Someone from one of the alphabet agencies contacted me concerning an Above Top Secret picture of the shape-shifting FeeDay President Kirsan Illuminatus taken while he was traversing the universe with the Zeta Reticulians. When I asked Mr. Alphabet to name the organization he represents he said, “Only those on a need to know basis can be told, and you don’t need to know. Besides, if I tell you I will have to kill you.” It was rather easy to quickly decide I most definitely did not need to know. He did, though, inform me he was based out of Papoose Lake, which is more secret than Area 51. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgdp0pOSRtU)
After showing the startling picture we talked about other Above Top Secret locations (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2M9IYwIRPIM) before his gizmo glowed. “I’ve gotta take this,” he said. This was not any ordinary phone and unlike anything I have ever seen. “Mulder,” he said, while the gizmo floated in the air. Only he could hear the incoming voice. “OK Scully, I’m on my way.” He looked me in the eye and said, “Think long and hard about what you want to do with this,” before turning and running like a fox.
After thinking long and hard the decision has been made to share the picture with the chess world, even if it is the last thing I ever do.
There is an article by Jane Croft on the Financial Times website, dated Jan. 27, 2015, “Putin accused of presiding over ‘mafia state’ at Litvinenko probe.”
“Russian President Vladimir Putin was on Tuesday accused at the opening of an inquiry into the death of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko of presiding over a “mafia state” with links to organised crime syndicates in Spain.”
This man, RasPutin, is the power behind the world chess federation known as FIDE. This is also the man seen hobnobbing with the chess elite, including the World Human Chess Champion, Magnus Carlsen, and the man he vanquished for the title, Viswanathan Anand. (http://www.sochi2014.fide.com/closing-ceremony) Is it any wonder the public has tuned out the Royal game?
The article continues, “Ben Emmerson QC, representing Litvinenko’s widow Marina at the public inquiry, claimed that the evidence for Litvinenko’s “horrifying assassination” by a radioactive isotope “all points in one direction” and was only likely to have happened “on the order of very senior officials in the Russian state”.
In a hard hitting speech, Mr Emmerson claimed that Litvinenko was killed “partly as an act of political revenge for speaking out, partly?.?.?.?as a message of lethal deterrence to others and partly to prevent him giving evidence in a criminal prosecution in Spain that could have exposed Putin’s direct link to an organised criminal syndicate in that country”.
Mr Emmerson claimed that the events showed the “unlawfulness and criminality at the very heart of the Russian state”.
“The intimate relationship that will be shown to exist between the Kremlin and Russian organised crime syndicates are so close as to make the two effectively indistinguishable,” Mr Emmerson claimed.
“The startling truth, which is going to be revealed in public by the evidence in this inquiry, is that a significant part of the Russian organised crime around the world is organised directly from the office of the Kremlin. Vladimir Putin’s Russia is a mafia state,” Mr Emmerson alleged to the inquiry.
Mr Emmerson added that Litvinenko had been a “marked man” since giving a press conference in Moscow alleging national security service FSB corruption and Mr Putin was a “ruthless and deadly enemy” to Litvinenko, Mr Emmerson claimed.
“The evidence all points one way,” Mr Emmerson said claiming that the two main suspects implicated in the poisoning had “links to Putin’s inner circle”.
Mr Emmerson said he believed the inquiry would show not just a trail of polonium from London to Moscow but a trail leading “directly to the door of Putin’s office” and Mr Putin would be “unmasked” by the inquiry “as a common criminal dressed up as a head of state.”
The former Russian spy, who died after ingesting radioactive polonium 210, may have been poisoned “not once but twice”, the inquiry into his death was told.
Sir Robert Owen, chairman of the public inquiry, said the circumstances of Litvinenko’s death brought in to focus issues of the “utmost gravity”, which had attracted “worldwide interest and concern”.
The inquiry, which is due to last for 10 weeks, will look at the circumstances around the death of Litvinenko who was allegedly poisoned as he sipped green tea at Mayfair’s Millennium Hotel in November 2006.
The death of Litvinenko sent relations between the UK and Russia to a post-cold war low, with diplomats expelled by both sides.
Russia has long denied claims, attributed to Litvinenko on his deathbed and repeated by his friends and family, that Moscow ordered his death after the Kremlin critic was granted asylum in the UK.
UK prosecutors had accused two Russians Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun of the murder. They have strenuously denied any wrongdoing. Russia has refused to extradite them under the terms of its constitution.
Robin Tam QC, counsel to the public inquiry, told the hearing that scientific evidence will be presented to the inquiry that appeared to show that Litvinenko was poisoned with polonium “not once but twice”.
As well as a November 2006 meeting at the Pine Bar of the Millennium Hotel, the hearing was told an earlier poisoning attempt may have been made at a meeting weeks earlier.
Samples from Litvinenko’s hair show that he may have been poisoned twice with the first attempt much less successful, Mr Tam told the hearing.
Mr Lugovoi and Mr Kovtun were present at two meetings with Mr Litvinenko — including at the Pine Bar at the Millennium Hotel in Mayfair.
Litvinenko, who converted to Islam before he died, claimed to police on his deathbed that he believed he had been targeted by the Russian security services on the orders of Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to details of his police interview conducted just before he died and read out to the hearing.” (http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/998d690c-a62c-11e4-9bd3-00144feab7de.html)
An article, “What’s Been the Effect of Western Sanctions on Russia?” appeared on the PBS website as a companion piece to the hard hitting documentary, “Putin’s Way.”
