Good Old Friends and the Buddy-Buddy Draw at the Moscow Grand Prix

Although I have intentionally not followed the ongoing Moscow Grand Prix event my old friend the legendary Georgia Ironman has followed it because it did begin with a couple of games of what is now called “classical” Chess before devolving into what is called “rapid Chess” before devolving further into “speed” Chess. Frankly, I could care less about which player is best at faster time controls. The only thing that matters is who is best at a classical time control. Say what you will about Magnus Carlsen but the fact is that he could not beat either Sergey Karjakin or Fabiano Caruana at classical Chess, something to keep in mind when talking about the best Chess player of all time.

In an article at Chessbase by Antonio Pereira recently, dated 5/18/2019, it is written: “Ian Nepomniachtchi, Jan-Krzysztof Duda and Radek Wojtaszek won with the white pieces at the start of the FIDE Grand Prix in Moscow, which means Levon Aronian, Wesley So and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov will need to push for a win on Saturday if they want to survive the first round. Three match-ups ended with quick draws, while Peter Svidler and Anish Giri accepted the draws offered by Nikita Vitiugov and Daniil Dubov in games that could have easily kept going.”

The article continues:

“Better than losing and worse than winning”

“A lot of criticism followed the 2011 Candidates Tournament in Kazan, in which the knock-out format led to some players openly using a safe-first strategy by signing quick draws in the classical games and putting all on the line in the tie-breaks. In order to discourage the players from using this strategy, the organizers are awarding an extra point in the Grand Prix overall standings for those who eliminate their opponents needing only two games. In the first game of the opening round in Moscow, four out of eight encounters ended peacefully after no more than 23 moves.”

The so-called “strategy” of the organizers had absolutely no effect on the players who continue to agree to short draws with impunity whenever and wherever they want, regardless of what organizers or fans want to see from them. Are the players aware their “inaction” is killing the Royal game? Do they care?

Exhibit one:

Teimour Radjabov (AZE)

vs Hikaru Nakamura (USA)

Moscow Grand Prix 2019 round 01

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 d5 3. Bg2 e6 4. c4 Be7 5. O-O O-O 6. d4 dxc4 7. Qc2 b5 8. a4 b4 9. Nbd2 Bb7 10. Nxc4 c5 11. dxc5 Be4 12. Qd1 ½-½

Sergey Karjakin (RUS) – Alexander Grischuk (RUS)

Moscow Grand Prix 2019 round 01

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 c6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. a4 Bd6 7. a5 O-O 8. Be2 e5 9. cxd5 cxd5 10. dxe5 Nxe5 11. O-O Bc7 12. Qb3 Nc6 13. a6 bxa6 14. Qa4 ½-½

The article continues:

“It must be added that Nikita Vitiugov had what seemed like a considerable advantage against Peter Svidler when he surprisingly offered a draw.

Both contenders are part of the Mednyi Vsadnik team from Saint Petersburg, which won the last two editions of the Russian Team Championship and are the current European champions. Vitiugov has also worked for Svidler as a second more than once. The long-time friends talked about how unfortunate it was for them to be paired up immediately in round one, although Svidler confessed that, “[he] somehow had a feeling that [they] would play at least one [match], and particularly in Moscow”.


Good old friends from Saint Petersburg | Photo: World Chess

“Regarding the position shown in the diagram, Peter recounted how he was thinking about 18.f4 being a move that would leave him worse on the board. So, when the move was accompanied by a draw offer, he thought, “yeah, that’s a good deal!” And the point was split then and there.

To accept the draw was a good match strategy? Peter wittily added:

“As for match strategy, I envy people who have strategies of any kind. I don’t have any. I thought I was worse and then I was offered a draw, so I took it.”
https://en.chessbase.com/post/moscow-grand-prix-2019-r1-d1


http://www.espn.com/espnw/news-commentary/slideshow/13596920/13-major-showdowns-serena-venus-williams

The Williams sisters, Venus and Serena, have had to play each other many times during their storied tennis careers, and each and every time there has been a winner because offering a draw is not in the tennis rule book. What is it doing in the Chess rule book?

Chess organizers better wake up because Chess is in a battle with the game of Go and if the trend continues, like the Highlander, there will be only one left standing.

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Traitorous Trump Going Down

What more do you need to know about Trump?

