Is Chess a Sport?

File this under “What the Main Stream Media thinks of Chess.”

Is Chess a Sport? A New Book Says Yes

By Jonathan Eig

Nov. 30, 2018

THE GRANDMASTER
Magnus Carlsen and the Match That Made Chess Great Again

By Brin-Jonathan Butler
211 pp. Simon & Schuster. $26.

Is chess a sport?

After days watching a championship match and “seeing what strain these guys put their bodies and nerves under,” cramped in awful Staples chairs while trying to concentrate, Brin-Jonathan Butler concludes that chess “absolutely” falls into the category of sport.

But by that logic, the written portion of the driver’s license exam could be a sport, too, and, given my perfect record, I would be a better athlete than Muhammad Ali.

Chess is not a sport, O.K.? If it were, there’d be a lot more head injuries and trash talk.

Butler’s definition of an athlete matters for the purposes of his assignment. In 2016, an editor asked him to cover the World Chess Championship between Norway’s Magnus Carlsen and Russia’s Sergey Karjakin, expected to be an epic battle, and suggested that the author approach the assignment in the spirit that Norman Mailer approached Ali vs. Foreman in “The Fight” and John McPhee covered Arthur Ashe vs. Clark Graebner in “Levels of the Game.”

Chess can make for compelling literature, especially in fiction (“The Luzhin Defense,” by Nabokov, for example), because the game offers a battle between two minds, two personalities, two worldviews. But a game itself is only compelling to readers if we are made to understand and care about the players, seeing their moves as reflections of their characters. McPhee knew it: “A person’s tennis game begins with his nature and background and comes out through his motor mechanisms into shot patterns and characteristics of play. If he is deliberate, he is a deliberate tennis player; and if he is flamboyant, his game probably is, too. A tight, close match unmarred by error and representative of each player’s game at its highest level will be primarily a psychological struggle.”

Herein lies the trouble for “The Grandmaster.” Since chess is not a sport by the standard definition, Carlsen and Karjakin do not turn their natures into motor mechanisms, thus depriving the reader of visible action. That, in turn, forces Butler to press too hard in describing the moves on the chessboard. “In the end,” he writes of one crucial moment, “Carlsen was unable to stop one of Karjakin’s innocuous pawns from strolling innocently enough into his malevolent promised land to emerge as an all-powerful, Lady Macbeth, vindictive-as-hell queen at the end of the board.”

Butler might never have been forced to resort to such drastic maneuvers in prose if he had been given a better draw. Mailer had Ali, who never shut up and literally allowed reporters to slip under the covers with him in bed to conduct interviews. McPhee had Ashe, one of the most thoughtful and eloquent athletes of all time. Butler had no one. Neither Carlsen nor Karjakin would talk to him. They appeared briefly at news conferences but expressed little emotion. They never even complained about the terrible Staples chairs.

To compensate, it seems, Butler takes the reader on journeys away from the tournament — to Cuba, to a chess shop where New Yorkers took refuge after the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001, and elsewhere. But even the best of these vignettes serve to remind that Carlsen and Karjakin failed to carry their load. We understand why. Chess is intensely cerebral. It drives men mad, as Butler documents in vivid detail. But by remaining so deep in thought, Carlsen and Karjakin shut out their fans, shut out the author and shut out the reader. At the tournament’s end, one man emerges triumphant, or at least relieved, the other dejected. The rest of us watch through one-way glass, unmoved.

Jonathan Eig’s most recent book is “Ali: A Life.”

Dvorkovich Is Putin’s Poisoned Pawn

Why have the nefarious Russians been allowed to control FIDE for decades? The iron fisted ruler of Russia, Vladimir Putin, once said, “Chess is our Baseball.” Putin also poisons former Russian citizens in countries such as England. Most of the people poisoned have died. It as become fact that Putin interference in the 2016 US Presidential election was the main reason We The People now have a corrupt fool sitting in the White House.

Is Putin a king maker for the World Chess Federation?

Paul Waldie Europe correspondent
London
Published September 18, 2018
Updated September 22, 2018


Russian President Vladimir Putin Russian, right, and Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich attend a government meeting in Voronezh, Russia, Oct. 13, 2017.

