HAL-like robot to help astronaut in space odyssey
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) – A science fiction-inspired robot hardwired to assist astronauts launched from Florida early Friday to become the first personal, artificial intelligence-powered companion in space.
The Crew Interactive Mobile Companion, or CIMON, is an English-speaking droid roughly the size of a basketball that will help German astronaut Alexander Gerst conduct experiments on the International Space Station.
“What we’re trying to do with CIMON is to increase the efficiency of the astronaut,” Matthias Biniok, an engineer for chip maker IBM (IBM.N) and one of the lead architects behind CIMON’s artificial intelligence, told Reuters.
Biniok said the concept of CIMON was inspired by a 1940s science fiction comic series set in space, where a sentient, brain-shaped robot named Professor Simon mentors an astronaut named Captain Future.
CIMON also parallels HAL, the sentient computer in Stanley Kubrick’s movie, “2001: A Space Odyssey.”
Charles Krauthammer, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and intellectual provocateur, dies at 68
by Adam Bernstein June 21
a Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist and intellectual provocateur who championed the muscular foreign policy of neoconservatism that helped lay the ideological groundwork for the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, died June 21 at 68.
The cause was cancer of the small intestine, said his son, Daniel Krauthammer. He declined to provide further information.
“I believe that the pursuit of truth and right ideas through honest debate and rigorous argument is a noble undertaking,” Dr. Krauthammer wrote in a June 8 farewell note. “I am grateful to have played a small role in the conversations that have helped guide this extraordinary nation’s destiny. I leave this life with no regrets.”
Charles was a conservative thinker who loved Chess. Decades ago, after learning of his love for the Royal game I began to read his column on a regular basis, something mentioned at a small gathering of Chess players, some of whom were Republicans, one of whom asked why I read Krauthammer. “Because he plays Chess,” was the reply. He seemed unable to grasp the fact that I read a conservative columnist until one legendary Georgia player spoke up, saying, “On some issues Bacon is to the left of Jane Fonda, but on others he is to the right of Attila the Hun!” Uproarious laughter ensued…I mentioned reading George Will because he had written several books on Baseball. “Sometimes I agree with him, and sometimes I don’t,” I said, “But I take what he has to say in consideration, just as with Krauthammer.”
Chess: It’s like alcohol. It’s a drug. I have to control it, or it could overwhelm me. I have a regular Monday night game at my home, and I do play a little online.
Charles Krauthammer (http://www.azquotes.com/quote/163123)
The Pariah Chess Club
By Charles Krauthammer December 27, 2002
I once met a physicist who as a child had been something of a chess prodigy. He loved the game and loved the role. He took particular delight in the mortification older players felt upon losing to a kid in short pants.
“Still play?” I asked.
“Quit when I was 21.”
“Lost to a kid in short pants.”
The Pariah Chess Club, where I play every Monday night, admits no one in short pants. Even our youngest member, in his twenties, wears trousers. The rest of us are more grizzled veterans numbering about a dozen, mostly journalists and writers, with three lawyers, an academic and a diplomat for ballast. We’ve been meeting at my house for almost a decade for our weekly fix.
Oh, yes, the club’s name. Of the four founding members, two were social scientists who, at the time we started playing, had just written books that had made their college lecture tours rather physically hazardous. I too sported a respectable enemies list (it was the heady Clinton years). And we figured that the fourth member, a music critic and perfectly well-liked, could be grandfathered in as a pariah because of his association with the three of us.
Pariah status has not been required of subsequent members, though it is encouraged. Being a chess player already makes you suspect enough in polite society, and not without reason. Any endeavor that has given the world Paul Morphy, the first American champion, who spent the last 17-odd years of his life wandering the streets of New Orleans, and Bobby Fischer, the last American champion, now descended John Nash-like into raving paranoia, cannot be expected to be a boon to one’s social status.
Our friends think us odd. They can understand poker night or bridge night. They’re not sure about chess. When I tell friends that three of us once drove from Washington to New York to see Garry Kasparov play a game, it elicits a look as uncomprehending as if we had driven 200 miles for an egg-eating contest.
True, we chess players can claim Benjamin Franklin as one of our own. He spent much of his time as ambassador to France playing chess at the Cafe de la Regence, where he fended off complaints that he was not being seen enough at the opera by explaining, “I call this my opera.” But for every Franklin, there is an Alexander Alekhine, who in 1935 was stopped trying to cross the Polish-German frontier without any papers. He offered this declaration instead: “I am Alekhine, chess champion of the world. This is my cat. Her name is Chess. I need no passport.” He was arrested.
Or Aron Nimzovich, author of perhaps the greatest book on chess theory ever written, who, upon being defeated in a game, threw the pieces to the floor and jumped on the table screaming, “Why must I lose to this idiot?”
I know the feeling, but at our club, when you lose with a blunder that instantly illuminates the virtues of assisted suicide, we have a cure. Rack ’em up again. Like pool. A new game, right away. We play fast, very fast, so that memories can be erased and defeats immediately avenged.
I try to explain to friends that we do not sit in overstuffed chairs smoking pipes in five-hour games. We play like the vagrants in the park — at high speed with clocks ticking so that thinking more than 10 or 20 seconds can be a fatal extravagance. In speed (“blitz”) chess, you’ve got five or 10 minutes to play your entire game. Some Mondays we get in a dozen games each. No time to recriminate, let alone ruminate.
And we have amenities. It’s a wood-paneled library, chess books only. The bulletin board has the latest news from around the world, this month a London newspaper article with a picture of a doe-eyed brunette languishing over a board, under the headline “Kournikova of Chess Makes Her Move.” The mini-jukebox plays k.d. lang and Mahler. (We like lush. We had Roy Orbison one night, till our lone Iowan begged for mercy.) “Monday Night Football” in the background, no sound. Barbecue chips. Sourdough pretzels. Sushi when we’re feeling extravagant. And in a unique concession to good health, Nantucket Nectar. I’m partial to orange mango.
No alcohol, though. Not even a beer. It’s not a prohibition. You can have a swig if you want, but no one ever does. The reason is not ascetic but aesthetic. Chess is a beautiful game, and though amateurs playing fast can occasionally make it sing, we know there are riffs — magical symphonic combinations — that we either entirely miss or muck up halfway through. Fruit juice keeps the ugliness to a minimum.
Charles was as comfortable with Presidents as he was with Chess players.
When Chess Becomes Class Warfare
By Charles Krauthammer March 1, 1985
Capitalism’s vice is that it turns everything — even, say, a woman’s first historic run for the White House — into cash. Communism’s vice is that it turns everything — even, say, chess — into politics.
Chess? You may have trouble seeing chess as politics. Americans think chess is a game. The “Great Soviet Encyclopedia,” in one of its few correct entries, defines chess as “an art appearing in the form of a game.” And like all art under socialism, it is to be turned into an instrument of the state.
You think I exaggerate. If I quoted you Nikolai Krylenko, commissar of justice, in 1932 — “We must finish once and for all with the neutrality of chess. . . . We must organize shock-brigades of chess players, and begin the immediate realization of a Five Year Plan for chess” — you’d say I was dredging the history books for Stalinist lunacies. So I bring you fresh evidence of communism’s penchant for politicizing everything, for controlling everything it politicizes, and for letting nothing — shame least of all — jeopardize that control. I bring you L’affaire Karpov, a tempest for a teapot.
The story is this. On Sept. 10, 1984, the world chess championship begins in Moscow. Both players are Soviet citizens: champion Anatoly Karpov and challenger Gary Kasparov. To win, one must win six games. Draws don’t count. After nine games Karpov is ahead 4-0. An astonishing lead.
Kasparov then launches the most relentless war of attrition in the history of championship chess. He deliberately forces draw after draw, at one point 17 in a row, to one purpose: to exhaust the older and frailer champion.
On Nov. 24, Karpov does win a fifth game, but he will not win again. On Dec. 12, Kasparov wins his first. The score is 5-1. Then 14 more draws.
Then something extraordinary happens. Karpov, known for his metronomic logic and unshakable composure, loses game 47, playing “as though in a daze,” writes chess master Robert Byrne. Game 48: Karpov loses again. The score is 5-3.