Trump did it and he’s going down for a host of crimes, and some of them have nothing to do with Russia

Lucian K. Truscott IV

May 19, 2018

I’ve been “covering” the Trump story for over a year now, and I’m sick and tired of stacking up the details of his treachery day after day, week after week. What more do you need to know? He’s a lying, thieving, incompetent, ignorant traitor who conspired with the Russian government to steal the election of 2016 and illegally defeat a candidate who won the popular vote by nearly 3 million ballots. His presidency is illegitimate, and his occupation of the White House is a stain on our nation’s honor and a threat to our democracy. History will cast him into the same sewer in which float the putrid remains of Benedict Arnold, Jefferson Davis and Richard Nixon. Impeachment would be too kind an end for him. He belongs behind bars, broken, bankrupt and disgraced.

Every day the front pages of the newspapers and the headlines of the cable news shows are filled with evidence of Trump’s lies and thievery. Look at what happened this week alone.

Trump started out denying that he even knew Stormy Daniels, then he denied having a sexual relationship with her, then he said he didn’t know about any payoffs to her. Monday, he filed his required federal financial disclosure form in which he effectively admitted making the $130,000 payment to shut her up just before the election in 2016.

He did an about-face on trade restrictions on China, announcing that he would seek to help the Chinese communications giant ZTE, which paid a $1.2 billion fine last year for violating sanctions against trade with North Korea and Iran. Three days previously, China had issued a half-billion dollar loan to a development project in Singapore that includes Trump-branded hotels, golf courses and condos.

He opened the American embassy in Jerusalem, a move he had been warned would result in fighting and deaths in the Middle East — and sure enough, dozens of Palestinians were killed on the day the embassy opened during demonstrations in the Gaza Strip.

The Trump White House refused to apologize for a sick joke made about John McCain by one of his aides.

Trump’s former secretary of state gave a commencement speech at VMI in which he made repeated veiled criticisms of Trump’s lying and warned gravely “If our leaders seek to conceal the truth, or we as people become accepting of alternative realities that are no longer grounded in facts, then we as American citizens are on a pathway to relinquishing our freedom.”

Special Counsel Robert Mueller issued a subpoena to a former aide of Trump’s long-time consultant Roger Stone, who has admitted being in touch during the campaign of 2016 with a Russian intelligence agent involved in the hacking of the Democratic Party emails.

A major story in Buzzfeed on Thursday detailed work by Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen on a 100-story Trump skyscraper in Moscow during 2015 right through the Republican National Convention in 2016. It was revealed that Trump signed a “Letter of Intent” on the Moscow project on the day of the third Republican primary debate on Oct. 28, 2015, in Boulder, Colorado. ABC News reported last week that Trump has denied having deals in Russia “hundreds of times in the past 18 months.” Just before the inauguration in 2017, for example, Trump tweeted:

Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA – NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2017

A Qatar deal was announced. The revelation follows a report that during the transition in 2016, a Qatari diplomat was asked by Trump lawyer Michael Cohen for a $1 million “fee” in return for arranging connections to the Trump family. The government of Qatar bought a $6.5 million apartment in Trump World Tower on the east side of Manhattan recently.

The news of last week was a perfect mix of lies, thievery, buffoonery and malice that have characterized the entirety of Trump’s presidency.

He promised to get rid of Obamacare “on day one.” He failed. Obamacare is alive and well and enjoyed record registrations last year.

His executive orders on everything from immigration to environmental regulations have ignored requirements for public comments and simple federal paperwork and face lawsuits from one end of the country to the other.

He claimed that “nobody has been tougher on Russia than I have.” He has refused to enact most of the sanctions on Russia passed by Congress.

He appointed a hatchet man who had sued the EPA over a dozen times to head up the agency and that man, Scott Pruitt, currently faces no less than 14 investigations of his tenure there, including allegations that he broke federal laws on office renovations and accepting gifts from lobbyists when he rented a room at below-market rates from a lobbyist with business before his agency.

Last week he claimed he raised military pay for “the first time in 10 years.” President Obama raised military pay in every year of his presidency.

Trump has claimed repeatedly that his White House “is running like a fine-tuned machine.” He filled it with wife beaters, worn-out Wall Street bucket shop shysters and half-baked neo-Nazi flacks. At this point, more than 40 top White House officials and aides have either resigned or been fired over the last 18 months. The place leaks like a shredded fish net.

The Washington Post recently reported that the lies he has told in office now number more than 3,000.