“When Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine last March, the United States and European Union responded with an economic weapon — sanctions.
The first few rounds, applied in March and April of 2014, targeted Russian and Crimean officials, as well as businessmen seen to have close ties to President Vladimir Putin — his “inner circle” — with travel bans and asset freezes.
Since then, the West has steadily expanded its sanctions against Russian entities, targeting major businesses and parts of Russia’s financial, energy and military industries.
FRONTLINE talked to Anders Åslund, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, on Jan. 8, 2015 about the effects and consequences of Western sanctions on the Russian economy. Åslund served as an economic adviser to the Russian and Ukrainian governments in the 1990s.
Which round of sanctions do you think really had an effect on the Russian economy? How would you measure that?
The sanctions the U.S. imposed came in two big chunks. The first concerned Crimea, and they were only personal sanctions for Crimean and Russian leaders involved in the Crimean drama.
Then, the important sanctions were imposed on July 16, which are called sectoral sanctions.
We can see that no money has been going into Russia after July. No financial institutions dared to provide Russia with any financing more than a month after that. And that we know from talking to banks. …
The point is that the [July] financial sanctions have worked out as far more severe in their effect than anyone seems to have believed.
Would sanctions alone have damaged Russia’s economy without the current plunging oil prices?
There are three major causes for Russia’s economic troubles. The first cause is the corruption and bad economic policies that Putin pursues, which on their own would lead to stagnation, or at most 1 percent growth.
The second element is the falling oil prices. The oil prices have now fallen so much that Russia’s total export revenues this year will be two-thirds of what they have been before. That means that Russia will have to cut its imports by half. This is a big blow.
This is then reinforced by the financial sanctions, so that Russia cannot mitigate this blow by borrowing money. By ordinary standards, Russia is perfectly credit-worthy with a public debt that is only 10 percent of GDP. But if you don’t have access to financial markets, then it doesn’t matter how credit-worthy you are, because you’re not credit-worthy so-to-say.
Vladimir RasPutin has become a pariah. The world will watch as he is consigned to oblivion because he, and his friends, like FIDE President Kirsan the ET, is on his way off of the world stage. He is learning first hand something a fellow Georgian, Martin Luther King Jr., said decades ago. “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
Garry Kasparov must be following these events closely. In the immortal words of Bob Dylan, “For the loser now will be later to win/
For the times they are a-changin’.
I have recently come under fire by some readers who have criticized me for, well, being critical. This amazes me because in every other facet of life those in power and control receive criticism. The POTUS has always received criticism, and as long as We The People have the right granted to US under the Constitution to freely express our thoughts, he always will be criticized. Before the start of the 2014 Major League Baseball season new rules were instituted. Two were so laughable, and caused so many problems, it made many wonder about the sanity of those who promulgated said rules. The outcry was so loud that MLB officials were forced to listen, and later changed the new rules during the season, which was unprecedented. The rules would still be in place if not for those who questioned, and criticized, the ridiculous rules.
As the story goes, when a very young boy I filled a pot with water, climbed up onto a chair, placed the pot on the stove, and fired it up. When my mother entered the kitchen she asked what I was doing. “Watching the water boil,” I answered. “And why are you watching the water boil, Michael?”
“Because Aunt Lea said a ‘Watched pot never boils.’ She was wrong.”
Another story told is that my father and his mother were in the car with me in the backseat. I kept asking questions, which was frustrating for my father, who told me to “Shut up.” When questioned about his response my father told his mother, “The boy asks too many questions.” She castigated him for it, saying, “How else is he going to learn?”
It has been my experience that people, especially those in power, do not like to be questioned. The man known for his “plain speaking,” Harry Truman, said, “When you have an efficient government, you have a dictatorship.” Harry said this because he could not always get his way because there were others in government who opposed some of his ideas.
Several people who have criticized me for questioning the status quo have also criticized me for not offering any alternatives or solutions. I am flummoxed by this because one can find many examples of alternatives and solutions in this blog, and also in my previous BaconLOG. It makes me wonder if they read anything other than what they criticize.
In regard to the odious practice of offering a draw I have suggested awarding more points for a draw, or a win, with Black. I have suggested changing the rules of chess so that after White makes his first move Black can then make two moves, as long as they are not with the same piece, or pawn. I have also suggested pawns be allowed to “retreat to the rear” by being allowed to move backward.
I have suggested a program for the USCF to “Bring ‘Em Back,” whereby those in power put some money into a program to bring back adults who have left the Royal game. I have also suggested USCF do something, anything, for Senior chess, to no avail. The price for an adult membership is $46. A Senior receives a $6 break, having to pay “only” $40. Contrast this with a membership in SABR, the Society for Baseball Research, which is $65 for a regular membership, but only $45 for a Senior membership. The cost of a USCF membership is lower for younger members and the younger the age, the lower the price of membership. This tells you exactly what kind of member is wanted by those in charge of the USCF. The motto of the USCF used to be, “Chess is a lifetime sport.” Now those in power have something called a “vision statement,” which is, “Our vision is to enrich the lives of all persons and communities through increasing the play, study, and appreciation of the game of chess.” All, that is, except Seniors.