By now, says another expert, Karpov “looks like Chernenko.” Chernenko looks bad, but Karpov is 33. He has lost 22 pounds and did not have very many to start with. He is close to collapse. He is about to fall — as Nabokov’s fictional champion, Luzhin, fell — into what Nabokov called “the abysmal depths of chess.” Kasparov is on the brink of the greatest chess comeback ever.
And on the brink both will stay. Six days later, on Feb. 15, the president of the International Chess Federation, under enormous pressure from Soviet authorities, shows up in Moscow and declares the match a draw — and over. Karpov is saved by the bell, except that here the referee rang it in the middle of a round and at an eight count.
Why? One can understand the Party wanting Karpov to win in 1978 and 1981, when the challenger was Victor Korchnoi — defector, Jew, all around troublemaker, Trotsky at the chessboard. But Kasparov is not Korchnoi. He is a good Soviet citizen, a party member, and not known for any politics. He is, however, half Armenian, half Jewish. Until age 12, his name was Gary Weinstein. He is no dissident, but he is young (21) and independent. Above all, he is not reliable.
Karpov, a man who needed to be named only once, is. Conqueror of Korchnoi (twice), receiver of the Order of Lenin, ethnically pure (Russian) and politically pliant (a leader of the Soviet Peace Committee), he is the new Soviet man. And he receives the attention fitting so rare a political commodity: he says he was told of the match’s cancellation over the phone in his car. Cellular service is not widely available in the Soviet Union.
Now, this is the third time that Soviet authorities have tried to undermine Kasparov’s shot at the championsh. In 1983 they stopped him from traveling to his quarterfinal match in Pasadena, Calif. The official reason (later pressed into service for the Olympics) was “lack of security.” Only a sportsmanlike opponent and accommodating chess officials (they rescheduled the match without penalty) saved Kasparov from defaulting in the candidates’ round and losing his chance to challenge Karpov.
But challenge he did. The finals were held in the prestigious Hall of Columns in the House of Unions. That is, until Kasparov’s rally in the 47th game. Soviet authorities then suddenly moved the match to the Hotel Sport outside the city center. “Like moving from Carnegie Hall to a gin mill in Poughkeepsie,” says Larry Parr, editor of Chess Life magazine.
I interpreted the move to mean that Chernenko was about to die, since the Hall of Columns is where Soviet leaders (like Dmitri Ustinov) lie in state. Silly me. I was insufficiently cynical about Soviet behavior. The reason for the move was not to bury Chernenko (he continues to be propped up like a Potemkin villain), but to save Karpov. The move took eight days — eight otherwise illegal days of rest for Karpov.
It didn’t help. Karpov was too far gone. Kasparov destroyed him the very next day in the 48th game. Soviet officials then made sure it was the last.
Now do you believe me?
A month ago I would not have believed it myself. (Kasparov still does not believe it.) Fix the biggest chess match in the world? Steal the championship from one Soviet citizen for a marginal propaganda gain? In broad daylight?
Still, we must be careful. Unfortunate episodes like these tend to fuel native American paranoia about how far the Soviets will go in relentless pursuit of even the most speculative political advantage. We must resist such facile reactions. Next thing you know someone will claim that the KGB got the Bulgarians to hire a Turk to shoot the pope to pacify Poland.
TYRANNY OF CHESS
By Charles Krauthammer October 16, 1998
Not all chess players are crazy. I’m willing to venture that. But not much more. Eccentricity does reign in our precincts. In my 20s, I used to hang out at the Boston Chess Club. The front of the club was a bookstore in which you’d mill around, choose a partner, put your money down with the manager and go to the back room — 20 or so boards set up in utter barrenness — for some action. (At five bucks an hour it was cheaper than a bordello, but the principle seemed disturbingly similar to me.)
I remember one back room encounter quite vividly. The stranger and I sat down to the board together. I held out my hand and said, “Hi, I’m Charles.” He pushed his white king’s pawn and said, “I’m white,” fixing me with a glare that said, “Don’t you dare intrude into my space with names.” It was dead silence from then on.
A psychiatrist colleague of mine came by to fetch me a few hours later. He surveyed the clientele — intense, disheveled, autistic — and declared, “I could run a group in here.”
Don’t get me wrong. Most chess players are sane. In fact, a group of the saner ones, mostly journalists and writers, meets at my house every Monday night for speed chess. (You make all your moves in under nine minutes total, or you lose.) But all sane chess players know its dangers. Chess is an addiction. Like alcohol, it must be taken in moderation. Overindulgence can lead to a rapid downward spiral.
Vladimir Nabokov (a gifted creator of chess problems and a fine player, by the way) wrote a novel based on the premise of the psychic peril of too close an encounter with “the full horror and abysmal depths” of chess, as he called its closed, looking-glass world. (Nabokov’s chess champion hero, naturally, goes bonkers.)
Chess players, says former U.S. champion Larry Christiansen, inhabit a “subterranean, surreal world. It is not the real world, not even close.” So what happens when a creature of that nether world seizes political power?
Impossible, you say: Sure, there have been dictators — Lenin, for example — who played serious chess, but there has never been a real chess player who became a dictator.
And no wonder, considering the alarming number of great players who were so certifiably nuts they’d have trouble tying their shoelaces, let alone running a country. Wilhelm Steinitz, the first world champion, claimed to have played against God, given Him an extra pawn, and won. Bobby Fischer had the fillings in his teeth removed to stop the radio transmissions.
Well, in some Godforsaken corner of the Russian empire, Kalmykia on the Caspian, where the sheep outnumber people 2 to 1, the impossible has happened. A chess fanatic has seized power. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, former boy chess champion, current president of the International Chess Federation, was elected president of Kalmykia two years ago on the promise of a cell phone for every sheepherder and $100 for every voter in his destitute republic.
Naturally, nothing came of these promises. But once elected, he seized all the instruments of power including the police, the schools and the media.
Result? Ilyumzhinov calls it the world’s first “chess state.” God help us. Compulsory chess classes in all schools. Prime-time chess on TV. And in the midst of crushing poverty, a just erected “Chess City,” a surreal Potemkin village topped by a five-story glass-pavilioned chess palace where Ilyumzhinov has just staged an international chess tournament.
This scene (drolly described by Andrew Higgins in the Wall Street Journal) would be Groucho running Fredonia if it weren’t for the little matter of the opposition journalist recently murdered after being lured to a meeting where she was promised evidence of Ilyumzhinov’s corruption. (Ilyumzhinov denies involvement. Perhaps it depends on how you define the word “involve.”) Kalmykia is beginning to look less like Woody Allen’s “Bananas” than Nurse Ratched’s “Cuckoo’s Nest.”
Ilyumzhinov rides around in his Rolls-Royces, presiding over a state that specializes in corruption and tax evasion. The Washington Post reports that he paved the road from the airport to the capital and painted every building along the way, but only the side that faces the road. So now the world knows what chess players have known all along: A passion for chess, like a drug addiction or a criminal record, should be automatic disqualification for any serious public activity. Column writing excepted, of course.
Two consecutive tournament wins ahead of Carlsen
by André Schulz
Four players were at the top in the Norway Chess tournament at the start of round nine: Wesley So, Magnus Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana and Hikaru Nakamura. Caruana and So met each other, while Carlsen was dealt black against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, and Nakamura faced off against Levon Aronian, also with black. Even Viswanathan Anand, with 3½ points, had chances jump into a tie for first with a win, although the 15th World Champion was black as well, against Sergey Karjakin.
Carlsen, was in no mood to take any chances against Vachier-Lagrave. When the game was in full swing on just move 17, the players began repeating moves in a position reached several times before. It certainly played a role that the two players trained together for Carlsen’s 2016 World Championship title defence, as Magnus himself pointed out in the “confession box” (in Norwegian):
The World Champion conceded half the point. Considering his chances to reach a tiebreak as about 50/50, he was content to watch his rivals fight it out.
Unfortunately, I do not understand Norwegian so the accompanying video could not be understood. What I do understand is that Magnus Carlsen, rather than fight like a World Champion, decided to be content with a draw. The decision by the HWCC was an insult to Caissa, and a disgraceful act unworthy of a World Champion. What kind of example has Magnus Carlsen set for all the children playing the Royal game? The above noted article at Chessbase seems to take the position, like most of the Chess world, that what Magnus did was perfectly acceptable. Chess is dying by draw, yet one hardly ever notices a discussion concerning the proliferation of draws. THERE ARE NO DRAWS IN THE ANCIENT ORIENTAL GAME OF GO! Before you send that nasty email, I am aware of the triple Ko situation in Go, in which the game is declared drawn. It happens about as often as a leap year, and when it does occur it makes news all around the Go world. Magnus did not have to agree to a draw; he did it because he is the HWC and can do what he wants to do when he wants to do it, without being called out by anyone involved with Chess. Magnus decided to rest on his laurels. As we say in America, Magnus CHICKENED OUT! I would have more respect for the HWCC if he had fought, and lost, while trying to win, rather than meekly acquiescing to a draw.