But it’s his lies about Russia that really ring a bell. Trump and his White House surrogates began by claiming that the Trump campaign never met with any Russians and had nothing to do with Russia. Revelation after revelation about contacts between Trump people and Russians followed. Then they claimed they had met with only a few Russians. More revelations about more Russians. Then they claimed they had not met with any Russians “about the campaign.” The Trump Tower meeting was revealed. Meets between George Papadopoulos and Russians in London came to light. Trump suddenly started claiming that there was “no collusion.” Evidence of collusion emerged. Then Trump began claiming that even if there was collusion, it was not illegal. Indictments came down. Now Rudy Giuliani is out there telling the world that even if Trump did something wrong, he can’t be indicted as a sitting president.

Wow. Watching Trump revisions on the Russia story is like watching a Slinky descend a staircase, flipping over and over and over and over.

But every set of stairs has a bottom and in Trump’s case, it’s the law. His lies and dissembling about Stormy Daniels came up against the law this week when he had to file his financial disclosure form. Lying or omitting information on a federal form is a felony, which is why Trump was forced to include the repayment of his debt to Michael Cohen which covered the $130,000 that had been paid out to silence Stormy Daniels in October of 2016. He lied about her and he lied about that payment until he came up against the law and then he was forced to tell the truth.

He has reached the ground floor with Russia and everything else. You can lie at rallies, you can lie to the media, you can lie to voters, but lies don’t work when they come up against laws. That’s where Trump finds himself today. He’s a lying, thieving traitor who conspired with a hostile nation to steal the presidential election of 2016 and he got caught. Not even his bone spurs will get him a deferment this time. He’s going to be drafted for the farm team at Leavenworth. He’s going down.

Lucian K. Truscott IV

Lucian K. Truscott IV, a graduate of West Point, has had a 50-year career as a journalist, novelist and screenwriter. He has covered stories such as Watergate, the Stonewall riots and wars in Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan. He is also the author of five bestselling novels and several unsuccessful motion pictures. He has three children, lives on the East End of Long Island and spends his time Worrying About the State of Our Nation and madly scribbling in a so-far fruitless attempt to Make Things Better. He can be followed on Facebook at The Rabbit Hole and on Twitter @LucianKTruscott.

https://www.salon.com/2018/05/19/what-more-do-you-need-to-know-about-trump/

Code Name Crossfire Hurricane

Code Name Crossfire Hurricane: The Secret Origins of the Trump Investigation


Days after the F.B.I. closed its investigation into Hillary Clinton in 2016, agents began scrutinizing the presidential campaign of her Republican rival, Donald J. Trump.CreditAl Drago for The New York Times

By Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman and Nicholas Fandos
May 16, 2018

WASHINGTON — Within hours of opening an investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia in the summer of 2016, the F.B.I. dispatched a pair of agents to London on a mission so secretive that all but a handful of officials were kept in the dark.

Their assignment, which has not been previously reported, was to meet the Australian ambassador, who had evidence that one of Donald J. Trump’s advisers knew in advance about Russian election meddling. After tense deliberations between Washington and Canberra, top Australian officials broke with diplomatic protocol and allowed the ambassador, Alexander Downer, to sit for an F.B.I. interview to describe his meeting with the campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos.

The agents summarized their highly unusual interview and sent word to Washington on Aug. 2, 2016, two days after the investigation was opened. Their report helped provide the foundation for a case that, a year ago Thursday, became the special counsel investigation. But at the time, a small group of F.B.I. officials knew it by its code name: Crossfire Hurricane.

The name, a reference to the Rolling Stones lyric “I was born in a crossfire hurricane,” was an apt prediction of a political storm that continues to tear shingles off the bureau. Days after they closed their investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, agents began scrutinizing the campaign of her Republican rival. The two cases have become inextricably linked in one of the most consequential periods in the history of the F.B.I.


The Kremlin in Moscow. Two weeks before Mr. Trump’s inauguration, senior American intelligence officials told him that Russia had tried to sow chaos in the election, undermine Mrs. Clinton and ultimately help Mr. Trump win.CreditMladen Antonov/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

For Chess Parents, There Is No Endgame.

