An Epidemic of Loneliness

George Will

is a columnist for the Washington Post and his latest effort is titled, We have an epidemic of loneliness. How can we fix it?

Excerpts follow, but I would like to begin with this, which is frightening: “America’s largest job category is “driver” and, with self-driving vehicles coming, two-thirds of such jobs could disappear in a decade.”

I drove professionally and I do not just mean when driving a taxi. There were various driving gigs in varied places when younger. I once drove a brand new Ford Probe across the country from Atlanta to Los Angeles in less than three days. I slept, or more properly napped, only in rest areas, stopping to take only one shower in a truck stop along the way because of tremendous time pressure, something with which all Chess players can identify. The person contracted to drive the car to the architect who had won it in a raffle at an architectural convention in Atlanta pulled out at the last moment. The owner of the company called me because, as he put it, “You are the only driver who can get it there on time.” The car was delivered to the owner on time. He gave me a twenty dollar bill as a tip. Enraged, I said, While driving a taxi for Buckhead Safety Cab Mickey Mantle once gave me a fifty dollar bill for a three fifty fare!” The cheapskate just glared at me…

Another driving gig was transporting Bell South vehicles to various cities in Southern states. Vehicles heading to the larger cities would usually go via hauler because those drivers could transport multiple vehicles. The single vehicles heading to smaller cities had to transported by individuals such as yours truly. Some of the drivers had worked for an airline, which at the time meant Delta Airlines in Atlanta, and they could return home using their free miles, while I would have to return on my own, which meant the Greyhound bus or Amtrak. The older drivers had no desire to go to, for example, Lake Charles Louisiana.

I, on the other hand, loved heading to Lake Charles because it meant a trip to New Orleans, a visit with the sui generis Jude Frazier Acers,

the Chess King of Decatur street (https://www.oxfordamerican.org/magazine/item/456-the-chess-king-of-decatur-street) and a night on Bourbon Street, before heading to the Amtrak station, and a train leaving the next morning at seven, giving me plenty of time for sleep on the return trip.

George begins his column, “If Sen. Ben Sasse is right — he has not recently been wrong about anything important — the nation’s most-discussed political problem is entangled with the least-understood public-health problem. The political problem is furious partisanship. The public-health problem is loneliness. Sasse’s new book argues that Americans are richer, more informed and “connected” than ever — and unhappier, more isolated and less fulfilled.”

“In “Them: Why We Hate Each Other — and How to Heal,” Sasse’s subject is “the evaporation of social capital” — the satisfactions of work and community. This reflects a perverse phenomenon: What has come to count as connectedness is displacing the real thing. And matters might quickly become dramatically worse.”

“Loneliness in “epidemic proportions” is producing a “loneliness literature” of sociological and medical findings about the effect of loneliness on individuals’ brains and bodies, and on communities. Sasse (R-Neb.) says “there is a growing consensus” that loneliness — not obesity, cancer or heart disease — is the nation’s “number one health crisis.” “Persistent loneliness” reduces average longevity more than twice as much as does heavy drinking and more than three times as much as obesity, which often is a consequence of loneliness. Research demonstrates that loneliness is as physically dangerous as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and contributes to cognitive decline, including more rapid advance of Alzheimer’s disease. Sasse says, “We’re literally dying of despair,” of the failure “to fill the hole millions of Americans feel in their lives.”

“Work, which Sasse calls “arguably the most fundamental anchor of human identity,” is at the beginning of “a staggering level of cultural disruption” swifter and more radical than even America’s transformation from a rural and agricultural to an urban and industrial nation. At that time, one response to social disruption was alcoholism, which begat Prohibition. Today, one reason the average American life span has declined for three consecutive years is that many more are dying of drug overdoses — one of the “diseases of despair” — annually than died during the entire Vietnam War. People “need to be needed,” but McKinsey & Co. analysts calculate that, globally, 50 percent of paid activities — jobs — could be automated by currently demonstrated technologies. America’s largest job category is “driver” and, with self-driving vehicles coming, two-thirds of such jobs could disappear in a decade.”

