Rawhide Chess

Taking time to check out what was happening in the world of Chess found me surfin’ to the ChessBomb, where the Salamanca Chess Festival was on top of the list. The round seven games had been completed. The last game looked interesting because Yifan Hou, with the black pieces, had defeated none other than the man who accelerated the demise of the Royal game when he falsely accused Vladimir Kramnik of cheating, Vladimir Topalov. What made it so interesting is that word on the street had it that Topalov had been cheating in consort with his manager, Silvio Danilov. Topalov once held the title of FIDE world champion, a title with huge import ‘back in the day’. These daze there seems to be a plethora of so-called, “world champions.” What with age groups, each broken down into male and female, and other forms of the formerly Royal game, it would take a calculator to count all of them.

Where was I… Oh yeah…

Topalov, Veselin

– Hou, Yifan

Salamanca Chess Festival 2019 round 07

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 0-1 (https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2019-salamanca-chess-festival)

I have no idea…

This caused me to go to the beginning where I noticed, and began to replay, the game Hou vs Ponomariov. Do not ask me why…

Hou, Yifan – Ponomariov, Ruslan

Salamanca Chess Festival 2019 round 01

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. Bxc6 dxc6 6. Nbd2 Bg4 7. Nc4 Nd7 8. h3 Be6 9. Na5 Rb8 10. O-O f6 11. Qe1 O-O 12. Be3 Bxe3 13. Qxe3 c5 14. a3 c6 15. b4 Qc7 16. Nd2 b6 17. Nab3 Qd6 18. bxc5 Nxc5 19. Nxc5 bxc5 20. Rfb1 Rb6 21. a4 Rfb8 22. Rxb6 axb6 23. a5 Ra8 24. Nb3 Bxb3 25. cxb3 Rxa5 26. Rxa5 bxa5 27. Qe2 Kf8 28. Qg4 Qxd3 29. Qc8+ Kf7 30. Qxc6 Qd4 31. g4 h6 32. Qc7+ Kg6 33. Qxa5 Qxe4 34. Qxc5 Qb1+ 35. Kg2 Qxb3 36. Qc6 Qd3 37. h4 e4 38. Qe6 Qf3+ 39. Kg1 Qf4 40. Kg2 Qe5

Now any Chess player other than Allen Priest would know it is imperative in this position to keep your queen on the board. The woman played, I kid you not…

41. Qxe5?? A Bomb RED MOVE, if ever there was one…

After taking the queen with 41…fxe5 black is soooooooooooo won.

Hou played 42 Kf1 and I wondered why. Then I noticed she only had eighteen seconds time remaining while her opponent still had over five minutes on his clock. Ponomariov (Did he, too, win some kind of Chess World Championship?), with all the time in the world to win a completely won position produced the move 42…h5?? BIG RED!

And we now have a completely drawn game that any Chess player, other than Allen Priest, could hold with a nano second on the clock.

43. gxh5+ Kf5 44. Ke1 Kg4 45. Ke2 Kf4 46. h6 gxh6 47. h5 e3 48. f3 e4 49. fxe4 Kxe4 50. Ke1 Kf3 51. Kf1 Kg4 52. Ke2 Kf4 53. Ke1 Kf3 54. Kf1 e2+ 55. Ke1 Ke3 ½-½
https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2019-salamanca-chess-festival/01-Hou_Yifan-Ponomariov_Ruslan

I will admit it took me some time to learn the above game was a rapid game. Still…

Chess is rapidly (couldn’t help myself) changing, and not for the better. The above game is only a taste of the excrement being provided to the Chess fans of the world. Back in the day any form of speed Chess was considered an exhibition. We marveled when Bobby Fischer decimated the competition, “In April 1970, Bobby scored 19-3 (+17 -1 =4) to win the unofficial “Speed Chess Championship of the World,” which was held in Herceg Novi, Yugoslavia.” (https://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/2012/03/16/bobbys-blitz-chess/)

That was then and this is now and it is obvious speed kills. Yet, because of the Chess programs Chess has no choice other than to hold the time limit of a game to the human bladder. It is either that or having every player wear a diaper. What, you think I’m kidding? How do you think a NASCAR driver disposes of waste material during a four or five hour race? Needing petrol is not the only reason a driver looks forward to a pit stop.

Back in the day we would play around the clock on Saturday and return for another possibly ten hours, AND WE LIKED IT!

These daze it seems the Chess people in charge are moving toward rawhide Chess. As in “Head ’em up Move ’em out, Rawhide.”