There is no doubt about where the money is in chess; it is in children’s chess. If anyone questions this just ask those triple digit rated “players” who cannot differentiate between checkmate and stalemate who are making money hand over fist by selling parents a pig in a poke for their children.
For the problem of the criminal element in power and control of FIDE I have suggested getting rid of Kirsan the ET, and the power behind his throne, Rootin’ Tootin’ Ras Pootin’, by having the ET’s with whom Kirsan has traveled the galaxy place both of them on a spaceship and send them across the universe. There have long been rumors of an exchange program between ETs and humans. (http://www.serpo.org/release32.php) I advocate another exchange program with the aforementioned tag-team duo being the first to board the alien space craft.
There are many who tout, and spout, the party line, whether they believe it or not, and they can be found currying favor and sucking up to the fools in power, brown nosing it all the way to the bank. I am not one of those people. If that is what you want this is not the blog for you. “Don’t worry, be happy,” and “Everything is beautiful in its own way” type blogs proliferate, as do “yes men,” and yes, women. Society is not advanced by those who never question, but only accept what what they are told.
The best chess magazine on the planet, New In Chess, has a regular feature, “Just Checking,” in which questions are posed to famous players of the Royal game. One of the questions that has been posed most often is, “What is the stupidest rule in chess?” The answer given most is, “The zero-tolerance rule.” It is more than a little obvious most players do not care for the FIDE’s draconian rule. Peter Heine Nielsen, Boris Avrukh, Daniel King, and Ivan Saric, all GM’s answered the question posed with the zero-tolerance rule, with the latter going on to add in NIC 2014/2, “In the whole history of chess (and also sport) there hasn’t been such a stupid rule. It puts huge pressure on the players before the game. This was the easiest question.”
Since there is almost universal agreement among the best human players in the world it would seem those who promulgated the rule would have rescinded it long ago. To understand why they have not done so is to understand what kind of people are those who administer FIDE. They obviously know how the players feel but obviously could care less. These despotic dictators simply do not care what their “subjects” think about the rule. These are people who insist on imposing their will on chess players because they understand they are much inferior compared to the great players. Draconian dictators do not listen to their subjects because they expect their inferiors to listen, and obey, them. They expect this no matter how much it hurts the Royal game because they could care less about the game of chess. These despots care only about ruling the game.
The players should get together and organize just as the Major League Baseball players did decades ago. I have no idea why they have not done so, but it could be because they compete it is difficult for them to agree. Yet they seem to be in total agreement about the zero-tolerance rule. What top level chess needs is a man like Marvin Miller, who was head of the Major League Baseball Players Association from 1966 to 1982. “He was responsible for negotiation baseball’s first collective bargaining agreement in 1968, which included the first rise in the minimum salary in a decade; salaries would rise exponentially during his tenure, reflecting growing revenues. He was a key figure in the development of free agency, and he led the players through strikes in 1972, 1980 and 1981, and lockouts decreed by the owners in 1973 and 1976. Hank Aaron said he was “as important to the history of baseball as Jackie Robinson.” Red Barber called him one of three most important figures in baseball history, alongside Robinson and Babe Ruth.” (http://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/Marvin_Miller)
In an article, “King talks with Kirsan,” on the Chessbase website, dated 8/11/2014, GM Daniel King asked Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the mediocre player and FIDE dictator, who said he has traveled the universe in an Extraterrestrial spaceship piloted by otherworldly entities, “There is one FIDE rule that many many chess players are unhappy with, which is the zero tolerance rule. For example, there was a young girl here, a ten-year-old girl here, who unfortunately came two minutes late to the game and she lost. It seems very harsh. Would you consider reviewing this rule?”
Kirsan the ET answered, “We have a technical commission consisting of chess players and arbiters and I remember in Dresden in 2008 at the General Assembly, we decided that everyone should be on time. You remember the football match between Brazil and Germany? Can you imagine if both teams arrived five minutes late?”
GM Daniel King: “Of course, but chess isn’t football. This girl was young and innocent and was very very upset. There are many other incidents where a player has arrived a little late just by accident and this seems very harsh.”
Kirsan the ET: “Ok, write your proposal and we will discuss it at the presidential meeting. However, the Chief Arbiter (of the Olympiad) came to me five minutes ago and said, “Mr. President, it’s very good, no one is late. At 2 PM they start.” For me it’s not a problem because this was decided by the majority. I remember in 1998, when I organized the World Championship match between Vishy Anand and Anatoly Karpov in Lausanne, Switzerland, in the presence of the president of the Olympic Committee, in the Olympic Museum, with dozens of cameras, many journalists, the mayor of Lausanne, some high officials of the Swiss government, hundreds of spectators. At 3 PM, Vishy Anand was there sitting, but not Anatoly Karpov. We waited 10-15 minutes, and the president of the Olympic Committee turned to me and asked how I could expect to join the Olympic games in such circumstances.”
GM Daniel King: “I understand completely for professional chess, but it seems to me there is a big difference between professional chess and amateur chess.”
The added remark, “And we will have discipline,” sounds like something one might hear from a grammar school principal, or a despotic dictator. For chess to survive as a viable game Kirsan the ET has got to go back to the stars, along with his benefactor and power behind the scenes, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.