I hope you will read the entire column.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/we-have-an-epidemic-of-loneliness-how-can-we-fix-it/2018/10/12/e8378a38-cd92-11e8-920f-dd52e1ae4570_story.html?utm_term=.e87c12c89089

Charlotte Invitational: Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On

There were a “”whole lotta” short draws in the recently completed Charlotte Invitational held at the Charlotte Chess Center & Scholastic Academy. Have you noticed that this century every “Chess Center” also is some kind of “Scholastic” something or other? Back in the day one went to a “Boys Club,” after first going to a “Scholastic Center,” which was known as a “school.”

I decided to cut and paste the draws “earned” in less than twenty moves, with the “winner,” the shortest draw first. The “winner” is:

IM ANGELO YOUNG vs NM BENJAMIN MOON

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 g6 3. Bd3 Bg7 4. O-O Nc6 1/2-1/2

This transpired in the last round. It must be a terrible imposition on the players, after eight arduous rounds, to be forced to actually come to the board, fill out the scoresheet, and then make all of those moves when they would like to get on with their lives doing better things than playing Chess. Major League Baseball has discontinued the practice of forcing the pitcher to actually make a pitch when the manager chooses to issue an intentional walk, so why are Chess “players” forced to make a few moves when all they wanna do is go have some fun?

Elvis Presley – Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On?

The silver medal goes to:

GM ALONSO ZAPATA vs GM TANGUY RINGOIR

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d4 exd4 5. O-O a6 6. Ba4 Be7 7. Re1 O-O 1/2-1/2

Taking bronze is:

GM TANGUY RINGOIR vs GM DENES BOROS

1. d4 e6 2. c4 Nf6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 O-O 5. Nf3 d6 6. Bd2 b6 7. e3 Bb7 8. Be2 1/2-1/2

Honorable mention goes to games that actually made it into double digits:

IM ROBERTO MARTIN DEL CAMPO vs IM ANGELO YOUNG

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 exd5 4. Nf3 Bd6 5. Bd3 Ne7 6. O-O O-O 7. Bg5 f6 8. Bh4 Bf5 9. Bg3 Bxd3 10. Qxd3 c6 11. Nbd2 1/2-1/2

FM GAURI SHANKAR vs IM ANGELO YOUNG

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 O-O 9. h3 Nb8 10. d4 Nbd7 11. Nbd2 Bb7 12. Bc2 c5 1/2-1/2

FM KEVIN WANG vs GM TANGUY RINGOIR

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. d3 Nf6 5. O-O d6 6. c3 a6 7. Bb3 Ba7 8. Re1 h6 9. Nbd2 O-O 10. h3 Re8 11. Nf1 Be6 12. Ng3 Qd7 1/2-1/2

GM DENES BOROS vs IM NICOLAS CHECA

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 c5 4. exd5 Qxd5 5. dxc5 Nf6 6. Ngf3 Qxc5 7. Bd3 Nbd7 8. O-O Be7 9. Re1 Qc7 10. Ne4 Nxe4 11. Rxe4 Nc5 12. Bb5+ Bd7 13. Bxd7+ 1/2-1/2

FM SAHIL SINHA vs IM SAFAL BORA

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. Bd2 Nb6 6. Bf4 Bg7 7. e3 O-O 8. Nf3 c5 9. dxc5 N6d7 10. Nd5 Nc6 11. Bc7 Qe8 12. Bg3 Qd8 13. Bc7 Qe8 14. Bg3 Qd8 15. Bc7 1/2-1/2

FM ELIOT SOO-BURROWES vs FM GAURI SHANKAR

1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 e5 3. g3 Bb4 4. Bg2 O-O 5. Nf3 Bxc3 6. dxc3 d6 7. O-O h6 8. Qc2 Nc6 9. e4 Be6 10. b3 Qd7 11. Rd1 b6 12. Nh4 Ne7 13. f4 Qc6 14. f5 Bc8 15. h3 b5 1/2-1/2