The moves in the game have been played so many times one cannot help but wonder if the fix was in…Was it a prearranged draw? Let us examine the “game.”
vs World Champ Magnus Carlsen
Altibox Norway Chess 2018
Last round, with all the marbles on the line.
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. d3 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. a3 (Stockfish at the CBDB shows 8 a4 as the best move)
8…O-O (Although Komodo shows this as the best move, Houdini has 8…Na5 best)
9. Nc3 (One Stockfish program has this as best, but the other prefers 9 Ba2. Komodo shows 9 Re1 as best)
Na5 (The most often move played in this position is 9…Bg4, and it is the choice of the Dragon. Houdini would play 9…Rb8)
10. Ba2 Be6 11. b4 Bxa2 12. Rxa2 Nc6
13. Bg5 (Although the Stockfish program at ChessBomb shows this best at depth 21 after 30 seconds of ‘reflection’, the Stockfish program at the ChessBaseDataBase at depth 30 gives 13 Nd5. Komodo at depth 24 would play 13 h3)
13…Ng4 (SF at the Bomb has this in second behind 13…Nd7. The Fish and the Dragon at the CBDB would play 13…Qd7)
14. Bd2 (The SF at CBDB plays this move, but Komodo would play 13 Be3, a TN. Meanwhile, the SF at ChessBomb would play 14 Bxe7)
(Let us stop here too reflect a moment. If the Royal game had the Ko rule, as does Go MVL would not be allowed to play 15 Bg5 and repeat the position. MVL would be forced to play elsewhere)
15.Bg5 (SF at CBDB plays 15 Re1; SF at DaBomb would play either 15 Qb1 or Ra1)
Ng4 16. Bd2 Nf6 17. Bg5 1/2-1/2
From the above it is apparent there was a plethora of choices each player could have chosen, had they been inclined to do so. They were not so inclined, for whatever reason. To their credit, fellow countrymen Fabiano Caruana and Wesley So played a full-bodied game of Chess, with neither backing down and offering a draw. THEY PLAYED TO WIN!
Magnus Carlsen embarrassed himself and his reputation with his servile acquiescence to split the point. Magnus took a page out of the old Soviet Union Chess playbook when he decided to not fight in the last round of a major tournament held in HIS OWN COUNTRY! Oh, the SHAME…
Since the candidates tournament I have vacillated between the choice of Magnus versus Fabiano to win the upcoming World Human Chess Championship. The fact is that Caruana has shown much more fighting spirit in the tournaments in which the two have battled since the candidates tournament. Fabiano Caruana has demonstrated tremendous FIGHTING ability recently. We Chess fans can only wish the WCC were longer, as in the past. Mikhail Botvinnik considered sixteen games the optimum number of games, and who would know better than the Botvinnik? If it were a sixteen game match, without any speed games in case of a tie, I would wager on Fabi. Magnus is a much superior speed Chess player, so Magnus has draw odds going into the match, which is an unfair advantage. Speed Chess is NOT Chess! It is ABSURD to settle a WCC with speed games. I have often heard that “speed kills.” Speed Chess is killing the Royal game! The title of WCC should NOT be won by playing speed Chess!
Reading the following from Mark Weeks blog, Chess for All Ages, caused me to pause and reflect upon the man named in the post:
“By coincidence, while I was preparing the recent post, An 1886 Photoshopped Illustration, where I mentioned that ‘I’ve been downloading old copies of The Chess Journalist (TCJ)’, I noticed that the December 2006 issue of the TCJ credited the existence of the scanned CL/CRs to Tim Tobiason. He seems to have been a colorful character in several ways, but this isn’t the time or place to repeat stories that can be found elsewhere on the web. It is his misfortune that while the original magazines are protected by copyright, his scans aren’t protected by a second copyright because they don’t represent creative work.”
The first time I met Tim Tobiason was in Rolla, Missouri, at the 2002 Missouri State Chess Championship. Mr. Tobiason, who was also playing in the small event, had the most eclectic collection of things ever seen at a Chess tournament. Along with the usual Chess books and other Chess related things, he displayed books he had written, and other items looking like they would be more comfortable at a gun show. I cannot recall the titles, but they were along the same line as the infamous Anarchist Cookbook.
He talked of the right he had to publish anything, and of being hounded by the FBI because of the content, which tended toward blowing things up with explosives. Tim rather proudly stated he had been “filmed by 60 Minutes,” the CBS TV show. He also mentioned having been banned at gun shows, which is where he sold most of his self-produced books. People began moving away from the table. He also mentioned needing a place to stay, or at least a shower, as he was traveling from Chess tournament to tournament while living in his van. I mentioned, with as much deference as could be mustered, maybe he might want to reconsider the part about being followed by the FBI if he wanted a place to stay. “You gotta point,” he said.
The next encounter with Tim was at the Atlanta Chess Center. He needed to take a shower and wanted to stay inside the House of Pain that night. In addition, he needed some space in the back room to set up his equipment, which consisted of scanning equipment to be used to copy older material, which he would sell. Unbeknownst to me David Spinks had flatly turned him down. Later on I saw and greeted him. He was obviously road weary and in a disheveled state. Tim was heavyset, with a rather large, and protruding belly. Happy to see a friendly face after his encounter with Spinks, he greeted me like a long-lost friend. After informing me he knew Thad Rogers, owner of the Dump, and explaining the situation, as he had attempted with Spinks, I told him it would be OK to shower. I figured Thad would give the OK, so I did so. David was LIVID! It was one of the few times I saw Spinks “lose it.” David was adamant. He did not want Tim around, especially on a tournament weekend. I tried reasoning with him, to no avail. For the first and only time while working at the HOP I placed a call to Thad. After informing him of the situation, he said, “Toby’s there? Tell him I said hello, and yes, you were right to allow him access. Let me speak with David.” Spinks did not like being overruled, but had no choice in the matter.
Toby said he was hungry and I mentioned the Dekalb Farmer’s Market, but Toby had other ideas. He asked about an all you can eat place, telling me he only ate once a day, spending hours eating all he could, which would have to last until the next day. I understood immediately why Thad liked Toby, as he, too, could spend hours at an all you can eat buffet. Besides, Toby was a character, and Thad always had a fondness for characters, one of the great things about Thad. That particular character trait was exactly what one needed to interact with Chess players.
Upon his return we made room for Toby and his equipment in the back room while taking pains to pacify Spinks. I spent a great deal of time with Toby that evening while working the front. Toby was a nervous type, and who would not be with the FBI breathing down his neck? Most Chess players are paranoid; it seems to come with the game. Toby was not the only player claiming to be followed by authorities. IM Emory Tate was in the military for many years, playing, and winning, the Armed Forces Championship five times. We were regaled with stories of his being in Military Intelligence, and according to Emory, “They are still watching me.” Who were we to argue? After listening to Emory I will admit to being pleased someone was keeping an eye on the man. Consider this:
“A lone lion wanders afar in the wilderness, no longer part of the pride
Once gleaming, accepted, a beautiful beast, now having been cast aside
No chance for part in coordinated hunt, this one can’t run very fast
Nature holds no place, and faltering, it seems this beast just won’t last
~Emory Andrew Tate, Jr.”
Is Emory writing about himself, or the Royal game? This can be found at the excellent website of Daaim Shabazz, The Chess Drum. (http://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/2015/10/21/emory-tate-chess-savant-warrior-1958-2015/)
Thad drove up from Macon the next day and if memory serves, stayed the night. While on duty Thad could be heard laughing constantly from the back room. It was obvious he had an affinity for Toby. I cannot differentiate between all the tournaments held at the House of Pain, but because of Toby I do recall that particular weekend. Toby definitely brought something different to the staid House that weekend. In deference to Spinks I mentioned the recent rash of car break-ins experienced at the House in the crime filled area and Toby decided to sleep in his van.
