December 30, 2006
tip o’ da hat to susan polgar’s blog where i found this and i pass along
Stephen Poole previews cultural studies titles in 2007
Saturday December 30, 2006
It’s always nice to see one’s pet theories confirmed by rigorous analysis, and a subject close to this writer’s heart is encapsulated in the title of A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder, by Eric Abramson and David H Freedman (Weidenfeld, January). Looking at more than just my desk, the authors conclude that there is an ideal level of messiness that makes any system more robust and productive. The virtues of disorder are illustrated with examples from “business, parenting, cooking, the war on terrorism, retail and even the meteoric career of Arnold Schwarzenegger”, and the authors promise that their insights can be applied on a society-wide scale as well as to your kitchen. I would say more on the subject, but I seem to have lost my notes somewhere in the piles of detritus towering around me.Apparently averse to mess, on the other hand, is Phil Spector, legendary record producer and – it says here, rather unkindly – “demented control freak”. Are there well-balanced control freaks? Shouldn’t a record producer actually want to be in control? Spector gave his first interview in 25 years to journalist Mick Brown in late 2002. Two months later, the producer was arrested after an actress was shot dead in his Los Angeles castle. Thus prompted, Brown has written Tearing Down the Wall of Sound (Bloomsbury, April), recording his own “personal odyssey” into the bizarre story of the man with the golden ears who gave the world such acoustic palaces as “Unchained Melody” and “River Deep, Mountain High”. Spector’s long-delayed murder trial finally begins in January.Chess genius Garry Kasparov, whom no one would dare to call a “demented control freak” to his face, retired from competitive play in 2005, but has hardly been idle since, founding the Russian political party United Civil Front and continuing to write his history of chess, titled with no false modesty My Great Predecessors. Now, somewhat like a hirsute, modern Sun Tzu, he offers his general philosophy of strategy, How Life Imitates Chess (Heinemann, March). As he promised in a Wall Street Journal article last year, the book “examines the unique formulae people use in thinking and problem-solving. For example, the way hope and doubt affect how we process information, or the way we perform in a crisis. I hope it will also serve as a guide to improving these processes.” Can the ability to calculate a 20-move forced tactical sequence in chess help you navigate the shark-infested waters of office politics? We shall see.
Competing in the sage stakes is Terry Eagleton, the fun-loving literary critic who has lately taken to offering public lessons in theology to Richard Dawkins, probably not much to the latter’s enrichment. It will be interesting to see if this spat has any bearing on the content of Eagleton’s new book, breezily entitled The Meaning of Life (Oxford, February). (No doubt it’s only to me that this looks like a misprint for The Meaning of Liff.) Schopenhauer, Beckett and Shakespeare are wheeled on and off, and people are castigated for filling the void of meaning with Scientology or football. We are promised laughs along the way. “The meaning of life is a subject fit either for the crazed or the comic, and I hope I have fallen more into the latter camp than the former,” Eagleton writes. I hope so too; I really do.
It may not be clear where Paul Virilio fits in Eagleton’s curious schema of crazed or comic (to which there is no doubt more than mere alliteration), but the zestfully polemical French philosopher of speed no doubt hopes to ruffle a few complacent feathers with his Art As Far As the Eye Can See (Berg, July). Virilio loves to provoke with vast diagnoses. “The defining characteristic of mass culture today is cold panic,” according to his new book’s blurb. “The same panic which has used terrorism to derail democracy has hijacked the whole art enterprise. This panic is reliant on audio-visual technology to create a new all-seeing, panoptic politics. And the first casualty of this politics is the art of seeing … In the 21st century, the new battleground is art as light versus art as matter.” Is it true? What does it mean? It will be fun to find out.
More apparently traditional literary talk might be expected from Kevin Jackson’s The Book of Hours (Duckworth, March), which includes such curious facts as that dinner used to be taken at 10am and has gradually slipped ever later, and explanations of Linnaeus’s floral clock (which told the time using smell), or the system of bells on Royal Navy ships. In the hands of a lesser writer you might fear a merely twee temporal miscellany, but Jackson, author of the wonderful Invisible Forms (on the paratextual paraphernalia of books: indexes, acknowledgments, footnotes and so on), can be relied upon to make of it something fascinating. Meanwhile, a hush of anticipation should by rights attend the new book by Milan Kundera, whose The Curtain (Faber, March) is an essay on the novel. We each, he argues, have a preconceived notion of reality – “a magic curtain, woven of legends, hung before the world” – and the job of the novelist is to tear through it and reveal what lies on the other side. (A small wizard?) The maestro also promises to make more of translinguistic influence than is usually allowed in talk of “the English novel” or “the French novel”. We are lucky to have a great novelist who is also a great critic.