FIDE is a corrupt organization. The President of FIDE, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, is a despotic President of a small, impoverished country of which he has said, “Kalmykia is a Mongolian-speaking, Buddhist Republic…in Europe.” As GM Nigel Short points out in the article, “Tyranny,” in New In Chess 2014 #5, “The most revealing thing about Kirsan’s statement is that it is false. The dominant language in Kalmykia is Russian, and not Mongolian. Alas, it would soon becomes clear that a cavalier disregard for veracity is very much Kirsan’s hallmark…Misrepresentations, distortions, false promises and even downright lies all regularly flow from the lips of his cherubic face.”
Nigel continues, “Warning signs were all there for any who cared to notice. The announcement that the 1996 Kamsky-Karpov World Championship would take place in Saddam Hussein’s Baghdad should have jolted and worried even the most apathetic observer. Indeed, the backlash against this planned move was so great that Kirsan was obliged to recant and implausibly claim that the whole idea had been a joke. That same year, Hans Ree wrote (in New In Chess, issue 1 p.40-44) about Kirsan’s despotic abolition of the Kalmykian constitution. He also reported the detailed allegations of Larisa Yudina, editor of the opposition newspaper Sovietskaya Kalmykia, that Kirsan was looting the state cofers, In 1998, shortly before the Elista Olympiad, Ms. Yudina would be found murdered in a ditch, with multiple knife wounds. Two of Kirsan’s aides would be convicted of this horrific crime. Criticism of Ilyumzhinov could literally be fatal. By macabre coincidence, one chapter of Kirsan’s autobiography published that same year was entitled ‘It only takes two weeks to have a man killed.’
GM Short ends the article, written before the election, “After 19 years in office, the morally bankrupt Kirsan regime has shown that it will stop at nothing to remain in power. I have deliberately refrained from emphasising that Kirsan enjoys the full backing, with attendant diplomatic support, of his controversial President, Vladimir Putin. There is more than ample reason to vote for change without needing to take a stand on internal Russian politics.”
In the next issue of New In Chess, 2014 #6, the best chess magazine ever published, the title of Nigel’s article, written after the election, is “Long Walk to Freedom.” It begins, “Unless you are on the FIDE payroll, it is hard to take any positives out of the 2014 Presidental Election.”
After reading, “The election is held by secret ballot, so any attempt to break down support by region comes with the important caveat that no one can be absolutely certain how votes were cast…,” my thoughts drifted back to something written in the aforementioned piece, “The truth of the matter is that Kirsan is only certain to win one continent-America.”
How can this be? What kind of inducements would cause my continent to vote for such a reprehensible candidate? Did the US vote for this petty tyrant?
Concerning the role of Russian Czar Vladimir Putin in this Nigel writes, “Russian intervention had been a factor in previous elections, but to nowhere near the same degree. On this occasion, the entire diplomatic service had been mobilised to ensure a Kirsan victory. In several federations it was the decisive factor. Kasparov had known all along that he would be up against the machinery of the Russian state, but even he underestimated its force and how important this would become.”
In life, like chess, there is a winner and there is a loser. In this case the despotic dictators won; the Royal game lost.
Nigel ends the aftermath by writing, “Curiously, for a man who has been re-elected by a thumping margin, the position of Kirsan is perhaps the least secure of all. The smart money is now on him being replaced by Filatov well before 2018. There have been previous, abortive plots to remove Kirsan, even by his supposedly loyal lieutenants. Already on the 27th May 2013, Makropoulos and Vega were at the Ararat Park Hyatt Hotel in Moscow negotiating with David Kaplan, FIDE’s CEO of Development, on behalf of an un-named oligarch, to replace the ‘Kalmykian bullshitter.’ The proposed price? A cool $26 million.”
One glance at the price of petrol tells you that little man Putin is on his way out. A war is being waged between Rootin’ Tootin’ Putin and the rest of the world. It is an economic war and with every drop in the price at the pump another nail is driven into the coffin of the Russian economy. Putin is a dead man walking. This is great news for chess because when putrid Putin goes, so goes Kirsan the E.T.
It has been written that the World Human Chess Champion, Magnus Carlsen, agonized over signing the contract to defend his recently won championship over former World Human Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand. In the end he did sign on the dotted line. It would have been better if he had not gotten into bed with the Russian call girls, Vladie and Etta. The two former World Human Chess Champions were used and their reputations have been besmirched, while the credibility of the Royal game has been tarnished.
On January 13, 2015, the PBS show released a press release, “On Jan. 13, FRONTLINE investigates of the accusations of criminality and corruption that have surrounded Putin’s rise and reign.” The title is “Putin’s Way.” (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/putins-way/) I watched it later online, wondering if anything would be said about the Royal game. Fortunately for chess, it was not mentioned.
The film is disturbing. The group picture with Putin on the outer edge said a thousand words. The picture of Putin alone at the lunch table spoke loudly about his ostracism from the international community, as did his early departure from the G20 summit. Only one community continues to welcome Vladimir Putin.
I cannot stop thinking about the rat young Putin had corned that jumped… Garry Kasparov was right about Putin, but the former human World Chess Champion was ignored.
A remote viewer on the Coast to Coast AM show recently told of having envisioned a war between the US and Russia in which the US will take a nuclear hit. He went on to add that the US would win, but he did not “see” how. I wonder what constitutes winning. This comes on the hills of a show during the summer, “Prophecy & World War.” (http://www.coasttocoastam.com/shows/2014/08/04)
“Prophecy expert John Hogue returned to update his alarm about impending World War. The prophecies of Nostradamus, Stormberger, and other prominent seers describe what we’re currently experiencing, and some of the outcomes look like thermonuclear war and the massive loss of life on Earth, Hogue contended. Last week marked the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War, and he cited current events such as the finger pointing at Russia for the shoot down of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 as possibly igniting a new Cold War with Russia. The “German Nostradamus,” Matthias Stormberger, a cow herder from Rabenstein, made prophecies in the late 1700s, which accurately foresaw such events as WWI and WWII.
