What with the recent onslaught of negative publicity concerning the obviously rampant cheating in Chess I had not intended on watching the US Chess Championships thinking it akin to watching a train wreck. Then again, inquiring minds wast to know and there I was, again glued to the screen watching, and listening, to the action. Younger people accustomed to seeing the game as it is being played will not understand what it means to we wily ol’ veterans who had to be there, as I was in San Antonio in 1972,
to watch the action. To not watch the US Chess Championships emanating from the house that Rex built and miss all the drama and excitement when the first round began was simply not possible. After all, how many train wrecks have been seen with these old eyes? I did not want to read about it, but wanted to see for myself what has become a soap opera, “As The Chess World Turns.” As round time approached my thinking gravitated to something my friend Brian McCarthy was so fond of saying, “Just get me to the round on time!” The coverage of the US Chess Championships has again been excellent and I have immensely enjoyed watching the games.
The plan for today was to show the picture that follows with a headline of, “Is that a banana in your pocket or are trying to cheat me?”
There was a picture of players still in line waiting to be checked out by Mr. Security after the round had already started. Irena Krush was pacing like a caged animal with Hans Niemann standing near her, also waiting to be examined. “Trust, but verify” is obviously the M.O. of the Chess tournament.
That was prior to seeing the headline of the lead article at Chessdom, which has become one of, it not the best sources of information on the internet:
Yeah, well, Hans Niemann is playing for the title of US Chess Champion, Naka, and where are you?
Then there is GM Ivan Sokolov:
Cheating in chess discussions… Many claim cheating online is not as bad as OTB. Sorry! It is exactly the same! The ONLY reason online cheaters do not do OTB is they did not (yet) figure out how to do it but -would LOVE to! Cheating – life time ban! Game has to be clean!
Sounds nice, Ivan, until you realize that if the true numbers are ever published by Chess.com there would not be enough players left for the game to survive because if one wants to win at Chess.com one MUST CHEAT! GM Solokov obviously lives in a fantasy world, oblivious to the current situation at Chess.com.
Then there was the article seen this morning with my first cuppa Joe: KNIGHT MARE Chess ‘cheat’ goes through full body scan at US Championships – including his BUM
“A TEEN chess champ accused of cheating got a full body scan — including his bum — before his latest tournament.
A security guard checked out Hans Niemann and raised a laugh when he got to his rear.”
Chess has been pilloried and ridiculed in the press and made a laughingstock by the media, yet I still love the game and cannot wait to see what today will bring. How about you?
When the first issue of the American Chess Magazine debuted I mentioned something about it being expensive, writing the price of the magazine, twenty five dollars, was as much as a book. My intention was to read, and then review, the first issue. After contacting someone at the ACM about receiving a review copy I was informed it would only be possible to receive the first copy if I anted up twenty five dollars, for which I would receive the first two issues. I turned down the “offer.”
It was only a few months ago upon returning to the Atlanta area that I got a chance to peruse past issues, which were wonderful. The new issue, issue #11, the second issue of 2019,
was the second issue after increasing from four issues to six issues per year. The new US Women’s Chess Champion, Jennifer Yu, graces the cover, surrounded by a pink background. This is my review.
I will be completely honest and say that before taking the magazine out of the plastic wrap I was hooked, and not because of the picture of a very pretty young lady on the cover, although I can see what a wonderful hook is Jennifer Yu!
It is a shame the ACM is not sold at book stores or newspaper and magazine stands because the cover would attract much interest. This on the cover is what “hooked” me:
American Civil War A Dying Southern Diarist Theodore P. Savas
I read the article immediately before even scanning the magazine and it brought tears to my eyes. I was born in the back seat of a ’49 Ford convertible on the way to Emory University Hospital in Decatur, Georgia, which means I was born a Southerner, as is often heard in the South, “By the grace of God.” The diarist, “Leroy Wiley Gresham, was born in 1847 to an affluent family in Macon, Georgia.” His mother’s name, Mary, was the same as my Mother’s name. The title of the article is, An Elegant Game: The American Civil War, a Dying Southern Diarist, and a Fascination with Chess. Leroy Wiley Gresham wrote his diary during the War of Northern Aggression, while he was dying. It is an elegant piece. I could end the review now and give it five stars, but there is more, much more, contained in this elegant issue!