Mikhail Klimentyev/The Associated Press

The genteel and cerebral game of chess is being rocked by a battle for control of the World Chess Federation that’s become rougher than a wrestling cage match and features allegations of vote buying by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The organization, known by its French acronym FIDE, is hardly a household name but it’s one of the largest sports bodies in the world with 188 member federations. It’s been under a cloud in recent years because of the erratic leadership of Russian businessman Kirsan Ilyumzhinov who served as FIDE president for 23 years before being forced out this summer. Mr. Ilyumzhinov was best known for telling reporters that chess was invented by extraterrestrials and that he’d twice been abducted by aliens (he even toured their spaceship in a yellow spacesuit). His downfall came after he was put on a U.S. sanctions list because of his close association with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

His departure has cleared the way for new leadership at FIDE and sparked a war between two contenders: Arkady Dvorkovich, 46, a former Russian deputy prime minister who recently headed the country’s organizing committee for soccer’s 2018 World Cup; and Georgios Makropoulos, a 64-year old grandmaster from Greece who has been on FIDE’s executive committee for more than 30 years and spent the past 22 years as deputy president. Delegates from the member federations will vote for a new president and executive on Oct. 3 and the campaigning has been fierce.

Mr. Makropoulos’s side accuses Mr. Dvorkovich of being a puppet of Mr. Putin and the Greek has demanded that FIDE’s ethics commission kick the Russian out of the race because of vote buying. They allege Russian embassies have been lobbying chess federations around the world to back Mr. Dvorkovich in return for “sponsorship packages.” And they claim Mr. Putin recently pushed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to get Israel’s chess federation to switch its vote to Mr. Dvorkovich. In return, Mr. Putin allegedly promised Russia’s support for Israel to host the next world chess championships.

“It’s a simple contest between the Soviet state, which wishes to control chess, and the long-time officials … who wish to retain the sport’s independence and take it forward and rebuild its reputation, which has been trashed over the last 23 years,” said Malcolm Pein, a British chess journalist and accomplished player who’s running for deputy president on Mr. Makropoulos’s slate. Pointing to Russia’s recent history of doping in other sports, he added: “Russia has been humiliated in world sport and Putin really wants to be able to say; ‘Well at least we still have one of the most important sports, chess, under our control.’ ”

Mr. Dvorkovich denies the allegations and claims they are a desperate attempt by Mr. Makropoulos to salvage his failing campaign. He has also filed a complaint to the FIDE ethics commission alleging the Greek has doled out FIDE money to chess federations in return for their support. “I love chess – and I have done a lot throughout the years to promote it – in Russia and internationally,” he said in an e-mail. While he has acknowledged that Mr. Putin supports his campaign, he added: “There is no political pressure – and honestly I don’t think Russia is in the position to press 100 plus countries to support me. However, I do have such a broad support. And of course, I am supported by my country, but nobody instructs me what to do and how to proceed.”

The race comes at a pivotal time for FIDE. Chess has been growing in popularity globally and the current world champion, 27-year old Magnus Carlsen, is among a wave of young players who are transforming the game’s image. Many in the sport say FIDE has been unable to capitalize on the resurgence because of Mr. Ilyumzhinov’s eccentric leadership and his trouble with the U.S. government, which has crippled the organization’s finances and made it difficult for FIDE to even open a bank account. Mr. Putin has also been keen to maintain Russia’s prominent role in FIDE. The game is immensely popular in Russia and the country still produces most of the world’s top players, boasting 249 grandmasters, more than twice as many as any other nation.

Both Mr. Makropoulos and Mr. Dvorkovich have big plans for FIDE. Mr. Makropoulos wants to expand the game online, attract corporate sponsors and get chess into the Olympics. Mr. Dvorkovich is also promising to partner with global corporations in addition to developing an online platform and aligning FIDE with FIFA, the world governing body for soccer.

While the race remains too close to call, Mr. Dvorkovich is picking up support. He recently won the endorsement of the Association of Chess Professionals, which represents more than 1,200 players, officials and arbiters, who are akin to referees. And he has the backing of Nigel Short, a British grandmaster who is also running for president but announced last week that he is supporting Mr. Dvorkovich.

