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The KGB and Chess: Assets and Liabilities



 
 
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  #2  
Old July 11th 03, 01:03 AM
Nick
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Default The KGB and Chess: Assets and Liabilities

The Horny Goat wrote in message . ..
...
But if I say something really dodgy either about chess politics or a
piece of analysis I would expect you'll ream me.


Dear Mr. Craver,

Please allow me to put your mind at ease about that concern.
I have no reason now to hold any personal bias against you.

First, I am not a politician, and I have little interest in chess politics.
I don't follow rec.games.chess.politics, and I don't post from there, though
some of my posts have appeared there in cross-posted threads. I don't feel
strongly enough about chess politics to dispute about it with politicians.

Second, with regard to any errors in chess analysis, I observe a significant
distinction in my standards of criticism between the people who are being paid
to do it and everyone else. With regard to everyone else, I avoid condemning
people just for making some errors because presumably they were doing their
best within their limits of chess comprehension. I prefer not to take it
personally when technical criticism of chess analysis is practised. On the
other hand, professional chess analysts or writers should be held to a higher
standard because they are expecting the public to subsidize their labours.
Some chess writings in print have fallen beneath what their critical reviewers
regard as an adequate professional standard.

For example, Sam Sloan recently has been advocating an extremely dubious, if
not unsound, variation of Damiano's Defense (though, to his credit, he played
it and won a game at the World Open) as "a truly solid defense to 1 e4".
I wrote that Sam Sloan was "fortunate" in his game; he seemed to disagree.
I did not care to dispute that point with Sloan, but other people here did.
If Sam Sloan's happy with playing Damiano's Defense, then I am not unhappy
about that. On the other hand, if Sam Sloan were to write a booklet extolling
his pet variation as "a *truly solid* defense to 1 e4" and sell it to innocent
chess novices, then I could criticise that as a form of consumer fraud. But
I expect that, if that were to occur, then other chess writers here would be
ahead of me in the queue of denunciation.

You don't know me, and I don't know you. I ask that you attempt to form your
opinion of me based primarily on how I communicate with you and secondarily on
how I communicate with other people here. You might read some bad things
written about me by a few people here (extreme right-wing Americans), but
there have been good things written about me by more people here.

Here are some comments on my posts here from a broad variety of readers:

Jerome Bibuld (14 May 2003):
"The general tenor of your posts has been so heartwarmingly human and
winningly intelligent."

Bill Brock (10 July 2003):
"Bravo. I concur with all your major points."

Wlodzimierz Holsztynski (11 May 2003):
"And I am American in much much more important ways too. But I felt
entertained and amused by your posts and quotes, it was nice."

John Macnab (17 May 2003):
"Great story! Thanks."

Simon Spivack (31 May 2003):
"He (I) is a welcome regular contributor to this group."

Larry Tapper (21 April 2003):
"I've been enjoying your scholarly digressions, Latin epigrams, etc."

Tim Hanke (21 April 2003) to Larry Tapper about me:
"I too enjoy his (my) scholarly digressions, Latin epigrams, etc."

"Select political wisdom, like select schools, propagates much questionable
knowledge."
--James Fenimore Cooper (The Monikins)

--Nick
  #4  
Old August 17th 03, 12:01 AM
Nick
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Default The KGB and Chess: Assets and Liabilities

The Horny Goat wrote in message . ..
In other words the usual...isn't Usenet a wonderful place? grin


'A pun or a ludicrous expression frequently has more weight with the vulgar
than the most solid argument.'
--Richard Graves (The Spiritual Quixote)

Dear Mr. Craver,

Occasionally, I have been amused to be personally denounced here by someone
who seems nearly illiterate.

In the thread, "Is 1 e4 e6 now the Freedom Defense" (9 July 2003),
"Briarroot" wrote, in his habitual attempt to attack me personally:
"...Really, if you wish to criticize, go right ahead. But you must also
be prepared to accept the *approbation* which your remarks may engender.
Evidently you feel you should be immune from reaction...."