Although I have read extensively about the War Between the States during the course of my life, it has been some time since I have read a book on the subject. This will be remedied when the book upon which the article is based, The War Outside My Window: The Civil War Diary of Leroy Wiley Gresham, 1860-1864, edited by Janet Kroon, which I have ordered, arrives.
The focus of the magazine is the most recent US Chess Championships. The annotations of the final round game are by the loser, Jeffery Xiong,
Isle of Man Chess International, Round 5, 24 October 2018. Photo by John Saunders
and they are excellent! For example, look at this position:
Jeffery writes, “21. Qb1 Preventing any …a4xb3 and Ra8-a2 ideas. But 21 Rfe1, quickly preparing Nf1-d2 and e2-e4, might have been more to the point.” Some annotators provide Lubomir Ftacnik
style reams of analysis when all that is needed is something simple. At the conclusion of the game Jeffery writes, “It was as clean a win as you can get with the black pieces. The opening experiment proved to be golden as my inexperience in this type of position was revealed to its fullest extent. Nakamura
played truly inspiring chess, especially with the black pieces, and his will to win in this game made him the deserved champion. He has amply demonstrated his greatness, being one of the perennial top-10 players in the world. Any player can win games, but at top level only great players are capable of consistently winning must-win games!”
GM Jeffery Xiong has shown his class as a gentleman with what he has written about what must have been a tough game to lose.
The honesty continues when Xiong annotates his win with the black pieces against the now dethroned US Chess Champion, Sam Shankland,
when Jeffery writes at the end of the game, “At first I was quite pleased with my play as I felt I had found some nice ideas. However after heading back to my hotel room and opening ChessBomb, I saw a sea of red moves! Nonetheless, I was now leading the tournament with 2 1/2/3, yet fully aware that the quality of my play was not entirely satisfactory.”
This is amazingly honest writing.
A few pages further into the magazine one turns the page to see a beautiful picture of the new US Women’s Champion, Jennifer Yu, sitting at a Chessboard behind the black pieces while flashing a gorgeous smile. The title above reads, Lady With A Torch, which is appropriate because Jennifer torched the field this year! One reads, “Exclusive annotations and an interview by WGM Jennifer Yu.” The following page contains the game between former many time Women’s Champion Irina Krush,
the Music City Master, gave a lecture which happened to be this very variation. After 7 a3 Qd7 Jennifer writes, “Not 7…dxc4?, when after 8 Bxf6! exf6 9 d5 Black loses a piece.” I recall raising my hand during the early part of Todd’s lecture asking about the early move c5 for White. Todd was nice enough to illustrate what was behind the move c5 for the audience, while letting me know in a nice way it was a lecture, not a Q&A. The game continued, 8 Be2 Rd8 9 Bxf6 exf6 10 c5. Ms. Yu writes, “Although a general principle of chess is to maintain tension in the center during the opening, this is a good move that prevents any…dxc4 tricks. It locks up the center and challenges the wisdom of my piece placement, making the bishop on e6 and the rook on d8 look silly, since these pieces no longer have any prospects against c4 and d4. 10 Bf3 doesn’t work because after 10…dxc4 11 d5 Qe7! the threat to the white king, as well as the pin on the white d-pawn, provides the black knight and bishop with immunity against the fork.” The annotations are exceptional.
I could go on and on, but this is a blog post. Still, I must mention an article by GM Alex Fishbein,
Secrets Of Same-Color Bishop Endings, which is superlative! And then there is the wonderful article, Beauties of Underpromotion, by IM Boroljub Zlatanovic, which was enjoyed immensely!