I asked Thad if what Toby related was real, or a figment of his imagination. “I dunno,” he answered, “But they make for great stories!” he said with a grin. Toby kept busy, and out-of-the-way, making his discs, which he sold to Thad. One legendary Atlanta player was extremely pleased with what he purchased.
The last time I encountered Toby was in Louisville many years later. There was a children’s tournament and I arrived a little after noon. The event was over (they ‘head ’em up and move ’em out’ in Derby land) and Toby was getting ready to leave, hitting the road for who knows where.
Reading the Chess for All Ages post prompted a visit to startpage.com, where I entered Toby’s name, finding this article, which is quite lengthy. If you do not have the appetite for all of it, scroll on down to the last four paragraphs, which has been made bold. This will make you want to read all of what follows, so why not just invest the time and read it all now?
Hoax! (part 2)
The second half of Jon Ronson’s investigation into people behind the post-September 11 anthrax hoaxes.
I had met Tim two years earlier at a gun show in Rochester, Minnesota. I was there with my producer, Jim, and the Ruby Ridge survivor Randy Weaver, whose wife and son were shot by FBI agents in a bungled raid in Idaho 10 years ago. Crowds flocked to get Weaver’s autograph, but Tim didn’t. He stood apart, a lone wolf among lone wolves, a pasty-looking man, wearing a lumberjack shirt and glasses. He had a deep grudge against the federal government and, it turned out, a rudimentary scientific knowledge. He told us that anthrax was the only way forward for the “movement”. In our experience, anthrax wasn’t a big militia topic of conversation. In fact, we’d never heard it mentioned, so Jim did a quick interview with him.
“I get into the more dangerous biological and chemical weapons area,” Tim said during this taped interview. “You can mail massive-scale weapons in microscopic form on a postage stamp, and that way you can re-arm the entire nation if the government ever tries to take your guns away.”
Guardian Today: the headlines, the analysis, the debate – sent direct to you
The people we met at the gun shows all had their own special ways of theoretically battling the government. One man had advocated the use of piano wire, another favoured firebombs. Tim’s big thing was anthrax. I’d never ratted out an interviewee to the feds before. I’d never given up a source. This would normally be a very bad thing for a journalist to do. But this was October 2001.
“Tim probably isn’t the anthrax killer,” I thought to myself. “But how often does one meet someone who is almost the anthrax killer?”
“I should call the FBI,” I said to Jim, when he telephoned in early October to remind me about our interview with Tim.
“Hang on,” he said. “I’m the one who thought of Tim. I should call the FBI.”
“I want to call the FBI,” I said.
“Well, I don’t want you bloody going to the FBI without me,” said Jim.
There was a hurt silence. “OK,” I said. “I promise to bring you with me to the FBI.”
It wasn’t easy to find the FBI in London. Directory enquiries had no record of them. “Are you sure F stands for Federal?” they asked.
I finally tracked them to the US embassy, and an agent called Michael came on the phone. When I told him what I had, he said, casually, “Yes. That would be something we’d be interested in. Could you bring it in?”
“Tomorrow?” I asked, and Michael agreed.
I realised that things were less casual when Michael telephoned me at 8.30am to ask if I was coming in today. Things aren’t casual at 8.30am. People call at 8.30am if they’ve been up worrying.
And two hours later – in Grosvenor Square, central London – Jim and I were past the security guards, past the ocean of fencing, through the x-rays, the bag search, up the elevator, through a series of reinforced steel doors – the kind of doors you find on safes – through more corridors, through the body search, and into London’s FBI headquarters. We were led into an office decorated with novelty Big Ben snowstorms and a collection of funny police helmets.
Michael was sitting at his desk. He was bookish and young. He shook hands, led us through to his boss’s office, and sat us on the sofa. He got out his notepad and said, “So how did you come to meet this Tim?”
“Well,” said Jim, “we’re journalists, and we were following Randy Weaver around the gun show circuit. Actually, Jon had hooked up with Randy Weaver a few days earlier, but I’d been researching another project, would you believe it, surveillance cameras in shopping malls!” Jim laughed nervously. Michael’s eyes began to glaze.
I think that Jim, like many people who meet law enforcement officers, was feeling the desperate urge to confess. Luckily, Jim didn’t have anything to confess to, so this compulsion was finding a different outlet – mad small talk. I glanced down at Michael’s notepad. So far, he’d written only two words: “Randy Weaver.”
“Shall we watch the tape?” said Michael.
“With a mass propagated pre-packaged bio-weapon, you could render most of the major cities uninhabitable in about a week, which would wreck the economy and pretty much put an end to the government,” said Tim on the tape.
“Tim,” replied Jim on the tape, “what you’re advocating here is the spread of really dangerous information. Why do you feel that it’s a good idea for everybody to know this terrible stuff?”
I was relieved that Jim had adopted a combative style of questioning with Tim. All too often, Jim and I ask extremists over-soft questions that might lead FBI agents erroneously to believe that we had gone native. When the tape ended, Michael thanked us very much and escorted us back to the lobby.
That night, as I lay in bed, I thought of Tim, and I wondered who he really was. A week later, the Wall Street Journal provided the answer: the FBI, it said, was looking for a home-grown anthrax terrorist, and they were making inquiries about a Nebraska man called Tim Tobiason, who was known on the gun show circuit for advocating the use of anthrax. Apparently, the FBI had been alerted to Tim by a “member of the public”. There was a photograph. This was my Tim.
It turned out that Tim Tobiason came from Silver Creek, Nebraska. He had once been a pillar of the community, the owner of an animal-feed mill with 24 employees and $3m a year cashflow, married, with two daughters, and a bit of a chemical wizard, too; he mixed up witches’ brews at night in his garage – funny-smelling stuff, said his neighbours. Then he made a new kind of phosphate-based feed additive which, he calculated, would net him millions. He set about patenting it, but the government said it would be dangerous to cattle, so they rejected it. He began bitching to his friends about a conspiracy, how the government had stolen his patent and given it to some agricultural corporation. He moved into a Dodge caravan and plotted his revenge. He wrote Scientific Principles Of Improvised Warfare: Advanced Biological Weapons Design And Manufacture. The cover promised, “If you can make Jell-O, you can wipe out cities. Enjoy!”
His marriage collapsed and he took to selling his book on the gun show circuit. In the wake of the Wall Street Journal article, TV crews stormed Silver Creek. But Tim had vanished. The FBI analysed his handwriting, and followed the instructions in his anthrax cookbook, finding them to be shoddy and incomplete. They concluded that Tim Tobiason was innocent. As a result of the publicity, Tim was banned from gun shows across the US. His Silver Creek neighbours said they didn’t expect him back, which was for the best because he was no longer welcome in town.
The last I heard of Tim Tobiason was in December last year. Dan Rather’s CBS news team secretly filmed him at a gun show in California – one of the few still letting him sell his books. In this covert recording, Tim said that if a federal agent killed him and his children, an unnamed colleague of his would exact a terrible revenge. This colleague would take “communicable weapons to every grade school within 50 miles of CIA headquarters, infect them all, they go home, infect Mom and Dad, Mom and Dad goes back to CIA, and two weeks later CIA’s gone.” Tim was one of those people who always lived in fear that the federal government would come after him, and Jim and I made his paranoid fantasy come true.
For all his blather, I think my decision to shop Tim to the FBI was an even less justifiable response to the hysteria than the actions of the four anthrax hoaxers whom I interviewed. Clay Waagner had a good excuse for going crazy that month. He had a cause. Lucy Manifold was trying to stay happy. Bryan Mangnall was a dumb jock. And Terry Olson was depressed and wanted attention. I had no good reason to do what I did. And I got thanked for it.