IM BRYCE TIGLON vs GM TANGUY RINGOIR

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 d6 5. c3 Bd7 6. O-O g6 7. d4 Bg7 8. Re1 Nf6 9. Nbd2 O-O 10. Bxc6 Bxc6 11. dxe5 dxe5 12. Nxe5 Bxe4 13. Nxe4 Qxd1 14. Nxf6+ Bxf6 15. Rxd1 Bxe5 1/2-1/2

IM FARAI MANDIZHA vs IM RAJA PANJWANI

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 d5 4. d4 Be7 5. Bf4 O-O 6. e3 Nbd7 7. a3 c5 8. cxd5 Nxd5 9. Nxd5 exd5 10. dxc5 Nxc5 11. Be5 Bf5 12. Be2 Bf6 13. Bd4 Ne6 14. O-O Nxd4 15. Nxd4 Be4 16. Qb3 Bxd4 1/2-1/2

FM SAHIL SINHA vs NM JOHN GABRIEL LUDWIG

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 e6 4. Nc3 exd5 5. cxd5 d6 6. e4 g6 7. Nf3 Bg7 8. Be2 O-O 9. O-O Re8 10. Nd2 Nbd7 11. a4 Ne5 12. Ra3 g5 13. Qc2 a6 14. Nd1 Ng6 15. Ne3 Rb8 16. a5 Qe7 17. f3 1/2-1/2

GM TANGUY RINGOIR vs IM NICOLAS CHECA

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. cxd5 cxd5 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bf4 Nc6 7. Rc1 Nh5 8. Bd2 Nf6 9. e3 Bg4 10. Qb3 Na5 11. Qa4+ Bd7 12. Qd1 Rc8 13. Ne5 e6 14. Bd3 Be7 15. Qf3 O-O 16. O-O Nc6 17. Qh3 g6 18. f4 Nxe5 19. fxe5 1/2-1/2

FM ELIOT SOO-BURROWES vs IM ANGELO YOUNG

1. c4 g6 2. g3 Bg7 3. Bg2 e6 4. Nc3 Ne7 5. e3 d5 6. Nge2 O-O 7. O-O dxc4 8. Qa4 c6 9. Qxc4 e5 10. d4 Nd7 11. Rd1 exd4 12. Nxd4 Qa5 13. b4 Qh5 14. Bf3 Qh3 15. Bg2 Qh5 16. Bf3 Qh6 17. e4 Qh3 18. Bg2 Qh5 19. Bf3 1/2-1/2

Notice all those games ended in under twenty moves? Since Jerry Lee Lewis continues to shake, rattle, and roll, I’ll give another couple of short draws so as to be able to include a few more “numbers.”

GM ALONSO ZAPATA vs IM ANDREW TANG

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 d6 5. Bxc6+ bxc6 6. d4 f6 7. c4 Ne7 8. Nc3 Ng6 9. h4 h5 10. dxe5 fxe5 11. Ng5 Be7 12. g3 Qd7 13. f3 Bxg5 14. Bxg5 Qf7 15. Qd3 O-O 16. O-O Be6 17. b3 a5 18. Rac1 Kh7 19. Rf2 Rae8 20. Rd1 Ra8 21. Rc1 Rae8 22. Rd1 1/2-1/2

NM BENJAMIN MOON vs FM ELIOT SOO-BURROWES

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 Bg7 4. O-O d5 5. d3 O-O 6. Nbd2 c5 7. e4 Nc6 8. c3 e5 9. exd5 Nxd5 10. Nc4 b6 11. Re1 f6 12. a4 Be6 13. Nfd2 Qd7 14. Ne4 Rfd8 15. a5 Nde7 16. Qa4 Rab8 17. axb6 axb6 18. Qa6 Qc7 19. Be3 Bd5 20. b4 b5 21. Ncd2 cxb4 22. cxb4 f5 1/2-1/2

Jerry Lee was still shakin’ late in life and I am certain some “players” will still be shaking hands as long as they continue to “play.”