Canada’s chess federation is supporting Mr. Makropoulos, but Canadian president Vladimir Drkulec said he’d be happy to see Mr. Dvorkovich win. “Either one of them will be a better president than what we’ve had recently,” Mr. Drkulec said from his home in Windsor, Ont. “I think that chess is entering on an adventure here.”
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/world/article-is-putin-a-king-maker-for-chess-federation/

I lost all respect for IM Malcolm Pein when he compared GM Nigel Short to Donald Trump in an interview on The Perpetual Chess Podcast (https://www.perpetualchesspod.com/), while going on to say he had earned as much stature in Chess as Nigel, a man who played a match with Garry Kasparov for the Chess Championship of the World! International Master Pein will not live long enough to come near the stature of Grandmaster Nigel Short.

When Nigel announced that he is supporting Mr. Dvorkovich, I lost all respect for Mr. Short.

It is obvious that no matter who wins, Chess will lose.

Police Report Filed in Batumi
Oct 1, 2018

On September 30, 2018, Georgios Makropoulos’ team filed a police report in Batumi regarding a case of alleged violence against his team.

http://www.chessdom.com/police-report-filed-in-batumi/

Author: Trump is Russia’s asset in the White House

Author: Trump is Russia’s asset in the White House

In his new book “the house of Trump, House of Putin,” Craig Unger alleges the Russian government targeted and even compromised Trump using real estate and the Russian mafia. Unger joins Lawrence.
Aug.16.2018

http://www.msnbc.com/the-last-word/watch/author-trump-is-russia-s-asset-in-the-white-house-1300794435590?v=railb

Arkady Dvorkovich’s Dirty Laundry In The News

Dvorkovich in the news

by kevinspraggettonchess · Published July 15, 2018 · Updated July 16, 2018

Accuses Makro of Corruption and Nepotism

http://www.spraggettonchess.com/dvorkovich-in-the-news/

Arkady Dvorkovich in the pre-sanctions list of the US Treasury: New problems for FIDE?

Jul 26, 2018

After the inclusion of its former president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov in the sanctions list of the US Treasury, the banking problems of FIDE seem to never end.

According to our sources, this week one more European financial institution, LHV Bank with branches in London and Tallinn, refused to open an account for FIDE although it is now public knowledge that Kirsan Ilyumzhinov is not running.

Facing the reality of Ilyumzhinov not getting re-elected after the infamous Glen Stark scandal, Russia replaced him with another candidate: the former Russian deputy prime minister Mr. Arkady Dvorkovich.

The problem is that Russia’s new candidate is also included in a pre-sanctions list of the US Treasury for, among others, alleged “human rights violations, annexation of Crimea and ongoing military operations in eastern Ukraine” by Russia: http://edition.cnn.com/2018/01/30/politics/full-us-list-of-russian-oligarchs-with-putin-ties-intl/index.html , a risk factor that might have influenced the decision of LHV Bank to reject FIDE as a customer, at least until the elections in October are over.
http://www.chessdom.com/arkady-dvorkovich-in-the-pre-sanctions-list-of-the-us-treasury-new-problems-for-fide/

Dvorkovich: “Hopefully, we will be able to avoid a dirty campaign”

by Georgios Souleidis 7/27/2018

https://en.chessbase.com/post/fide-election-interview-with-arkady-dvorkovich

Are We Just “Pawns in the Chess Game?”


A protest against the election of Trump outside the US embassy, London, November 2016

Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

This is taken from the transcript of the Chris Hayes show on MSNBC. The headline:

Sen. Feinstein: This ‘isn’t Nazi Germany’

Every single Senate Democrat has now signed on to a bill introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein to bar the Trump administration from splitting up families at the border.Jun.18.2018

https://www.msnbc.com/all-in/watch/sen-feinstein-this-isn-t-nazi-germany-1258688067865

HAYES: So then tell me this, what is the endgame here from your
perspective? It seems to me that the White House quite explicitly is
essentially using these children as hostages to try to get Democrats to
give in to a variety of demands they have on restricting legal immigration
as part of a legislative package. Is that something you`re willing to
entertain?

FEINSTEIN: Well, I think that`s exactly right. Of course, we`re willing
to entertain a legislative package if it makes sense but don`t hold
children hostage. I mean, you don`t have to take 2,500 children from their
parents to get support for something. I mean, that`s bizarre and it`s hard
for me to believe that even President Trump would want to do that. It`s
just bizarre.

