Dr Richard Cann R.I.P.

In Memoriam: Richard Cann

Friday November 8, 2019

Longtime Go-player Richard Cann, 68, died on Sunday, Oct. 6th of ALS. A memorial service will be held Nov. 16th from 1-4pm at the Hopewell Valley Vineyards, 46 Yard Rd, Pennington, NJ 08534.

Born in Pasadena, California he grew up in Denver, Colorado and lived for many years in Hopewell Township, NJ. He received a BA in 1972, and a Ph.D. in 1978 from Princeton University. He was a member of the United States Chess Federation, the American Go Association and the Recording Industry Associates of America. He was the IT Director for the Atlantic Trading Company from 2002 until the time of his death.

Richard was known for his passion for music; the game of Go, which he played at a 2 dan level; and his joy in skiing the black diamond trails of Colorado with his brother. He enjoyed fishing and hiking on his trips to Colorado. He had 30 years of Sunday morning hard fought racquetball games with a dear friend. He was a skilled competitor with a generally superior ability at games of most sorts. His talented musicianship on guitar, violin and piano was expressed by the musical bands he formed and played with over his lifetime. He was known for his warmth, kindness, quiet sense of humor and his easy smile. He had a gift for teaching, whether it was a game, a musical instrument or a physics theory. He had great love for his family as well as the numerous dogs who were valued companions throughout his adult life. He is terribly missed.

Condolences can be sent to his widow, Joanne Sheehan at joanne.sheehan@pobox.com.
photo by Phil Straus

In Memoriam: Richard Cann

Go as part of curriculum at U.S. Army Command and General Staff College

Go as part of curriculum at U.S. Army Command and General Staff College: an interview with Dr. James Sterrett

Wednesday October 16, 2019

As the Chief of Simulation Education at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Dr. James Sterrett

uses games and simulations in a variety of ways to teach students. In an interview conducted last month by Chris Ghorbani, Dr. Sterrett described his introduction to the game, as well as how and why he uses go in his classes. From starting in college with a friend “on a home-made board using bottle caps as the stones,” he now uses go to demonstrate the concepts of design elegance. In his class on Training with Simulations, students play go for 30 minutes before discussion on the depth and utility created in the game by just a tiny number of rules. Students use this as inspiration to design and develop their own training games, trying to achieve elegance with their own new game requirements.
Dr. Sterrett describes one of his favorite things about go as being the discussions it provokes in his classes, describing them as “wonderful – not just of strategy, operations, and tactics inside Go, but people wind up drawing parallels between the situation on the board and various situations in current affairs, history, or even their own lives.” He continues in the interview to discuss the game, the rise of AI, and comparisons between go and other games he uses in his curriculum, including kriegspiel and chess. “Go teaches strategy, operations, tactics, and weaving them together to achieve victory,” says Dr. Sterrett. “The lack of a clearly defined center of gravity in Go ensures the players must define it by their decisions, much as in grand strategy. Thus, Go is a superb tool for honing a strategic mindset and seeing the links between the levels of war.”
Dr. Sterrett concludes by thanking the go community for continued efforts to spread go, and hopes that it is still played thousands of years in the future.

Go as part of curriculum at U.S. Army Command and General Staff College: an interview with Dr. James Sterrett

The full interview with Dr. Sterrett can be found here”

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1SJdK8U1KrdmZL_AtzqlqTt-UVBjWBSCg/view

Speed Kills

An article, Do We Still Need Classical Chess? by GM Gregory Serper, was published on Chess.com a few days ago. The Grandmaster begins with this statement: The classical format of our beloved game is under attack.

Fact is, the classical format has been under attack for many years. Consider this article published much earlier this decade, Slow Chess Should Die a Fast Death – Part 2
This was published November 5, 2015, by IM Greg Shahade on his blog (https://gregshahade.wordpress.com/2015/11/05/slow-chess-should-die-a-fast-death-part-2/).
Greg wrote, “Wow. Part 1 of this blog was by far the most controversial thing I’ve written. The blog received hundreds of comments on multiple websites, for instance reddit and chess.com.
There was lots of positive feedback and also lots of violently aggressive negative feedback. I can’t imagine that I’d get more hatred from some of these people than if I kidnapped their child. Multiple people even made it clear that I must have wrote the blog because I was so jaded due to some slow chess game that I lost in the past or that I had some deep, dark emotional problems that were finally manifesting themselves in my blog.
One person, a complete stranger, was seemingly so offended by the article, that at 4:17 AM they posted a tweet on my Twitter feed that simply said “@GregShahade Jackass”
What’s the truth? I love chess but I also live in the real world and realize that 5-6 hour chess games are an impractical use of resources and time.”