As I was wondering why anyone in their right mind would watch Rawhide Chess the answer was provided today by GM Kevin Spraggett on his excellent blog, Spraggett on Chess:

“We have all noticed this phenomenon from Day#1 of our very first visit to the tournament hall. A densely packed crowd gathers about a board, and when you investigate you find that one of the players is about to lose.
The expectation is palpable in the spectators’ facial expressions. It does not matter if the players are masters or beginners: the coming ‘execution’ is worth the wait!
It is difficult to explain this phenomenon, I suppose it has to do with human nature. And probably also explains why more people are willing to watch a blitz game than a slow game. A blitz game allows for faster executions!”
(http://www.spraggettonchess.com/todays-vintage-chess-humor-16/)

Reading this caused me to recall something former Georgia, and Georgia Senior, Chess Champion David Vest said to me around the turn of the century. “You only watch NASCAR to watch the wrecks.” The retort was, “You only watch the horses because they crash and burn on the track.” I was afraid of the Drifter sending me into the High Planes, but fortunately, he kept it together…

Baseball Goes Crazy With New Rules

Major League Baseball, like NASCAR, has made rapid and dramatic changes recently, to their detriment, proven by the lack of ‘fannies in the seats’ and spectators viewing by other means. MLB has gone to a replay system for close calls. The results show the umpire calls about half of them correctly. Many of the calls made by the Wizard of Oz behind a curtain somewhere have been laughingly ridiculed later, making the new system a joke, which is on MLB. It takes an inordinate and interminable amount of time to make the final call, which breaks the flow of the game, such as it is…Many people have written, and continue to write, about the issue. One of the best pieces on the subject, from the New York Times, can be found below.

To compensate for the time taken while the players stand around “scratching their butts” during yet another boring umpire review a ridiculous new rule states a pitcher no longer has to throw the four balls it takes to make an intentional walk. Now the manager informs the umpire, and the batter strolls to first base.

In the Minor leagues a new rule states that if a game is tied after regulation play, the next team to bat begins with a runner on second base. I kid you not…Seeing is believing, so watch this:

One of the other newer rules concerns a play at the plate. MLB took action after Buster Posey, the great, future Hall of Fame, catcher for the San Francisco Giants suffered a horrible injury at the plate. It has become known as the “Buster Posey” rule. Watch this to learn why it is called the “Buster Posey” rule:

Many fans did not care for the new rule. An example would be the comment left on the above page by Brian Cicio:

“Thanks to Buster PUSSY we don’t see these plays anymore. He was IN THE BASE PATH WITHOUT THE BALL. His fault 100% . Injuries are part of ANY sport. Maybe he should have stuck to Ballet.”

Evidently some fans prefer their Baseball straight with no chaser.

This is how MLB was played for about a century and half. The most famous collision at home plate is probably Pete Rose barreling over Ray Fosse:

This brings us to the, WORST CALL IN MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL HISTORY:

The great thing about watching the video is being able to once again see a MLB manager argue with the umpires, yet another aspect taken away with the new rules. We fans miss the long ago time of watching Billy Martin get up in the face of an umpire:

We miss managers going crazy:

We end with the Best Baseball Manager Ejection in History:

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Who Is Rex Sinquefield and Why Is He Funding Chess?

A week and a half back I noticed a link to a story about The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis hiring both a public relations firm and a lobbying firm. Finding that interesting I clicked on sent me surfing on over to Politico, where I read:
CHESS CLUB HIRES TWO FORMER MEMBERS OF CONGRESS: The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis has brought on some major Missouri political heft. The St. Louis-based nonprofit has retained the public relations firm of former Sen. Jim Talent, and the lobbying firm of former Missouri Rep. Earl Thomas Coleman. According to a lobbying registration filed this week, Coleman will lobby on “opportunities for client to testify before a committee of Congress and the secure sponsorships for H. Res. 169.” The resolution H. Res 169 would designate S. Louis as the “National Chess Capital.” It was introduced by William Lacy Clay Jr. and currently has 28 co-sponsors. Sen. Claire McCaskill has introduced a Senate version of the resolution that has just one co-sponsor. “We’ve been working very diligently to try to showcase chess as a great educational tool,” said a spokesman for the chess club about their public affairs and advocacy efforts.
http://www.politico.com/politicoinfluence/0414/politicoinfluence13749.html
Having read much lately concerning lobbyists being hired to “grease the wheels” of Congress for the wealthy, the people my mother called the “Upper crust,” I thought this sounded like a good thing, with someone to lobby on behalf of We The People. I considered posting something about it, but never got around to it. Last night I noticed something on my favorite chess blog, Spraggett on Chess, “Interesting read about Rex Sinquefield.” (http://kevinspraggettonchess.wordpress.com/2014/05/06/interesting-read-about-rex-sinquefield/) I was too tired to read the long article, but did download it, and have spent considerable time today reading many articles about the man behind the blooming of chess in St. Louis. It has been disquieting, to say the least.
It has been my experience in chess that for those who wish to “run things” in chess there has been little, if any, obstacle to their doing so. Elections are rare in chess, and I say that as someone who has played in many different state championships, and sat through many business meetings where elections have been held.
As I have grown older I have become less of a political person, to the point I could care less which bum wins. Some years ago while living in North Carolina my landlord, who was from the Great State of Virginia, mentioned that the NASCAR drive, Jeb Burton, intended on running for office in his home state of Virginia after his driving days were over. I told him all politicians were crooks and it did not matter what their party. He vehemently disagreed with me, telling me he thought Jeb was an honest man and would make a fine politician. “You mean to tell me ol’ Jeb will get down in the slime pit with the rest of ’em but come out smelling like a rose?” Everyone at the party laughed, even Will, who said, “You’ve got a point.”
About the story on Mr. Sinquefield mentioned in GM Spraggett’s post, ‘A Reporter’s Guide to Rex Sinquefield and the Show-Me Institute: What Reporters, Citizens, and Policymakers Need to Know’ (http://www.prwatch.org/files/reporters_guide_to_rex_sinquefield_0.pdf) Kevin says, “A fascinating story about a fascinating man!”
In a review, “When Moving From Rags to Riches Makes a Person Ruthless, Not Compassionate,” (http://truth-out.org/buzzflash/commentary/when-moving-from-rags-to-riches-makes-a-person-ruthless-not-compassionate/18629-when-moving-from-rags-to-riches-makes-a-person-ruthless-not-compassionate) of the 39 page PDF, Bill Berkowitz for Buzzflash at Truthout writes, “His is a legitimate “rags to riches” story. However, instead of using his millions to improve the lives of the poor, and working people, our protagonist is bullying his way to political power in pursuit of an agenda that benefits the privatizers and the rich and powerful. You probably never heard of him, you wouldn’t know him if you ran into him at a St. Louis Cardinal game at Busch Stadium, or rode in the same elevator to the top of the city’s Gateway Arch. If you live in Missouri – thereby directly effected by the way he wields his wealth — and if you want to understand how one very wealthy and powerful individual goes about the business of building influence throughout the state, consider the story of Rex Sinquefield.” Unfortunately, it gets worse…
“A Reporter’s Guide points out that two years ago, “Sinquefield told the Wall Street Journal that what he had spent so far is ‘merely the start of what he’ll spend to promote his two main interests: rolling back taxes” and what he describes as “rescuing education from teachers unions.’ He has also invested in groups working to thwart fair wages in Missouri, and undermine other long-standing union rights.”

