The Ukrainian Chorus Dumka of New York sang behind a table of candles that spelled out “Kyiv”
By Ilana Kaplan
While Saturday Night Live more often than not opts for comedy in its cold open, this week, the laughter was on hold.
Given the devastating Russian-Ukrainian conflict, this week’s episode began on a somber note. The Ukrainian Chorus Dumka of New York, introduced by Kate McKinnon and Cecily Strong, performed instead. They delivered a mournful song for the audience with “Prayer for Ukraine” before the camera panned to a table of candles surrounding the name of the Ukrainian capital, “Kyiv.”
You don’t know me but I’m your brother I was raised here in this living hell You don’t know my kind in your world Fairly soon the time will tell You, telling me the things you’re gonna do for me I ain’t blind and I don’t like what I think I see Takin’ it to the streets Takin’ it to the streets Takin’ it to the streets Takin’ it to the streets
Take this message to my brother You will find him everywhere Wherever people live together Tied in poverty’s despair You, telling me the things you’re gonna do for me I ain’t blind and I don’t like what I think I see
Takin’ it to the streets Takin’ it to the streets Takin’ it to the streets Takin’ it to the streets
Like most of you the AW spent his morning transfixed by what was being seen on the internet. The question is why has the United States Chess Federation NOT left the Russian controlled FIDE?
As things stand there are what I have come to think of as the “Big Three” Chess websites; Chessbase, Chess24, and Chess.com. Two of the three have articles concerning the naked aggression demonstrated by Russia when invading Ukraine. Chessbase, based in Germany, has published absolutely nothing on the crisis, which could quickly develop into World War III. This writer cannot help but wonder why?
And what the dreams can teach us about our own yearnings, then and now.
By Lindsay Goldwert Feb. 23, 2022
If you’ve slept, perchance you have dreamed about an ex and woken up wondering, “What was that all about?”
The good news for chronic analyzers: An intense dream about a person you cared about months or even decades ago doesn’t mean you’re secretly pining for them. Deirdre Barrett, a dream researcher at Harvard University and the author of “Pandemic Dreams” and “The Committee of Sleep,” who has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, said that a number of factors can spark a dream about an ex-partner.
“Triggers can include an anniversary of a death or a breakup or a divorce decree,” she said. “But dreams can also be a reaction to how we feel about our present relationships.”
Instead of looking at dreams about exes as a sign of still being hung up on them or as a signal to look them up on social media, Dr. Barrett said to think of them as a chance to examine your current emotions and how you’re coping with them.
For some time this writer has attempted to glean information concerning the recent 2022 Georgia Senior Championship, to no avail.
Tue, Feb 22
to president, 1vp, treasurer, secretary, member1, member2
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I have been unable to locate anything concerning the recent Georgia Senior on the website of the GCA. Was the tournament held? If so, will anything be posted at the GCA website? I ask because the next post in the AW will concern Senior Chess, and the recent GCA Senior will be a good tie in for the post.
All the Best in Chess!
J Parnell Watkins, Jr.
Tue, Feb 22
to me, president, Ben, Katie, Keith, member1, Thad
to Jr., president, Ben, Katie, Keith, member1, Thad,
I no longer visit the Book of Faces and have not since being hacked, and will never, ever again go to Facebook for any reason whatsoever. I would, though, like to know why there is something concerning the GCA at Facebook in lieu of the WEBSITE OF THE GEORGIA CHESS ASSOCIATION?
J Parnell Watkins, Jr.
Tue, Feb 22
to me Only because we are still seeking volunteers to fill all responsibilities. We have individuals who are willing to post to the GCA magazine, to twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, but I do not currently have anyone other than myself who knows how to post to the GCA website. If you are willing to volunteer, I would be happy to train you.
to Jr. How the hell did you turn my attempt to learn if the Georgia Senior was held into a plaintive plea for help? I want nothing to do with the GCA, sir! You took time to post something at Facebook rather than the GCA website, did you not? There must be a reason. Is there anyone involved with the GCA who can, and will give me the information?
That is where it stands as of this writing…
Not all of the board members have been so obstinate. For example, Kevin Schmuggerow was nice enough to send the following:
Wed, Feb 16
to me Hey Mike,
Good to hear from you!
I hope you are doing well through these crazy times.