GM Serper writes: “People are complaining about boring games that lead to an abundance of draws in super-GM tournaments. They are trying to change everything: the scoring system (three points for a win, one point for a draw), the time control and even the traditional tournament format.
One of the latest attempts was made in the recent Norway Chess super-tournament in Stavanger. To put it mildly, the result failed to impress.
Not only were there a lot of draws; some of them were true “gems.” Look at this:

Alexander Grischuk (2775) vs. Wesley So (2754)
1/2-1/2 Norway Chess Stavanger NOR 5 Jun 2019 Round: 2.5 ECO: C67

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. dxe5 Nxb5 7. a4 Nbd4 8. Nxd4 d5 9. exd6 Nxd4 10. Qxd4 Qxd6 11. Qe4+ Qe6 12. Qd4 Qd6 13. Qe4+ Qe6 14. Qd4 Qd6 15. Qe4+ Qe6 ½-½

These triple repetition games can be stopped simply by adopting the Go rule, Ko, which prevents repeating the position endlessly. In the above game, for instance, Grischuk would have been unable to play 13 Qe4+ and would, therefore, have had to make a different move.

Serper poses the question, “Can we blame the players for a short draw that didn’t produce a single new move?”

YES, we can, and I will! The so-called “game” is BULLSHIT! No one other than the players are responsible for stinking up the tournament hall.

Serper follows up with, “They quickly figured out that rather than play for four hours, they can make a quick draw and decide the outcome in a fraction of that time. Some people would call it efficiency and some might call it cynicism.”

I call it blasphemy against Cassia.

The GM continues, “I’ve shared my opinion on the subject many times. I laugh when some people claim that classical chess is dead from “draw death.” Somehow, Magnus Carlsen’s opponents in the recent super-tournaments didn’t get the memo and that’s why they couldn’t hold the world champion to a draw frequently.”

Magnus Carlsen plays to WIN, which is why he is the human World Champion.

Serper continues, “Now let’s talk about boring chess vs. exciting chess.
The recent match between Benjamin Gledura and Awonder Liang was indeed very interesting to watch. Blunders are unavoidable in blitz and this is a major part of the entertainment.”

I derive absolutely no pleasure from watching the best human Chess players alive produce a festival of blunders. As I have written previously on this blog, Chess is NOT Backgammon! To play Chess well requires TIME to COGITATE! Backgammon can, and is played at a fast pace because it is a much simpler game than Chess.

The GM then shows a game after writing, “Nevertheless, when I watched the finish of the following game I could almost hear some people asking: “Are they really grandmasters?”

Exactly. Some people may enjoy watching Chess GMs play what GM Yasser Seirawan called, “Howlers,” followed by more howlers, but I am not one of them.

After presenting the ridiculous “game” Serper then writes, “This is precisely why blitz was strictly forbidden when I was a student of the famous Botvinnik-Kasparov school. The Patriarch believed that blitz hurt your chess. I even asked him if he ever played blitz himself. Botvinnik looked surprised by such a stupid question and paused for a moment. Indeed, what kind of a chess player would never play blitz?
“Of course I’ve played blitz,” he finally answered. “Once. On a train.”

GM Serper then compares the games Benjamin Gledura played with different time controls, before writing, “On one side we have a lot of excitement (and of course blunders!) in his blitz games. On the other side we have an extremely well-played and instructive game in a regular time control.
Many people will probably call this endgame boring. So, do we still need classical chess?

My reply is, Hell Yeah! Without classical there is no Chess.

Elwyn Berlekamp R.I.P.

Elwyn Berlekamp, a UC Berkeley mathematician and game theorist whose error-correcting codes allowed spacecraft from Voyager to the Hubble Space Telescope to send accurate, detailed and beautiful images back to Earth, died April 9 at his home in Piedmont, California, from complications of pulmonary fibrosis.