Actually, I usually am prepared to accept 'approbation' (which "Briarroot"
evidently believed was a Bad Thing). :-)

I'm sorry to have to say I did NOT win re-election as Secretary of the
Chess Federation of Canada but I certainly don't think it has anything
to do with what was said here.


Most Canadians seem tolerant enough of an occasional misstatement.
Here's one of my favourite anecdotes about Canadian politics:

At a Vancouver meeting of unemployed workers, Kim Campbell assured her
desperate audience that she could fully share their pain because she had
known personal disappointment in her attempt to become a professional cellist.
(Eventually, Kim Campbell became the Prime Minister of Canada.)

Certainly rec.games.chess.politics has been coopted and may as well be
rec.games.uscf.politics as it certainly doesn't spend significant time on
FIDE politics or the politics of other national chess organizations besides
the USA.


"La politique c'est comme l'andouillette, ca doit sentir un peu la merde,
mais pas trop."
--Edouard Herriot

rec.games.chess.misc sometimes smells too much like rec.games.chess.politics.

In this respect it's considerably more nationalistic than most of the
newsgroups I participate in - but you probably knew that already.


Evidently, most Americans are more nationalistic than most other peoples.

"The United States primarily goes to war against evil, not, in its
self-perception, to defend material interests. And comparative public
opinion data reveal that Americans are more patriotic ('proud to be an
American') and more willing to fight if their country goes to war than
citizens of the thirty or so other countries polled by Gallup."
--Seymour Martin Lipset (American Exceptionalism: a Double-Edged Sword, p. 20)

I have won tournament games with the Damiano and even 1 f3 any 2 Kf2 but
I'd hesitate to call either a solid or sound system. I suspect Sam's just
pulling your chain - it would not be the first time he has done so here.


I doubt that Sam Sloan was "just pulling (my) chain". I tend not to respond
to such dubious chess analysis until it appears on my board in a real game.
Randy Bauer and John Fernandez took stronger exception here to Sloan's analysis.

'It is very hard for a fool not to be a fool.'
--Anthony Trollope (Barchester Towers)

In the thread, "Teimour Radjabov vs. Sam Sloan (Damiano Defense)"
(9 August 2003), Sam Sloan wrote:
"I would be very happy to play the Damiano's Defense against Teimour Radjabov.
The only condition would be that he not be told in advance what opening I was
going to play so that he would have no chance to study and prepare in advance.
I would bet that I would survive the opening with a playable game, although
he might eke out a win in the endgame...."

'Nothing amuses me more than the easy manner with which everybody settles
the abundance of those who have a great deal less than themselves.'
--Jane Austen (Mansfield Park)

--Nick
  #5  
Old August 19th 03, 05:24 AM
The Horny Goat
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Default The KGB and Chess: Assets and Liabilities

On 16 Aug 2003 16:01:22 -0700, (Nick) wrote:

The Horny Goat wrote in message . ..
In other words the usual...isn't Usenet a wonderful place? grin


'A pun or a ludicrous expression frequently has more weight with the vulgar
than the most solid argument.'
--Richard Graves (The Spiritual Quixote)

Dear Mr. Craver,

Occasionally, I have been amused to be personally denounced here by someone
who seems nearly illiterate.


Who me? First time I've been called 'nearly illiterate'. Oh well.
Besides, I didn't think I had in fact denounced you. Perhaps it was a
case of mismatched 's...

I'm sorry to have to say I did NOT win re-election as Secretary of the
Chess Federation of Canada but I certainly don't think it has anything
to do with what was said here.


All I was trying to say was that I didn't think rec.games.chess.misc
had anything to do with my defeat. I *do* have a pretty good idea why
I lost and I'll be back but r.g.c.m wasn't why.

In this respect it's considerably more nationalistic than most of the
newsgroups I participate in - but you probably knew that already.


Evidently, most Americans are more nationalistic than most other peoples.


Sorry - I didn't mean that - simply that rec.games.chess.politics has
largely been taken over by internal USCF wranglings - anything OTHER
than USCF matters (God knows one could say plenty about Kirsan
Ilyumzhinov) doesn't appear much there. It isn't SUPPOSED to be
strictly about USCF matters but that's predominantly the subject of
postings there.