Prodigal Sons
The search for the next great chess prodigy—the next Bobby Fischer—is constantly underway. And the candidates are getting younger and younger.
By David Hill Dec 20, 2017, 10:00am EST

A most disquieting Chess article was published recently at The Ringer, “An SB Nation affiliate site.” David Hill is a “Chess dad.” His seven year old son, Gus, plays Chess in New York city.

https://www.theringer.com/sports/2017/12/20/16796672/chess-prodigy-misha-osipov-bobby-fischer

The article begins:

Anatoly Karpov, the 66-year-old former World Chess Champion, was comfortable playing chess underneath the bright lights and in front of the cameras on a television studio set. His opponent, Mikhail “Misha” Osipov, had never played on quite so big a stage before. In this case, before a studio audience on the Russian television program The Best, broadcast on the state-run Channel One. Nevertheless, Osipov looked comfortable. He greeted Karpov warmly, and complimented his showdown with Viktor Korchnoi, which Osipov had studied to prepare. (“It was a beautiful game!”) Osipov played the Nimzo-Indian defense, and played it well.

But Osipov took a long time to consider each move, while Karpov played quickly. Their game was timed, with Karpov playing with two minutes on his clock to Osipov’s 10, in consideration of Karpov’s superior skill and experience. That time advantage dwindled as Osipov spent precious minutes thinking.

Fourteen moves into the game and they were equal in time, with Karpov up a single pawn. Graciously, Karpov offered Osipov a draw.

“Nyet,” Osipov responded, and continued to move.

A few moves later, Osipov’s clock ran out.

“You’ve lost on time,” Karpov told Osipov. “You had to accept the draw. Be more realistic about time.”

Osipov shook Karpov’s hand, but his face tensed up and fixed itself into a frown. He got up from his seat and wandered toward the studio audience, no longer able to hold back tears. Osipov sobbed wildly and looked into the bright lights and the audience before him, bewildered.

“Mama!” he shouted as the cameras continued to roll. “Mama!” His mother bounded from the audience onto the stage and picked up the 3-year-old boy into her arms and held him tightly, wiping the tears from his round, cherubic face.

Despite the disappointing result, Misha Osipov remains a media sensation in Russia. His favorite player is Magnus Carlsen, the current World Champion and himself a child prodigy. According to Yuri, Misha found the games of former Russian World Champion Vladimir Kramnik to be a little boring. By contrast, young Misha found the games of Bobby Fischer to be exciting.

The now-4-year-old from Moscow has already beaten a grandmaster (albeit one with poor eyesight and not exactly in his prime at 95 years old) and has won a number of youth tournament titles. Osipov already has two coaches and a corporate sponsor. He’s helping revitalize Russian interest in a game that was once a source of national pride, a revitalization that began last year when Russian Sergey Karjakin played Norwegian Magnus Carlsen for the World Championship. Both Karjakin and Carlsen were chess prodigies themselves, and Karjakin holds the record for being the youngest player to become a grandmaster. Neither of them could play chess at the age of 3.

I asked Yuri Osipov how he felt watching his little boy cry that day, after he’d lost to Anatoly Karpov. Yuri said it surprised him. It was very unlike Misha to cry. After all, it wasn’t his first time losing a game. But after speaking with Misha after the show, he realized that his son had never played with an analog clock before, only digital. Misha didn’t know how to read the time on the clock and had no idea he was so short on time. When Misha’s clock ran out of time, it surprised him. “He was upset and cried because he didn’t understand why he lost,” Yuri said. “He cried because he didn’t understand that the time was over.”

After Misha lost to Karpov and bawled his adorable eyes out on television, the video went viral. I found it on YouTube with my son while we scrolled through videos about the Philidor position in the endgame. It affected us both. Me because my heart broke for the little boy, calling out for his mama, confused and afraid. Gus because he felt jealous that such a little kid could get to play chess against a former World Champion. If Gus had been there, he assured me, he would not have cried.

He adds a coda to the Nicholas Nip story:

In the months following Nip’s achievement, he went on Live! With Regis and Kelly to play a simultaneous exhibition—he’d play 10 opponents at the same time. The young boy in a too-large green polo shirt won nine and drew one. Afterward Regis Philbin pestered him with questions about whether he wanted a girlfriend. Kelly Ripa asked him if it was too late for someone her age to learn to play chess. Nip replied, “No, it’s not too late.” “What if we are not smart?” Ripa responded. “No, you can still play,” he said, nervously, looking side to side as if trying to find a way out.

A few months after his television appearance, Nicholas Nip told his parents he no longer wanted to play chess. He retired from the game in the fourth grade. He hasn’t been seen at a chess tournament since.

And the story, with which I was unfamiliar, of, “a 5-year-old boy named Ernest Kim.”