“Key findings from the re- port include”:
— “Other states that have cut income taxes have offset the lost revenue by taxing capital gains or hiking property taxes but Sinquefield, whose vast wealth has come from investments and who owns two of the most ex- pensive mansions in the state, wants to instead hike the sales tax, which disproportionately affects working people.”

— “Sinquefield called neighboring Kansas’ steep tax cuts ‘unbelievably brilliant’ in 2012 and predicted that Missouri businesses would quickly flock across the border, but in the year following the cuts, Kansas’ economy has lagged behind most of the region, and has actually added fewer businesses than Missouri.”
“Sinquefield’s contributions have not always brought successful outcomes. He backed Todd Akin’s candidacy for the Senate, even after Akin said that women who are victims of what he called “legitimate rape” rarely get pregnant.”
Think about that while the women’s championship is taking place at the St. Louis Chess Club and Scholastic Center.
From the article, “Show Me the Money: Meet the Multimillionaire Squeezing Missouri’s Schools” by Brendan Fischer and Lisa Graves, The Progressive (http://www.prwatch.org/news/2014/04/12459/show-me-money-meet-multimillionaire-squeezing-missouris-schools), Even more revealing is how Sinquefield behaved when Missouri was operating under laws to limit the amount of donations one person or group could give to influence elections. In order to bypass those clean election laws, he worked with his legal and political advisers to create more than 100 separate groups with similar names. Those multiple groups gave more, cumulatively, than Sinquefield would be able to give in his own name, technically complying with the law while actually circumventing it. That operation injected more than $2 million in disclosed donations flowing from Sinquefield during the 2008 election year, and it underscored his chess-like gamesmanship and his determination to do as he pleases. (Sinquefield is an avid chess player.)”
It bothers me that Mr. Sinquefield, “… has also invested in groups working to thwart fair wages in Missouri, and undermine other long-standing union rights.”
It makes me wonder why Rex Sinquefield and his wife have put so much money into chess. The purpose, as far as I have understood it is that they have wanted to do something for We The People. After reading the above, and more, much more, I am perplexed, wondering if they have an ulterior motive for their largess for the chess community. When reading the article, “Billionaires gather in Arizona to discuss giving,” (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/billionaires-gather-in-arizona-to-discuss-giving/) I could not help but wonder if the Sinquefields were there. After reading the article, and seeing a picture of Warren Buffett, I realized it was about a different kind of giving. Another article has just appeared (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/09/giving-pledge-meet-up_n_859495.html) concerning the “Upper crust” giving crums to We The Little People. Throughout his this is the kind of thing the crusty uppers have done to stave off revolution. Now that the Supremes have ruled corporations are people I could get in bed with the corpo’s, but that does not sound as satisfying as getting in bed with a real, living woman.
For the past few years I have looked forward to the US Chess Championships, even with some weird type formats in use. I was especially looking forward to the Championships this year because it is what is now called a “traditional” round robin format. After reading these, and other articles (do a search on any search engine -I use only http://www.startpage.com -you will find a plethora of recent articles), today, I have decided to not spend my time on the tournament. I will miss Yaz and Jen.