If you would like more information on the tournament go to: https://www.charlottechesscenter.org/

All the games can be found here: http://chessstream.com/TournamentGames.aspx?EventName=Fall+2017+CCCSA+GM%2fIM+Norm+Invitational&PGNFileID=6396

The USCF recently published an article on the tournament, which can be found here: https://new.uschess.org/news/andrew-tang-completes-gm-title-charlotte-invitational-panjwani-earns-second-norm/

Until next time, keep on shakin’ baby SHAKIN’!

What is Chess?

The Legendary Georgia Ironman once remarked, “Chess is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.” With my eye swollen shut I had time to reflect upon his statement while contemplating the question, “What is chess?”

The new people who have entered the chess world because of the scholastic craze do not seem to understand this simple fact. Their ignorance is masked by new slogans and “vision statements.” A recent example can be found on the forum of the North Carolina Chess Association. It is election time in the Great State of NC and Sara Walsh has thrown her hat into the ring, running for the post of VP. Unlike my home state of Georgia, the NCCA has a forum where mud can be slung, and from reading the comments on said forum, it is being fast and furiously flung. In her post of Thu Sep 25, 2014 10:14 pm Sara wrote, “While working on a project and looking for content, I realized that there was no About Us page on the NCCA website. So my challenge to you is to come up with a portion of an About Us page. A succinct overview of what defines the NCCA and its role in NC Chess. Think about what’s on the website, what’s in the Bylaws/Charter. One might include a Mission Statement, Vision, Objectives, a short history, possibly some highlights, or anything else you think belongs on an About Us page. Any thoughts?”
Sara

There it is again, the “vision” thing. What is it with women and a “Vision statement?” Does chess need a “vision statement” to answer the question of “What is chess?” Women evidently think it does.

The USCF has put all its eggs in the one basket of scholastic chess. Chess has become a game for children. Chess has become a “learning tool.” For example, the new Executive Director of the USCF, Jean Hoffman, writes in the August 2014 issue of Chess Life that one of the USCF goals is to, “Educate children, parents, teachers and school administrators on the benefits of chess as a part of a school curriculum and as an extra-curricular activity.” Thus far this new century has been devoted to transforming the Royal game into a frilly fun game for children in hopes it will give them a warm fuzzy feeling. Chess is anything but warm and fuzzy. The children learn chess at a young age. As they start to mature they realize what chess is in actuality and stop playing. Children are much smarter than some adults give them credit for, and are astute enough to know when adults are selling them a bill of goods.

Chess is a difficult game to learn and even more difficult to play. The game of Go, or Wei Chi in other parts of the world, has only a few rules and is much simpler to learn, and it does all the things chess people have sold to educators. The number of people on the planet who have taken to the game this century, most of whom are children, has tripled, and is increasing exponentially. Chess is a game of the past, while Go is the game of the future.

Chess is a war game. War does not instill the “warm fuzzys.” The mentally deranged yankee general, William Tecumseh Sherman, is best known for uttering, “War is hell.” Chess is hell. I have heard chess called many things, including, “Mental torture.” I have seen grown men brought to their knees by a game of chess. I have seen grown men cry after losing a game of chess. GM Vassily Ivanchuk once beat his head against a wall so hard and so long after losing a chess game that it left blood on the wall and dripping from his face. Chess is a psychic knife fight. Chess is pure and simple combat, which takes place in the mind.

Over the years I have read chess called many things by the greats of the game, and other notables. Here are some examples:

Chess is war over the board. The object is to crush the opponents mind. – Bobby Fischer

Chess is ruthless: you’ve got to be prepared to kill people. – Nigel Short

Chess is, above all, a fight. – Emanuel Lasker

By some ardent enthusiasts Chess has been elevated into a science or an art. It is neither; but its principal characteristic seems to be – what human nature mostly delights in – a fight. – Emanuel Lasker

A chess game, after all, is a fight in which all possible factors must be made use of, and in which a knowledge of the opponent’s good and bad qualities is of the greatest importance. – Emanuel Lasker

Chess is a test of wills. – Paul Keres

Chess is a contest between two men which lends itself particularly to the conflicts surrounding aggression. – Rueben Fine

