Thursday, July 28, 2011

On Kasparov

Just saw this quote on Kasparov. Awesome.
I thought I was playing the World Champion - not some 27-eyed monster who sees everything.  -  (on losing May 1986 match 5-1/2 - 1/2)  -  Tony Miles

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

More False Analogies - Simply Poor Logic

Najib has spoken.

In a particular paragraph, Najib asked:
Of course, the issue can be extended further - if the grudge is against the parents, why bar the children? If the the disagreement is against the tutor, why disallow the students?
I agree with the point in principle. However, the Romeo and Juliet example that Najib gave only weakened his argument: 
As the story goes, we all know that neither Romeo nor Juliet did anything wrong but because of the warring families, the children is branded the same as the family. And although Juliet father may have nothing against Romeo as a person, to him the family and Romeo are the same. So, if a parent saying that my child should not be banned because the issue is with me, then remember Romeo and Juliet....
Because of this poor example, it allowed You-Know-Who, who always has a ready "false analogy" in hand to counter back with his very own, well, false analogy:
However I disagree that the child should be punished for the parents "transgressions", perceived or otherwise. That goes against natural justice. In the good old days in China they used to kill off whole families and relatives. But eventually some sense of justice prevailed. Surely you wont agree to someone arresting your child for a crime you committed? I am talking about todays world of course.
First of all, the context in good old China is different. In the cultural context in good old China, killing the whole family is "okay". Maybe not in today's society, but it was an acceptable norm back then. So you are actually using two DIFFERENT "senses of justice". Even in today's world, "sense of justice" varies according to culture. Who gets to say who is right and who is wrong? If I want to stretch the example into insanely far-fetched analogies, I can ask: Do you know that in the US, you can make a right turn (because of left-hand drive) when the traffic light is red but if there are no cars around? But why can't you make a left turn (right-hand drive) when the traffic light is red in Malaysia? This is to show that laws are man-made and so is "sense of justice". Even in today's world, capital punishment is still a debated topic. So what you deem as "natural justice" may not be so natural to other people.

Secondly, we are not even talking about criminal offence. Likening a ban to a private event to a criminal offence should be blasphemy. Najib's party example has hit home this point. If it his party, he has the right to invite anyone he wants. Let us take another party example. Assume our Prime Minister Najib (what a coincidence) has an "OPEN" house. By "OPEN" it should mean that everyone is invited. However, it is the general understanding that known trouble-makers are not invited to the open house. Will you then argue with Najib (the PM) that he actually said "OPEN" house, and not "Invitational"?

And back to the Najib (the arbiter) example on Romeo and Juliet. I think no analogy is necessary. It is not only that birds of a feather flock together. But everyone knows a father has a very strong influence on his child and the child tends to inherit his ways of thinking. The "preventive measure" argument is sufficient.

As for the ban on the girl in Perak, if it is indeed true, then it is unfortunate. While the organizer does indeed have the right to ban any participant, the players also have a right to boycott the tournament and organizer. No need for further elaboration.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Doing All The Talking

“To do all the talking and not be willing to listen is a form of greed.”

Democritus of Abdera, 5th – 4th century BC

Monday, July 25, 2011

I Told You So

I was just going through some old posts and I saw this. It was my advice to Raymond to be a man. I can't help but seeing how things have transpired over the past six months, which is mainly from bad to worse and to worstester, I just need to say, "I told you so".

I did warn that if you continue targeting the personality of other people without commenting on substance, you will stand to lose out in the long run. Now don't you think that you are stuck in this quagmire of feeling that the whole world is out to get you? Don't you feel that you have to waste so much energy just to defend "your name" when all this could have been avoided if you did not start any name-calling in the first place?

P/S: You will probably think I am scared or some stupid thing like that, but let me assure you that you are imagining imagined fears. Apart from just saying "I told you so", I guess I may even feel pity towards you. Don't you feel like a dog chasing after your tail? (Yeah, this is a question)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Biggest Idiot

The biggest idiot is not the person who does not know he is wrong.

The biggest idiot is the person who knows he is wrong, and does what he is doing anyway.

Just a quick post before I go die of laughter after reading today's flurry of posts from both Jimmy and Raymond. These days, one can't even go out on Saturday night. Missed out on all those action.

Well, anyone with half a brain will know that I am not Jimmy Liew. What is the most obvious tell sign? For many times now, Jimmy has spelled "wonder" as "wondor". Not trying to point out his poor spelling abilities, but come on, clearly, that has got to tell you that we are two different people. This is also based on the assumption that only one person is maintaining the Chess Ninja blog. For all you know, I could have recruited several other people to maintain this site by now.

Remember the time when Raymond called me "young". Now he thinks that Jimmy and I are of the same age. I don't know if that is more insulting to Jimmy or to me. What I do know is, I have played more chess than Raymond and Mark combined. Yes, this is "moving the goal post" like Jimmy said. Actually, the amount of chess games played by Raymond and Mark in total just equates to the amount of chess games Mark alone has played. I WONDER why. I can even throw in a few more names of non-chess-playing people to make it sound like I have played chess for a REALLY long time, which incidentally, I have.