Fischer’s rise as a young player gave the Soviet Union chess machine fits. During the years that Fischer came up in the United States, gaining international attention for winning the U.S. Championship at the age of 14, the Soviets recruited thousands of new children to attend their chess schools. One of them was a 5-year-old boy named Ernest Kim. The USSR claimed Kim was defeating adults in his home of Tashkent and had climbed to a “third category rating,” the first rung on the ladder to becoming a Soviet grandmaster, within six months of learning the game. Photos of Kim appeared on magazine covers, newsreels circulated with footage of him playing against adults, sitting up on his knees with his tiny head in his hands. In 1958, when Fischer visited Moscow on invitation from the USSR chess authority, he declared that he was eager to play Kim. The government kept the child under wraps.

One Soviet chess player, Vasily Panov, railed against the chess centers in general, and the treatment of Kim in particular. He felt that too many young people were being put through the Soviet chess farm team, possibly sacrificing some future doctors or engineers in the process. In an interview with The New York Times, in speaking about Ernest Kim, who Panov said was being “dragged off to training sessions, away from playmates and school,” Panov quoted Lenin: “Do not forget that chess after all is only a recreation and not an occupation.”

In addition the author writes about Josh Waitzkin. I urge you to read the whole piece.

“My son isn’t as good at chess as Misha Osipov or Josh Waitzkin, but I still see Fred and Yuri as my brothers. Being a chess parent is full of moments like this one. As I sit and wait for Gus to return from a tournament game, where parents are wisely not allowed to sit and spectate, I grind my teeth and pace the floor. I wonder—If I can’t handle the pressure, if I’m this nervous, then how must he feel? And why do I put him through this? Could he possibly be enjoying this, or is he just doing it because he thinks it will please me?

Jerry Nash has been a tournament director at scholastic tournaments throughout the country. He sees kids crying all the time. So what? “My wife teaches elementary school. She’ll tell you, they cry in class, too.” More often than not, the children deal with losses against tougher opponents by getting excited, rather than discouraged, he tells me. This is how you can tell apart those who are right for the game and those who aren’t. “Sometimes the parent is the only one that’s nervous.”

In my case, it’s pretty much all the time. I stare at the door waiting for him to return, hoping to be able to read his facial expressions for a sense of whether he won or lost before he makes it down the hall so I can mentally prepare for my own reaction when he reaches me and gives me the news.

For chess parents, there is no endgame. There are few opportunities in America for college scholarships for chess players, and almost all of them are snatched up by grandmasters from other countries. There is no way for most grandmasters to make a decent living as professionals, save for the very few at the top. The top five chess players in the world earn millions from tournaments, but the earnings fall sharply once you get outside of the top 10. For the vast majority of adult chess players who stay committed to their study and pursuit of the game, the only way to earn money at chess comes from doling out lessons and taking home a few hundred bucks from the occasional tournament. There is nothing glamorous about it.”

Arguably, the most profound Chess article of the year.

Commie Chess

After the penultimate round of the recently concluded European Championships in Israel the Russian player Evgeniy Najer had eight points, half a point more than the two players tied for second place, David Navarra, of the Czech Republic, and another Russian, Denis Khismatullin. The two Russians were paired in the last round, while GM Navarra was paired the Bulgarian Ivan Cheparinov, who had scored seven points, half a point less than the two aforementioned players tied for second place. The pairings for the final round were Khismatullin vs Najer, and Navarra vs Cheparinov. These are dream pairings for a chess fan! Khismatullin needed to win and had the White pieces, and the same could be said for the board two battle. This is the game “played” by the two Russians:

GM Denis Khismatullin (2653) – GM Evgeniy Najer (2634)
16th ch-EUR Indiv 2015 Jerusalem ISR 2015.03.08
1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 c6 5.a4 Bf5 6.Nh4 Bc8 7.Nf3 Bf5 8.Nh4 Bc8 9.e3 Bg4 10.Nf3 e6 11.h3 Bh5 12.g4 Bg6 13.Ne5 Nbd7 14.Nxc4 h5 15.g5 Ne4 16.h4 Bb4 17.Bg2 Nxc3 18.bxc3 Bxc3+ 19.Bd2 Bxd2+ 20.Qxd2 O-O 21.O-O f6 22.f4 Nb6 23.Na5 Qe7 24.Qe2 Rae8 25.Bf3 Qf7 26.Kh2 e5 27.fxe5 fxe5 28.Qa2 ½-½