· Steven Poole’s Unspeak is published by Little, Brown
December 29, 2006
well last night i ran through the chess vision/ knight moves as well as 25 problems from the pandolfini book.. i got 88% right (22-25) AND i even found a solution not given in the answers, which made me pretty proud.. im thinking to add variation to the chess vision drills and add pieces next week, perhaps Q v K, R, and N, something to spice it up once i have the original drilled into my head.. im trying to finish a game i am involved in, and i am very close to mate, and i have been using pins and discovered mates.. at one point i had a ‘double check’ and i am hoping to finish this off before i stumble into a stalemate.. i will post the game as soon as i am done..
December 28, 2006
so i started on my quest to complete the MDLM program for chess improvement.. last night i ran the concentric drills using the K+R and i used the Q, R, B, and N.. i think every day i will change so i run a cycle of K+R, +Q, + N, +B, and then i will change the starting squares.. the knight moves are quick to run through, and like it says, the squares start to pop out at you.. running through the tactic drills, i did about 25-30 from the little exercises in pandolfini’s chessercises, and interestingly enough, the ones i got correct, i found the answer quickly, maybe 5 minutes, but the ones that stumped me stumped me good.. i had about a 70% rate last night.. i found that i need to look at the board longer and carefully and not get frustrated so easily when the answer doesnt materialize quickly..
December 27, 2006
most everyone who browses the chessblogs knows about michael de la maza, his book, rapid chess improvement, and his articles “400 points in 400 days”, parts one and two.. there is a legion of disciples and devotees who have followed and implemented his program in part or in whole, or some sort of variant which seems to be inspired by this method.. those that have influenced me in my decision to implement some sort of program are chessforblood, j’adoube, bluedevilknight, temposchlucker, nezha, and a recent addition to the fray, GM-grandemerda.. interesting with GM-grandemerda is that he is from brasil.. while i am cuban-american, i live not to far from him, about 12 hours away, we both live in the northeast of brasil, albeit different states.. there are more “knights errant” around the web, but those that i mention are the ones i visit and see updated on a regular basis, if i missed someone i apologize.. heres the program i have fashioned.. i plan to do the chessvision drills described in part one, the concentric-capture drill and the knight moves for a month.. at the same time i will do a “mini” part two.. i will be using bruce pandolfini’s “chessercises” which contains 200 drills, in various tactics, mates, pins, skewers, etc, and i use the example in the article using a 8-4-2-1 cycle, 25 exercises in 8 days, then 50 in 4, 100 in 2, and finally all 200 in one day.. at this point i feel i would be better prepared to start the “full” version of the program with the 1000 exercises recommended in the article..i’d like to give a big shout out and thanks to patrick of chessforblood which provided the link where i found the tactics exercises.. this site here provides 3000 drills.. for my foray into this program i decided on the easy levels I, II, and III, medium I, II, III, IV, V, hard I, and advanced I.. i will be balancing work (general manager of a soccer team and and the junior teams), family, and chess into this mix, and as most of those who started this program can attest its not an easy climb.. i will pass along how my progress is going..
Cuba´s Bruzon Faces Off Ivanchuk at Mexican Chess Tournament
By Maryla García Santos
Merida, México, Dec 21, (P26).-Just as it was expected, Cuban Grand Master Lazaro Bruzon (2648), and Ukraine’s Vasily Ivanchuk (2741) will face each other today at final match of the international chess tournament Carlos Torre Repetto in Memorian, which is underway in this city since December 14.
Bruzon, who is the defending champion, won the ticket to the final round after defeating US GM GM Jaan Elhvest. For that purpose, it was necessary to play rapid games, as in the morning and afternoon games they drew in just 16 and 18 moves.
In the first of the two defining games, they also came to a quick Dra., after 23 moves, but in the second the Cuban youth played his usual aggressive game and with black pieces was able to surrender his opponent’s king.
For his part, Ivanchuk, defeated, after 60 moves, the other Cuban taking part in this phase of the competition: GM Frank de la Paz.
The Thursday match, will be\nan opportunity for Bruzon to keep the title that he won last year, and it will\nalso permit him the possibility of avenging the defeat that the Ukrainian dealt\nhim in the first round of the Capablanca tournament, in which Ivanchuck grabbed\nthe cup of the elite pool.
\n\n\n”,0] ); D([“ce”]); //–>The Thursday match, will be an opportunity for Bruzon to keep the title that he won last year, and it will also permit him the possibility of avenging the defeat that the Ukrainian dealt him in the first round of the Capablanca tournament, in which Ivanchuck grabbed the cup of the elite pool.