Crime in The City (Sixty to Zero) by Neil Young
All the champs and the heroes
They got a price to pay
They go from sixty to zero
In the split of a hair
They see the face in the window
They feel a shadow out there
They’ve got the places they can go
They’ve got the people who stare
They’ve got to walk in their shoes
They’ve got to see what they see
They’ve got the people around them
Getting too much for free
All the pimps and the dealers
All the food they can eat
All the screamers and squealers
When they walk down the street
He’s just a rich old man
He never cared for anyone
He likes to count his possessions
He’s been a miser from penny one
He never cared for his children
Never cared for his wife
Never made anyone happy
That’s the way he lived his life
And one day in the sunshine
He got a bolt from the blue
Unloaded all of his possessions
Sold his investments too
And now he lives with the homeless
Owns 900 hospital beds
He prefers to remain nameless
It’s publicity he dreads
There’s a judge in the city
He goes to work every day
Spends his life in the courthouse
Keeps his perspective that way
But I respect his decision
He’s got a lot on his mind
He’s pretty good with the gavel
A little heavy on the fines
One day there was this minstrel
Who came to court on a charge
That he blew someone’s head off
Because his amp was too large
And the song he was singin’
Was not for love but for cash
Well, the judge waived the charges
He fingered his mustache
Well, there’s a clown in a carnival
He rode a painted horse
He came from somewhere out west
He was very funny of course
But that is not what I noticed
It was the incredible force
With which he held his audience
While he rode on his horse
His jokes were not that off-color
His smile was not that sincere
His show was that not that sensational
Reasons for success were not clear
But he still made big money
One day the circus was his
Now he’s married to the acrobat
And they’re training their kids
Now the jailhouse was empty
All the criminals were gone
The gate was left wide open
And a buck and fawn
Were eating grass in the courtyard
When the warden walked in
And took a rifle from the prison guard
And said to him with a grin
To shoot those deer would be stupid, sir
We already got ’em right here
Why not just lock the gates and keep them
With intimidation and fear?
But the warden pulled the trigger
And those deer hit the ground
He said Nobody’ll know the difference
And they both looked around.
Well, the cop made the showdown
He was sure he was right
He had all of the lowdown
From the bank heist last night
His best friend was a robber
And his wife was a thief
All the children were murderers
They couldn’t get no relief
The bungalow was surrounded
When a voice loud and clear
Come out with your hands up
Or we’re gonna blow you out of here
There was a face in the window
TV cameras rolled
And they cut to the announcer
And the story was told.
Well, the artist looked at the producer
The producer sat back
He said What we have got here
Is a pretty good track
But we don’t have a vocal
And we still don’t have a song
If we could get this thing accomplished
Nothin’ else could go wrong
So he balanced the ashtray
And he picked up the phone
And said Send me a songwriter
Who’s drifted far from home
And make sure that he’s hungry
And make sure he’s alone
And send me a cheeseburger
And a new Rolling Stone
Well, the Sioux and Dakota
They lost all of their land
And now a basketball player
Is trying to lend them a hand
Maybe someday he’ll be president
He’s quite a popular man
But now the chief has reservations
And the white man has plans
There’s opposition in Congress
The bill is up against cash
There’s really no way of predicting
If it will fly or it will crash
But that’s the nature of politics
That’s the name of the game
That’s how it looks in the tepee
Big winds are blowing again
There’s still crime in the city
Said the cop on the beat
I don’t know if I can stop it
I feel like meat on the street
They paint my car like a target
I take my orders from fools
Meanwhile some kid blows my head off
Well, I play by their rules
So now I’m doing it my way
I took the law in my own hands
Here I am in the alleyway
A wad of cash in my pants
I get paid by a ten year old
He says he looks up to me
There’s still crime in the city
But it’s good to be free
Now I come from a family
That has a broken home
Sometimes I talk to my daddy
On the telephone
When he says that he loves me
I know that he does
But I wish I could see him
Wish I knew where he was
But that’s the way all my friends are
Except maybe one or two
Wish I could see him this weekend
Wish I could walk in his shoes
But now I’m doin’ my own thing
Sometimes I’m good, then I’m bad
Although my home has been broken
It’s the best home I ever had
Well, I keep getting younger
My life’s been funny that way
Before I ever learned to talk
I forgot what to say
I sassed back to my mummy
I sassed back to my teacher
I got thrown out of Sunday School
For throwin’ bibles at the preacher
Then I grew up to be a fireman
I put out every fire in town
Put out everything smoking
But when I put the hose down
The judge sent me to prison
Gave me life without parole
Wish I never put the hose down
Wish I never got old.
Because of having played the Najdorf system during my formative years in the last century I was interested in learning about GM Bryan Smith’s new book on the opening (https://mongoosepress.com/the-najdorf-in-black-and-white/).
I met Bryan
at the 2009 Kentucky Open where he took first place by a half point. There were myriad problems with the tournament, directed by Alan Priest, which included no electricity for the lighting in the first couple of rounds, so it was played in semi-darkness, which seemed to not bother Mr. Priest. After developing a splitting headache, due to the poor lighting, and losing a game, I withdrew from the tournament, but returned the following day to spectate. While Bryan was waiting on the last round games to finish a conversation developed. Bryan is a quite, taciturn young man, the kind of fellow who lets his moves do his talking. I learned he was from Anchorage Alaska, and he is now the first-ever Grandmaster from Alaska. My home state of Georgia has yet to produce a home-grown GM. I recall asking Bryan why he decided to travel to Louisville in lieu of playing in one of the other, larger, tournaments in his area. He answered in a way that said he would rather be a big fish in a small pond that weekend rather than being a smaller fish in a much larger pond. “Better odds of taking home money?” I asked, and he produced a grin. We talked for some time and I transcribed what was recalled of the conversation later that day, but never used it, much to my regret. Bryan graciously answered my questions so what I recall was an enjoyable afternoon conversation with one of the nicest GM’s with whom I have conversed.
I have replayed many Nadjorf games since moving on to playing other openings, but have not devoted time studying the Nadjorf system with the intensity shown earlier when playing the system. For some time I have wanted a book to read on the system in order to compare the way the system is played now as opposed to how it was played last century, but the books are usually dense and voluminous, with a heavy emphasis on variations. Some of the books could be used as a doorstop. When my review copy, published by Mongoose Press (https://mongoosepress.com/), arrived I was pleasantly surprised to see it was only a small volume of 162 pages. The book is heavy on words, and ideas, rather than being yet another “data-dump.” Some have written books like the magnificent Zurich International Chess Tournament 1953,
by David Bronstein,
et al, cannot be published today because words, conveying ideas, are predominate. This book proves those writers wrong. Most of the variations included are short enough one does not need a board with which to visualize them. One of the players from my early days told me he liked to read a Chess book without using a board. There are enough diagrams for one to utilize this book in that way, which is exactly how I read the book. Then I read it again using a board and pieces because it is that good.
The book begins with an Introduction: The Cadillac of Openings.
“With this book, I present a collection of games played in the Najdorf Sicilian. The purpose of this book is not to be exhaustive – that would require at least ten times the content, and even then it would not encompass a fraction of the analysis and relevant games played in the Najdorf. This book also does not suggest a repertoire for either White or Black – although players can glean some ideas, since I have generally picked games played in the lines I favor. I think it is dishonest for a writer to try to portray an opening in only a positive light: ultimately, even the most objective writers of repertoire books have to massage the facts and minimize the problems of an opening – and every opening has them.
The purpose of this book, rather, is to show how to play the Najdorf, with White or Black, through archetypal games. I believe that by studying the games in this book, one can develop a solid general sense of the different types of game resulting from the Najdorf as played in the twenty-first century. It is my hope that readers will also gain some degree of enjoyment or entertainment from the games, which have been selected not only on their instructional merits, but also for their aesthetic value.”
The book will be judged by the criteria chosen by the author. The question is whether Bryan delivered on his promise. The answer is a resounding “Yes!” In Baseball terms this book is like hitting a walk-off grand slam home run in the bottom of the ninth inning of the seventh game of the World Series!
Bryan continues the introduction. “Having a lifelong opening that one knows inside and out like one’s own house is a major advantage to a chess player. It means that the player can always rely on reaching position that he understands in general terms and knows something about. Perhaps more importantly, though, it gives confidence.”
Reading the above caused me to reflect upon my early days playing the Najdorf. I have never felt as confident playing any opening as I did when playing the Najdorf system. Why did I stop playing the Najdorf system? Bryan continues the introduction, “A sufficiently rich opening will provide immunity against the winds of theory – if one variation is refuted, another can be found, so long as the opening is built on proper principles. I believe the Najdorf can be such an opening. Some may imagine that is is a theoretical labyrinth, suitable only for those with an incredible memory and a willingness to play twenty or more moves of known theory before beginning the game. It is true that there are certain lines in the Najdorf where this is the norm – for instance, the Poisoned Pawn Variation (6.Bg5 e6 7,f4 Qb6). However, the reader will see in this book that these variations can be sidestepped, and that it is indeed possible to play the Najdorf “by the light of nature,” with experience providing a guide. Most of the games I have chosen feature ways of avoiding these quagmires. Despite its sharpness, the Najdorf is an opening built on solid positional principles. It is basically a positional opening.”