[As for my nationalism vs. yours - maybe it's true maybe not - but
that's not my point. You're probably right though - shortly before
Christmas 2001 National Geographic magazine saw fit to send me a Stars
and Stripes. It's a perfectly nice flag and one day I'll get around to
giving it to someone who'll give it the good home it deserves. I have
nothing against your flag it's just that I fly my own country's flag
on the flagpole off my sundeck. I just never figured out why NG felt
they needed to send American flags to non-Americans. It might have
been a September 11th sort of thing I don't know]

I doubt that Sam Sloan was "just pulling (my) chain". I tend not to respond
to such dubious chess analysis until it appears on my board in a real game.
Randy Bauer and John Fernandez took stronger exception here to Sloan's analysis.


I know very well who Sam Sloan is and his role in the r.g.c.* and/or
USCF scheme of things. I haven't figured out whether that's a good
thing for American chess or not. On various days I'm liable to give
different answers on this question and suspect I'm far from the only
one on the newsgroup who feels that way.

I confess to playing 1f3 2Kf2 in a tournament game once against a much
weaker player - which showed a degree of disrespect for him that in
retrospect was out of line. Let he who is without sin cast the first
stone....

I personally think Sam is stirring the excrement with all that Damiano
defence stuff however. It wouldn't be the first time he's done that
you know.

Anyhow, cheers!
  #6  
Old August 19th 03, 11:46 PM
Nick
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Posts: n/a
Default The KGB and Chess: Assets and Liabilities

The Horny Goat wrote in message . ..
On 16 Aug 2003 16:01:22 -0700, (Nick) wrote:
The Horny Goat wrote in message
...
In other words the usual...isn't Usenet a wonderful place? grin


Occasionally, I have been amused to be personally denounced here by
someone who seems nearly illiterate.
("The Horny Goat" snipped my cited example from a post by "Briarroot".)


Who me? First time I've been called 'nearly illiterate'. Oh well.
Besides, I didn't think I had in fact denounced you. Perhaps it was a
case of mismatched 's...


Dear Mr. Craver,

I deeply regret our misunderstanding. If you read my post again, then it
should be clear enough that I was referring to "Briarroot", not you, as the
seemingly "nearly illiterate" writer who had personally denounced me (and
who evidently believed that "approbation" was something bad). I do *not*
believe that you are "nearly illiterate" or that you have "denounced" me.

I'm sorry to have to say I did NOT win re-election as Secretary of the
Chess Federation of Canada but I certainly don't think it has anything
to do with what was said here.


All I was trying to say was that I didn't think rec.games.chess.misc
had anything to do with my defeat. I *do* have a pretty good idea why
I lost and I'll be back but r.g.c.m wasn't why.


Yes, I understood that point.

In this respect it's considerably more nationalistic than most of the
newsgroups I participate in - but you probably knew that already.


Evidently, most Americans are more nationalistic than most other peoples.


Sorry - I didn't mean that - simply that rec.games.chess.politics has
largely been taken over by internal USCF wranglings - anything OTHER than
USCF matters (God knows one could say plenty about Kirsan Ilyumzhinov)
doesn't appear much there. It isn't SUPPOSED to be strictly about USCF
matters but that's predominantly the subject of postings there.


Yes, anyone who has read rec.games.chess.politics should know that.

[As for my nationalism vs. yours - maybe it's true maybe not - but
that's not my point. You're probably right though - shortly before
Christmas 2001 National Geographic magazine saw fit to send me a Stars
and Stripes. It's a perfectly nice flag and one day I'll get around to
giving it to someone who'll give it the good home it deserves. I have
nothing against your flag it's just that I fly my own country's flag
on the flagpole off my sundeck. I just never figured out why NG felt
they needed to send American flags to non-Americans. It might have
been a September 11th sort of thing I don't know]


I don't believe that my passport(s) now determine my identity as a human being.
I am not a nationalistic person. I don't display any flags; I don't burn any
flags. I tend to be indifferent toward flags.

"We tend to think of borders as something absolute, as if God himself drew
them. But any person with an open mind and modicum of moral courage knows
that borders are a human fabrication. Human beings remain human beings
regardless of which side of the border they live on.

