[4] Again, much to his credit, I much prefer Peters format at the now, in my eyes, preeminent chess site ChessVibes, shown here (
Baku), and here (Sochi) for the two Grand Prix to date.

The Eyes! Asiatic Dreaming, for some deep far off place like chess Jupiter! That GM look of many troubles and cares that is uncanny greatness!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Belles Lettres or Beautiful Hearts

St. Peters, Vast!

We all had the equivalent of our first love in 'real chess' and mine was named Ibrahim. He was the first giant I had met along the path of getting started back in real chess. And before he went back to Bahrain, eloping in secret with the very lovely sister of our mutual best friend Benjamin, but in the end leaving me out of their circle, when they coldly made sure not to invite me back with them for Thanksgiving dinner, before he left, he made many, many astute recommendations about how to study chess that I use to this day. I did much if not nearly not all that he said and his sporting a 2,000 FIDE elo seemed ample evidence enough. That is another story.

But like our first mentors or guides who have strong opinions, not all of them can be judiciously correct. For example, he had a very low opinion of Bruce Pandolfini. Now, lets be clear: after a life time of scholarship, I have found it most important to draw a distinction between the man and his work. Early on, I discovered in copious checking that mythographer Joseph Campbell never mentioned Romanian French expatriate Mircea Eliade, nor the latter the prior. I always preferred Campbell's views, but somehow, despite my inability to ever read Eliade with satisfaction or utility, nevertheless also always found the man fascinating [1]. Similarly, I loved Nietzsche's books in my younger days, but the man could be a real ass, not to mention Thoreau or Veblen assuredly as well. And so I found that this young man had really confused the work of Pandolphini with the man, and if not the work, then the production.

Years latter, after using 'Pandolphini's Endgame Course: Basic Endgame Concepts Explained' with great benefit, upon AJ Goldsy's glowing recommendation at Amazon [2], I had to agree that despite the well known innocuous typo's, that his book was even more useful than Chernev's already very, very useful Practical Chess Endings [3].

I have lived a lot of years by now. I have learned not to judge. Some of Pandolphini's books had well known production problems, but are we to blame him concretely? Were we there? Did we know the publishers or editors or printers? Did we know the circumstances? No. But mark my words, I have been reading his monthly column 'The Q & A Way', at chessCafe, for as long as I can remember, and always enjoy it, and never fail to read him.

He is both affably and warmly kind and unpretendingly eruditely sophisticated without grandstanding or pretense if not on occasion acerbic [4], in a way well beyond most chess scholars and teachers. He gives ample evidence bespeaking of wide awareness, well beyond the narrow specisim of the our beloved chess venues. His humanity [5] at times reminds me of Znosko-Borovsky, who not only managed to beat quite a few of the truly great world chess champions, but starving as he was between the two great wars, demonstrated a enormous familiarity with belles lettres in what must have been a beautiful heart.

Warmest, dk

Mr Pandolphini, who wrote me back promptly and without any complications, very kindly approved my copying the first part of his most recent column below. There have been many Q & A's over the years, but this one simply struck me as if not among his best then surely most representative. Without further ado:

Beware of Regimens


After five to ten years of practice, chess players usually reach a plateau. This supposes the chess player has over this long period of time: participated in a number of chess tournaments, played in over 100 classical games (40 moves in 2 hours, 20 moves per hour, etc); gone through classic books on openings, tactics, middlegames, and endings; analyzed his own games, as well as having gone through classic games (World Chess Champions, current top GM games, etc.); and played many blitz games in a chess club or on the Internet. Let’s assume, for sake of argument, that all this brings the player to a level of a seasoned club player, corresponding to a USCF 2150 player (FIDE 2100). How do you suggest improving your own level of play (obviously not as strong as the FM/IM level), without repeating the basic stuff? How do you separate what you already know (rook endings, typical tactics, such as pins, skewers, and double attacks) from what you should learn to make progress? What should you pay attention to when you replay grandmasters games? Frank Fortune (USA)

Josh Waitzkin and his first chess coach, Bruce Pandolfini


Chess players don’t have to wait five or ten years before reaching a plateau. It can happen much sooner than that, and typically does. Nor need there be just one plateau. Periods of stasis occur all the time. They can last a few weeks or go on for years. All along the way are potential obstacles halting improvement, putting our playing ability in a virtual freeze. Regressions are even possible, where our method of addressing troublesome stages can retard progress, if not detract from overall skill. Clearly, how we cope with such troubling circumstances plays a role in shortening those episodes. It also is a key determinant in how far we can ultimately go.

Moreover, there’s no single path that guarantees advance. Some players achieve success naturally, absorbing ideas in the context of regular play, with aptitude developing over time, without specific effort. Others do it by dint of hard work, studying this and that, until all major areas are reviewed systematically and everything seems to fall into place. Still others, taking definite steps or not, never get beyond a point. Either they accept who they are or give up altogether.

