Games Have Been Terminated!

The thing about writing a blog is that one never knows what an email will bring. After spending an inordinate amount of time in front of Toby, the ‘puter, yesterday learning how to insert diagrams, and then putting together the post in order to have something in which to insert them, I determined that today I would spend time with the Daniel Gormally book, Insanity, passion and addiction: a year inside the chess world, while playing over Chess games on an actual board with pieces one can feel, and possibly “working” on the openings intended for the Senior Championship of the Great State of South Carolina, which is only ten days away, by going to the CBDB and 365Chess. Wrong, Ke-mo sah-bee! An email from my friend Mulfish arrived at 11:42 am, upsetting the Bacon cart…

“Looking forward to the AWs take on AlphaZeros stunning win over Stockfish,” was the message. “What’s this?” I thought, wondering if Mike was referring to the TCEC Computer Chess Championship that is in the final stretch. “But Stockfish is not participating in the Super Final,” I thought. I therefore fired off an immediate response: “To what, exactly, are you referring?” His reply was, “Look in the all things Chess forum.”

Although there are not as many incoming as there were before taking a long break from blogging, I have received several emails directing my attention here and there, and they are greatly appreciated. Checking the AW stats today showed many people in countries other than the USA reading the AW. In particular I noticed that today, as every day, there is one, and only one, reader in the Maldives. Thank you, whoever you are, and feel free to send an email, as I am curious by nature.

Keep ’em coming: xpertchesslessons@yahoo.com

This is the post found on the USCF forum that prompted Mulfish to fire a salvo at the AW:

Postby billbrock on Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:16 am #321974

“AlphaZero learned to play chess by playing against itself. After just FOUR HOURS of self-learning, it was able to decisely (sic) defeat Stockfish 8.0! (EDIT: this statement is slightly misleading. See downthread.) (100 games match: +28 =72 -0)
What’s really impressive: Stockfish was calculating far more deeply than AlphaZero (at least in terms of nodes per second). AlphaZero is just “smarter.”

After reading only this I thought, “Whoa! This will change not only my day, but possibly the future course of history!” The more I read the more convinced was I of the latter.

Bill Brock provided a link to a PDF paper, Mastering Chess and Shogi by Self-Play with a General Reinforcement Learning Algorithm
(https://arxiv.org/pdf/1712.01815.pdf) which I read immediately, blowing my mind…

Every morning I read while drinking my first cuppa coffee, and today was no exception. Toby is not fired-up until time to sit down and eat breakfast. I check my email, then the quotes of the day, followed by the poem of the day, which was The Writer’s Almanac, by Garrison Keillor, but it has been discontinued, so I’ve moved on to Poem-a-Day (https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem-day) & The Poetry Foundation’s Poem of the Day (https://www.poetryfoundation.org/). Next I click on the Drudge Report in order to understand what the enemy is thinking, and doing. Then it is the newspapers in digital form, the NYT, WaPo, and AJC. For you readers outside the USA, that would be the New York Times, the Washinton Post, and the Atlanta Journal & Constitution. Then I check out the word of the day (https://www.merriam-webster.com/word-of-the-day), before heading to check what was on the nightly radio programs broadcast while I am sleeping, Ground Zero with Clyde Lewis (http://www.groundzeromedia.org/), and the Granddaddy of them all, Coast to Coast AM (https://www.coasttocoastam.com/). You may think that Chess comes next, but you would be mistaken. I check out The Hardball Times at Fangraphs (https://www.fangraphs.com/tht/). Then I check out what’s happening in the world of Go (http://www.usgo.org/).

Then it is time for Chess! My routine is to check in at Chess24 (https://chess24.com/en) first in order to learn if there is a new article I will want to return to after checking out Chessbase (https://en.chessbase.com/), where there is usually something interesting to peruse. (Today is no exception because the lead article is, How XiangQi can improve your chess, which will be read. https://en.chessbase.com/). During the TCEC Championships it is then on to Chessdom (http://www.chessdom.com/), where I click onto TCEC (http://tcec.chessdom.com/). And then it is on to the Chess Granddaddy of them all website, TWIC, aka The Week In Chess (http://theweekinchess.com/), which is Mark Crowther’s wonderful website which contains a Daily Chess Puzzle, which I attempt to solve, in hopes it will keep my mind sharp. Why was I writing all this?…Just kidding!