I do not need a 3300 rated chess program to inform me something was rotten in Denmark. If a student showed me this game I would have to question why he played 17 Bg2. It is incomprehensible that Najer did not take the Rook in lieu of the Bishop on move 19. All chess players with four digits after their name would question the move made by Black, 19…Bxd2+. This game brought to mind the famous article in the August 1962 issue of Sports Illustrated by Bobby Fischer, The Russians Have Fixed World Chess. My next thought was that a new chapter on chess should be included in a revised issue of, The Fix Is In: The Showbiz Manipulations of the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and NASCAR, by Brian Tuohy. Then I thought of a chess player of yesteryear, Oscar Al Hamilton, who believed, “Everything is rigged.”

What have the “mainstream” chess websites had to say about the collusion conclusion of the European Championships? The first article, dated March 10, appeared on the chess24.com website, Najer is European Champion, by IM David Martínez, who wrote, “Russian Grandmaster Evgeniy Najer has won the European Individual Championship in Jerusalem after drawing with compatriot Denis Khismatullin in the final round. After a fine tournament he could afford to offer a draw on move 28 in a very favourable position and still finish half a point clear of the field on 8.5/11.” (https://chess24.com/en/read/news/najer-is-european-champion)

A day later an article appeared on the Chessbase website, Evgeny Najer is 2015 European Champion, by by Albert Silver. He writes, “The fresh European champion for 2015 is Russian GM Evgeny Najer! In the final round having a better position he accepted a draw offer by his compatriot Denis Khismatullin to secure the desired championship title though not before making sure that David Navara, the other runner-up, wouldn’t achieve more than a draw against Bulgarian Ivan Cheparinov.” (http://en.chessbase.com/post/evgeny-najer-is-2015-european-champion)

Bobby Fischer was proven right and the commie collusion continues to this day. It will not stop as long as the Russians who still think, and act, like communists are in control of FIDE. The day after the tournament ended saw this headline, Putin just awarded a medal of honor to the chief suspect in one of Russia’s most notorious political murders, by Jeremy Bender, dated March 9, 2015. “Russian President Vladimir Putin has just awarded the chief suspect in one of the past decade’s most notorious political assassinations a medal of honor, AFP reports.

The Kremlin honored Andrei Lugovoi, a member of Russia’s lower house of parliament, for his “great contribution to the development of the Russian parliamentary system and his active role in lawmaking.”

Lugovoi is still wanted in Britain as one of the two chief suspects in the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko in 2006. Litvinenko, a defector from the FSB, Russia’s leading intelligence service, died after being poisoned with radioactive polonium-210 in London.

After Litvinenko’s defection from the FSB, he moved London where he became an outspoken critic of Putin and his regime. British intelligence believes that Lugovoi personally slipped the polonium into Litvinenko’s tea during a meeting at the Millennium hotel in London in November 2006. Twenty-three days later, Litvinenko died in a London hospital.

Lugovoi was cleared of wrongdoing after a questioning by a British polygrapher in Moscow following the murder. However, the polygrapher has admitted to skewing the results and said that Lugovoi actually failed a portion of the test in which he denied having ever handled polonium-210, the Guardian reports.

Putin giving an award to Lugovoi might be aimed at undermining Britain specifically during its ongoing investigation into the 2006 assassination. London is currently holding public hearings as part of an inquiry into Litvinenko’s death.

Lugovoi is being honored less than two weeks after the murder of prominent Russian dissident Boris Nemtsov. Nemtsov, an opposition activist and former deputy prime minister during Boris Yeltsin’s presidency, was shot to death on a bridge just 200 yards from the walls of the Kremlin on February 27. (http://www.businessinsider.com/putin-gave-medal-to-litvinenko-poisoning-suspect-2015-3)

Russian President Vladimir Putin Accused of Murder

There is an article by Jane Croft on the Financial Times website, dated Jan. 27, 2015, “Putin accused of presiding over ‘mafia state’ at Litvinenko probe.”

“Russian President Vladimir Putin was on Tuesday accused at the opening of an inquiry into the death of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko of presiding over a “mafia state” with links to organised crime syndicates in Spain.”

This man, RasPutin, is the power behind the world chess federation known as FIDE. This is also the man seen hobnobbing with the chess elite, including the World Human Chess Champion, Magnus Carlsen, and the man he vanquished for the title, Viswanathan Anand. (http://www.sochi2014.fide.com/closing-ceremony) Is it any wonder the public has tuned out the Royal game?