Unfortunately, not everything included in the magazine is rosy. Fresh Leaves from the Bookshelf is the title of the book review column by FM Carsten Hansen.
In this issue the FM has “reviewed,” and I use the word rather loosely, ten books. As he did in the previous issue Mr. Hansen reviewed ten books for the ACM. Beginning with the previous issue the ACM went from being published quarterly to bi-monthly. It may have been possible to review ten books quarterly, but how is it possible for anyone to read ten Chess books every other month? The answer is contained in the review of Tal, Petrosian, Spassky and Korchnoi,
by Andy Soltis,
published by McFarland. (https://mcfarlandbooks.com/) Hansen writes, “When I first saw the description of this book, (There is no need for the comma) I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about it. (“Upon first seeing description I did not know how to feel about the book.” THE ACM needs a good editor.) However, having now received a copy and read a fair amount of the text…” Let us pause in the middle of the sentence to reflect. Many years ago someone mentioned something about coming to the House of Pain “soon.” This caused David Vest, the only man to have won both the Georgia Chess Championhip and Georgia Senior Championship, to pose the question, “How long, exactly, is soon?” He added, “I hate those nebulous words…” This began a discussion concerning nebulous words. A short time (Nebulous!) later Mr. Vest, heading out the door, said, “Tell Murphy I will be back in a little while.” He was half way out of the door when someone asked, “How long is ‘a little while’, Dave?” This brought the House down! What is a “fair amount” of the book? Your “fair amount” may not be the same as my “fair amount.” Can you imagine a New York Times book reviewer revealing they only read a “fair amount” of a book? I usually pay little attention to these short book reviews by writers who obviously simply scan the book reviewed. It would be better for Mr. Hansen to review only a few books he has actually read as opposed to scanning ten books before writing a review. It seems many reviewers spend more time writing the review than actually reading the book being reviewed.
Then there is the article, 50 is the new 40, by Jon Edwards, an ICCF Senior IM. Reading the article caused me to reflect upon the words written by GM Nigel Short
in New In Chess magazine 2019 #2
in his piece, Obsolescence, which concerns correspondence chess. “If ever an activity should have long ago expired and been buried with dignity, it is surely correspondence chess.” This caused Kirill Oseledets to write a letter to the editor of NIC in which he expressed his unfavorable opinion of NIC for publishing the Short column. Kirill wrote, “I was sincerely surprised and deeply disappointed to see that in New In Chess 2018/2 you published Nigel Short’s article with the provocative title ‘Obsolescence.’ Later he writes, “One thing that Nigel Short fails to recognize is that correspondence chess is first of all a research laboratory for chess.”
Mr. Edwards begins, “Chess players do not yet have access to AlphaZero and so we are left to peruse more conventional chess technologies. It is tempting to focus primarily upon new databases, new videos, and new online chess services, all of which keep me feeling young and invigorated, but the fact is that chess is experiencing another profound change that has gradually but inexorably changed chess forever.” Then the article begins and Jon writes, “Just a few years ago, patiently permitting a desktop computer to run for day or longer might net an evaluation depth of 35-40 ply, each ply representing a single half move.”
He continues, “With new hardware , it is not uncommon (Don’t ‘cha just hate it when a writer uses a double negative and the editor prints it?) today for such runs to reach a depth of 50 ply or even much higher, depending obviously upon the position, the number of viable moves for each player, and the chess engine being employed. Those depths are high enough to predict accurately the future endgames, which themselves become trivial to evaluate. These long runs in typical positions are producing a slew of draws in Correspondence chess. I present here the current crosstable of the Spanish Masters, a tournament in which I am competing. With just 8 games still unfinished, the crosstable creates quite an impression, a veritable sea of draws.”
The crosstable shows a tournament with fifteen players almost complete. There is only one decisive result, and the only ‘1’ and lonely ‘0’ stand out like Bo Derek!