Nonetheless, people want to belong. They need to belong. You can belong to your
street or village, or race, or continent, or you can belong to the human race
in general. When my ideas began to take shape after 1967, I arrived at the
conclusion that perhaps my ultimate aim was to become a citizen of the world."

--Salah Ta'mari to Amos Oz (quoted by Aharon Barnea in "Mine Enemy", p. 44)

I personally think Sam is stirring the excrement with all that Damiano
defence stuff however. It wouldn't be the first time he's done that
you know.


Unfortunately, I do know that it's not been the first time for Sam Sloan.

"If nobody was suffered to speak till he had something to say, what pains
everybody would take to know something!"
--Charles Jenner (The Placid Man)

Anyhow, cheers!


Thanks--no worries. :-)
--Nick
  #7  
Old August 22nd 03, 09:05 PM
Nick
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Default The KGB and Chess: Assets and Liabilities

(Nick) wrote in message . com...
The Horny Goat wrote in message . ..
On 16 Aug 2003 16:01:22 -0700,
(Nick) wrote:
The Horny Goat wrote in message
...
...
In this respect it's considerably more nationalistic than most of the
newsgroups I participate in - but you probably knew that already.

Evidently, most Americans are more nationalistic than most other peoples.


That statement was based on some comparative international studies by scholars,
not just my personal opinion.

"Born out of revolution, the United States is a country organized around an
ideology which includes a set of dogmas about the nature of a good society.
Americanism, as different people have pointed out, is an 'ism' or ideology
in the same way that communism or fascism or liberalism are isms....

Other countries' sense of themselves are derived from a common history.
Winston Churchill once gave vivid evidence to the difference between a
national identity rooted in history and one defined by ideology in objecting
to a proposal in 1940 to outlaw the anti-war Communist Party. In a speech in
the House of Commons, Churchill said that as far as he knew, the Communist
Party was composed of Englishmen and he did not fear an Englishman. In Europe,
nationality is related to community, and thus one cannot become un-English or
un-Swedish. Being an American, however, is an ideological commitment."

--Seymour Martin Lipset (American Exceptionalism: A Double-Edged Sword, p. 31)

[As for my nationalism vs. yours - maybe it's true maybe not - but that's
not my point. You're probably right though - shortly before Christmas 2001
National Geographic magazine saw fit to send me a Stars and Stripes.


'A gift that is begrudged is already recalled.'
--Walter Scott (The Talisman)

Dear Mr. Craver,

Sorry, as a citizen of "the 51st state", didn't you already have one? :-)

It's a perfectly nice flag and one day I'll get around to giving it to
someone who'll give it the good home it deserves. I have nothing against
your flag it's just that I fly my own country's flag on the flagpole off
my sundeck.


And some Quebecois prefer to do the same thing, though not necessarily with
the same flag. :-)

I just never figured out why NG felt they needed to send American flags to
non-Americans. It might have been a September 11th sort of thing I don't
know]


In fairness to "National Geographic", I doubt that its database recorded the
nationalities of all its subscribers. It might have assumed that any subscriber
beyond the United States could be "an American abroad". Perhaps it was just
simpler to mail United States national flags to everyone on the list.

I don't believe that my passport(s) now determine my identity as a human
being. I am not a nationalistic person. I don't display any flags; I
don't burn any flags. I tend to be indifferent toward flags.

I personally think Sam is stirring the excrement with all that Damiano
defence stuff however. It wouldn't be the first time he's done that
you know.


Unfortunately, I do know that it's not been the first time for Sam Sloan.


Sam Sloan would provoke some different responses if he could select some
different targets. For instance, instead of attempting to raise questions
about Albert Einstein's intelligence, Sloan could have gone after Charles
Darwin and the theory of evolution, which might have drawn support from some
Americans here. (Many Americans flatly reject any theories of evolution.)

'Science is properly more scrupulous than dogma. Dogma gives a charter to
mistake, but the very breath of science is a contest with mistake, and must
keep the conscience alive.'
--George Eliot (Middlemarch)

--Nick
 




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