I didn’t receive your email until just now?
Not sure what’s going on with the GCA server, I know Parnell has made some changes that effected Keith Sewell’s old account as well.
Regarding the Senior Open, I agree, with you, I previously had sent an email regarding the round times being too close together (10:00 – 2:00) no time for lunch…
I wasn’t planning on playing do to another conflict.
Kevin later fired this salvo my way:
Below was the agenda for the the 1/26 meeting. The February meeting is next week.
One of the other board members also expressed displeasure at the format for the 2021 Senior, but asked for anonymity. It appears there is already much dissension on the board of the GCA.
cut through the field like a hot knife through cold butter. The Grandmaster was rated almost four hundred points higher than the second highest rated player, Expert James Altucher, from Florida. He was joined in second place by Georgians Jeffery Rymuza, Ramchandra Nadar, Christopher Ferrante, all scoring 3-1. Eighteen players competed in the Georgia Senior.
The AW was surprised, and pleased, to see the tournament was directed by Anna Christina Baumstark,
a former member of the board of the GCA, and a woman well known for her Chess teaching in and around the Atlanta area. Anna would visit, and often play, at the Ironman Chess Club in those halcyon days before the pandemic struck. She is a lovely lady who loves Soccer, and is quite opinionated, which is one of the reasons conversations with her were so lively. As it happens, I recently found a game played by Anna over at FollowChess.com.
Barr Perry vs Anna C Baumstark B01 Scandinavian (centre counter) defence US Amateur Team Championship
The AW was sitting in front of a laptop last Friday evening, surfin’ away, as they say…All week I had been following the games emanating from the 5th Marcel Duchamp Cup Chess tournament (http://fuajedrez.org/Torneos/Duchamp)
being played in Montevideo, Uruguay. The first few moves caused me to reflect upon a time when the Mad Dog, or better, as he was called frequently, “Augie, the Mad Doggie.” The Dog liked to play against the Sicilian with the system seen in the following game, and frankly, the Dog’s results were not good, at least when facing higher rated opposition, yet he continued trotting out the same old beaten and battered nag and I could not help but wonder why…Then the American Grandmaster, Robert Hungaski, played his beautiful fifth move, leaving the path of the Mad Dog to enter the world of those of us who prefer to break the rule of never moving the Queen early, hoping to reel in his young opponent, IM Lucas Cora of Argentina, but it was this writer who was hooked, lined, and sinkered.
While watching the game I had reason to use the Duck,Duck,Go search engine while looking for something that escapes me now…when, Lo & Behold, there was something about the tournament being shown at lichess.org. Granted, I was a little late to the party at lichess.org, probably because when one ages he tends to go with the familiar. I had previously been to lichess.com, and had even looked for games being shown, but was unable to see them because I did not click onto “Broadcasts,” thinking a “broadcast” was a couple of announcers, which MUST include both a male and a female, no matter how lame the comments of the much lower rated female, usually named Eye Candy. I no longer watch, or listen to, broadcasts because the commentary is all about the “engine”. It was much better ‘back in the day’ when the analysis was by humans. So what if their analysis was inferior to what is being spouted by the programs; we still learned something, as did the broadcasters after being “corrected” by the all seeing and all knowing contraptions. Chess is vastly different than it was half a century ago, and not all of the changes have been good. What has been lost is human interaction. ‘Back in the day’ we would argue over moves and positions while learning something, and having a find ol’ time. Now all players invariably go to the oracle. Players have stopped thinking for themselves and play moves while having no clue why, other than the machine made the same move…
When watching games on most websites there is usually some kind of something moving about to inform the watcher what kind of move was just made. What follows is taken from the second chapter, Chess, of the excellent new book by Oliver Roeder, Seven Games,
which will be reviewed here later, after all of the book has been completely read:
“The pros aren’t the only ones the machines affect. For the viewer, the amateur chess fan (me very much included), modern chess is experienced through the eyes of a computer. Abutting the image of the professionals’ board on match broadcasters such as Chess.com, Chess24.com, and Lichess.com is a simple diagram, a sort of thermometer, filled to some extent with white and to some extent with black. This represents, a powerful computer’s evaluation of the position measured in the equivalents of a pawn. A reading like +2.3 means whiter is clearly ahead; something like -0.5 means perhaps black has a small edge.”