_MG_0601

The article continues, “Ben Emmerson QC, representing Litvinenko’s widow Marina at the public inquiry, claimed that the evidence for Litvinenko’s “horrifying assassination” by a radioactive isotope “all points in one direction” and was only likely to have happened “on the order of very senior officials in the Russian state”.

In a hard hitting speech, Mr Emmerson claimed that Litvinenko was killed “partly as an act of political revenge for speaking out, partly?.?.?.?as a message of lethal deterrence to others and partly to prevent him giving evidence in a criminal prosecution in Spain that could have exposed Putin’s direct link to an organised criminal syndicate in that country”.

Mr Emmerson claimed that the events showed the “unlawfulness and criminality at the very heart of the Russian state”.

“The intimate relationship that will be shown to exist between the Kremlin and Russian organised crime syndicates are so close as to make the two effectively indistinguishable,” Mr Emmerson claimed.

“The startling truth, which is going to be revealed in public by the evidence in this inquiry, is that a significant part of the Russian organised crime around the world is organised directly from the office of the Kremlin. Vladimir Putin’s Russia is a mafia state,” Mr Emmerson alleged to the inquiry.

Mr Emmerson added that Litvinenko had been a “marked man” since giving a press conference in Moscow alleging national security service FSB corruption and Mr Putin was a “ruthless and deadly enemy” to Litvinenko, Mr Emmerson claimed.

“The evidence all points one way,” Mr Emmerson said claiming that the two main suspects implicated in the poisoning had “links to Putin’s inner circle”.

Mr Emmerson said he believed the inquiry would show not just a trail of polonium from London to Moscow but a trail leading “directly to the door of Putin’s office” and Mr Putin would be “unmasked” by the inquiry “as a common criminal dressed up as a head of state.”

The former Russian spy, who died after ingesting radioactive polonium 210, may have been poisoned “not once but twice”, the inquiry into his death was told.

Sir Robert Owen, chairman of the public inquiry, said the circumstances of Litvinenko’s death brought in to focus issues of the “utmost gravity”, which had attracted “worldwide interest and concern”.

The inquiry, which is due to last for 10 weeks, will look at the circumstances around the death of Litvinenko who was allegedly poisoned as he sipped green tea at Mayfair’s Millennium Hotel in November 2006.

The death of Litvinenko sent relations between the UK and Russia to a post-cold war low, with diplomats expelled by both sides.

Russia has long denied claims, attributed to Litvinenko on his deathbed and repeated by his friends and family, that Moscow ordered his death after the Kremlin critic was granted asylum in the UK.

UK prosecutors had accused two Russians Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun of the murder. They have strenuously denied any wrongdoing. Russia has refused to extradite them under the terms of its constitution.

Robin Tam QC, counsel to the public inquiry, told the hearing that scientific evidence will be presented to the inquiry that appeared to show that Litvinenko was poisoned with polonium “not once but twice”.

As well as a November 2006 meeting at the Pine Bar of the Millennium Hotel, the hearing was told an earlier poisoning attempt may have been made at a meeting weeks earlier.

Samples from Litvinenko’s hair show that he may have been poisoned twice with the first attempt much less successful, Mr Tam told the hearing.

Mr Lugovoi and Mr Kovtun were present at two meetings with Mr Litvinenko — including at the Pine Bar at the Millennium Hotel in Mayfair.

Litvinenko, who converted to Islam before he died, claimed to police on his deathbed that he believed he had been targeted by the Russian security services on the orders of Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to details of his police interview conducted just before he died and read out to the hearing.” (http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/998d690c-a62c-11e4-9bd3-00144feab7de.html)

An article, “What’s Been the Effect of Western Sanctions on Russia?” appeared on the PBS website as a companion piece to the hard hitting documentary, “Putin’s Way.”

“When Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine last March, the United States and European Union responded with an economic weapon — sanctions.

The first few rounds, applied in March and April of 2014, targeted Russian and Crimean officials, as well as businessmen seen to have close ties to President Vladimir Putin — his “inner circle” — with travel bans and asset freezes.

Since then, the West has steadily expanded its sanctions against Russian entities, targeting major businesses and parts of Russia’s financial, energy and military industries.