A professor emeritus of mathematics and of electrical engineering and computer sciences, Berlekamp was 78.

Berlekamp was a “genius” in many areas, according to colleague Richard Karp, a UC Berkeley professor emeritus of electrical engineering and computer sciences and holder of computer science’s premier honor, the Turing Award.

“He was a brilliant person, caring father, accomplished juggler and he had a great sense of humor. He’ll not be forgotten,” said David Patterson, a professor emeritus of electrical engineering and computer sciences at Berkeley who is now a distinguished engineer at Google and a Turing Award winner.

Berlekamp and his wife, Jennifer, supported various charitable causes and in 2013 founded the Elwyn and Jennifer Berlekamp Foundation, a small private operating foundation based in Oakland to support math and science outreach and education, in general, and combinatorial game theory, in particular.

Berlekamp was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the American Mathematical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He received various honors, including the Centennial Medal, the Koji Kobayashi Computers and Communications Award and the R. W. Hamming Medal, all from IEEE, and was selected as Eta Kappa Nu’s “Outstanding Young Electrical Engineer” in 1971 and as a Putnam Fellow in 1961. He held more than a dozen patents, all of them now in the public domain.

His investments allowed him to reduce his teaching appointment to half time in 1982, and for the rest of his life, he concentrated on the theory of combinatorial games, the most simple example of which, Dots and Boxes, had fascinated him since first grade. He developed theories of the game that allowed him, or anyone, to always win.


Berlekamp playing games with Richard Nowakowski in 2015 following a symposium on combinatorial games, his life-long passion. (Photo courtesy of David Eisenbud)

His four-volume series, Winning Ways for Your Mathematical Plays,

written with John Conway and Richard Guy, delved into the math of Dots and Boxes and other popular games, including Amazons, a game played on a chess board with queens only.


Berlekamp playing the game Amazons with Georg Menz in 2015. Menz was that year’s Berlekamp Postdoctoral Fellow at MSRI. (Photo courtesy of David Eisenbud)

“In these books, he manages to describe deep mathematics in a way that is really enjoyable to the reader,” Karp said. “He presents it more as a narrative and explains it with real precision, but in a way that is actually charming. He was a wonderful author as well.”

One of his passions was the Asian game of Go, which he analyzed in the book Mathematical Go — one of the rare books on Go to be translated from English into Japanese, rather than vice versa. He focused on Go’s endgame, said mathematician and colleague David Eisenbud, and once challenged a top Japanese Go master to a series of endgames selected by Berlekamp. He beat the Go master in seven straight games, playing both sides of the board — white and black.

“It was mathematics against intuition, and mathematics won,” said Eisenbud, director of the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI). “It was an impressive demonstration of which he was very proud.”

While the mathematical analysis of games is still very popular, computers have taken the field in a different direction: they employ brute force or machine learning to beat Go and chess masters.

He is survived by his wife, Jennifer; daughters Persis Berlekamp, an art historian at the University of Chicago, and Bronwen Berlekamp O’Wril of Portland, Maine; and son David of Oakland.

Excerpts from the article Elwyn Berlekamp, game theorist and coding pioneer, dies at 78 By Robert Sanders, Media relations| April 18, 2019 in the Berkeley News. https://news.berkeley.edu/2019/04/18/elwyn-berlekamp-game-theorist-and-coding-pioneer-dies-at-78/?fbclid=IwAR2NUfFLgv7IAT-BNffgEKc3Lv8w8_XmJ2pQLPYW1vRmKPGhdpGydWAVPGQ

In a previous post I mentioned Elwyn Berlekamp (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/?s=Elwyn+Berlekamp).

These books left a lasting impression:

A nice blog post from: Computational Complexity and other fun stuff in math and computer science from Lance Fortnow and Bill Gasarch
https://blog.computationalcomplexity.org/2019/04/elwyn-berlekamp-died-april-9-2019.html

Chess Without Borders?

GM Yuri Sulman has a Chess website, Chess Without Borders (http://shulmanchess.com/biography-of-chess-without-borders/).

This is not about his program.