When first beginning the Chess road the Dragon variation was very popular. Once a strong player advocated against purchasing a book on the Dragon because “It is written in disappearing ink.” He said that because the theory was changing so fast by the time you read the book, much of it had been refuted. The same could have been said about the Najdorf system. I also recall reading something about there being players who knew the Najdorf, but did not know Chess. I was one of those people, because like others, I knew the Najdorf, but not Chess. After leaving Chess for Backgammon, upon my return to Chess I simply did not have time to keep abreast of the constantly changing theory of the Najdorf system, so decided to learn, and play, other openings. Yet what I learned about Bobby Fischer’s favorite opening has stuck with me, while the other openings never infused me with the confidence felt when playing the Najdorf system.
After the introduction, and before the first chapter, one finds, The Development Of the Najdorf Sicilian, a seven page historical perspective of the Najdorf system. It begins, “The Najdorf can trace its origins to the nineteenth-century German master Louis Paulsen.
Paulsen was an innovator of defense. In an era when 1.e4 e5 was the dominant opening and direct attacking play was the main method of winning, Paulsen understood the concept of asymmetrical play and counterattack. His openings and positional play were often a full century ahead of their time.”
Louis Paulsen was one of the most interesting, and underappreciated, players from the early days of the nineteenth century. Paulsen’s ideas influenced the development of the Royal game greatly. I played openings such as the C26 Vienna, Paulsen-Mieses variation, for example.
Bryan gives a game between Lewis Isaacs and Abraham Kupchick played at Bradley Beach in 1928, writing, “A forgotten 1928 game from a tournament in the U. S. might be the first use of the “real” Najdorf.”
Lewis Isaacs vs Abraham Kupchik
Bradley Beach 1928
ECO: B92 Sicilian, Najdorf, Opovcensky variation
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be2 b5 7. Bf3 e5 8. Nb3 Bb7 9. O-O Nbd7 10. Bg5 Be7 11. Re1 O-O 12. Rc1 Nb6 13. Na5 Rb8 14. Nxb7 Rxb7 15. b3 Rc7 16. Qd3 Nbd7 17. Be3 Nc5 18. Qd1 Qa8 19. Bg5 Ncd7 20. Nb1 h6 21. Bd2 Rfc8 22. Ba5 Rc6 23. g3 Nc5 24. Nc3 Bd8 25. Bxd8 Rxd8 26. Nd5 Nxd5 27. Qxd5 Qc8 28. Red1 Ne6 29. Bg4 Rc5 30. Qd2 Rc3 31. Re1 Qc5 32. Re3 Rxe3 33. fxe3 Ng5 34. Qd3 d5 35. exd5 Rxd5 36. Qe2 Qc3 37. h4 Rd2 38. Qe1 Ne4 39. Bf5 Nf2 40. Bd3 Nxd3 41. cxd3 Qxd3 42. Rc8+ Kh7 43. Rc1 f5 44. a4 b4 45. g4 Re2 0-1
He culminates the chapter with, “Despite the opening’s great popularity and constant use at the top level for many decades, the Najdorf remains mysterious and has its unexplored areas, with the new ideas waiting to be born. Its attraction for the chess professional today is easy to understand, since it is an opening where it is possible to play for a win with Black, while it is also unquestionably sound. Although positionally and tactically very sharp, the Najdorf player still controls his own fate.”
Chapter one is titled, Va Banque: 6.Bg5. After 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 the author advocates Qc7. I never played any move other than 7…Be7 because, well, you know, that is the move played by Bobby Fischer. After studying the games, and positions, I came to understand why the author would advocate the move Qc7 for those taking their first Najdorf steps. The amount of material in the main line can be daunting for a neophyte. The fourth game of the chapter is one in which the author had white against Hristos Banikas at Retymnon in 2009. After the obligatory first five moves of the Najdorf Bryan played 6 Bg5, which was answered with Nbd7. “An old and new move – it was played frequently in the 1950s and again in the 2010s – and not so much in-between.” After 7 f4 we have Qc7.
The other chapters are:
2) The Classicist’s Preference: 6 Be2
3) Add Some English: 6 Be3
4) In Morphy’s Style: 6 Bc4
5) White to Play and Win: 6 h3
6) Systematic: g3
7) Healthy Aggression: 6 f4
8) Action-Reaction: 6 a4
9) Odds and Ends
To illustrate what I mean by the use of words, in lieu of variations, to explain what is happening on both sides of the board, look at the position from Game 11: Zaven Andriasian-Ian Nepomniachtchi, played at the 2010 Aeroflot Open in Moscow. After 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e5 7. Nf3
The reader finds, “The retreat of the knight to f3 rather than b3 changes nothing in the structure (at least not right away), but the choice of this square has a dramatic effect on the course of the game. In contrast to 7. Nb3, putting the knight on f3 leads to much quieter, more positional play, where White tries t dominate the d5 square. And why is this? Whereas 7.Nb3 allows for White to play f2-f3 with queen-side castling and a king-side pawn storm, after 7,Nf3 this is not possible. White will almost certainly castle king-side. In the meantime, b3 is left free as a retreat square for the bishop from c4. Consequently, rather than opposite-side castling and mutual attacks, you get a more positional struggle.”
Another fine example is from Game 14, Nigel Short
vs Garry Kasparov,
PCA World Championship, game 8, London 1993: 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bc4 e6 7. Bb3 Nbd7 8. f4 Nc5 9. e5 dxe5 10. fxe5 Nfd7 11. Bf4 b5
“In this way, Black places the bishop on its best diagonal (the long diagonal) before White can prevent it by Qd1-f3. Such a position might look good for White on the surface-the e5-pawn confers some space advantage and White has rapid development, plus the f-file is open and the white pieces are placed in threatening-looking positions. But such is the poison of the Sicilian. Black too has his advantages, and they tend to be more long-lasting. The bishop which will come to b7 will be very well placed. The advanced e5-pawn is not only a strength, but a weakness. And most importantly, Black has a well placed knight on c5 and a substantial advantage in space on the queen-side – the advance…b5-b4 is constantly looming over White, and the b3-bishop, if not activated in some dramatic fashion, could turn out to be a complete dud.”
One can turn to almost any page and find nuggets of wisdom such as the above illustrating the aims of BOTH SIDES! If one wishes to play the Najdorf system, or play against it, this is the book for you.
The author has dug deep, unearthing this game, found in the notes to Game 24, Judit Polgar
vs Dariusz Swiercz,
which I was unable to locate in any database. Bryan writes, “6…e6 is likely to be met by 7.g4, which looks like a fairly promising line for White – although 7…Nc6 is another possibility for Black to look into. Instead, the originator of 6.Qf3, American master Andrew Karklins, liked to continue with 7.b3. His record against grandmasters with this line was not very good, but he did have one major scalp:
vs Peter Svidler,
World Open 1995
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6.Qf3 e6 7. b3 Qb6 8. Nde2 Qc7 9. Bb2 b5 10. a3 Bb7 11. g4 d5 12. exd5 Nxd5 13.
Bg2 Nd7 14. O-O Bd6 15. Qh3 Nxc3 16. Nxc3 Be5 17. Bxb7 Qxb7 18. Rad1 O-O 19.Qe3 Bb8 20. Ne4 Ne5 21. Bxe5 Bxe5 22. Nc5 Qc7 23. f4 Bf6 24. Rd7 Qb6 25. Rfd1 Rfd8 26. b4 a5 27. Qf3 axb4 28. axb4 Kf8 29. Kg2 Rdc8 30. R1d6 Qb8 31. Qd3 1-0
This book achieves its aim, hitting the target with a bullseye!