Jon continues, “You might indeed conclude prematurely that correspondence chess is therefore fully dead or dying.”
Duh, ya think?!
“But that’s not the point or the end of the story. The reality is that it is becoming very hard to win, but it is still possible!”
The CC IM writes this because the only game won in the “veritable sea of draws,” was won by the author…
He continues, “Those long runs are turning up interesting finds.”
“I parlayed one such discovery into a win over the reigning Russian correspondence chess champion, the only win so far in this crosstable.”
The game is given, along with a game played later by former World Chess Champion Vishy Anand,
who was unable to produce the move found by a computer Chess program after a “long run.” At the Isle of Man Anand faced Artemiev
with white and these moves were played: 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Be2 e6 7 f4 Be7 8 Be3 0-0 9 g4 d5 10 e5 Nfd7 11 g5 Nc6.
“Undoubtedly unaware of the game I had recently completed, Anand tried 12 Qd2.”
“I reached the diagram position through a different move order: 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Be3 e6 7 Be2 Be7 8 f4 0-0 9 g4 d5 10 e5 Nfd7 11 g5 Nc6
Edwards continues, “I reached the diagramed position in December 2017 through a different move order: : 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Be3 e6 7 Be2 Be7 8 f4 0-0 9 g4 d5 10 e5 Nfd7 11 g5 Nc6. Sensing an opportunity for White, I ran Robert Houdart’s Houdini 6.02 Pro x64 for 35 days(!) on an Intel Xeon CPU E5-2687W @3.00 GHz with 32 GB of installed RAM. At depth 45, 12 Bd3 emerged not simply as the best move, as I had anticipated (Where is that darn comma when you need it?) but also with a completely winning advantage!”
“Edwards – Lobanov instead continued: 12 Bd3!! (Please note the ICCF Senior International Master gives not one but TWO exclamation marks for a move found by a Chess engine after doing whatever it is it does for over a MONTH of computing!!) Qb6 13 Na4 Qa5+ 14 c3
“I suspect the engines at lower depth had rejected this line owing to 14…Nxd4 15 Bxd4 b5 trapping the knight, but at higher depth, the engines easily find: 16 Bxh7+!! (Once again one exclam is not enough!!) 16…Kxh7 17 Qh5+ Kg8 18 0-0+ with a transfer of the Rf1 to h3. On 18…g6 (the toughest defense) 19 Qh4 Re8 20 Rf3 Bf8 21 Rh3 Bg7 22 f5! gxf5 23 Nb6 Nxb6 24 B5 with mate to follow. Without that line at his disposal, Lobanov chose instead to sacrifice a knight for two pawns but achieved insufficient compensation. Here’s the rest of the game.”
I will spare you the remainder of the game. Mr. Edwards adds this at the end of the game: “Not long after the game ended, I shared it with a GM friend of mine, the second for a world top-player, who ran 12 Bd3 on a very powerful mainframe overnight. He concluded that Black was already lost and he added White’s new idea into their collective repertoire. The translation: Our world’s best players fully understand the need for world class computing. He was able to do in half a day what took me more than a month! I do not know what hardware they are running but it clearly surpasses my setup. I am also proud that analysis of this game appeared in New in Chess Yearbook 129 (itl), pp33-35.
While it is clearly getting much tougher to win correspondence games and to achieve Correspondence IM and GM norms, any correspondence wins that doe occur clearly deserve considerable attention. Just ask Anand. I therefore recommend that strong players involve the Games Archive at iccf.com as a key part of their opening preparation. You will gain access to the archive after you sign up (for free).”
What, no double exclam after “free?”
Reading, “…correspondence chess is first of all a research laboratory for chess,” caused me to stop reading and start thinking about what was being read. I thought the computer championships, such as the TCEC Chess tournaments, were Chess laboratories. Jon and his ilk input a position into a computer and let it do it’s thing for a month and call it Chess. Jon, and all other correspondence players would be much better off if they would go to a club or tournament and use their brain to actually play CHESS!