“This has democratized chess fandom. Without a computer, I don’t have much hope of understanding the intricate lines in a game between two grandmasters, or the exact implications of this move versus that move. With a computer, I have a quantitative lens through which to view the game. I can see exactly what threats are looming and whom the computer deems to be winning. I can watch the thermometer twitch up or down with each move and pass some quasi-informed judgement on the pros. But this understanding is often hollow. Take the computer and its thermometer away, and I risk being more lost than I ever was.”
“TAKE THE COMPUTER AND ITS THERMOMETER AWAY, AND I RISK BEING MORE LOST THAN I EVER WAS.”
Cogitate on that statement briefly while asking yourself what it means…It appears there is now a generation of human beings who no longer think for themselves. Millions of players now make moves having little, if any, knowledge or understanding of the game. Monkey see, monkey do.
Sometime during the early middlegame I stopped surfin’ and focused only on the game, straining my tired, old brain in a vain attempt to find a move. It was then I fell in love with Lichess, because unlike other Chess websites, at Lichess one can CLICK OFF the THERMOMETER! That’s right, now one can watch the game as it was meant to be displayed. Or to say it the way it was so eloquently said by SM Brian McCarthy, “Just give me the meat!” Any time you want to check your analysis against that of Stockfish you can just simply click onto the analysis. I like followchess.com, but if you happen to miss a round there is no way to return to those games, which can easily be accomplished at Lichess.com. Sorry, followchess, but you have lost me to lichess. There are myriad websites giving the moves and there is a struggle to see which website is the most fit and will stand the test of time. Like Stockfish, Lichess is an open source website, so it will be around for some time. The websites that charge an arm and a leg to join are in a death struggle and it will be interesting to see which one(s) survive.
IM Lucas Coro 2355 vs GM Robert Hungaski 2537 5th Marcel Duchamp Cup B40 Sicilian defence
e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. g3 Nc6 4. Bg2 Nf6 5. Qe2 (According to the ChessBaseDataBase this move has been played in 1108 games, and it is the choice of Deep Fritz 14 x64. It has scored 51% against 2440 opposition. The second most popular move, 5 d3, has scored 52% versus 2429 rated opponents, and Stockfish 14 @depth 47 figures it best. The third most popular move has been 5 Nc3, with 329 examples contained within the CBDB, which together have scored only 49% facing some guys averaging 2411. Oh yeah, AND Stockfish 14.1 @depth 51 considers it to be the best move in the position) 5…d5 (This has been the third most often played move according to the CBDB, with 310 examples that have scored a collective 59% for White versus a composite 2409 rated opponent. The second most popular move has been 5…d6, holding that hypothetical 2435 dude playing White to 53% in 347 games. Then there is the most popular move, 5…e5, which has held opponents with an average rating of 2480 playing White to only 45%!) 6. exd5 Nxd5 7. O-O Be7 8. Rd1 Qb6 9. d3 (This move cannot be found at either 365Chess or the CBDB, which can mean only one thing…Theoretical Novelty! The most often played move has been 9 c3. Stockfish 14 would play 9 a4, a move yet to be attempted by a titled human Chess player…)
The following game was contested at the venerable Mechanic’s Institute Chess Room, and can be found annotated by GM Nick DeFirmian at the Mechanic’s Institute Newsletter (https://www.milibrary.org/chess-newsletters/1006). I had every intention of presenting the game until seeing it annotated by Nick and, not wanting to step on the Grandmaster’s toes, decided to not publish the game. For various reasons, as Bob Dylan sang:
1.e4 e6 2.b3 d5 3.Bb2 (The ChessBaseDataBase contains 507 games in which the game move has been played. It has scored 53% against an ELO average opponent rated 2366. The next most often played move has been 3 exd5. In 7 games against an ELO average opponent rated only 2272, it has scored an abysmal 43%. Deep Fritz and Stockfish 11 both play the move played in the game. Nevertheless, Stockfish 14.1 @depth 48 will play 3 exd5!! Where is Leela Zero when you need her?) 3…dxe4 (There are 258 games in the CBDB in which this move has been made, showing a 56% score against 2361 opposition; 3…Nf6 has been seen in 184 games, scoring 49% versus a mythical player rated 2383; 3…c5 has only been seen in 52 games while scoring 58%, the highest of all games showing double digit moves. Then there is 3…Nc6…The move has been attempted on 11 occasions in which it has ‘scored’ every bit of 27% facing that composite player rated 2358. “Why is the AW wasting his time and mine informing me of that last factoid?” you ask?) Because Stockfish 14.1 @depth 52 will play…drum roll please…3…Nc6!!!!!!!!!) 