When young I played Baseball for a decade. I have not posted in a few days because of back pain, stemming from a Maimball injury suffered when a teenager. It is more commonly called football here in the USA. Everywhere else on the planet football is what we Americans call soccer. Sitting for a prolonged time causes pain. Racking my brain for an idea, any idea, of something to post also caused pain. Then Patricia asked me what time Friday the Dawgs (That’s Southern speak for the University of Georgia Bulldogs) would be playing their first game in the NCAA Regional this Friday. EUREKA! It was like my brain had been struck by a lightening bolt, which produced an idea…
There are many different rankings for College Baseball. RPI is the one used to select teams for the big dance, the NCAA tournament, which culminates with the College Baseball World Series, won by the Dawgs in 1990. There is one rating system which is not used. It is the ELO Chess Ranking 2018 College Baseball rating system (http://warrennolan.com/baseball/2018/elochess), produced by Arpad Elo for Chess. The Dawgs finished eleventh in Arpad Elo’s rating system. The Dawgs were ninth in the nation according to RPI. (https://www.ncaa.com/rankings/baseball/d1/rpi)
Georgia senior Chase Adkins, number 23, will be on the mound when the Dawgs take on Campbell Friday at 7:30 p.m. at their home park, Foley Field. GO DAWGS!
College Baseball Elo Rankings
Records include games against Division I opponents only.
“ELO Delta” is the change in a team’s ELO since Sunday, May 27th.
Team Elo Rank Elo Delta
Ole Miss (46 – 15) 1856.64 1
Oregon State (44 – 10 – 1) 1856.10 2
Florida State (43 – 17) 1845.30 3
Stanford (44 – 10) 1840.75 4
Arkansas (39 – 18) 1825.86 5
Clemson (45 – 14) 1822.69 6
Florida (42 – 17) 1809.02 7
Minnesota (40 – 13) 1806.44 8
Stetson (45 – 11) 1798.31 9
Louisville (43 – 17) 1795.85 10
Georgia (37 – 19) 1789.49 11
North Carolina (38 – 18) 1788.98 12
Baylor (36 – 19) 1786.20 13
Texas A&M (39 – 20) 1778.74 14
East Carolina (43 – 16) 1775.04 15
Coastal Carolina (42 – 17) 1769.39 16
LSU (37 – 25) 1768.42 17
Mississippi State (31 – 25) 1766.97 18
Texas Tech (39 – 17) 1764.47 19
Texas (37 – 20) 1761.69 20
Missouri State (39 – 15) 1754.54 21
Duke (40 – 15) 1751.16 22
Auburn (39 – 21) 1747.47 23
Tennessee Tech (48 – 9) 1746.46 24
South Carolina (33 – 24) 1740.60 25
Southern Miss (43 – 16) 1740.20 26
North Carolina State (40 – 16) 1733.20 27
Houston (36 – 23) 1724.51 28
TCU (33 – 23) 1722.83 29
Purdue (37 – 19) 1717.46 30 +1
Vanderbilt (31 – 25) 1716.99 31 +1
UCLA (36 – 19) 1710.82 32 +1
Kentucky (34 – 22) 1708.71 33 +1
Cal State Fullerton (32 – 23) 1705.02 34 +1
Connecticut (35 – 20 – 1) 1703.87 35 +1
Miami (FL) (28 – 26) 1703.08 36 +2
South Florida (35 – 20 – 1) 1702.87 37 +2
Troy (41 – 19) 1702.81 38 +2
Oklahoma (36 – 23) 1702.46 39 +2
FAU (40 – 17 – 1) 1702.09 40 -3
Dallas Baptist (40 – 19) 1700.21 41 +1
Jacksonville (39 – 19) 1695.08 42 -12
Saint John’s (39 – 15) 1693.55 43
Washington (30 – 23) 1690.04 44
Missouri (34 – 22) 1686.81 45
Indiana (38 – 17) 1683.32 46
San Diego State (39 – 19) 1674.60 47
Arizona (34 – 22) 1671.22 48
UCF (35 – 21) 1667.19 49
UNCW (37 – 21) 1666.47 50
Louisiana (34 – 25) 1662.59 51
California (32 – 22) 1659.72 52
Gonzaga (32 – 22) 1656.15 53
Louisiana Tech (39 – 20) 1655.33 54 +1
Wright State (39 – 15) 1655.08 55 -1
Northeastern (36 – 19) 1654.10 56 +1
West Virginia (29 – 27) 1654.04 57 -1
Georgia Tech (31 – 27) 1650.12 58
Illinois (32 – 20) 1645.81 59
Kent State (38 – 16) 1645.13 60
Virginia (29 – 25) 1643.81 61
Tennessee (29 – 27) 1638.15 62
Sam Houston State (39 – 20) 1636.92 63 +1
Charlotte (34 – 24) 1636.43 64 -1
Oklahoma State (29 – 24 – 1) 1635.26 65
Southeastern Louisiana (37 – 22) 1633.47 66
Northwestern State (37 – 22) 1632.70 67
UNCG (39 – 15) 1629.89 68
South Alabama (32 – 25) 1627.60 69
Wichita State (35 – 21 – 1) 1623.82 70
Samford (36 – 24) 1622.01 71
Iowa (29 – 20) 1620.12 72
Cal Poly (30 – 27) 1619.70 73
UTSA (32 – 24) 1618.64 74
Creighton (34 – 16) 1618.08 75
Seton Hall (30 – 20 – 1) 1617.17 76
Ohio State (36 – 22) 1616.44 77
Morehead State (36 – 24) 1616.27 78
New Mexico State (39 – 20) 1616.27 79
Saint Louis (38 – 18) 1616.22 80 +1
Georgia Southern (30 – 26) 1616.10 81 -1
Michigan (33 – 20) 1614.96 82
Rice (26 – 31 – 2) 1609.11 83
Grand Canyon (33 – 24) 1604.76 84
Wake Forest (25 – 32) 1601.70 85 +1
Long Beach State (27 – 30) 1600.91 86 +1
Campbell (35 – 24) 1600.68 87 -2
High Point (34 – 22) 1595.26 88
Sacramento State (35 – 25) 1591.90 89
Cincinnati (28 – 28) 1591.39 90
Elon (36 – 23) 1590.73 91
Alabama (27 – 29) 1590.60 92
Oral Roberts (38 – 18) 1588.50 93 +1
Pepperdine (31 – 24) 1587.90 94 -1
Texas State (30 – 28 – 1) 1587.77 95
Kansas (27 – 30) 1584.22 96
Indiana State (31 – 24) 1580.30 97
Pittsburgh (29 – 26) 1576.91 98
Cal State Northridge (28 – 30) 1574.50 99
Charleston (36 – 19) 1571.41 100
FIU (26 – 28) 1571.17 101
Tulane (25 – 33) 1568.85 102
USC (26 – 28) 1566.59 103
North Florida (28 – 28) 1564.19 104 +16
Miami (OH) (34 – 20) 1563.87 105 -1
New Orleans (29 – 32) 1561.83 106 -1
Oregon (26 – 29) 1559.98 107 -1
Saint Mary’s College (31 – 23) 1559.84 108 -1
Nevada (29 – 24) 1557.98 109 -1
Fresno State (30 – 24) 1557.84 110 -1
Notre Dame (24 – 30) 1555.84 111 -1
UC Irvine (32 – 24) 1553.58 112 -1
Houston Baptist (29 – 30) 1553.22 113 -1
Wofford (36 – 23) 1549.63 114 -1
Middle Tennessee (27 – 27 – 1) 1548.59 115 -1
Kansas State (23 – 31) 1547.94 116 -1
San Jose State (27 – 30) 1546.48 117 -1
Army (36 – 22) 1543.10 118 -1
Mercer (38 – 22) 1542.80 119 -1
FGCU (32 – 21) 1542.53 120 -1
UNLV (35 – 24) 1539.97 121
Nebraska (24 – 28) 1539.38 122
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi(28 – 26) 1537.68 123
Arizona State (23 – 32) 1537.23 124
Canisius (35 – 20) 1535.58 125
Rhode Island (24 – 27) 1531.96 126
Richmond (32 – 24) 1530.07 127
