Saturday, November 24, 2007

Kasparov Forked

From the BBC:

"Police moved in when protesters tried to march to the election commission, which had barred Other Russia candidates from next week's election."

From FoxNews:

"The protesters were demanding an end to the authoritarian rule of President Vladimir Putin.",4670,RussiaProtestMarch,00.html

From the NY Times:

"In a statement, Mr. Kasparov said the court proceedings had been “a choreographed farce from beginning to end.” He added, “It was a symbol of what has happened to justice and the rule of law under Putin.” "

Putin cannot serve a third term in office, nor does he plan too. He is however setting himself up a nice cushy seat in the parliment and a successor who follows his ideology. Im not sure exactly what the protest was about, other than we hate Putin and want him gone even earlier than planned. He is a remarkably poor President/Dictator that has tanked relations with the US and the Russian people while choosing Iran as a good friend. His mafia style rule has set the country back decades. The best that can be said is that he held the country together during tough times. However, a steady, consistent, popular change is needed to steer Russia back to a moral political path. The best change comes from the inside and he should serve out his term. This was a bad move by Kasparov and an even worse move by Putin.

UPDATE: Kasparov has been jailed for five days (starting saturday) for leading an 'unauthorized march.' (Note the scare quotes they are intentional)

UPDATE: "Kasparov was convicted of organizing an unsanctioned procession, chanting anti-government slogans and resisting arrest after Saturday's protest, held eight days before parliamentary elections."

"In an appeal heard Monday, Kasparov argued that he had followed police orders and was illegally detained. He also cited contradictory testimony from police officers, who told the court in Saturday's hastily organized trial that they had been ordered before the rally to arrest Kasparov, one of Putin's fiercest critics.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Corruption of Blood

Article III, Section 3 of the United States Constitution

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the life of the Person attained.

Backward Pawns plague us all. The questions are: When are they considered backward? and What in the hell do you do with them once they have become Copperheads?

The book Pawn Power (I'm sure most of you are familiar with it. It is stuffed with content but reads like stereo instructions) puts it this way:

"A half-free pawn, placed on the second or third rank, whose stopsquare lacks pawn protection but is controlled by a sentry, is called a backward pawn or, as we alternately speak of it, a straggler."

Backward pawns aren't a problem I run into regularly. I know little about them other than through frustrating experiences OTB. It will take more research to get a solid knowledge of how they effect the game but this has been sitting in the folder as a draft for so long I just had to get it out.


Between talking to my brother about his high level philosophy class and Transformations mind absorbing posts Ive started to become reaccustomed to thinking philosophically. Its really a fantastic way of aproaching an issue. To take in everything around you, to account for everything your mind has to offer and attempt to apply it in one direction.

When I first started playing chess, a group of us were playing at the Comet and talking about what we would bring to the game. I wanted to bring a mind altering new perspective. No one knew what that meant, including myself. But it seemed like a great idea, to try to find some real answers rather than follow a common linear path. I suppose that leads us outside of the game and into the interrelationships of the world. As you can see I still have no idea what Im talking about.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

So much to be thankful for.

Enjoy the Rockyesque cinematography.

Monday, November 19, 2007

I predicted two weeks ago that it will be a Packers, Patriots Super Bowl. I want to go on the record saying that not only will that happen but the Packers will win it in a pseudo-upset. The Patriots are an outstanding team with a lot of talent but the Pack have an organic mix of new and old, rookies and veterans, that's giving them the ability to grow organically. We will soon see the truth of the matter when the Pack staves off the Lions this Thanksgiving.

If I may be so boldly nerdy as to compare it to Wolff's Law of Bone: Wolff's law is a theory developed by the German Anatomist/Surgeon Julius Wolff (1835-1902) in the 19th century that states that bone in a healthy person or animal will adapt to the loads it is placed under. If loading on a particular bone increases, the bone will remodel itself over time to become stronger to resist that sort of loading. The converse is true as well: if the loading on a bone decreases, the bone will become weaker due to turnover as it is less metabolically costly to maintain and there is no stimulus for continued remodeling that is required to maintain bone mass.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Impossible Question

Their is a book by Krishnamurti entitled The Impossible Question. Krishnamurti was chosen at birth by Theosophists to be the coming of a great religious leader. At age thirty four he dissolved the organization that was created for him, released his followers and returned all donations back to his contributors. He then traveled the world seeking to obtain peace and often left it in the wake of his wisdom. He was by all means a brilliant man but would never accept such a title.

