Saturday, November 24, 2007

TPS Report #4

Annotated and posted Game 3 of WSO2007. Now done with 4 of 6 games.

Attempted to do studies from ChessCafe's Skittles Room, getting about 2.5 out of 4. I guess I'm happy about getting most of studies 2 and 3. I started on the Lotta Wotawa studies from Dvoretsky's Instructor column. I was able to solve #2, but #1 completely eluded me. I asked my wife to be the keeper of the solutions because it's too easy for my eyes to grab the keys. I must have asked about four moves before I was able to stumble on the key by random. And then I asked about a couple more moves on the second move of the combination. Finally, I gave up and looked at the answer. Damn! And this is the easiest? Here's the problem.

If you want to check your answer, the studies and their answers are at ChessCafe.

What's so discouraging about studies and problems is that I can beat my head against the wall and not get anywhere and then I just give up and look at the answer. Where is my will to win? What if I had the exact position against a GM with 40 minutes on my clock and $2000 on the line? The move is waiting for me, but my brain just can't find it. My personal deadly chess sin is Sloth. If I can't figure out the right way to go, I just look up the answer or let Fritz analyze my positions. Of course this leads to laziness and superficiality at the board and obviously bad results. Oh well, it's just a study. Two down, thirty-five to go.

Haven't been doing the problems at ChessTempo. Somehow the Standard mode has been a mixed blessing. It feels better to not have time pressure, but it seems I give up more readily. The love-hate feelings I had at Chess Tactics Server seemed to motivate me to do hundreds of problems in a row. Not so much mixed up passions at Chess Tempo. Perhaps CTS was onto something.

Instead, I've been trying to test out some of the offerings in Total Chess Training. I thought I'd start with Mate Studies since the objective is clear. Funny, it estimates my rating at about 2150, I'm sure the progam has inflation built in. There's a time deadline again which I run into often at about 5 minutes. Disgusting.

I downloaded Chess Position Trainer and tried it out. I'm not sure that it would be of value to me, especially since a lot of my stuff is organized in ChessBase files already. Still, it made me think about openings again. I've tried to stay away from studying openings, but they were fun to go back to for a couple of hours.


Eric Shoemaker said...

Hi Ernie, I couldn't ignore this one. I guess you know that according to Dante's vision in the "Divine Comedy", specifically "The Inferno", the Slothful lie gurgling underneath the River Styx!

Ernest Hong said...
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Ernest Hong said...
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Ernest Hong said...
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Ernest Hong said...

Hi Eric. I must confess that I never read Dante or Virgil or Milton. I looked it up on the web and now I am familiar with the rivers of Hell. I would have thought that the Slothful are punished by dissolution in the River Lethe, since I had heard of the river of forgetfulness in a computer game. But you're right about Styx. Literary references are fun, but I guess they're a little risky in that one risks coming across as pompous as Frasier Crane. Still, the other day, I had fun looking up chessloser's usage of "Cry 'Havoc!' and let slip the dogs of war!" since it is quoted in "The Two Towers".

p.s. The comments above were deleted because I couldn't get the link to work to chessloser's Cry Havoc post.

Eric Shoemaker said...

Hi Ernie, I know what you mean about the Frasier Crane reference, but it has been my observation that those who think us Liberal Arts Majors (English Literature; Italian Literature; History; Philosophy, etc) snobbish are usually the same people who are uneducated or not very well read themselves when it comes to the classics of Western Civilization.

If they had read these works, as well as what Greece and Rome had to offer, they would discover very quickly that they have been in error in neglecting such readings and their lives' would have much more meaning as well as more options when it comes to problem-solving.

For instance, I hear many talk about Republicans and Democrats when it comes to politics, but if one hasn't read Machiavelli or Cicero, they know nothing about politics.

I usually ignore those unread types because they typically come up with answers out of thin air with very little backing for their observations. It's kind of like Al Gore and his Global Warming Campaign. His degree is not in any area that would warrant such expertise, so why does he come across as an expert?

Naturally, I think you're missing out by not having read these works, but I consider you more of a scientist type anyway and if I had to guess, I would say that your degree is in either Math, one of the Sciences or something to do with computers. And these are the exact same areas that us so-called snobs are no good at! It balances out, I think.

"Cry Havoc, and let slip the dogs of war" was also used in the Star Trek movie "Nemesis" I think. I will have to recheck that to make sure.

Kevin said...

I really hate to pick fights with Shoemaker ... :) ... but to say that people are in error for neglecting classical works is a little harsh. Also to say that if you have not read Machiavelli or Cicero you know nothing about politics is just false. In fact it is quite possible to have read Machiavelli and Cicero and to know nothing about politics. Classical works are great, don't get me wrong. But they are the foundation for the great works that have followed, nothing more. They are irrelevant after they have been expanded upon by later generations. Of course I have read Machiavelli and Cicero, but I personally wish more people were familiar with the work of Fukayama, who after the Cold War wrote "The End of History" which is the basis for neo-conservative policy. Or Marx, Rousseau, Locke, and Mill. Machiavelli and Cicero are antiquated and shallow compared to the writers who followed.

For you to say this is like me saying if you don't know Anderssen and Morphy's games you know nothing about chess. Even if you skipped Alekhine and Capa and started at Botvinnik you could build quite an appreciation for the game. The Classics are important for their time, not for their insight, as since that time everyone has either incorporated their insight or refuted it.

Eric Shoemaker said...