The point is that I read so long this morning (Why Bob Dylan Matters, by Richard F. Thomas; Cover Me: The stories behind the GREATEST COVER SONGS of all time, by Ray Padgett, who has a wonderful website (http://www.covermesongs.com/); and Murder on the Death Star: The assassination of Kennedy and its relevance to the Trump era, by Pelle Neroth) in order to finish the latter. The point being that by the time I got to the email by Mulfish I would ordinarily have already seen the momentous news.

DeepMind’s AlphaZero crushes chess

https://chess24.com/en/read/news/deepmind-s-alphazero-crushes-chess

The excellent article by Colin McGourty begins: “20 years after DeepBlue defeated Garry Kasparov in a match, chess players have awoken to a new revolution. The AlphaZero algorithm developed by Google and DeepMind took just four hours of playing against itself to synthesise the chess knowledge of one and a half millennium and reach a level where it not only surpassed humans but crushed the reigning World Computer Champion Stockfish 28 wins to 0 in a 100-game match. All the brilliant stratagems and refinements that human programmers used to build chess engines have been outdone, and like Go players we can only marvel at a wholly new approach to the game.”

Colin ends with: “And where do traditional chess programmers go from here? Will they have to give up the refinements of human-tuned evaluation functions and all the existing techniques, or will the neural networks still require processing power and equipment not easily available? Will they be able to follow in DeepMind’s footsteps, or are there proprietary techniques involved that can’t easily be mastered?

There’s a lot to ponder, but for now the chess world has been shaken!”

“Shaken?” More like ROCKED TO ITS FOUNDATION!

If games people play are to survive they will be something like that described in the novel I consider the best I have read, Das Glasperlenspiel, or Magister Ludi, aka, The Glass Bead Game, by Hermann Hesse. (http://www.glassbeadgame.com/)

Or maybe a book, The Player of Games, by Iain M. Banks, which is not only one of my favorite Sci-Fi books, but also one of my favorite book about games.

The stunning news also caused me to reflect on a Canadian Sci-Fi television program I watched, Continuum, in which mega-corporations dominate the world in the future as time-travelers fight one of the largest corporatocratic entities, SadTech, which sounds an awful lot like Google. (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1954347/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_6)

The Brave New World is here. The Science Fiction books I read as a youngster are no longer fiction.

The Terminator has arrived.

We are all doomed. DOOMED!

R.E.M. – It’s The End Of The World

The End of the World

Who Are You?

Within the past several days I have been asked, via comment, “Who are you?” and, via email, “Why do you write a Chess blog?” Some time earlier I received an email from my friend Michael Mulford: “Just got a message from a very surprised David Rupel. One thing he pointed out was that your blog never identify who the author is!”

I replied, “OK Mulfish…I just went to my blog and…I’ll be damned, I could not find a way to get the the page showing who I am, which is really STRANGE, because some years ago a woman I knew in another life, (name withheld), whom my friends called a “New Ager” & (withheld) suddenly became a follower of the blog, so we emailed awhile so I could learn how she tracked me down, and she did it somehow, so I know there must be a way to find out who the AW is, it’s just that I do not know how to do it! Maybe in the real near future I will do a “Who I am” kinda thing as a post…

Since then I have learned that I must obtain a “Gravatar” if I want people to know who I am. I do not want a “Gravatar.” Hell, I do not even know what a “Gravatar is, and at my age, feel I can live, and die, without knowing, or having, a “Gravatar.”

This is rather ironic because over the weekend I found a new, and interesting, Chess blog, Chessentials, Vjekoslav Nemec’s Chess Blog (http://www.chessentials.com/). The first question posed is: “WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT CHESS?” The answer follows: “My name is Vjekoslav Nemec and i am a candidate master from Croatia. My current rating is 2175 Fide Elo.” In addition he writes, “Which implies I don’t know that much at all.” This leads to the second question: WHY HAVE YOU DECIDED TO WRITE ABOUT SOMETHING YOU DON’T KNOW “THAT MUCH AT ALL”? His answer is wonderful: “Because I love it. I really love chess and everything involved around chess, whether it is playing, reading or following top level games. And someone somewhere has once remarked that you should always pursue things you love.”

I am not as strong as Vjekoslav, but I have loved the Royal game for almost half a century. My name is W. Michael Bacon. I add the W. so as to not be confused with Michael H. Bacon, who played in Atlanta, Georgia, some years ago and people kept getting us confused. I am currently a floored Expert, rated 1800. Or as my friend OLM Neal Harris once said about a decade ago, “Hmmm, you’re a nineteen hunderd.” Yes, I know the correct spelling is “hundred,” but that is not the way we talk in the South. What, you think we Southern people talk funny? Former POTUS John F. Kennedy pronounced “Cuba” as “Cuber.” I do not even know how to write how yankees pronounce clam “chowder.” Maybe something like “CHOWdah.” However one pronounces it I’m here to tell you that the best “CHOWdah” I ever put into my mouth was at a roadside seafood stand in Sturbridge, Massachusetts while playing in a CCA Chess tournament. Those northern folk may talk funny, but they sure know their seafood!