This particular book takes a great deal of time to understand and Ive only read portions of it. Id like to share a passage from it that takes some thought and release from the usual mental constraints. Then I will pose a question.

"Sirs, look, we never put the impossible question - we are always putting the question of what is possible. If you put an impossible question, your mind then has to find an answer in terms of the impossible - not what is possible. All the great scientific discoveries are based on this, the impossible."

How can you checkmate your opponent with only one move?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veterans Day

Take a moment to pray for those who served our country. If you've ever experienced hardship or tragedy you know how it can be. They have experienced it too, only they did it for you.

Friday, November 09, 2007

To Teach Or Not To Teach.

So the same friend that is from the previous post sent me an email about a position teaching chess to middle school kids that was posted on Craigslist. I will refer to him from now on as "Dude" as to not put his business on the web. Dude has the best of intentions despite the fact that he is recently unemployed. I just quit one job so another sounds silly at first but upon further investigation I find it pays thirty dollars an hour but only for three hours a week. That's a fine wage for a thirty year old man to pursue his hobby. I say what the hell and set up an informal interview. We settle into Starbucks on one of the first days of the establishing cold. Chilly I should say but for those of you in the south its down right cold. He drops a board on the table and we talk casually over a nicely paced game that I tank on purpose. He asks questions, I ask questions and the universe is in harmony. "Do you mind wearing a sailor hat?" he asks me. What in the hell kind of question is that? Grown men don't wear sailor hats unless they live in San Fransisco or are actually in the Navy. Which begs the question, but I didn't ask. Admittedly kids are as foreign to me as reverse bulimia, but I have no intention of ruining a perfectly good hobby by humiliation. "Yes it does bother me." I say concerned. Then I proceed to schedule a day to start training in the hopes that the sailor hat thing will magically disappear. It didn't. I show up at an intermediate school (Is that what they are calling middle schools these days? Is middle school now somehow offensive?) and much to my dismay the teacher is in full mock sailor uniform. At that moment of time realization struck me that it was never going to happen. Who can pass up an opportunity to watch a grown man in a sailor outfit try to teach bratty rich kids chess immediately after the school day is over? I cant. So I hung around and watched as a couple kids understood what was going on and the others.... well here's a list of what you can expect if you ever decide to pursue such a thing:

Peacefully setting up the board only to yank the roll up out excitedly like Copperfield before the ruffies set in.

Reaching behind another player to snatch their king for an excuse to run in circles wildly.

Broken Queens.

Pawns will enter nasal cavities. I didn't think it was possible either.

One kid going ballistic because hes obviously starved for attention in his home life.

Someone will cry.

Now I know something about kids. Until I have my own they are obnoxious little monsters.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Captain Stupid Questions

So I'm getting a leisurely game in with a Friend of mine a couple weeks ago. The game goes well for me in spite of the fact that one or two games per week has been the norm lately. I make some unsound moves but somehow pull ahead in position. Then I lose all sense of chessality (chess reality) and hand him everything he wants positionally in the middle game. Seriously, the middle game used to be my strong point back when contemplation and artistic thought were the joys of the play. What has changed? Everything. That probably has something to do with it. Alas, I end up fighting out a lost endgame against someone whose vision of the endgame has been superior to mine for a long time. But about half way through the endgame something interestingly retarded happens. A guy in a local phone company outfit starts watching from a few feet away. Now normally this doesn't bother me, in fact usually its for the better as someone who stops to watch most likely has some experience and thus a reasonable sense of insight. As apposed to inshight which is when an onlooker thinks they have some sagaciousness going for them but its actually useless dribble. You can imagine which one this guy had. So he watched the remaining few moves of the game and then decries to me "were you white?" At this point I'm thinking maybe he doesn't know the game well, we will answer a few questions and hell vanish into phone company land. Alas, this is not the case. He proceeds to hang around and make statements like "I used to play in tournaments" and "I was state champion back in" blah blah blah. Seriously it is some sort of coffeehouse phenomenon that every state champion of every year in every state hangs around the Milwaukee loop. I imagine their is a unique brand of wormhole located in the ninth dimension of a trophy somewhere, sucking state champions into circa 2007 Milwaukee. So this guy proceeds to tell me that I will play better if I look six moves ahead each move. Thanks for the advice douchebag I never would have thought that. After that gem things start to get uncomfortable. Mind you its intentional on my part because ten minutes of this have been quite enough. My friend agrees and clearly is working toward the same end. So the guy leaves and I ask "If you could give that guy a name what would it be?" He says "Captain Stupid Questions." All is right with the world once again.