The article, GO Without Borders seeks beta testers, appeared at the American Go E-Journal, Wednesday December 5, 2018. (http://www.usgo.org/news/2018/12/go-without-borders-seeks-beta-testers/)

Bill Frezza and his colleague John Gaby have developed an online go variant called GO Without Borders (http://www.gowithoutborders.com/HowToPlay.aspx) that they say is perhaps the first practical online implementation of Toroidal GO, the concept of removing the edges of a go board by allowing the board to “wrap around” both horizontally and vertically.

“What is most fascinating about playing GO Without Borders is the fresh approach required regarding tactics and strategy because every joseki you ever learned is useless,” Frezza, a 12 kyu player, tells the E-Journal. “There is also a premium on good fighting skills. And yet it is still go with all the same rules.”

Frezza and Gaby are actively recruiting a small circle of beta testers to help debug and fully feature the program before public launch. Email go-without-borders+subscribe@googlegroups.com if interested.
http://www.usgo.org/news/2018/12/go-without-borders-seeks-beta-testers/

A “joseki” is the opening in Go. Imagine what would happen to the Royal game of Chess if every opening you ever learned became useless.

Chess and Go Made Fun

One of the things a reader of this blog can do is leave a comment. Another is to “like” a particular post. Fortunately there is no way to “hate” the AW, at least not on the site. I have received a few quite nasty emails, though…Fortunately these have been far outweighed by the favorable emails and “likes.” When someone “likes” the AW I am notified by email. For example this was received today:

Warren White liked your post on Armchair Warrior

They thought An Epidemic of Loneliness was pretty awesome.

You should go see what they’re up to. Maybe you’ll like their blog as much as they liked yours!

I did and I do.

Chess Made Fun
A laboratory for learning awaits us here.

October 12, 2014 Yvonne

Marietta and Kennesaw Chess Family Fun

Our first Chess Square One, designed for absolute beginners, children and their (grand)parents.

“I think our society would benefit in many ways if parents spent the time to teach their children chess. The bonding experience alone is amazing and the skills kids get from the game will help them in life. Plus their immediate schooling would be enhanced,” Laura Sherman, Tampa, FL, author of Chess is Child’s Play.

Chess Square One idea is this, it provides (grand)parents – even those who are not familiar with chess yet – with a simple and effective method (I developed for Kennesaw State University) for teaching their kids, plus free counseling and mentoring down the road!

This is a great way everybody spends some quality time together, family bonding and having fun. Think Family Game Night! Leave your digital devices alone for a short while and have some real good time together.

Tell your family and friends about this great (and free) opportunity to learn the basics of chess, the best game ever invented.

The Chess Square One opens up next Tuesday, October 21, at 6:30 pm, at Barnes & Noble, Town Center Prado, 50 Barrett Pkwy, Marietta, GA 30066.

To promote chess and make it accessible to more people, we will be rotating places and times, covering north and northwest of metro Atlanta: Marietta, Kennesaw, Smyrna, Vinnings, Sandy Springs, Dunwoody, Roswell, Alpharetta (let me know if you may have in mind a specific place and time for organizing Chess Square One in your neighborhood!).

Good chess to you all!

coach Momir

http://www.iplayoochess.com

Published by Yvonne


Yvonne & Warren White

I started playing chess in 2008 and found a passion in the game to fight against cognitive dysfunction and memory loss especially in aging communities. With attention to strong family bonds, I have worked to build a presence that I truly hope will bring lasting partnerships with aging communities in multi-generational living settings commonly called the “sandwich generation” of baby boomers. Chess Made Fun has networked with chess educators and enthusiasts to better understand product applications, and developed programs that build on what groups can do naturally. Some of our opportunities have included Compassionate Care Hospice, Medford Care Center and Rachel’s Wish Foundation. If you see potential here, or have interest in holistic therapies, I stay active in recreation therapy, educational psychology and geriatrics. Find me at local chess tournaments, disc golf, ball outings or playing chess outside at my favorite park. ♟

https://chessmadefun.wordpress.com/2014/10/12/marietta-and-kennesaw-chess-family-fun/

This caused me to reflect on an article found on the American Go E-Journal:

Baum prizes a hit at congress

Friday July 27, 2018

“Can you help me find an old person who is around my rank?” and “is that guy really old?” have become popular questions at congress this year as kids compete for the new Baum prizes. Adults are enjoying the games too, and finding young folk ready and willing to play – all very much in the spirit that Leonard Baum would have wanted to encourage with the endowment in his honor. Kids must be under 16, and adults at least 40 years older than the kid. Games must be submitted Saturday afternoon by the end of the Youth Pizza party, results can be left in the box, or given to Paul Barchilon or Neil Ritter. Please remember to circle the winner, many slips have come in without the winner indicated. With 30 games played so far here are the current standings:
The Badger ( Youth under 12 who plays the largest number of adults)

24008 Duc Minh Vo with 7 games

The Grasshopper (Youth age 12 to 15 who plays the largest number of adults)

Maya Boerner with 6 games
Seowoo Wang with 6 games

The Elder Slayer (Young player who beats the largest number of adults)

Duc Minh Vo with 6 games

The Dan Destroyer (Young player who beats the largest number of dan level adults)

Seowoo Wang with 4 victories over dan players
Duc Minh Vo with 4 victories over dan players

The Old Hand (Adult who plays the most games)

Don Karns with 7 games

The Encourager (Adult who loses the most games)

Don Karns with at least 3 losses (4 games with no winner identified!)

The Teacher (Adult who gives the most 9 stone (or higher) teaching games)

Don Karns with 3 nine stone games

Story and photo by Paul Barchilon, EJ Youth Editor: Current leader Duc Minh Vo 1d, age 10, plays former AGA President Mike Lash 4k

http://www.usgo.org/news/2018/07/baum-prizes-a-hit-at-congress/

THE SURROUNDING GAME on Netflix

While putting together the post of February 14, 2018, THE SURROUNDING GAME

(https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2018/02/14/the-surrounding-game/), I was thrilled to see the movie was available on YouTube. After finishing the post I had something to eat and then rested. After a cuppa joe I settled in to watch the movie…Unfortunately it was no longer available due to a copyright infringement.

It has been many years since watching any movie in a theater. Since it would have cost five dollars to watch the movie online I decided to wait until it could be watched free of charge. The movie debuted on Netflix August 30 and I watched it the next day. The focus of the movie was on the young players. This caused me to reflect upon what I consider the best post ever made on this blog, or the earlier BaconLOG, for that matter (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2015/03/10/these-are-my-people/). It matters not what game is being played, or even if a game is being played. It is the same feeling one has when attending a convention of model train enthusiasts, or sports memorabilia fanatics.

When the movie ended I headed to the Internet Movie Data Base (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3973724/?ref_=nv_sr_1) to find it rated 8.1. A few minutes ago I returned to find it now rated 6.8. I liked the movie but am no impartial observer as I was there during the US Go Congress when it was filmed. I was living in Hendersonville, North Carolina at the time and traveled to Black Mountain four times during that week. I did not participate in the tournament because there was a “Meal Plan,” priced at $195, required for all attendees. I kid you not…The organizers did not expect participation by a local and they would not relent.

From the movie one learns there were only two hundred players who were members of the US Go Association a couple of decades ago. The exponential increase in the number of Go players has been phenomenal, and this was before the movie!

The 2006 Go Congress did attract 334 players. It was held at the Blue Ridge Assembly (https://blueridgeassembly.org/), a magnificent venue. I was reminded of the first Land of the Sky Chess tournament held at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina (https://www.biltmore.com/). The majority of my time was spent in the room where books and equipment was sold. Most of the games I played were in that room and were played with those doing the selling. I did, though, play a few games with lower ranking players who were participating in the tournament. Since I was unable to win a game maybe the organizers, without knowing, did me a favor.

I purchased many books about the game of Go, including one, Reflections on the Game of Go : The Empty Board 1994-2004,
by William S. Cobb, that is priced at $125 at Amazon. It appears the price of Go books has increased dramatically since many, if not most, books come in digit form these days.

I had a wonderful time during that week and met many people who were extremely nice to me, even if I was considered to be some kind of curiosity since I was considered a Chess and Backgammon board game player. When it came time to eat I went to a Mexican restaurant in the city of Black Mountain where someone who lives in the area, and whom, per his request, I can never mention again, (this came after my post of July 18, 2018, https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/?s=fuck+you+mr+president) had previously taken me for lunch.