I took being called a 1900 as a compliment. I drew with the Ol’ Swindler once on the White side of the Closed Sicilian. He sent me another game we had contested later in which I lost pitifully, also as White in a CS, and I thought, “Who was THAT player?” It was like two completely different players.

Actually, it made me feel good to be considered a 1900 player. When I first began playing seriously the highest rated player who came to the Atlanta Chess Club on Friday nights at the downtown YMCA was a fellow named Tom Pate, and he was rated 19 something. There were a few higher rated players in the area, like Experts D. Brad Wade, and William A. Scott, but they rarely played, and then only in tournaments like the Georgia State Championship. Coming to the game as an adult I never thought I would make it to 1900.

A decent introduction to who I am, including a picture taken earlier this decade, can be found here: https://en.chessbase.com/post/jon-speelman-s-agony-column-23

The two games encapsulate my Chess career, which was, like my life, erratic. I scored against some players much stronger than an I, such as Polish IM Andre Flipowicz (first round with Black, so it was no “buddy-buddy” draw), but lost to players many hundreds of points lower.

Leonard Cohen said, “There’s a crack in everything. That is how the light gets in.”

I am the crack in the Chess board. I write about Chess from a different perspective, because I look at things a little differently than the herd. I am most definitely not one to tow the “party line.” One can find “Don’t worry, be happy,” and “Everything is beautiful in it’s on way,” blogs all over the internet. I question EVERYTHING! If I had lived in Communist Russia “they” would have, no doubt, sent me to Siberia. If I had been born to an African American woman I would have turned out to be “H. Rap Bacon.”

“The important thing is not to stop questioning; curiosity has its own reason for existing.” – Albert Einstein

Who am I?

USCF Going Down

This concerns the first post pulled by deputy Schulte on the USCF forum. I was responding to comments made by another deputy dawg, Boyd M. Reed, who wrote, “It should also be noted that the economic crisis triggered by the Lehman collapse did not discriminate based on age. My portfolio bears sorry witness to that fact.” Many books have been written refuting the comments made by Mr. Reed. I thought he might read an article or two in order to educate himself, but I could have been mistaken. Some people would rather hold onto their fallacious beliefs, spoon-fed by the corporate controlled media, rather than search for “the truth”, which is, as Mulder told Scully, “out there.”
Re: Should Children Play in “Big Money” Events?
Sent at: Sat Aug 09, 2014 7:30 pm
From: mfschulte
To: nocab Moderators
Mr. Bacon,
The below post has been pulled. Specifically, the AUG discourages posts unrelated to chess, and in this case, there is a lot in your post on politics, which can particularly make other members uncomfortable or unwelcome. Please do confine the discussion to chess.
Thank you.
nocab wrote: I have been a fan of baseball about 44 years. There is only one baseball World Series. Although I have played poker, I am not, and never have been, a fan of the game in the same way I have been a fan of baseball, and chess. I would like to thank you for picking that particular nit, as I now know much more about the WSOP than I need to know.
I would suggest to anyone who would write, “… the economic crisis triggered by the Lehman collapse,” do a search on http://www.startpage.com and type in the name, Matt Taibbi, and read anything and everything the man has written on the so-called “economic crisis.” Begin with his most famous article, “The Great American Bubble Machine: From tech stocks to high gas prices, Goldman Sachs has engineered every major market manipulation since the Great Depression — and they’re about to do it again”
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/ne … z39vy95uJc
“The now famous Rolling Stone magazine article in 2009 by Matt Taibbi unforgettably referred to Goldman Sachs, the world’s most powerful investment bank, as a “great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.”
At the time, Taibbi was describing Goldman’s role in the 2008 financial crisis and the speculative bubble of mortgage-backed securities assets which later came crashing down.” http://www.forbes.com/sites/jakezamansk … n-sucking/
If you do not have time to read everything he has written on the subject, then after you read this famous article, skip to his last one,
“The Vampire Squid Strikes Again: The Mega Banks’ Most Devious Scam Yet”
Banks are no longer just financing heavy industry. They are actually buying it up and inventing bigger, bolder and scarier scams than ever
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/ne … z39vsE5Opq

If one takes the time to do this, he will never again be naive enough to write, “… the economic crisis triggered by the Lehman collapse.” He will have a much better understanding of why I say we were Bushwhacked by the Banksters.