Stormberger spoke of “iron monsters that would bark through the wilderness,” which is similar to some of Nostradamus’ wording about future cars and vehicles. Seers looking at our future often used animals or nature as metaphors to describe what they saw, Hogue noted. St. Odile had visions in the 8th century of a horrible weapon– like a star cast down from the sky. “All nations of the Earth will fight each other in this war. The fighters will rise up in the heavens…to take the stars and throw them on cities to set ablaze the buildings and cause immense devastation,” she wrote. Stormberger concurs with this vision, saying “in one day, more men will die than in all previous wars combined,” Hogue recounted.
“The doomsday body count” seen by various seers including Nostradamus is that 2/3 of the human race will be destroyed in a massive world war, Hogue suggested. Edgar Cayce, whose visions of the future mostly concerned Earth changes, saw a devastated New York City from an airship in the year 2100. Cayce was not certain whether the devastation was from natural causes or war. Yet, the dire outcomes of these seers’ prophecies are not written in stone and humankind can still make choices to avert these events, Hogue commented.” (http://www.coasttocoastam.com/shows/2014/08/04)
Colin: “All sports change over the years, becoming faster, higher, stronger. Is chess also subject to similar trends?”
Boris: “Chess is also changing, but in a somewhat incomprehensible manner. Computers have appeared in chess and turned everything upside down.”
The advent of computer chess programs have drastically altered the Royal game. The natural evolution of chess has been, shall we say, “enhanced” by the programs. The play of the game of chess has taken a quantum leap forward in the lifetime of Boris Spassky. When change this dramatic occurs it is only natural that older humans have trouble accepting the rapid change. For instance, my grandmother was born before the automobile was invented. When Neil Armstrong allegedly stepped onto the surface of the moon and said, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” it was much more than she could comprehend and she never believed it happened. To her it was just something “they” put on TV.
Colin: “The reigning World Champion Magnus Carlsen has the reputation of being a straight-A chess player who does everything correctly on the board and plays out games for a long, long time. Has chess lost something because of that?”
Boris: “Carlsen is a stubborn kid. In general, what a chess player needs has always been the same, with a love of chess the main requirement. Moreover, it has to be loved naturally, with passion, the way people love art, drawing and music. That passion possesses you and seeps into you. I still look at chess with the eyes of a child.”
Colin: “Can chess players of different eras be compared at all?”
Boris: “It’s pretty hard. Each to his own. Everyone should know his place. Chess players are a very difficult crowd who are largely egocentrics, egoists and individualists. Each of them has his own vision of the world and each is a lone wolf who goes his own way. Each World Champion came from more or less that background.”
Humans have always played games, and, most, will continue to play some kind of game. As Colin said, “All sports change over the years…” Chess is not an exception.
Whatever credibility Checkers had has been lost to the computer program Chinook, the “World Man-Machine Checkers Champion.” (http://webdocs.cs.ualberta.ca/~chinook/) Have humans stopped playing Checkers? They have not because they changed the game. Take a look at “International Checkers.” It is not the game your father played.
Consider Three Dimensional Chess, popularized by the Star Trek TV show. (http://www.chessvariants.org/3d.dir/startrek.html)
“Three-dimensional chess (or 3D chess) refers to any of various chess variants that use multiple boards at different levels, allowing the chess pieces to move in three physical dimensions. Three-dimensional variants have existed since the late 19th century, one of the oldest being Raumschach (German for Space chess), invented in 1907 by Dr. Ferdinand Maack and considered the classic 3D game. Maack founded a Raumschach club in Hamburg in 1919, which remained active until World War II. The inventor contended that for chess to be more like modern warfare, attack should be possible not only from a two-dimensional plane but also from above (aerial) and below (underwater). Maack’s original formulation was for an 8×8×8 board, but after experimenting with smaller boards eventually settled on 5×5×5 as best. Other obvious differences from standard chess include two additional pawns per player, and a special piece (two per player) named unicorn.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-dimensional_chess)
It could be that in the future when one speaks of chess, it will be in regard to only 3D Chess.
GM Walter Browne, an avid gamesman, has created a game he named, “FINESSE.” Walter calls it, “The 21st century version of Chess.” He writes, “In 1988 I started to wonder why over two thousand years no one ever thought of another board game besides Chess, that was a “purely” intellectual struggle. There are many chess variants, but none of them are very appealing, so I dared to take up the challenge. I invented Finesse in 1993 and I thought it’s nice, but I put it away for almost twenty years. Then in 2012 I made a few key changes which made all the difference! I had a “Voila”! moment in August 2012 when I realized the chemistry between the pieces would create an endless variety of dynamic positions.”(http://www.finessebybrowne.com/#!history/c1sf)
Check out this “Finesse” video:
Could the game Walter invented be the future of chess? My favorite science fiction novel is, “The Player of Games,” by Iain M. Banks. “Curgeh is the best, the champion. In the ancient, all-embracing Culture in which there is no disease or disaster, only the endless games, he has beaten them all. But an empire’s challenge will teach him what the Game is really all about.” (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18630.The_Player_of_Games)
My favorite novel is, “The Glass Bead Game,” by Hermann Hesse. It is known as “Das Glasperlenspiel” in German. It has also been published under the title “Magister Ludi,” Latin for “Master of the Game.” (http://www.glassbeadgame.com/)
“It was begun in 1931 and published in Switzerland in 1943 after being rejected for publication in Germany due to Hesse’s anti-Fascist views. A few years later, in 1946, Hesse went on to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. In honoring him in its Award Ceremony Speech, the Swedish Academy said that the novel “occupies a special position” in Hesse’s work.”