Jon was right when he wrote, “…chess is experiencing another profound change that has gradually but inexorably changed chess forever.”
With that sentence Jon Edwards just KILLED CHESS!
Consider the last theoretical novelty you saw from one of the top ten players in the world. Did it spring from the fertile imagination of a human like, for instance, the Magician of Riga, Mikhail Tal?
Or did it emanate from the bowels of some hellish mainframe? If it has gotten to the point where a computer can provide a world class Chess player a move early in the game with which any world class player will win, what is the point of Chess? Has it gotten to the point where, “Those depths are high enough to predict accurately the future endgames, which themselves become trivial to evaluate?”
If Jon is correct there is no point in watching Chess because one will never know how the ‘beautiful’ move was produced. A Chess fan will never know if the “tremendous move” emanated from a human brain or from the machinations of a computer program. What we currently have is some kind of symbiotic relationship between human and machine kind of like the ‘Borg’ depicted in the television show, Star Trek: The Next Generation.
The first World Chess Champion to lose a match to a computer program, Garry Kasparov,
became an advocate of some kind of Chess in which both players have access to a program, which, thankfully, did not become popular. It appears what happened is the symbiotic relationship was kept behind closed doors. The computers and programs were there all the time, like some kind of Wizard of Oz.
Because they were out of sight they were also out of mind.
What is the point of the folks at the Chess Informant awarding a prize for the “best” theoretical novelty if the TN was found by a computer program? It has reached the point where a Grandmaster without access to a mainframe computer has little chance against another GM with access to a powerful computer. Who is actually winning the Chess game, the human or the program?
Chess will continue to be played just as Checkers continues to be played by a small number of people. When was the last time you were aware of the world Checkers champion?
Then there is the last page, 5×5 Q&A “Where Grandmasters Advise Young Players.”
The advice being given is by Susan Polgar. What the woman did to the USCF was UGLY!
While watching the games of the US Championship I have open the websites TWIC; ChessBomb; and my favorite, Chessdom. The latter has analysis by the big three, Stockfish, Komodo, & Houdini, the three highest rated “entities” playing the Royal game these days. I like to judge the position myself before looking at the evaluation of the programs. One of the things I like about the Chess arena board displayed on Chessdom is the difference of opinion on some moves by the big three. For example, after Mackenzie Molner played the standard third move, after 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5, Timur Gareev, my pick to win the tournament last year in the contest, which was not held this year, played 3…f5, the Schliemann defense, a favorite of a player from LA (that is Lower Alabama to those of us fortunate enough to be from the South), The Dude. The Legendary Georgia Ironman hung the moniker “Rainbow Warrior” on him, but Tim Bond did not like it. After a soliloquy on the movie “The Big Lebowski” while drinking white russians, I began called him, “The Dude.” The Dude would play 1 Nf3 as his opening move with white, but play wide openings like the Schliemann with black. His theory was that “With white one already has the advantage and must play conservatively to keep it. But with black one must try to wrest the advantage from white by any means necessary.” After 3…f5, Houdini has as best either 4 Qe2 or Bxc6. Komodo would play 4 Nc3; while Stockfish shows 4 d3.
After having decided to not go to the website of the StLCC&SC to listen to the broadcast I decided to check it out Sunday. What I found was an interview of Rex Sinquefield by GM Maurice Ashley. One of the first things I heard was Maurice say something about his politics being different from those of Mr. Sinquefield, who responded with some condescending remark about letting him “educate” Maurice sometime. Then Rex went into a rant about Missouri legislation concerning taxes. He said something about a bill that had been passed and vetoed by the Governor, but the veto had been overridden, something that had not happened since the 1800’s. Who cares? Why was this man talking about tax policy on a chess website? And why the hell does it matter to him? He is a BILLIONAIRE! He pays accountants large sums to find loopholes so he does not half to pay taxes. The tax code is written by sycophants of the super-rich to favor the upper crust. What does it matter to him whether tax rates go up or down? And besides, if taxes go down, how will the bill for endless war be paid? Certainly Rex and his ilk will not pay the freight for US troops who are in almost every country on the face of the earth. I turned it off after hearing Rex, who seemed quite pleased with himself, make a disparaging comment about Ben Finegold being uglier than Jennifer Shahade.