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.Qe2! (If you do not know why the inclusion of the exclamation mark you have not read anywhere near enough of the AW) 5…Nc6 (Stockfish 14.1 @depth 48 will play 5…Bb4) 6.Nxe4 (Three different Stockfish programs would 0-0-0, and so should you) 6…Be7 (Fritz and Deep Hiarcs prefer the move played in the game move, but SF 11 will take the Knight with 6…Nxe4)
7.0-0-0 (SF 14 plays 7 Nf3) 7…0-0 (Stockfish 13 & 14 prefer 7…a5. See Fylypiu vs Sanchis Gil below) 8.Nf3 a5 9.a4 (Komodo and Deep Fritz play 9 Nxf6, but the ol’ Fish will play 9 a3) 9…Nb4 (Deep Fritz plays this move, but Stockfish 13 and Komodo will play 9…b6) 10.d4 (The Fish and the Dragon both play 10 Nxf6+. Therefore the move played in the game is a Theoretical Novelty!)
is one of the really “good guys” in Chess (and so too was Bill Hall, who was the Executive Director of the United States Chess Federation, and we go way back to a time when Bill was a teenager from the Great State of Tennessee. When in Crossville for a Senior tournament Bill treated me like royalty, spending an afternoon at the USCF office showing me around while introducing me to everyone I did not already know) and I am pleased to call him a friend, a word the AW does not use loosely. Mike has been involved with Chess for decades and has been involved in almost every facet of the Royal Game in who knows how many different states. It is rare for a person to be liked by everyone, but the Mulfish is one of those kind of guys that one cannot help buy like and admire. Not once have I ever heard anyone say a discouraging word about the Mulfish. Earlier Mike sent me an email which began:
When you have nothing better to do, please peruse this amateur game and comment as you deem appropriate. I’ll give you more complete information about the game after you reply. The name and location of the tournament and the name of the opening were added by the AW after the fact, so I had no clue when or where the game was contested:
2022 NEW YEAR CHESS CONGRESS KANSAS CITY, MO 64119 2022-02-12
That was the extent of it…I did as requested, looking over the game on a board with wooden pieces, a Drueke travel set that caused the barrister, Warren Ott, to smile broadly while giving me the thumbs up when first setting eyes on the set. I made a cuppa Joe, broke out paper and pen, and settled in to look at the game while jotting down my thoughts, just as was done in the pre-computer days. After firing an email to the Mulfish this reply was soon received:
Gotta hop on a conference call in about 15 minutes, so quickly:
This game was played Saturday at G/60.
The game actually went a few moves longer, but by then I was down below five minutes (my opponent had 20).
I was white vs IM Michael Brooks.
I was on my own the whole game, basically. Fortunately he chose a cramped opening, so focusing on keeping him cramped seemed like a good idea.
As to the limp Rc2, there is a story there. My idea was to get the rook out of the way to threaten Bc1. I started to put it on d3, realized that was not an option. Brooks chuckled “Might not want to go there” I said, yeah, I’m probably not good enough to spot an IM and exchange. Rc2 seemed the best option since c4 would also need some coverage. I think he erred with Nxc4; b5 immediately must be better.
I’ll look at your other comments later. Anyway, I thought it was a decent game for G/60, and it was my first draw with an IM. I don’t think either of us ever had much of an edge.
I am thinking, “Wow…an International Master.” Michael Brooks
has played in the United States Chess Championships!
I had no thought of it being a game in which Michael participated, thinking he would have let me know if it had been a game in which he had played. I replied asking him if he would consent to my using the game for a blog post. This was part his reply:
Wed 2/16/2022 11:36 AM I’ve got mixed feelings on the subject. On the one hand, I’d say that if you think the game (and your notes) provide a vehicle for something of interest to your readers, I say go for it. On the other hand, if you are just doing it to pay homage to a friend, then I say that’s not really appropriate. You know your motivation.