HAYES: Well, he pretty clearly does want to do it, at least as advisors
do. I mean you have John Kelly talking about how it`s a deterrent. You
have Stephen Miller giving on-the-record quotes about how it`s a deterrent.
Jeff Sessions saying the Romans 13 commands us to obey the laws of man in a
godly fashion. I mean, there does seem to be a part of this administration
that knows what they`re doing.

FEINSTEIN: Well, this is the United States of – I mean, United States of
America, isn`t Nazi Germany and there`s a difference. And we don`t take
children from their parents until now. And yes, I think it`s such a sad
day. People are so upset. I just read a wonderful letter to the editor by
Laura Bush. I can`t believe that this is happening in the United States
and the President insists so we, of course, will do everything we can to
pass a bill which would prohibit this.
http://www.msnbc.com/transcripts/all-in/2018-06-18

With all due respect to the Senator from California, if the POTUS walks like a Nazi, talks like a Nazi, acts like a Nazi, and howls like a Nazi, we have become Nazi’s. The RepublicaNazi Trump administration is redolent with the acrid smell of Nazism.

Consider the article, It Can Happen Here, by Cass R. Sunstein in the June 28, 2018 issue of the New York Review of Books,.

They Thought They Were Free: The Germans, 1933–45
by Milton Mayer, with a new afterword by Richard J. Evans
University of Chicago Press, 378 pp., $20.00 (paper)

Broken Lives: How Ordinary Germans Experienced the Twentieth Century
by Konrad H. Jarausch
Princeton University Press, 446 pp., $35.00

‘National Socialist,’ circa 1935; photograph by August Sander from his People of the Twentieth Century. A new collection of his portraits, August Sander: Persecuted/Persecutors, will be published by Steidl this fall.

Liberal democracy has enjoyed much better days. Vladimir Putin has entrenched authoritarian rule and is firmly in charge of a resurgent Russia. In global influence, China may have surpassed the United States, and Chinese president Xi Jinping is now empowered to remain in office indefinitely. In light of recent turns toward authoritarianism in Turkey, Poland, Hungary, and the Philippines, there is widespread talk of a “democratic recession.” In the United States, President Donald Trump may not be sufficiently committed to constitutional principles of democratic government.

In such a time, we might be tempted to try to learn something from earlier turns toward authoritarianism, particularly the triumphant rise of the Nazis in Germany in the 1930s. The problem is that Nazism was so horrifying and so barbaric that for many people in nations where authoritarianism is now achieving a foothold, it is hard to see parallels between Hitler’s regime and their own governments. Many accounts of the Nazi period depict a barely imaginable series of events, a nation gone mad. That makes it easy to take comfort in the thought that it can’t happen again.

But some depictions of Hitler’s rise are more intimate and personal. They focus less on well-known leaders, significant events, state propaganda, murders, and war, and more on the details of individual lives. They help explain how people can not only participate in dreadful things but also stand by quietly and live fairly ordinary days in the midst of them. They offer lessons for people who now live with genuine horrors, and also for those to whom horrors may never come but who live in nations where democratic practices and norms are under severe pressure.

Milton Mayer’s 1955 classic They Thought They Were Free, recently republished with an afterword by the Cambridge historian Richard J. Evans, was one of the first accounts of ordinary life under Nazism. Dotted with humor and written with an improbably light touch, it provides a jarring contrast with Sebastian Haffner’s devastating, unfinished 1939 memoir, Defying Hitler, which gives a moment-by-moment, you-are-there feeling to Hitler’s rise. (The manuscript was discovered by Haffner’s son after the author’s death and published in 2000 in Germany, where it became an immediate sensation.)* A much broader perspective comes from Konrad Jarausch’s Broken Lives, an effort to reconstruct the experience of Germans across the entire twentieth century. What distinguishes the three books is their sense of intimacy. They do not focus on historic figures making transformative decisions. They explore how ordinary people attempted to navigate their lives under terrible conditions.