It's okay Kevin, but I have to totally disagree with you as well and here is my reasoning:

1) In Machiavelli's "The Prince", Machiavelli is trying repeatedly to get "Lorenzo" to understand the necessity of what Politicians need to do in crisis situations, and indeed possibly other situations as well.

By that, I mean that sometimes it takes an extreme act of goodness or act of what is perceived as evil from the "One" in charge if it's a Rule by One system such as Dictatorships, Monarchies, Despots, Princedom, Dukedom, etc. And by the "Group" in Rule by Committee Systems such as Democracies, Aristocracies, etc.

In all such cases, the one or the group may or may not be capable of committing the above act and this in turn could very well jeopardize how long they stay in power.

That said, supposing we are both leaders. You in a Democracy and myself in a Dictatorship. Sooner or later, a crisis situation will arise and we will both have to make decisions.

Can you be "good" enough or "Evil" enough when the time calls for it? Not everyone can and you "Kevin" have the added burden of a Rule by Committee System where when things go wrong with the Republic, you cannot anything done because of opposing points of view. I would be less burdened since what I say goes in a Dictatorship or Princedom.

Machiavelli was also pushing for Italy to be a Nation State such as what he saw with England and France. You'll remember from history that both Germany and Italy were late in becoming so.

2) Cicero is different, he understand that once a Republic goes bad, you do everything possible to avoid a "Rule by One" System. He failed of course, but the lessons from Antiquity and the Renaissance show that neither is irrelevant. In fact, many years after the fact, a group of Italian Scholars would argue in the Renaissance whether Caesar's assassination was necessary.

As for our times, the whole of Western Civilization is experiencing somewhat of a crisis with the Immigration issue and is growing increasingly intolerant in countries such as England (the Pakistani's and Indians), Germany (the Turks), France (the Algerians) and the U.S. (Mexicans). All these immigrant groups are placing a huge burden on the system because their own governments have failed.

Of the author's you mentioned, they add not destroy to the great writers that come before them. In some cases, they unnecessarily complicate!

I was trying to circumvent the problem of complications, much as I do in a chess game. once you understand the position, it's much easier to win from it. A lack of understanding, however, will give your opponent unnecessary counter chances.

So yes, I agree that other authors should be read, but the old ones would be a huge mistake to ignore, which is why their works are still being read in the University System.

If you wish to know about the ills of Democracy, read up on Aristotle who says that "A Democracy will eventually lead to Tyranny." or Hitler's argument on page 88 of "Mein Kampf" is pretty convincing in my opinion, even though such a man as Hitler is to be avoided.

The problem with a failing Democracy is that if you don't have a "Caesar" to cross the Rubicon, so to speak, you're in deep shit and up to your ears. So far, our democracies have held, but a time will come when they will not and if we don't have that one man to cross the river, we're going to be in a world of hurt.

The problem with a Rule by One System or Tyranny of any kind is that one has to know the moment and be saavy enough to remove the one at an opportune moment. In my opinion, Caesar's assassination was justified.

Here's a thought for you, if Hitler takes a bullet from anywhere in 1938, he goes down as one of the 20th century's greatest leaders. He doesn't and basically creates a vacuum in Europe. Do remember that the War made Churchill, and that the English didn't like him before the War nor after it.

I guess in a sense, what I'm saying is that we are both correct, but where you "Can" complicate since politics is an interest of yours, I "cannot" since History and English Literature as well as Medieval and Renaissance Studies is my thing.

One could also make a argument that the King's Gambit is better than the Ruy Lopez although I prefer the latter since it is often simpler.

I'm glad that you hate to argue with me, but I do not require any of my friends or people that I run into to agree with me. They can freely disagree with me-So long as I'm "not" in power...

Eric Shoemaker said...

And one more thing, Machiavelli was trying to get "others" to understand that a politician in any system has to be able to both good and evil or they (in a Rule by Committee System) or the one (in a Rule by One System) will lose their Kingdom or power, so to speak.

Plenty of Kingdoms have gone down as the result of not knowing this or ignoring this basic tenet.

The real problem is that the "One" or the "Group" will eventually get to a crisis point where they "cannot" be "good" enough or "evil" enough to do what is necessary to remain in power.

This is one reason why Kingdoms and other political systems fall.

I spared you, Kevin, of the Religious card, but I must do so now: In Jeremiah 10:23, it says that "Man cannot govern himself." Politics is the realm of the Almighty (A Rule by One System since he isn't sharing power with Satan) and Mankind in general has failed miserably throughout the whole of history with few bright spots.

When I hear people "only" talk about Republicans and Democrats, I know that already they are limited in their thinking. Both these groups will argue over toilet paper on the third floor of some building if money is involved or their own self-interests.

I conclude with this last thought, which comes to me now as write this: Should a crisis situation now emerge, the "People", often the innocent ones cannot afford such bickering amongst their leaders (in England and Taiwan, they throw food at each other!). We need real solutions and we need them without the conservative or liberal dressing that comes with them.

The Dictators are probably coming as the Democracies are now experiencing real crises. In that scenario, I would want everyone to have read as much as possible so as to be able to see "them" when they arrive or preferably before "they" arrive. This is going to take the great works of everything we have to possibly stop them.

By the way, in a Rule by One system, it's the educated that are usually "removed" or "discarded" first, since it is easier to rule by terror or fear against an uneducated mass.

The methods of the Dictator or the Rule by Committee Systems have not changed at all over the years. What has changed is that "We" have better toys!