Nicholls State (28 – 32) 1529.71 128
Santa Clara (26 – 26) 1521.81 129
Jacksonville State (32 – 25) 1519.87 130 +2
Bradley (29 – 19) 1519.84 131 -1
Butler (31 – 20) 1519.61 132 -1
Davidson (33 – 21) 1517.59 133
Fordham (35 – 19 – 1) 1517.23 134 +1
Loyola-Marymount (25 – 30) 1516.77 135 +1
UIC (27 – 18) 1516.38 136 -2
Liberty (32 – 26) 1515.76 137 +1
UC Santa Barbara (27 – 28 – 1) 1514.64 138 -1
Maryland (24 – 30) 1512.88 139
Hawaii (27 – 24) 1512.62 140
Portland (23 – 30) 1512.35 141
Little Rock (28 – 28) 1509.85 142 +1
Hartford (26 – 29) 1509.80 143 -1
Memphis (20 – 36) 1509.10 144
Wagner (38 – 18) 1506.01 145
Central Michigan (27 – 30 – 1) 1505.82 146
Delaware (31 – 27) 1505.46 147
Central Arkansas (32 – 25) 1503.89 148
VCU (34 – 23) 1500.51 149
Georgia State (25 – 29) 1498.31 150
Ball State (32 – 26) 1497.55 151
George Washington (32 – 26) 1496.31 152 +2
George Mason (29 – 27) 1495.56 153 -1
Navy (38 – 16) 1495.41 154 -1
San Diego (23 – 32) 1493.21 155
New Mexico (20 – 33 – 1) 1491.12 156
Bryant (32 – 23 – 1) 1490.37 157
North Carolina A&T (32 – 23) 1489.30 158
Virginia Tech (21 – 33) 1488.45 159
Lipscomb (24 – 30) 1488.40 160 +2
Harvard (22 – 20) 1486.81 161 +2
Southeast Missouri (26 – 30) 1486.46 162 -1
Monmouth (30 – 25) 1486.22 163 -3
Boston College (17 – 32) 1485.55 164
Southern Illinois (28 – 30) 1484.51 165
Arkansas State (20 – 32) 1482.16 166
Utah (16 – 39) 1481.08 167
Pacific (22 – 29) 1481.04 168
Yale (22 – 21) 1479.65 169
Washington State (16 – 33 – 1) 1475.52 170
Michigan State (20 – 32) 1475.18 171
Seattle University (32 – 23) 1474.60 172
Georgetown (25 – 30) 1472.03 173 +1
Eastern Kentucky (30 – 31) 1471.64 174 -1
East Tennessee State (28 – 25) 1470.36 175
Kennesaw State (25 – 30) 1467.30 176
Dayton (21 – 31) 1466.16 177
VMI (26 – 27) 1465.33 178
James Madison (26 – 26) 1463.93 179
Rutgers (25 – 25) 1463.83 180
Furman (24 – 28) 1461.91 181
Air Force (22 – 29) 1461.56 182
Stony Brook (32 – 25) 1460.63 183
Columbia (20 – 28) 1458.50 184
Gardner-Webb (31 – 27) 1453.97 185 +1
San Francisco (28 – 30) 1453.69 186 -1
Lamar (19 – 36) 1451.71 187
Radford (25 – 32) 1451.52 188
Appalachian State (18 – 36) 1449.71 189
UAB (21 – 33) 1448.31 190
Austin Peay (30 – 27) 1448.07 191
Long Island (31 – 24) 1447.21 192
UC Davis (18 – 35) 1447.05 193
Marist (27 – 23) 1444.64 194
Murray State (24 – 29) 1444.36 195
BYU (22 – 28) 1443.59 196
Illinois State (21 – 29) 1441.02 197
Western Kentucky (21 – 31) 1440.13 198
South Carolina Upstate(23 -28 -1) 1439.51 199
ULM (23 – 31) 1432.80 200
McNeese State (24 – 33) 1432.24 201
Northern Colorado (24 – 23) 1431.35 202
UMass-Lowell (25 – 29) 1429.79 203
Texas Southern (25 – 26) 1429.18 204
Winthrop (25 – 31) 1428.82 205
UTA (22 – 35) 1426.66 206
Alabama State (30 – 22) 1424.83 207
Jackson State (31 – 17) 1423.39 208
Dartmouth (16 – 22 – 1) 1420.41 209
Incarnate Word (29 – 26) 1418.62 210
UC Riverside (19 – 33) 1417.22 211
Western Michigan (23 – 25) 1416.86 212
Eastern Illinois (20 – 31) 1416.06 213
Hofstra (23 – 23) 1415.90 214
Bethune-Cookman (24 – 34) 1410.74 215
Milwaukee (24 – 28) 1410.50 216 +1
Xavier (20 – 35) 1410.31 217 -1
NJIT (22 – 25) 1405.28 218
Northwestern (15 – 32) 1402.97 219
Valparaiso (19 – 34) 1397.96 220
Old Dominion (15 – 37) 1396.75 221
Cornell (14 – 22 – 1) 1396.52 222
Toledo (21 – 32) 1395.63 223
Penn (16 – 25 – 1) 1394.26 224
Cal State Bakersfield (21 – 36) 1393.86 225
Maine (20 – 34) 1393.13 226
Marshall (19 – 31) 1389.20 227
Binghamton (18 – 30 – 1) 1387.02 228
Lehigh (22 – 27) 1386.09 229
Fairfield (22 – 29) 1384.74 230
North Dakota State (22 – 24) 1384.54 231
Florida A&M (25 – 30) 1384.26 232
North Carolina Central (28 – 24) 1384.18 233
Niagara (24 – 27) 1383.74 234
Western Carolina (11 – 47) 1381.93 235
Saint Joseph’s (21 – 27) 1377.10 236
UMBC (22 – 29) 1376.68 237
Siena (21 – 35) 1375.23 238
UTRGV (23 – 31) 1374.09 239
Eastern Michigan (20 – 33) 1373.79 240
Charleston Southern (19 – 35) 1373.06 241
The Citadel (19 – 34) 1373.01 242
Manhattan (25 – 28) 1370.26 243
Stephen F. Austin (17 – 36) 1369.08 244
Quinnipiac (26 – 30) 1362.50 245 +1
Bucknell (17 – 27 – 1) 1360.92 246 -1
Penn State (15 – 34) 1356.69 247
Holy Cross (18 – 27) 1353.45 248
Central Connecticut (18 – 28) 1345.69 249
Belmont (19 – 36) 1344.71 250
South Dakota State (18 – 32) 1340.76 251
Iona (16 – 31) 1331.00 252
SIUE (15 – 37) 1327.11 253
Albany (20 – 28) 1323.27 254
Grambling (23 – 26) 1322.78 255
Northern Illinois (18 – 36) 1320.09 256
Youngstown State (18 – 38) 1319.12 257
Mount Saint Mary’s (21 – 33) 1314.65 258
Oakland (15 – 32) 1309.74 259
Evansville (11 – 37) 1308.45 260
William & Mary (15 – 39) 1308.10 261
Utah Valley (15 – 37) 1305.52 262
Presbyterian College (15 – 39) 1305.21 263
Brown (11 – 26) 1304.43 264
Ohio (20 – 32) 1304.32 265
Longwood (17 – 38) 1301.57 266
UNC Asheville (13 – 38) 1299.77 267
Western Illinois (16 – 31) 1299.23 268
Sacred Heart (17 – 35) 1292.67 269
Coppin State (21 – 24) 1282.44 270
Princeton (10 – 27) 1278.23 271
UMass (15 – 29) 1275.28 272
Abilene Christian (17 – 33) 1272.73 273
Arkansas-Pine Bluff (17 – 25) 1269.10 274
Northern Kentucky (13 – 38) 1263.04 275
Chicago State (13 – 41) 1261.75 276
Tennessee-Martin (9 – 39) 1258.66 277
Lafayette (16 – 34 – 1) 1257.83 278
Saint Bonaventure (10 – 33) 1254.08 279
Towson (13 – 42) 1243.26 280
Norfolk State (19 – 30) 1240.53 281
Omaha (15 – 35) 1227.27 282
Villanova (9 – 39) 1211.86 283
Bowling Green (11 – 39) 1203.88 284
Rider (12 – 35) 1203.14 285
La Salle (14 – 41) 1191.93 286
Prairie View A&M (10 – 37) 1167.79 287
Alabama A&M (12 – 35) 1166.73 288
Savannah State (7 – 34) 1164.97 289
IPFW (11 – 37) 1157.46 290
Alcorn State (12 – 38) 1144.91 291
Southern (9 – 33) 1137.27 292
Fairleigh Dickinson (10 – 37) 1079.39 293
Maryland Eastern Shore (12 – 41 )1078.47 294
Mississippi Valley State (9 – 34) 1076.36 295
Delaware State (9 – 35) 1070.46 296
Saint Peter’s (2 – 42) 962.12 297