Specific to this discussion, more nuclear waste is being produced. This isn’t a bad thing. The more difficult proposition is disposing of said waste material. However, the more waste produced, the more likely it is that someone will come up with an idea as to how we dispose of the waste material. (This was written in response to this, written by Boyd Reed: “Times have changed a bit since 1970. Specific to this discussion, more children have gravitated to chess. This isn’t a bad thing. The more difficult proposition is keeping them involved with chess in general, and USCF in particular, as they become adults. However, the more children one can get involved in chess, the more likely it is more children will make chess a lifelong avocation.” It has been a quarter of a century since USCF was diverted to become the United States Scholastic Chess Federation and the pooh-bahs keep saying things like “the more children one can get involved with chess the better the odds are that one day, hopefully soon, some of those children will stop dropping out of chess before puberty.”)

The thread to which I refer is: MonRois and how they are used…tournament question for TDs!
Postby RayKinStL on Mon Apr 27, 2009 9:38 am #140440

It is possible that the comments by the fellow who started the above thread I mentioned were on the forum of the St. Louis Chess & Scholastic Center, which no longer exists, and not on the USCF forum. (This is in response to Boyd Reed, who wrote, “I sorrowfully confess that, despite my best efforts, I can’t seem to find a Forums thread within the last five years that references such castigation and/or vilification. I would be most grateful if Mr. Bacon could direct me (and others) to the thread in question.”)

I apologize if any of my comments have offended any of the badge men. My friend Mulfish elucidated me in a private email as to the relationship of the sheriff to the USCF.

Equating how a child is treated in school bears absolutely no relation to how a child is treated at a chess tournament because the child MUST attend school. The government has laws forcing children to attend school. The government will not arrest a parent if he does not make his child attend a chess tournament. (This was a response to one “tmagchesspgh” aka, Thomas Magar, who wrote, “In schools, a parent may request to come into a classroom to observe his/her child. The school in turn may reject that request. There is no absolute right that the parent be allowed in the same room as the child. Doing so might be distracting to the learning process for the other children. It also bums out the kid who is really embarrassed by the overbearing parent. Just because you have an interest does not mean that you have a right to interfere with administration.”)

Learning to dislike children at an early age saves a lot of expense and aggravation later in life. – Robert Byrne

Deputy Schulte writes, “…which can particularly make other members uncomfortable or unwelcome.”

It has been my experience on the USCF forum that one is made welcome by the people who have written extensively on said forum only if one toes the party line. As soon as anyone expresses any idea that is opposed to the politburo, the nit-pickers and nay-sayers come out in force, singing, “Don’t worry, be happy,” and “Everything is beautiful in its own way.” I am reminded of the scene in the movie, “Titanic,” when the band keeps playing as the ship is going down…
Speaking of going down…Last month there was a gathering at the huge World Congress Center of Telegu people from the southern part of India who are living in Atlanta. One of the speakers was a man known to be their financial “guru.” He created a firestorm when he told the gathering there was an economic tsunami coming, and to not purchase a house here, but rent. One assumes that is so they can “get outta Dodge” ASAP when the crisis hits. This was before the financial wizard, George Soros made news when he decided to “double-down” on an economic collapse. Anyone involved with chess knows there is a plethora of Indian children playing the game. If they were to leave USCF…Oh well, the band will continue to play while the ship of chess goes down.
And if reading this makes you uncomfortable, good! Chess does not exist in a vacuum. What happens in other parts of the world affect the Royal game. For example, the headline today reads, “FIDE rejects Carlsen’s request to postpone match.” (https://chess24.com/en/read/news/fide-rejects-carlsen-s-request-to-postpone-match)
And with headlines like this, found on the Drudge Report, “NATO: ‘Alarming’ build-up of Russian troops on Ukraine border…
‘Invasion’…
Russia firing artillery within Ukraine…” who can blame the World Human Chess Champion for wanting to postpone the match? My advice to the young man, Magnus Carlsen, is the championship belongs to you, not FIDE. Those crooked bastards can take it away from you in name only. They need you; you do not need them, and even ET and Rootin’ Tootin’ Putin know this fact. You will still be considered the World Human Chess Champion no matter what the corrupt FIDE rules!

Jeff Beck Group – Going Down

Joe Bonamassa, Dusty Hill, Derek Trucks and Billy Gibbons – Going Down (HD)