Kirsan Unmasked

Someone from one of the alphabet agencies contacted me concerning an Above Top Secret picture of the shape-shifting FeeDay President Kirsan Illuminatus taken while he was traversing the universe with the Zeta Reticulians. When I asked Mr. Alphabet to name the organization he represents he said, “Only those on a need to know basis can be told, and you don’t need to know. Besides, if I tell you I will have to kill you.” It was rather easy to quickly decide I most definitely did not need to know. He did, though, inform me he was based out of Papoose Lake, which is more secret than Area 51. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgdp0pOSRtU)
After showing the startling picture we talked about other Above Top Secret locations (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2M9IYwIRPIM) before his gizmo glowed. “I’ve gotta take this,” he said. This was not any ordinary phone and unlike anything I have ever seen. “Mulder,” he said, while the gizmo floated in the air. Only he could hear the incoming voice. “OK Scully, I’m on my way.” He looked me in the eye and said, “Think long and hard about what you want to do with this,” before turning and running like a fox.
After thinking long and hard the decision has been made to share the picture with the chess world, even if it is the last thing I ever do.

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Everything Is Broken

An email arrived recently in which a reader accused me of being “Mr. Doom & Gloom.” The writer takes exception to some of what I write, most of which he considers “negative.”

The email arrived during a week the chess community learned, “Parviz Gasimov, a 14-year-old from Azerbaijan, has managed the incredible feat of going from a 1949 rating in October 2014 to 2517 in the first rating list of 2015 – no less than a leap of 568 points in three months.” (https://chess24.com/en/read/news/from-1949-to-2517-in-three-months)
Unlike previous players who “enjoyed” amazing leaps there have been no accusations of any cheating by the boy. He accomplished this unbelievable feat because the F.I.P.s in charge of the world chess organization changed the rules. Keep in mind Sam Sevian, the young GM currently playing in the Tata Steel tournament, was initially rated 315 in the middle of 2006. Six and one half years later he hit first hit 2500 USCF. Where is the outcry and outrage from the chess community? As far as I have been able to determine there has been no one from the chess community to even question this revolting development. Could that be because Kirsan the E.T. and his fellow travelers have instituted so many Draconian changes the chess community has become inured to the changes? Has the chess community collectively decided to accept anything and everything these henchmen deliver? Keep in mind the FIDE president has said, “There is no professional chess and non-professional chess, there is only chess. And we will have discipline.” Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, explaining FIDE’s zero tolerance rule to interviewer Danny King (http://en.chessbase.com/post/king-talks-with-kirsan)
Full disclosure-I have taken this from the Mechanic’s Institute Newsletter #692 (http://www.chessclub.org/news.php?n=692)
What Kirsan the E.T. said sounds like something an adult would say to a child. Does Kirsan the E.T. consider the chess community his children? Or was it said more along the lines of what an older Soviet KGB agent may think? The Nazi Gestapo instilled “discipline.” Why do the very best human chess players allow themselves to be treated as children, or subjects? Why is FIDE allowed to be administered like a Third World dictator runs a banana republic?

Albert Einstein said, “The important thing is not to stop questioning.”

During the week the “Doom Gloom” email arrived the chess world learned, “With an Elo-rating of 2399 (January 2015) Kenny Solomon is South Africa’s number three but a few days ago he became the country’s first grandmaster. In the Africa Chess Championship 2014 he finished with 7.0/9 and had a better tie-break than tournament favorite GM Ahmed Adly, World Junior Champion from 2007. This tie-break win made Solomon Grandmaster.” This is from an article, “South Africa’s first Grandmaster,” dated 1/4/2015, on Chessbase. (http://en.chessbase.com/post/south-africa-s-first-grandmaster) Mr. Solomon TIED for first place; he did not win a playoff. He is rated 400 points lower that the number one GM; 200 points lower than an average GM; and 100 points lower than the minimum allowed to become a GM. I have seen nothing questioning this development, so I ask, “Is this a good thing for the Royal game?” Is it a good thing to have such a mediocre player spoken of in the same way one speaks, or writes, about Magnus Carlsen? Now that Kenny has “joined the club” how much does his being a member cheapen the GM title? And why am I the only one questioning this development?

Change is inevitable and chess has changed dramatically this century. The Draconian dictators of chess no doubt believe these changes are good for the Royal game. This flies in the face of the reality. For example, funding for the most prestigious event of the chess world, the World Championship, was difficult to find. The chess world still does not know who funded the match. The public has tuned out chess. Here are some recent headlines to bolster my case:

“Grandmaster Clash: One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.” By Seth Stevenson (http://www.slate.com/articles/sports/sports_nut/2014/09/sinquefield_cup_one_of_the_most_amazing_feats_in_chess_history_just_happened.html)

“Destroying the grandmasters,” by Clive Thompson (http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2013/11/26/clive-thompson-destroying-the-grandmasters/)

“How computers changed chess” By Guillermo Campitelli (http://theconversation.com/how-computers-changed-chess-20772)

This seems an appropriate place to insert measures taken by another game, a cousin of chess, which were not taken by the Royal game:

“Have computers invaded the realm of this ancient game as they did to the western chess? Of course, although it took much longer and caused quite a bit of consternation to the JSA, who in 2005, officially forbade professionals to compete publicly against machines as a way of preserving the dignity of shogi masters. In any event, shogi computer programs were too weak, for a long time, to present a serious challenge to the human mind.” (http://en.chessbase.com/post/the-knight-that-jumps-high-falls-prey-to-a-pawn-2)

Have chess Grandmasters lost “dignity” because of losing to chess programs? What you and I, members of the chess community, think matters little in relation to how the general public answers the question. Has chess become a kind of ivory tower, insulated from those outside its borders, or does what the general public think have any meaning? You bet your sweet bippy it means something!

“What chess can learn from rebranded sports: Chess has long been associated with the cerebral and socially awkward, but now a million-dollar Las Vegas tournament is trying to combat that image. Which other games have tried to rebrand?” By Telegraph Men (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/the-filter/11070041/What-chess-can-learn-from-rebranded-sports.html)

What does it say about chess when the sponsor(s) of this tournament, meant to change the public perception of chess, took a bath? Rather than enhance the stature of chess, the final analysis of the tournament from those in the media, and general public, is that chess, as one member of the general public said, who happens to have played chess when young and who continued to avidly read the New York Times chess column until it ended, “Chess received yet another black eye.”

I will end with a poem about chess, found in the article, “Man vs Machine: A poet on Kasparov-Deep Blue,” by Colin McGourty (https://chess24.com/en/read/news/man-vs-machine-a-poet-on-kasparov-deep-blue).

Chess

awaited
in great anticipation
the match between a man
distinguishing trait: a knife between his teeth
and the monster of a machine
distinguishing trait: Olympic calm
ended in the victory of the dragon

for nothing
poems ripened
in the gardens of Andalucía
the nouveau riche
Deep Blue
elbows his way across squares
sewn from a Harlequin’s cloak
a mocking ignoramus
stuffed
with all the openings
attacks defences
and finally with a joyful
hallali above the corpse
of his opponent

and so
the royal game
passes into the hands
of automatons

it needs to be snatched by night
from the prison camp

when the mind slumbers
machines awaken

we must begin again
a journey to the imagination

Zbigniew Herbert (translated by Colin McGourty)