“The Glass Bead Game takes place at an unspecified date centuries into the future. Hesse suggested that he imagined the book’s narrator writing around the start of the 25th century. The setting is a fictional province of central Europe called Castalia, which was reserved by political decision for the life of the mind; technology and economic life are kept to a strict minimum. Castalia is home to an austere order of intellectuals with a twofold mission: to run boarding schools for boys, and to nurture and play the Glass Bead Game, whose exact nature remains elusive and whose devotees occupy a special school within Castalia known as Waldzell. The rules of the game are only alluded to—they are so sophisticated that they are not easy to imagine. Playing the game well requires years of hard study of music, mathematics, and cultural history. The game is essentially an abstract synthesis of all arts and sciences. It proceeds by players making deep connections between seemingly unrelated topics.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Glass_Bead_Game)
An email arrived recently in which a reader accused me of being “Mr. Doom & Gloom.” The writer takes exception to some of what I write, most of which he considers “negative.”
The email arrived during a week the chess community learned, “Parviz Gasimov, a 14-year-old from Azerbaijan, has managed the incredible feat of going from a 1949 rating in October 2014 to 2517 in the first rating list of 2015 – no less than a leap of 568 points in three months.” (https://chess24.com/en/read/news/from-1949-to-2517-in-three-months)
Unlike previous players who “enjoyed” amazing leaps there have been no accusations of any cheating by the boy. He accomplished this unbelievable feat because the F.I.P.s in charge of the world chess organization changed the rules. Keep in mind Sam Sevian, the young GM currently playing in the Tata Steel tournament, was initially rated 315 in the middle of 2006. Six and one half years later he hit first hit 2500 USCF. Where is the outcry and outrage from the chess community? As far as I have been able to determine there has been no one from the chess community to even question this revolting development. Could that be because Kirsan the E.T. and his fellow travelers have instituted so many Draconian changes the chess community has become inured to the changes? Has the chess community collectively decided to accept anything and everything these henchmen deliver? Keep in mind the FIDE president has said, “There is no professional chess and non-professional chess, there is only chess. And we will have discipline.” Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, explaining FIDE’s zero tolerance rule to interviewer Danny King (http://en.chessbase.com/post/king-talks-with-kirsan)
Full disclosure-I have taken this from the Mechanic’s Institute Newsletter #692 (http://www.chessclub.org/news.php?n=692)
What Kirsan the E.T. said sounds like something an adult would say to a child. Does Kirsan the E.T. consider the chess community his children? Or was it said more along the lines of what an older Soviet KGB agent may think? The Nazi Gestapo instilled “discipline.” Why do the very best human chess players allow themselves to be treated as children, or subjects? Why is FIDE allowed to be administered like a Third World dictator runs a banana republic?
Albert Einstein said, “The important thing is not to stop questioning.”
During the week the “Doom Gloom” email arrived the chess world learned, “With an Elo-rating of 2399 (January 2015) Kenny Solomon is South Africa’s number three but a few days ago he became the country’s first grandmaster. In the Africa Chess Championship 2014 he finished with 7.0/9 and had a better tie-break than tournament favorite GM Ahmed Adly, World Junior Champion from 2007. This tie-break win made Solomon Grandmaster.” This is from an article, “South Africa’s first Grandmaster,” dated 1/4/2015, on Chessbase. (http://en.chessbase.com/post/south-africa-s-first-grandmaster) Mr. Solomon TIED for first place; he did not win a playoff. He is rated 400 points lower that the number one GM; 200 points lower than an average GM; and 100 points lower than the minimum allowed to become a GM. I have seen nothing questioning this development, so I ask, “Is this a good thing for the Royal game?” Is it a good thing to have such a mediocre player spoken of in the same way one speaks, or writes, about Magnus Carlsen? Now that Kenny has “joined the club” how much does his being a member cheapen the GM title? And why am I the only one questioning this development?
Change is inevitable and chess has changed dramatically this century. The Draconian dictators of chess no doubt believe these changes are good for the Royal game. This flies in the face of the reality. For example, funding for the most prestigious event of the chess world, the World Championship, was difficult to find. The chess world still does not know who funded the match. The public has tuned out chess. Here are some recent headlines to bolster my case:
This seems an appropriate place to insert measures taken by another game, a cousin of chess, which were not taken by the Royal game:
“Have computers invaded the realm of this ancient game as they did to the western chess? Of course, although it took much longer and caused quite a bit of consternation to the JSA, who in 2005, officially forbade professionals to compete publicly against machines as a way of preserving the dignity of shogi masters. In any event, shogi computer programs were too weak, for a long time, to present a serious challenge to the human mind.” (http://en.chessbase.com/post/the-knight-that-jumps-high-falls-prey-to-a-pawn-2)
Have chess Grandmasters lost “dignity” because of losing to chess programs? What you and I, members of the chess community, think matters little in relation to how the general public answers the question. Has chess become a kind of ivory tower, insulated from those outside its borders, or does what the general public think have any meaning? You bet your sweet bippy it means something!