The next day, Monday, I surfed on over to the website again to find the pretty Jennifer had joined Yasser fo that day’s broadcast. Unfortunately, there was yet another problem with the broadcast, just like the previous day, and like last year. For that reason I clicked off and went to the Livestream website (http://new.livestream.com/accounts/3913412/events/2966247). The problem persisted on that site as well. Here are some of the comments from the livestream website:
Is it lagging like crazy with any1 else?- Ole Feiring
terrible stream-Gary Sharkey
it is just lagging a lot-Ralf Schnabel
yeah its awful and ruining the coverage last year was the same-Gary Sharkey
Since Rex Sinquefield is a billionaire it would seem he would be able to afford the best video possible. But who knows why the upper crust do the things they do? With that in mind I set down at my ‘puter to watch a program on the History channel, or to be specific, H2. The program is “America’s Book Of Secrets” and the episode is “The Billionaire Agenda.” It can be watched on TV or on the internet here: (http://www.history.com/shows/americas-book-of-secrets/videos/the-billionaire-agenda?m=51896f6e2acad)
Although I do not know Rex Sinquefield, he is as near to the super rich as I will probably get, being only one of the six degrees of separation made famous by Kevin Bacon, no kin, as far as I know, although when asked I always lie and say he is a distant cousin! I know Tony Rich, the manager of the Chess Club & Scholastic Center of St. Louis, having played him in the Missouri state chess championship in 2002, and having visited the aforementioned chess club with the long name. I could not help but think of Rex while watching the program, and what part he plays in the “agenda” of the filthy rich.
I took notes while watching the program and will share them with you. First, there 492 billionaire Americans, with Oprah being the only so-called by the program “African-American,” among the group. Notice there were none called say, “European-American” for example. 152 reside in China and 111 in Russia. Never before in the history of the world has so much wealth been concentrated in so few hands. The number one man on the list, Bill Gates, makes $17,000 a MINUTE! Walmart CEO Mike Duke makes $11,000 an hour. He’s got workers making $8.00 an hour and before he goes to lunch he’s made more than any one of one million Walmart workers make in an entire year. In 1980 an average CEO made 42 times the pay of an average worker. Today an average CEO makes 350 times the rate of an average worker!
What is a billion anything? One billion is a thousand millions. Compare that to one million being a thousand thousands. One million seconds is about 11 and a half days. One billion seconds is about 31 and a half years! One million pennies stacked on top of each other would make a tower nearly a mile high. One billion pennies stacked on top of each other would make a tower almost 870 miles high. One million ants would weigh a little over six pounds. One billion ants would weight over 3 tons – a little less than the weight of an elephant. One million dollars divided evenly among the U.S. population would mean everyone in the United States would receive about one third of one cent. One billion dollars divided equally among the U.S. population would mean that everyone in the United States would receive about $3.33. If you earn $45,000 a year, it would take 22 years to amass a fortune of one million dollars. If you earn $45,000 a year, it would take 22,000 years to amass a fortune of one billion dollars. It is said that in the not too distant future Bill Gates will become the first trillionaire. One trillion is a thousand billions, or equivalently a million millions. It is a 1 with twelve zeros after it, denoted by 1,000,000,000,000. One trillion seconds is over 31 thousand years. One trillion pennies stacked on top of each other would make a tower about 870,000 miles high – the same distance obtained by going to the moon, back to earth, then to the moon again. One trillion ants would weigh over 3000 tons. One trillion dollars divided evenly among the U.S. population would mean that everyone in the United States would receive a little over $3000.