I’m going to take slight issue with another one of your implications, which is that it’s wasteful to study things you’ve already gone over. Indeed, constant review of the same or similar techniques and concepts, viewed for a variety of situations, reinforces what you know. And it gives you a range of conditions under which you can adapt that knowledge to efficient use. This modus operandi is a chief weapon in the chess player’s arsenal. That is, players are always looking for analogies. You can’t employ analogous reasoning so effectively, however, if you haven’t a proficient grasp of what you’ve already experienced. The way you acquire such facility is by constant reconsideration and repeated immersion. To that end, the argument that learning some things well, rather than lots of things on the surface, may have greater impact here. I’m not suggesting that tangential treatment of many different notions doesn’t have value, too. But if you don’t constantly review your past experiences, you’re bound to make the same mistakes, fall into the same snares, miss the same shots, and form the wrong plans, again and again.

Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart

So, even though you’ve laid out your question hypothetically, I’m going to take exception with the nature of your basic premise anyway. It implies that one has to do certain things in order to succeed (play at least one hundred serious tournament and match games, study particular tactics and strategies, examine the games of great players, and so on). Yet, there’s no accepted evidence whatsoever that one has to follow a definite regimen of any kind before attaining specific playing levels. To be sure, such an approach is antithetical to the idea that each of us is an individual. Put simply, an activity is more rewarding if we’re able to pursue it along a unique pathway, to the Thoreau inspired beat of our own drummer.

Here’s my advice for those who are decent players but seem to have been stymied in their recent attempts at progress. Begin by playing a bunch of serious games at respectable time controls. Take those games and have them assessed by a competent observer. Have the analyst spell out what he or she thinks you need to work on in order to move ahead. It probably won’t be right on the money – it almost never is – but it’s a place to start.

Acquire, borrow, or tap into the recommended materials. Start using them on a regular basis, and in accordance with the laid out program. Play lots of serious games, all of which should then be analyzed by you first, then by a strong player who cares that you exist. The strong player could be named Fritz, even though Fritz is likely to be indifferent. Modify your original program as it reflects your recent experience. Over time this constant testing of challenging opposition, intense review, from within and without, should direct you to relevant areas worthy of attention. It’s typically the best way to break the stalemate in your progress and move you along. It’s tough to say what may be the best thing to study to push improvement along. But probably it should be pertinent to your needs, rather than satisfying some abstract ideal. If you want to get more out of you, study you

[1] Such as his systematically reducing his sleep, so that he could study study Sanskrit for twelve hours a day, ultimately settling for only four hours sleep in the end. See his wonderful Autobiography: Ordeal by Labyrinth: Conversations With Claude-Henri Rocquet.

[2] As well as his
colorful and wonderful, if not idiosyncratic website. His site reads like the Arabian Knights on Acid for chess denizens. Enjoy!

[3] At the same time, to be clear, I cannot praise Chernev's book too highly: READ and STUDY both, might I suggest: first PEC/BECE, then move onto PCE. In this order, the latter will mean more.

[4] Bertrand Russell, AKA Lord Russell, who if anyone ever could write the English language, was said to be acerbic. He relates in his wonderful
Autobiography that he had learned to write the English language with precision by taking the advise of his brother in law, to take the already very, very clear a and concise writings of John Stewart Mill, and TRY to summarize each of his paragraphs with one sentence. Can you imagine?

[5] My definition of humanist, quoted from my 1989 letter of application to teach architecture, at UNC Charlotte: "As a humanist, I believe in the betterment of man through self knowledge".

[6] His original ChessCafe article in full, directly here.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Economic Koans or Just Bad Behavior?

The Planet and It's People are All Crying,
And I am Crying With It. Get a cleanex.

My very dear friend BDK, who is one of the smartest guys around, has been gently pushing me, but without let up all the same, to write about the meltdown. Now, this is a chess blog, and chess besides being a form of mental combat if not 'mental torture' [1], is a form of consumption. We consume free time, and emotional energy in pursuit of our craft. And if we are forcibly disturbed daily, neh, not disturbed, but unrelentingly attacked by the media, by financial markets, by national instability, by sinking and towering debt to fight two wars offshore when we cannot even mobilize our society to put shoes on children or fix the many potholes in our roads then, well *God Damn It* , it seems to me that this is chess too. You know the drill: we have to send probes to Mars but cannot regulate the ten largest banks in the country, we cannot face the issues.