Haffner’s real name was Raimund Pretzel. (He used a pseudonym so as not to endanger his family while in exile in England.) He was a journalist, not a historian or political theorist, but he interrupts his riveting narrative to tackle a broad question: “What is history, and where does it take place?” He objects that most works of history give “the impression that no more than a few dozen people are involved, who happen to be ‘at the helm of the ship of state’ and whose deeds and decisions form what is called history.” In his view, that’s wrong. What matters are “we anonymous others” who are not just “pawns in the chess game,” because the “most powerful dictators, ministers, and generals are powerless against the simultaneous mass decisions taken individually and almost unconsciously by the population at large.” Haffner insists on the importance of investigating “some very peculiar, very revealing, mental processes and experiences,” involving “the private lives, emotions and thoughts of individual Germans.”

The conclusion of the review:

“If the president of the United States is constantly lying, complaining that the independent press is responsible for fake news, calling for the withdrawal of licenses from television networks, publicly demanding jail sentences for political opponents, undermining the authority of the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, magnifying social divisions, delegitimizing critics as “crooked” or “failing,” and even refusing, in violation of the law, to protect young children against the risks associated with lead paint—well, it’s not fascism, but the United States has not seen anything like it before.

With our system of checks and balances, full-blown authoritarianism is unlikely to happen here, but it would be foolish to ignore the risks that Trump and his administration pose to established norms and institutions, which help preserve both order and liberty. Those risks will grow if opposition to violations of long-standing norms is limited to Democrats, and if Republicans laugh, applaud, agree with, or make excuses for Trump—if they howl with the wolf.

In their different ways, Mayer, Haffner, and Jarausch show how habituation, confusion, distraction, self-interest, fear, rationalization, and a sense of personal powerlessness make terrible things possible. They call attention to the importance of individual actions of conscience both small and large, by people who never make it into the history books. Nearly two centuries ago, James Madison warned: “Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks—no form of government can render us secure.” Haffner offered something like a corollary, which is that the ultimate safeguard against aspiring authoritarians, and wolves of all kinds, lies in individual conscience: in “decisions taken individually and almost unconsciously by the population at large.”

The full review can be found at http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2018/06/28/hitlers-rise-it-can-happen-here/

Evil-Doer: Half a Century with Viktor Korchnoi: A Review

“The “Evil-Doer”, as the Soviet chess players now called Korchnoi, had turned chess into a matter of state urgency. The Soviet leadership received real time accounts of the world title matches as though they were dispatches from the front in time of war.”

It is difficult for anyone not living when Viktor Korchnoi

defected to understand what his leaving the “Mother country” meant to the Chess world at that time.

“…in taking a one-man stance against the hulking Soviet monster, he gained the entire world’s attention and imprinted his name in the history of the game forever. Just as a poet in Russia was much more than a writer, a grandmaster in the Soviet Union was much more than a chess player.”

“Chess’s next wave of popularity was exclusively down to Viktor Korchnoi. He represented quite a melting pot: the conflict between two opposing systems, the international tension caused by that very Cold War, and his personal drama, with the Soviet authorities refusing to allow his family to leave for the West. News of this standoff made chess front-page news again, and it was even the subject of the madly popular musical Chess, which ran for years in London and New York.”

Thus the stage is set by the author, GM Genna Sosonko in his magnificent new book, Evil-Doer: Half a Century with Viktor Korchnoi.

“Almost half a century later, it is not easy to appreciate what such a decision by Korchnoi meant for a Soviet citizen, and how incredibly hard it was to make that final leap to freedom.”

Sosonko emigrated from the Soviet Union before Korchnoi, but he left after receiving permission from the monolithic State; Korchnoi defected, thus earning the opprobrium and enmity of not only the Soviet authorities, but also of the citizens of Russia. Korchnoi was considered a renegade; a traitor.

The following paragraphs explain the author’s aim in writing the book:

“There was a time when Sigmund Freud

dissuaded the writer Stephan Zweig

Stefan Zweig in seinem Salzburger Domizil am Kapuzinerberg. 1931. Photographie von Trude Fleischmann. [ Rechtehinweis: picture alliance/IMAGNO ]

from attempting to compile the former’s biography: “Whoever becomes a biographer forces himself to tell lies, conceal facts, commit fraud, embellish the truth and even mask their lack of understanding – it’s impossible to achieve the truth in a biography, and even if it were possible, that truth would be useless and you could do nothing with it.”