If you spent $10,000 a day it would take you over 300 years to spend the entire sum. It is no wonder Matthew Erich “Mancow” Muller, a talk radio host said he could not wrap his mind around the concept of a billion dollars. Surely his head will explode when Bill Gates becomes the first human to amass one trillion dollars. “Mancow” said, “The only people they can relate to is other billionaires.” Someone said, “They kind of live in their own universe that’s removed from the rest of us, so they’re not grounded in the economic realities he rest of us are.”
Former chessplayer NM Peter Thiel, who has not played since 2004, is among the group of billionaires. One local NM who knew him while living on the left coast can be heard condemning the man for “not giving back by putting money into chess.” Instead, Peter has invested $1.25 million to the Seasteading Institute, who want to produce floating cities upon which the filthy rich can live while floating around the ocean in order to not have to pay taxes, or have to follow any rules made by nations or states.
In a 5-4 decision on April , 2014, the Supreme Court decided government cannot limit the amount of money donors can give to political candidates, committee’s and parties.
I read about a new sci-fi show last year, “Continuum” and have been watching it. In one of the episodes We The People were demonstrating against a ruling made by the Supremes in which they ruled that corporations were people. The thing about growing old(er) and having read and watched much sci-fi is that one know everything that seemed so much like fiction back then has come to fruition.
In speaking about the huge sums coming into the political arena it was said that no one knows exactly how much money goes to whom because there is no accountability. “It’s all dark money.” that reminded me of the famous interview after 9/11 in which VP Darth Cheney said, “We will have to work on the dark side.”
Then there was this comment, “Billionaires can exert a subtle control over what issues et put on the national agenda. They can choose the issues they care about and make sure they get talked about while others might not.”
“Are the super rich really working together towards a unified, one world agenda?” If so, I would ask Rex the Billionaire if he was chosen to contribute money to chess and if so, why it was he in lieu of NM Peter Thiel, which would seem to make more sense.
It was heard that, “Billionaires are different from us.”
How did Rex Sinquefield become the Daddy Warbucks of chess? From Wikipedia: “In 1981, Sinquefield co-founded Dimensional Fund Advisors, which manages more than $310 billion in assets as of September 30, 2013.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rex_Sinquefield)
Consider this from the May 8 column, “Now That’s Rich,” by Noble prize winning economist Paul Krugman in the New York Times:
“But that’s not what those hedge fund managers do for a living; they’re in the business of financial speculation, which John Maynard Keynes characterized as “anticipating what average opinion expects the average opinion to be.” Or since they make much of their income from fees, they’re actually in the business of convincing other people that they can anticipate average opinion about average opinion.” (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/09/opinion/krugman-now-thats-rich.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&_r=0),
Rex did not make anything useful for the human race; he did not invent anything to save lives, or improve conditions on this planet for those less fortunate. He is, basically, what is called in the bible, a “money changer.” Those readers who have read the bible will immediately think of the only time Jesus lost control and threw the money changers out of the temple. If Rex had been in the temple he would surely have been tossed out with them like yesterday’s garbage. So, once again, I ask why is Rex Sinquefield funding chess? What’s in it for him? Coming from a man who is opposed to raising the minimum wage (and why is it that it is always those who have too much who want to limit the take of those who have too little?), and against unions, when the only way We The People have of fighting the upper crust is by organizing, it seems incongruous, to say the least.
The program emphasized the fact that the only thing the upper crust cares about is keeping what they have. I thought of the scene in the movie, “Dr. Zhivago,” when the doctor comes home to find his family mansion has been taken over by We The People, and now there are many families living in the huge house in lieu of just his small family. There is a storm brewing in this country and it don’t take no weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing. The Russian intelligence service published recently their prediction of revolution in America. I leave you with these quotes from the great American from the Great State of Virginia, President Thomas Jefferson:
“The end of democracy and the defeat of the American Revolution will occur when government falls into the hands of lending institutions and moneyed incorporations.”
“I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.”
“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants .”
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.