KEATING ECONOMICS: John McCain & The Making of a Financial Crisis [2]

So yes all right. Its chess. Fuck yea it's chess. I was on a roll. I was blogging several times a week, I was in flow and all the rest is in my brain. But I can't write. No I cannot. Not today. Am I to write about chessBase intervening files when we are reeling with staggering upset? I have a lot more to say in chess, but not today:

When someone closer to a Fulbright Scholarship to Japan than not, when someone is a Registered Architect, when someone is a deft knowledge manager, and nimble in sales and customer service is asked three times, in eight days, to unload tractor trailer trucks, when such a person protests the third time constructively to his HR Department that this is bad business, leaving his Tool World Empty for theft or lost and helpless customers, to what? unload a tractor trailer truck AND hurts his lower back, AND then works sick the next two days because it is pre-inventory, yes, America, we are fucked. When at the end of the second day, I am approached by my bosses boss, told that big boss 'WILL DEFININETLY BE WANTING TO SEE' ME 'TOMORROW', said in an intimidating fashion, this is a problem. So I call District HR Manger, who asks me to stay home today and rest my back, and that it is very wrong for me to have to work in an intimidating work environment. Let me say more:

This is not an economic crisis. Yes, yes, I know.... 'we didn't land on the moon, but Disney did it in hidden areas in Yemen' and 'Nixon had it done with off the books money...'

It is not an economic crisis! Got your attention?

Global Warming is NOT Real, and Soylent Green is People

The crisis is that we think it is an economic crisis, that somehow we are going to, 'baby, baby, just one more time baby' re-engineer ourselves, borrow more money, postpone the day of reckoning?

We are immature. We are juvenile. We overconsume. We are fragmented. We allow hatred to rule the day. We are petty. We concentrate wealth among the few, fewer and fewer each day, while cutting taxes to the rich? We abuse our workers, seperate ourselves from our neighbors, we are overstimulated, and overtaxed. Our cars are too big, are wars too far from home, our spending leaves us ill prepared for an unsustainable future. We polute. We cut down. We both allow drugs and punish drugs. We punish guns, and we shoot guns. We talk of conservation, then we reward big Golf with Big Skin Games, we have gigantic Superbowls, we have Emmy's, we have monstrocity sized Indianappolis 500's while preaching air quality, Dupont while talking of water quality, we have glory, but we are a society which rewards hatred, excess, instability, narcisisim, ignoreAnce, and fame. We exploit sexuality. We disrespect our old. We disregard the moans of our planet, which is crying.

No Caption Necessary!

We ALLOW corporations to run our so called democracy, and we remove and punish dissenters, much as Ralph Nadir says, and Noam Chompsky, yes, all of it is true. We are infantile and spiritually bankrupt. We conduct our work places, like gulags, so that those who work the hardest are often treated the worst. And if you are not honest, you get more sick time, more days off from work, and if as me you are the sort who never calls in sick unless you are dying, then, yes, you sir, are off on an adventure.

Upper Deck, Now Making Presidential Predictor Trading Cards...
Yes, Yes, We are all Serious About this!
[3], [4]

Me? I have seen it all. The zen monks with shaved heads with the stick that smacks you if you sleep. I have trained with Marine Special forces in martial arts, I have walked with Grandmasters for hours discussing the global world and FIDE's travisty of mismanged irresponsibility. I have bought and sold $150,000,000 worth of stock with these same fingers, I have unloaded trucks with ten intercity kids, I have sat with the ineffable Joe Six Pack and know his hurt. I have sat with his lover, hearing of her hurt, the worry for her children while he watches videos as she cooks and cleans and mends. I have seen it all.

We cannot fix this, and it is too late now, by re-engineering our society. The economy is a major minimal signal, maybe one of the largest most significant signals, but this is not the problem, but the symptom. We, my friends, are in very, very serious trouble, and if the 'virtuous circle' or virtuous cycle accelerates, as it surely will, falling equities, leads to falling dollars, then they are repatriated offshore, leading to lower stocks, leading yet again to lower dollars.

Lets Be Clear. I don't like Ted Nugent or agree with his views, but put it up here apropos of passion. I give him credit for that. And authenticity.

More of the Same. I repeat, I do not agree with him. But he is real man!

It is time to pay guys. And it won't be financial. It will be physical, social, psychological, behavioral, and relational, as in how we are each day with each other, but yes, for sure, someone will really have to pay, and I suspect that both Joe Six Pack and Vanila Ice will all be paying.

God Bless, yes. Now I have said it. Thank you BDK for giving me the initiative to say this, say this now, say this here. May you all carry on and be well in your lives.

Warmly, dk

[1] Attribution, well known to Garry Kasparov, the very essence of masculinity.

[2] Links to Obama web site and video here (I have not planned to vote for Obama but keep thinking about it. I think that he is a truly great man, but cannot do half of what he promises, and this, I feel, perpectuates more dilusional thinking here on our shores).

[3] Makers, for example of 'World of Warcraft'; needless to say, as a young stock broker, I called on the two founders, and had a big two hour meeting with them, but they were, yes, surprise, real bona fide jerks. They asked me to do a bunch of free work, then, at its conclusion, wouldn't return my calls. Oh well.

[4] It took a bit of counter intuitive digging, but the full series can be handsomely viewed here, at Presidential Predictors.