What does it say about chess when the sponsor(s) of this tournament, meant to change the public perception of chess, took a bath? Rather than enhance the stature of chess, the final analysis of the tournament from those in the media, and general public, is that chess, as one member of the general public said, who happens to have played chess when young and who continued to avidly read the New York Times chess column until it ended, “Chess received yet another black eye.”
in great anticipation
the match between a man
distinguishing trait: a knife between his teeth
and the monster of a machine
distinguishing trait: Olympic calm
ended in the victory of the dragon
in the gardens of Andalucía
the nouveau riche
elbows his way across squares
sewn from a Harlequin’s cloak
a mocking ignoramus
with all the openings
and finally with a joyful
hallali above the corpse
of his opponent
the royal game
passes into the hands
it needs to be snatched by night
from the prison camp
One of the games at the 90th Hastings Congress began 1 e4 c5 2 Bc4 e6 3 Qe2. Naturally, this caught my eye. Regular readers know of my fondness for the Bishop’s opening, and also for the Chigorin variation against the French, or any opening containing the move Qe2. How could I not pay attention when both moves are played in the same opening? The game was between David Sedgwick (1995) and Ali R Jaunooby (2175), and was played in the eight round. The latter played 3…Nc6. I considered only 4 Nf3 or 4 c3, but Sedgwick played 4 d3, which I did not understand. A quick consultation with the Chessbase database (http://database.chessbase.com/js/apps/database/) shows only those two moves having been played, so 4 d3 must be a TN. The game continued: 4…b5 5.Bb3 Nd4 6.Qd1 d5 7.c4 bxc4 8.Ba4+ Bd7 9.Bxd7+ Qxd7 10.Nf3 cxd3 11.Qxd3 Nf6 12.e5 Nxf3+ 13.Qxf3 Ne4 14.Nd2 f5 15.Nxe4 fxe4 16.Qg3 Qb5 17.a4 Qa6 18.Bg5 Rb8 19.Qc3 h6 20.Bd2 Be7 21.Qg3 Kf7 22.Qf4+ Kg8 23.b4 Bg5 24.Qg3 Bxd2+ 25.Kxd2 Rxb4 26.Rhb1 Rd4+ 27.Ke1 Kh7 28.Rb5 Rf8 29.Rab1 Rf7 30.h4 h5 31.Qg5 Rf5 32.Qe7 e3 33.fxe3 Rxa4 34.Qxc5 Rxh4 35.Qc2 Re4 36.R1b3 Qa1+ 37.Qb1 Qxe5 38.Qc1 Qg3+ 0-1
Because of my experience playing 2 Qe2 versus the French I would never play a move like 4 d3, allowing the Knight to come to d4, attacking the Queen, so I checked out 4 Nf3 on the CBDB, learning that both Komodo and Stockfish play the Knight move. After 4 Nf3 both Komodo 8 and Houdini 4×64 play 4…Nf6, which would be a TN, as the CBDB contains no games with the move. It does show that Komodo 6 plays 4…Nge7, which is a move that has been previously played. Finding no games at the CBDB, I surfed on over to 365Chess (http://www.365chess.com/opening.php?m=9&n=75620&ms=e4.c5.Bc4.e6.Qe2.Nc6.Nf3.Nf6&ns=18.104.22.1682.2485.4268.4065.75620) finding two games with 4…Nf6, so we do have a “main line.” Both games were played last century, back in 1972, the year I met Bobby Fischer at the Church’s Fried Chicken tournament in San Antonio after Bobby bested Boris, winning the World Chess Championship.
Slavoj Kupka (2375) vs Josef Pribyl (2435)
In their new book, “Play Unconventional Chess and Win,” Noam A. Manella and Zeev Zohar posit, “…that technological tools do contribute toward creativity of top human chess players.” This flies in the face of conventional thinking, and they mention this in the preface to the book:
“Experienced chess players, those who learned the game some decades ago (or even recently),
are sometimes puzzled while being in the tournament hall or watching a live
broadcast of a top game. Do they witness a game between two wise and experienced people,
having enormous knowledge combined with a unique creative ability, or is it rather a
battle between machines, cold, technical, mechanical super-computers which happen also
to have bodily needs, feelings and desires?
The influence of technological tools over the game of chess is controversial. Some think
that chess players become robotic, lose all creativity and avoid taking any risk. The inevitable
outcome is a lot of uninteresting games ending in a draw.
Back in our youth, when chess programs had not yet been used, the players found the
moves “over the board”. The first impression is that the game was then slightly different,
and that nowadays we witness the decay of classical chess. Our intuition suggests that top
players find it hard to play creatively, and the computer plays an important role in this
situation. The fact that those top players and their seconds spend most of their time preparing
while looking at the computer monitor surely contributes to this.
However, others think that technological advances have made a huge amount of information
available to chess players. Thus they can solve, within a short time, problems
which were hitherto considered too complex. Today’s players have more resources to look
for new creative ideas, and those emerge in abundance.