Chess is a sport. A violent sport. – Marcel Duchamp

Chess is mental torture. – Garry Kasparov

In the Soviets’ view, chess was not merely an art or a science or even a sport; it was what it had been invented to simulate: war. – Pal Benko

There is no remorse like a remorse of chess. It is a curse upon man. There is no happiness in chess. – H.G. Wells

Chess has been sold to the parents of young children as something it is not, a wonderful game where everyone goes home a winner. Life is not like that, something which the children learn the hard way. As the author Gore Vidal so eloquently put it, “It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail.” Many aspire to be the best, but there can be only one World Chess Champion.

The following is taken from an episode, “Three Coaches And A Bobby” (season 3, episode 12), of the cartoon show, “King of the Hill.”

The problem with Soccer

I dedicate this version to my friend for over four decades, the Legendary Georgia Ironman, a BIG fan of…

REO Speedwagon Only The Strong Survive

I dedicate this version to myself because it was popular at the time I lost my first love and helped me out of the funk:

Jerry Butler Only the Strong Survive

And here is a live performance many years later:

Jerry Butler – Only The Strong Survive

I dedicate this cover to my crazy cousin Linda who had three passions in life, with Elvis being one, and include it because although many have been called the “King” of popular music, there can be only one King:

Elvis Presley – Only The Strong Survive ( Alt.Take,X Rated )

The Connecticut Rebels

The Atlanta Kings drew the match with their Southern division rival, the Connecticut Dreadnoughts. If you are wondering what a team from the northern most region of yankee land is doing in the Southern division, you are not alone. The closest tie to the South would be that of the Dreadnoughts first board in the match with the Kings, Michael “Bubba” Rohde, and the fact that his parents resided in Atlanta back in the 1980’s. GM Rohde would visit, and played in at least one chess tournament that I recall, while here. During this time I played backgammon with Michael.

This reminds me of the Atlanta Braves being placed in the Western division of the National League when Major League Baseball expanded from twenty to twenty four teams in 1969. Because the owner of the Chicago Cubs, Philip K. Wrigley, balked at being placed in the Western division, ostensibly because the Cub fans would have to stay up late to watch the games from the west coast. Since Chicago is in the Central time zone there is a two hour difference. To placate Wrigley and continue the rivalry between the Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals, the MLB Commissioner, Bowie Kuhn, who lacked the cojones to stand up to Wrigley, allowed the Cubs and Cards to play in the eastern division while placing the Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds in the Western division. This made absolutely no sense because both teams, the Braves and Reds, are in the Eastern time zone, meaning a three hour time difference, one more than the two hour difference between Chicago and St. Louis and the left coast.

Baltimore is also a member of the Southern division. Although Maryland is considered a yankee state, a case can be made that Baltimore belongs in the Southern division, or at least more of a case than can be made with regard to Connecticut. At least Maryland was considered a “border” state. The greatest Southern hero of the War Between For Southern Independence, John Wilkes Booth, was born in Maryland.

“The Baltimore riot of 1861 (also called the Pratt Street Riot and the Pratt Street Massacre) was a conflict that took place on April 19, 1861, in Baltimore, Maryland between Confederate sympathizers and members of the Massachusetts militia en route to Washington for Federal service. It is regarded by historians as the first bloodshed of the American Civil War.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baltimore_riot_of_1861)

“Spring, 1861. The American Civil War erupts and Baltimore finds itself at the crossroads of the North and the South. A passageway to the North and a border state to the South, Maryland was home to both Unionists and Southern sympathizers. Maryland was a slave state at the beginning of the war; however, free African Americans made up a quarter of Baltimore’s population.” (http://baltimore.org/guides-interests/civil-war)

“On April 19, 1861, the first blood of the American Civil War is shed when a secessionist mob in Baltimore attacks Massachusetts troops bound for Washington, D.C. Four soldiers and 12 rioters were killed.” (http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/first-blood-in-the-civil-war)

Elvis Presley – An American Trilogy – I wish I was in Dixieland (High Quality)