The return salvo was sent immediately:
You should know me better than that, Mike. I would never publish a game just to “pay homage to a friend.”
These are the notes sent to the Mulfish:
d4 d6 2. c4 Nd7 3. Nc3 e5 4. Nf3 Ngf6 5. e4 Be7 6. Be2 O-O 7. O-O c6 8. h3 Re8 9. Be3 exd4 10. Nxd4 Nc5 11. Qc2 Bf8 12. Bf3 a5 13. Rfe1 Nfd7 14. Rad1 Ne5 15. Be2 Qh4 (This is playing fast & loose! The programs probably play 15…a4, but I would probably play 15…Qc7) 16. Nf3 (16 b3) 16…Nxf3+ 17. Bxf3 Nd7 (I really do not care for this move. I would probably play 17…a4) 18. Qd2 h6 19. Be2 (19 Bf4 looks strong) 19…a4 (Most players not named Capablanca would not return the Knight to c4 but it may be best. Another move I like is 19…g5, playing fast and loose, but no program is gonna approve! I can hear IM Boris Kogan after seeing me play a move like 19…g5. “Why Mike? Why?” he would say while shaking his head. Hey, you asked…) 20. Bf4 (I was thinking 20 f3 or maybe f4…) 20…Ne5 (I dunno…that Knight oughta be on c5) 21. Bg3 (Here’s the deal…most people would play this move, probably including me, but upon reflection, the Bishop oughta be on h2 where it’s protected by the King after a future move of the f-pawn to f4) 21…Qg5 22. Kh2 (Although the Queen may be better placed on d4, or even c2, I would probably play 22 Bf4. Allow the Queen trade has gotta help Black, does it not?) 22…Qxd2 23. Rxd2 g5 24. f4 (I’m playing 24 Red1) 24…gxf4 25. Bxf4 Ra5 (Here’s the deal…you teach Chess and one of the most important things taught is to develope your pieces, right? With that in mind I would prefer 25…Be6, because of the rule I just made up of developing your minor pieces before your major pieces…) 26. Red1 (I want to make a move on the Queenside, such as 26 a3; or b3; or even b4. I gotta feeling one of them is correct, and cannot wait to put the game into the free analysis program at 365Chess to learn which one…) 26…Be6 27. b3 axb3 28. axb3 Ra3 29. Rb1 b6 (I do not understand this move. It appears there is only a choice between 29…Nxc4 and 29…Rea8) 30. Rc2 (Don’t know about this move either…seems rather limpid…I want to play 30 Ra2 followed by doubling, but then there are trades…so I don’t know…maybe simply 30 Nd1, but only because I’m uncertain what to play, frankly. I mean, it’s not like there’s a purpose, other than making a move, and one should have some kinda reason behind playing a move, right?) 30…Bg7 (That’s my move!) 31. Na4 (When in doubt, attack something! But maybe attacking 31 Ra2 is better…) 31…Nxc4 (31…b5 is a move deserving attention…) 32. Bxc4 Bxc4 33. Rxc4 b5 34. Rxc6 (After spending far too much time on this position I can say with some authority it would have been better to have played 34 Bxd6) 34…bxa4 35. Bxd6 (I would prefer 35 bxa4) 35…Rxb3 36. Rxb3 axb3 37. Rb6 Re6 38. Rb8+ Kh7 39. e5 b2 40. g3 f6 (The moves leading up to time control, or was there a time control, were easy to understand, but 40…f6 is a real non sequitur. Frankly, I’m flummoxed…Why not simply play 40…Bxe5?!) 41. Rxb2 fxe5 42. Bc5 Rc6 (The pawn should be moved forward to e4 because I’ve heard that passed pawns should be pushed…) 43. Be3 Rc3 44. Re2 Kg6 45. Kg2 e4 (45…h5 would probably be more precise, but it’s a draw anyway…) 46 Kf2 1/2-1/2
And now, as regular readers have come to expect, here are the notes on the opening made just today after spending far too much time with the usual suspects, the ChessBaseDataBase and 365Chess.com:
d4 d6 2. c4 Nd7 3. Nc3 e5 (The most often played move by about 15-1 over the move played in the game is the move 3…Ngf6. Deep Fritz likes 3…c5, a move with two games in the ChessBaseDataBase. Houdini will play 3…Ngf6, but Komodo will play 3…e5. No word from Stockfish, unfortunately…) 4. Nf3 Ngf6 5. e4 Be7 (The CBDB contains 1636 games with the move played in the game, 5…Be7, which has scored 61% against an ELO average 2378 rated player. The most often played move has been 5…c6, with 1987 games versus 2401 rated opposition. Then there is the number three most often played move of 5…g6, which has scored only 53% for white in 1384 games versus 2423 rated opposition. 