One of the co-authors, Zeev Zohar, a chess expert, has investigated this subject deeply
as part of his academic work. He looked deeply at the arguments of both sides while interviewing
professional chess players as well as chess software developers. Finally he became
convinced that technological tools do contribute toward creativity of top human chess
players. He shared his conclusions with Noam Manella, who is a well-known expert in the
field of creativity, besides being a chess national master and study composer whose works
have received many awards. Mr. Manella, author of the best-selling book The Creative Code,
was highly enthusiastic about the subject. Thus this book was born.
Chess is a game based on patterns, axioms, rules and mathematical calculations. A
computer has no psychological barriers. It is “willing” to check moves that most humans,
including top players, reject instantly as part of a psychological elimination process based
on paradigms. Computer-aided home analyses of top chess players leads to a reassessment
of all old axioms, principles and evaluations. Hence one can easily understand why work
with computers adds a new creative layer to the game.” (http://www.everymanchess.com/chess/books/Play_Unconventional_Chess_and_Win)
I have not seen the book, only an excerpt provided at the Everyman Chess website. I am not now, nor have I ever been, one to “tow the party line.” Knowledge is only advanced by those who question conventional thinking. Although it is true “…that technological advances have made a huge amount of information available to chess players,” I do not understand how that fact can be considered “creative.”
The computer chess programs have drastically altered the Royal game; this is not your father’s chess. For example, take the response to a question posed by Sergey Kim to Rafael Vaganian during an interview on the Chess24 website, “Both at the board and simply in life you met all the Soviet world champions from Botvinnik to Kasparov. The world champions of the twentieth century – of your generation – and the champions of the third millennium – first and foremost, Carlsen: how do they differ?”
GM Rafael Vaganian: “It’s hard to compare, because the chess is totally different. Those champions worked in another setting, playing another kind of chess. With no computers, they worked and created on their own, and their creativity was immense. If they found something it was with their own minds, while now there are these amazing programs. Theory has “grown” to 30-35 moves, and you simply can’t compare the two types of chess. Frankly speaking, I don’t like modern chess, and I’m not sure what’s going to happen next. After all, a person isn’t capable of remembering so much, so they simply suffer because of it. They need to remember and learn it all, but then what of creativity? They barely play at the board, but at home, and that’s bad.” (https://chess24.com/en/read/news/rafael-vaganian-anand-won-t-lose)
Prior to the domination of the chess “engines” knowledge was gleaned from intercourse between humans. Mikhail Tal was forced to work with Anatoly Karpov by the Soviet authorities and it changed his style of play. Contrast the games of the young Tal from the 1950’s and 60’s with that of the Tal of the 80’s and you will see an almost complete transformation. Granted, most players change as they age, but not to the drastic extent of Tal. Back in the day human players fed off of each other and learned from their human peers. Today the intercourse is between man and machine. The chess playing programs have altered the natural development of the game of chess. We will never know how chess play would have developed if humans had been left alone.
Former World Chess Champion Vladimir Kramnik had this to say in an “Indepth interview with Vladimir Kramnik” on Chessbase: “Chess openings are like science. It keeps evolving. Judging by the standards of the time when Garry was an active player, he indeed knew the opening extremely well. Now it is over, his preparation isn’t good anymore. It is part of the past. Chess is developing very rapidly – just like the Internet, gadgets. You know, no one cares about the first models of iPhones now. Without day-by-day opening studies it is not possible. You can’t just invent a bunch of ideas and then spend ten years capitalizing on them. In the 70s or 80s this might have been possible. Now, in the computer age, you have to keep finding more and more new ideas. This is a paramount amount of work. You can’t rely on the old databases.” (http://en.chessbase.com/post/indepth-interview-with-vladimir-kramnik-120413)
Kramnik had this to say in response to a question by mishanp, on August 4, 2013, during an interview on the Chess in Translation website:
“A lot has been said recently about how super-computers will put an end to chess. Is chess really finite?”
Vlad: “It’s finite, no doubt, but it’s a number with 27 or 28 zeros – for the human mind it’s still infinite. Checkers, and particularly Russian checkers, really has been exhausted by computers, if you can put it like that. Chess is too complex: even the most powerful computers we use to train can analyse positions to a maximum of about 30 moves ahead. Games, meanwhile, can sometimes stretch to 200 moves. Yes, computers are strong, but they don’t calculate the game to the end and sometimes they make mistakes.” – Kramnik: “Intellectual effort gives me enormous pleasure.” ( http://www.chessintranslation.com/2013/08/kramnik-intellectual-effort-gives-me-enormous-pleasure/)
Computer chess programs are now two of three classes above Vladimir and have become so powerful that it is rare when Black loses a game in a match between these monsters. The same fate awaits human grandmasters as they become stronger.
Colin McGourty posed this question to GM Levon Aronian, “Is there a particular part or subject of the game you enjoy studying? (openings, middlegames, endgames, tactical combinations, etc.)” Levon answered, “I really enjoy finding new ideas in the early stages of the game. The biggest joy in the modern chess era is the discovery of good moves that are not approved by the computer.”
If the grandmasters today are “creating” anything, what is it they are creating? The young players today eschew post-game analysis so they can put the moves played into a computer in order to learn how the “engine” evaluates their moves. Things have changed in the same way things have changed for the game of Checkers. Name the current World Human Checkers Champion. As the “engines” become ever more powerful, chess will inevitably follow the same path as that of the game of Checkers.