December 21, 2006
Cuba’s Bruzon Goes to Semifinals of Mexican Chess Tournament
By Maryla García Santos
Merida, México, Dec 20, (P26).- Cuban Grand Master Lazaro Bruzon has taken another step in his aspirations to keep the title of the Carlos Torres Repetto in Memoriam chess tournament after defeating Germany’s GM Alexander Graf.
Bruzon had to play hard in the match against Graf. The Cuban player lost the first game playing with black pieces but he won the second, and so they played 15-minutes games. Playing with whites, Bruzon beat Graf in 35 moves.
As he was totally recovered, the Cuban youth imposed his playing style in the definitive match, winning both 15-minute games. Such result permitted the tournament’s defending champion to advance to the semifinal round, which is played today. This time he will face US Jaan Ehlvest.
Ehlvest eliminated Mexico’s International Master Manuel Leon Hoyos, after drawing with him in the morning and winning in the afternoon in 53 moves.
The other Cuban that is taking part in this competition, GM Frank de la Paz, got a remarkable result by defeating the Netherlands number one player: GM Serguei Tiviakov.
December 15, 2006
i got my Christmas present early this year.. i live in brasil, and my bosses wife came dowm for the holidays.. my wife puts up with my chess craze, shes even learning the game.. she sat down to surf the web, find info and found a chess wallet.. she showed it to me and said she wanted to give it to me for Christmas.. who am i to complain.. to see the pics visit my blogger site
December 15, 2006
Palm Beach Post Columnist
Friday, December 15, 2006
The cash to fuel Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s political demise could come by way of Palm Beach.
The diminutive ex-KGB agent’s arch enemy, former chess superstar Garry Kasparov, has set up his world headquarters on the tony island. He’s getting ready to start fund-raising stateside for his oust-Putin cause and possible run for the presidency.
From a hole-in-the-wall office on the second floor of a Peruvian Avenue commercial building, Kasparov’s longtime agent, Owen Williams, tells Page Two he has set up a nonprofit, Freedom for a Democratic Russia, and is launching an English-language Web site to disseminate stories about how crooked the current Russian regime is.
Kasparov’s 1984 world championship match against Anatoly Karpov became legendary, but he quit chess nearly two years ago for politics. Now Kasparov, 43, who has been in Palm Beach four times in recent years, has gotten so deep under Putin’s skin that he expects to be arrested at an anti-Putin demonstration Saturday in Moscow, Williams said.
Police looking for “subversive literature” raided Kasparov’s Moscow office Wednesday.
“I’m transitioning from running Garry’s businesses to helping with his campaign,” said Williams, 74. “He’s made a modest fortune ($10 million) from chess, but politics are expensive.”
With some Putin opponents turning up poisoned these days, other tenants in the Palm Beach building have grown wary. Some said they’ve seen guys in dark suits and government cars hanging out, but FBI spokeswoman Judy Orihuela said Thursday she couldn’t confirm they were G-men.
Williams recently had his phones equipped with scramblers and his computers equipped with spy-proof firewalls.
“At my age, I’m not worried about polonium or spies,” Williams said.
December 15, 2006
yesterday i posted a bit about madness and mental illness.. fellow blogger nezha asked why the sudden interest.. no reason really, but out of the blue i see this:
Friday Dec 15 15:12 AEDT
A Russian man dubbed the Crazy Chess Killer has been charged with 49 murders but failed to achieve his goal of 64 – one for each square on a chess board.
Investigators say Alexander Pichushkin has confessed to murdering 62 people during a six-year killing spree.
But they have only been able to charge him with 49 counts of murder because Pichushkin can’t say where the rest of the bodies are.
He allegedly told police soon after his arrest in June that he planned to kill one person for every square on a chess board, but regretfully added there were a few “vacant” squares, and that he’d not fulfilled his goal.
Most of the victims were elderly men, with 14 bodies – including that of a co-worker Marina Moskaleva – found in the same Moscow park.
Pichushkin had worked at the same grocery store with Moskaleva and it was the discovery of her body on June 14 that led to his arrest.
Moskaleva had left her son a note with Pichushkin’s number on it before she was found dead.
When questioned, Pichushkin boastfully told police he had killed not just her but 61 others.
The murders Pichushkin described stretched across various parks and other locations across the city, starting in 2000.
With little in the way of age, gender or career linking the victims, investigators say the only pattern they have established in the deaths is that they were caused by a blow to the head.
Alexander Kshevitsky, a Russian federal investigations official, said medical experts would decide whether Pichushkin was sane enough to stand trial.
He said many bodies remained unaccounted for.
“In a few cases, there aren’t victims, but missing people,” Kshevitsky said.