“I have to agree with the father of psychoanalysis and I have not attempted to write Korchnoi’s biography as such. Rather, this is a collection of memories, or to be more precise still: a collection of explanatory notes and interpretations of incomprehensible or misunderstood events from the complex life of a man whom I knew for nearly half a century, and alongside whom I spent in total many months – indeed years. I want to believe that these recollections will not only uncover the motives behind his controversial actions, but will also shed light on his approach to the game, his personality and behavior in everyday life. In any event, a portrayal of Korchnoi must obviously highlight the most important feature of his life – his dedication to chess – which grew into an obsession.”

“When he turned seventy, he asked me to write the foreword to his collected games. Naturally, I hardly imbued my text written for his big occasion with “plain speaking.”

“Yet, in the book you are now holding, I have attempted to do just that: in my reflections on this great player, I wanted to display him, as the English say, warts and all.”

The author has achieved his goal. It must have been painful at times to write so openly and honestly about someone with whom one spent so much time, and about someone for whom he obviously had so much affection, but Sosonko has done a masterful job in this outstanding work of art. I lived during the era of which the author writes, but did not play Chess seriously until 1970. Therefore I learned much from the early, pre-1970, period of Viktor the Terrible. Even though I have read extensively about the Chess world much of what I read in this book shed light on some of the dark spots.

“This is how Canadian grandmaster Kevin Spraggett

described a conversation with (Boris) Spassky:

He began to list Korchnoi’s many qualities:

…Killer Instinct (nobody can even compare with Viktor’s ‘gift’)

…Phenomenal capacity to work (both on the board and off the board)

…Iron nerves (even with seconds left on the clock)

…Ability to calculate (maybe only Fischer was better in this department)

…Tenacity and perseverance in defense (unmatched by anyone)

…The ability to counterattack (unrivaled in chess history)”…Impeccable technique (flawless, even better than Capa’s)

…Capacity to concentrate (unreal)

…Impervious to distractions during the game

…Brilliant understanding of strategy

…Superb tactician (only a few in history can compare with Viktor)

…Possessing the most profound opening preparation of any GM of his generation

…Subtle psychologist

…Super-human will to win (matched only by Fischer)

…Deep knowledge of all of his adversaries

…Enormous energy and self-discipline

Then Boris stopped, and just looked at me, begging me to ask the question that needed to be asked…I asked: “But, Boris, what does Viktor lack to become world champion?” Boris’s answer floored me: “He has no chess talent!”

And then Spassky roared with laughter…(https://kevinspraggettonchess.wordpress.com/author/kevinspraggettonchess/page/366/)

Viktor Korchoi was what is popularly known as a “late bloomer.” He may have had little, or no, talent for Chess, but no Grandmaster ever out worked the Evil Doer. He rose to the rarefied heights attained by strong determination, and an indomitable will to win.

“Korchnoi was born in Leningrad into a Jewish family on 23 March 1931. Lev Korchnoi (Viktor’s father) was killed at the very beginning of Russia’s involvement in World War II, and Rosa Abramova (his mother) took Vitya’s upbringing upon herself. The little boy lived through the Blockade of Leningrad, the death of many nearest and dearest, cold and hunger, and at one point was hospitalized with dystrophy.”

“Graham Greene

claimed that a difficult childhood was a priceless gift for a writer, while Soviet grandmaster Alexander Tolush

asserted that you needed to be poor, hungry and angry to be good at chess. There is no doubt that being brought up without his father and his tough childhood contributed to Korchnoi’s difficult personality, and were the reasons for complexes that it took him many years to shed.”

Viktor overcame the obstacles in his path to challenge for the World Chess Championship, becoming the second best Chess player in the world.

“If he noticed somebody voluntarily choosing a passive or quite unpromising opening line, he would shake his head: “What can we say here? X had a difficult childhood, a difficult childhood.” He would repeat this at a training session of the Dutch team prior to the Haifa Olympiad (1976) when we were analyzing some opening of Polugaevsky’s. This expression caught on, and became part of Dutch chess folklore for many years: what, did you have a difficult childhood or something?”

“Vladimir Tukmakov,

who worked with Korchnoi in the early 1990’s, was also amazed at the famous veteran’s energy and emotional state:

The several days that we spent analyzing together during his candidates quarter-final again(st) Gyula Sax

(Wijk-aan-Zee 1991) enabled me to understand him much better than the ten or so games that we had played against each other until then. Korchnoi was spewing out ideas like a fountain. Sometimes we would spend almost an entire day on chess, yet like a child he would then continue to play around with the chess pieces, trying out various positions.