5…g6 is, unsurprisingly, the move of Stockfish) 6. Be2 O-O (The move of Stockfish 14.1 @depth 47. It is curious that @depth 41 SF 14.1 will play the move 6…a6, a move having been attempted in only 3 prior games. The most popular move has been 6…c6, which has been seen in 1758 games, while scoring 61% for white) 7. O-O c6 8. h3 (This move has been tried in 176 games, scoring only 51% against a hypotheteical opponent rated 2365. The move 8 Be3 is the choice of SF 14. In 593 games @depth 51 it has scored higher than any other move, 67%. Still, Stockfish 130122 @depth 51 will play 8 Qc2. In 678 games it has scored 64% versus 2424 rated opposition) 8…Re8 (8…a6 has been attempted in 100 games, with white scoring 55%. Next is 8…Re8 with 46 games contained in the CBDB. It has scored only 45% for white versus a composite player rated 2392. In 31 games against 2374 opposition the move 8…Qc7 has held white to 56%. Stockfish 11 @depth 42 will play 8…h6. There are only 3 games in the CBDB in which 8…h6 has been played. Then there is the move 8…exd4…Fritz 17 will play the move, and so will SF 100122! Yet the move has only been attempted in five games!) 9. Be3 (This has been the most often played move, but in 30 games it has only scored 47% against a composite 2353 player. It is the choice of Fritz 13. Stockfish 130222 @depth 31 will play 9 Qc2, which has scored 53% in 15 games against a 2348 player. Then there is the choice of SF 14, 9 d5, which has only been attempted in 7 games, scoring 50% versus 2399 opposition. Whew! You got all of that? It’s your move, Bunky…) 9…exd4 (9 Qc7 has been the most often played move in 35 games. 9…a6 shows 17, but the choice of what used to be known as the “Big Three”, Stockfish, Komodo, and Houdini all favoring is the seldom played 9…exd4, which also happens to be the move made by the IM) 10. Nxd4 Nc5 (There are only 4 games shown for 10…Bf8; one only for 10…a6, yet IM Brooks played the move both Deep Fritz and Houdini show at the CBDB, a move not having been played previously by a titled player, so the move played in the game, 10…Nc5 is a THEORETICAL NOVELTY! Or is it? See the two games below found at 365Chess…)
Scientists Make Breakthrough in Warping Time at Smallest Scale Ever
Scientists were able to measure time dilation at a distance of just a millimeter, about the width of a pencil tip.
by Becky Ferreira
February 16, 2022
Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity is packed with weird insights about our reality, but perhaps the most mind-boggling is the fact that strong gravitational fields or incredibly high speeds can warp the passage of time, an effect known as time dilation. For instance, clocks located onboard spacecraft might tick slightly faster or slower than those on Earth, depending on the distortive effects of their velocities and our planet’s gravity on time.
Now, in a major breakthrough, scientists at JILA, a joint operation between the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the University of Colorado Boulder, have measured time dilation at the smallest scale ever using the most accurate clocks in the world. The team showed that clocks located just a millimeter apart—about the width of a pencil tip—showed slightly different times due to the influence of Earth’s gravity.
The new experiment paves the way toward clocks with 50 times the precision of those available today, which could be used for a host of practical applications, while also shedding light on fundamental mysteries about our universe, including the long-sought “union of general relativity and quantum mechanics,” according to a study published on Wednesday in Nature.
“When you go to such a small scale, what does that mean? It means that the clock precision is better,” said Jun Ye, a JILA physicist who co-authored the study, in a call. “In some sense, what we are trying to say is that time and space are interconnected. As Einstein’s relativity told us, time is space, space is time, and time is relative. There’s no absolute concept of time.”