FRONTLINE talked to Anders Åslund, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, on Jan. 8, 2015 about the effects and consequences of Western sanctions on the Russian economy. Åslund served as an economic adviser to the Russian and Ukrainian governments in the 1990s.
Which round of sanctions do you think really had an effect on the Russian economy? How would you measure that?

The sanctions the U.S. imposed came in two big chunks. The first concerned Crimea, and they were only personal sanctions for Crimean and Russian leaders involved in the Crimean drama.

Then, the important sanctions were imposed on July 16, which are called sectoral sanctions.

We can see that no money has been going into Russia after July. No financial institutions dared to provide Russia with any financing more than a month after that. And that we know from talking to banks. …

The point is that the [July] financial sanctions have worked out as far more severe in their effect than anyone seems to have believed.
Would sanctions alone have damaged Russia’s economy without the current plunging oil prices?

There are three major causes for Russia’s economic troubles. The first cause is the corruption and bad economic policies that Putin pursues, which on their own would lead to stagnation, or at most 1 percent growth.

The second element is the falling oil prices. The oil prices have now fallen so much that Russia’s total export revenues this year will be two-thirds of what they have been before. That means that Russia will have to cut its imports by half. This is a big blow.

This is then reinforced by the financial sanctions, so that Russia cannot mitigate this blow by borrowing money. By ordinary standards, Russia is perfectly credit-worthy with a public debt that is only 10 percent of GDP. But if you don’t have access to financial markets, then it doesn’t matter how credit-worthy you are, because you’re not credit-worthy so-to-say.

[Editor’s Note: On Jan. 9, Fitch Ratings cut Russia’s credit rating to BBB-, one step above junk.]”
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/foreign-affairs-defense/putins-way/whats-been-the-effect-of-western-sanctions-on-russia/

Vladimir RasPutin has become a pariah. The world will watch as he is consigned to oblivion because he, and his friends, like FIDE President Kirsan the ET, is on his way off of the world stage. He is learning first hand something a fellow Georgian, Martin Luther King Jr., said decades ago. “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

Garry Kasparov must be following these events closely. In the immortal words of Bob Dylan, “For the loser now will be later to win/
For the times they are a-changin’.

When I’m 64

Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you! – Dr. Seuss

When I get older, losing my hair, many years from now
Will you still be sending me a valentine, birthday greetings, bottle of wine?
If I’d been out ’til quarter to three, would you lock the door?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me when I’m sixty-four?
You’ll be older too
Ah, and if you say the word, I could stay with you
I could be handy, mending a fuse when your lights have gone
You can knit a sweater by the fireside, Sunday mornings, go for a ride
Doing the garden, digging the weeds, who could ask for more?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me when I’m sixty-four?
Every summer we can rent a cottage
In the Isle of Wight if it’s not too dear
We shall scrimp and save
Ah, grandchildren on your knee, Vera, Chuck and Dave
Send me a postcard, drop me a line stating point of view
Indicate precisely what you mean to say, yours sincerely wasting away
Give me your answer, fill in a form, mine forever more
Will you still need me, will you still feed me when I’m sixty-four?

Songwriters
Paul McCartney & John Lennon

The Beatles – When I’m Sixty-Four

How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are? – Satchel Paige

Middle age is when you still believe you’ll feel better in the morning. – Bob Hope

The BEATLES “Birthday” song

“Birthday” is a song written by John Lennon–Paul McCartney and performed by The Beatles on their 1968 double album …The Beatles …..commonly known as “The White Album”
Preformed here live by former BEATLE…..Sir Paul McCartney With
Rusty Anderson – Lead Guitar
Abe Laboriel Jr. – Drums
Paul “Wix” Wickens – Key board
Brian Ray – Rhythm guitar/bass
Red square, Moscow

The Beatles – Happy Birthday

I’m not a big birthday guy; I never have been. – Lewis Black

Elvis – Happy Birthday Baby!

You were born an original. Don’t die a copy. – John Mason

Jimy Hendrix – Happy Birthday

B. B. King – Happy Birthday Blues

Youth is happy because it has the ability to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old. – Franz Kafka

Marilyn Monroe sings Happy Birthday

Rarely heard JFK comments after Marilyn Monroe sang Happy Birthday

There are two great days in a person’s life – the day we are born and the day we discover why. – William Barclay

The day which we fear as our last is but the birthday of eternity. – Lucius Annaeus Seneca

It takes a long time to grow young. – Pablo Picasso

May you stay forever young. – Bob Dylan