Vasily Ivanchuk

also noticed this quality:

Sometimes you ask somebody to look at a position and they refuse – “I’m not interested, I don’t play that line.” Well, you would never hear such words from Viktor Lvovich. He would analyze any position, attempting to grasp it and suggesting ideas. For example, we would look at a position where we needed to find a way for black to equalize or for white to gain an advantage. When it looked like we had found it, everything seemed to work, and we had checked the variations, I would have stopped there. Yet Korchnoi always tried to penetrate the position more deeply, and to see if there was another way.

Jan Timman,

who had composed studies since he was young (http://www.arves.org/arves/index.php/en/halloffame/264-timman-jan), recalled: Viktor, unlike many colleagues, always took an interest in my compositions, and we would often spend hours analyzing together.”

Now the players no longer analyze, they head for the nearest computer for the answer.

“Korchnoi was sixteen when he managed to draw a game against Estonian master Ivo Nei

after escaping from the jaws of defeat. “This was the first time that I felt pleasure from a difficult, tiresome defense! But if, in my youth, the desire to defend was driven by mischief, a love for risk, then in the subsequent years defense became my serious, practical and psychological weapon. I enjoy drawing my opponent forward, allowing him the taste of attack during which he might get carried away, drop his guard, sacrifice some material. I often exploit those episodes to launch a counterattack, and that’s when the real battle begins,” Korchnoi said at the start of the 1960’s. He concluded: “Masters of defense have contributed no less to chess history than masters with an attacking style!”

“Only Korchnoi can capture that pawn!” became a widely-used cliche to describe position where any sane chess player would not even consider accepting a sacrifice.

“Shall we ‘Korchnoi’ a bit?” I had heard masters and even grandmasters suggest this during analysis back tn the Soviet Union, when they considered capturing material that appeared particularly dangerous to accept.

Journalists of course lapped up the Leningrad grandmaster’s attitude to the game: “A man of courage who chose defense as his weapon!”…”Korchnoi captured the poisoned pawn and chalked up another win!”…”After the Leningrader accepted everything thrown at him in sacrifice, his opponent found himself without a mating attack and raised the white flag.” Phrases like these were often found in tournament reports.

“At the end of his life, Francois Mauriac wrote” “I’m not brave enough to revise my technique, as Verdi did after Wagner appeared.”

“Well, Korchnoi did have enough bravery. Middle aged, he decided to review his approach to the game, to become broader minded, to throw off his focus on material, to learn to play positions with the initiative, with sacrifices and with material imbalances. He managed to do this in the prime of a successful career. Only professionals are capable of appreciating the gigantic effort that Korchnoi made.”

“He said one day: “You know, I have a son in Ukraine, he’s 32 years old. Recently, he wrote to me that he had just realized that he had lived half his life. Well, at that age I suddenly realized that I didn’t know how to play chess!
Even though that’s when I won the national championship for the second time! I suppose you need a great deal of talent to win the championship of the Soviet Union without knowing many of the laws of chess! After all, all sorts of things have been written about me! I’m a great defender, that my play resembles Dostoevsky and all sorts of nonsense. Yet I couldn’t have played any differently, I didn’t know how to! So I started to work. I analyzed thousands of games. I mastered the most important skill of all – to wield the initiative!”

“Yet, after changing his style, he retained his won, original way of looking at the game. Korchnoi’s deliberations about chess were always to the point, yet unexpected.”

I end the review here. I could continue, going on and on, ad infinitum. I have attempted to convey the tenor of the book to the reader to the best of my ability. You, the reader, will decide if I managed to impart a glimmer of what this marvelous book contains.

A personal note: While reading a book to review I never write in the book; any book. To do so would be to deface the book. A book is sacrosanct. I place paper in the book, and then reread the pages containing the inserted slips of paper. It is almost like reading it twice. I agonized on what to include, which caused much anguish after deciding to exclude parts for the review. While rereading parts of the book I cogitated on how to begin the review. This, too, caused much anguish. There is so much contained in the book that I could write other, totally different, reviews, using none of the above.

I have read every book written by the author, one of the very best writer’s on the Royal game, not to mention his many articles. My admiration for Genna Sosonko is unbounded. This work is his pièce de résistance.

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/