I am not an IM, and I would be very happy to get one, though it is not on my bucket list at the moment. This blog did not start out as an FGM hate site. Please refer to my first post on Fadli. I just wanted to show the frauds for who they are. In Jimmy's words, "unmask" them.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

More Logical Fallacies - The Straw Man

Forgive me, Chin Seng. This is another non-chess-related post. Today, we get to discuss the Straw Man fallacy. This is a logical fallacy that occurs when someone misrepresents his opponent's position and attacks that without having to refute the original position.
"The straw man is one of the best-named fallacies, because it is memorable and vividly illustrates the nature of the fallacy. Imagine a fight in which one of the combatants sets up a man of straw, attacks it, then proclaims victory. All the while, the real opponent stands by untouched."
Let us take a look here:
I think we can see clearer now why he (Jimmy Liew) conducted the attacks on FGM's training for our National Juniors via anonymous bloggers. The first training of its kind for our Juniors.
First of all, just to point out a factual error. Definitely not the first training of its kind for our juniors. The straw man here is the "person" who allegedly conducted an attack on the FGM training. Now, that you know who the straw man is, let us pile on the attack on him:
This may also explain why there were attempts to boycott the Thematics despite its benefits to our stronger players.
The straw man is also responsible for the boycott of the thematics.
Does this also explain why Lim Zhuo Ren was attacked until he broke down and wrote that email when his only "offence" was to have a look see if the training we were providing is beneficial or not? And he made the fatal mistake of signing up with us.
This part is super tricky. First of all, there has never been proof of any attack on Zhuo Ren. Only "some people" said this and that. That's why the above statement is in the form of a question. This is really tricky. When you have no proof of something, just phrase the statement in the form of the question to mislead the reader. Insinuate the idea. Pile on the attack on the straw man. Remember, the straw man is the one who allegedly conducting all forms of attacks.
There was also the flurry of activity on his allied blogs to counter the attempts of us asking MCF to have written selection criteria. But MCF stood firm and acknowledged our requests.
I have not seen any blog that tried to counter any attempt for a written selection criteria. The MCF had a written selection criteria all along. Oh wait, someone made a request to the MCF. Does this mean that he is telling the MCF what to do? Hmm... is a request the same as a suggestion? I wonder...

So, when other people make suggestions to the MCF, it is telling the MCF what to do. But when people make requests to the MCF, it is not. The straw man is now also credited with having allies that have tried to counter any form of written selection criteria. Now the straw man has friends. Wow, now he is fighting against many straw men who are attacking him. I wonder who is the blogger who is against written selection criteria. Straw man, anyone?
And now again there is another very "strong" attempt to stop MCF from looking at the abuse of authority from certain organisers. They are again telling MCF what they should or should not do.
Is he talking about the comments here? The closest mention to MCF I see is this:
In no where in the handbook does it say that FIDE does not allow organizers to ban certain participants from taking part. I guess if the MCF does not have a specific rule that says players cannot be banned from certain tournaments, MCF is off the hook again. No need to do anything with Raymond's whining.
Forget that he misinterpreted the MCF constitution. Who is the one telling MCF what to do? The one calling the MCF to do something about an alleged "abuse"? Strange... I wonder how it feels to smack oneself in the face.
Isnt it getting clearer now? What does this signify if not tyranny? What is it that Jimmy and friends are so afraid of? So really, who are the trouble makers? Who is putting up the roadblocks to improvements.
Oooh... more questions. Let me have a go at answering them. Is it really getting clearer? I think it either signifies delusion, or an ultimate showdown with straw men. I don't know what Jimmy and his friends are afraid of. But they should definitely be afraid of the straw men, because they can sure do a lot of things for straw men. Oh wait... I think they should be afraid of the person who defeats the straw men. I think he is more powerful. Who is putting up the roadblocks? I think the straw men are. Otherwise, I can't think of anyone.

So, can one small attack on some training by the straw man can lead to such huge consequences? (Remember, this is a question). It's OK. Let us just attack the straw man anyway. But wait, let us name it Jimmy Liew. This should be fun.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

False Analogies - Poor Arguments

Today, we have the opportunity to learn another fallacy. Previously, I shared in a comment in Najib's blog about another fallacy called "Poisoning the well". It involves discrediting someone's character in hopes of discrediting that person's argument WITHOUT actually debating the argument itself. For example, if I tell you that "Every one has the right to be stupid", then you say, "The Chess Ninja is a liar and you should never believe anything he says". This is what poisoning the well is. You did not debate the argument about how every one has the right to be stupid or not. Basically, you just claim I am a liar and hence, everything I say must be untrue. Hence, you would be able to claim that NOT every one has the right to be stupid.

So today, we have another opportunity, as I said, to learn a new fallacy. It is called, "False Analogies". While it is not a formal logical fallacy, it is one that is very commonly made by many people, including myself. We often drag in unrelated examples to prove a point. For example, I can argue that "Engineers, researchers, lawyers, accountants are allowed to refer to manuals, researches, law statutes, and accounting standards in their work. Therefore students should be allowed to refer to their books during exams." This is a form of false analogy because the purpose of a student taking an exam is to measure the student's aptitude and the amount he/she has learnt. This is quite different from the objectives of what an engineer, researcher, lawyer or accountant does.

To examine another example, take this statement, "In Physics, work is measured by effort followed by movement. If there is no movement, no work was done."  Then we proceed to argue that we need milestones to show that there is effort and so on and so forth. Let us break it down in parts.

For starters, I am not disagreeing with the statement in any way. I am just trying to show how sometimes, we use fake examples to justify our statements. While they can appear related, they are actually distracting you to make an argument stronger than it actually is.

So the first sentence:

In Physics, work is measured by effort followed by movement.

This is easy enough. Every one knows work done ON an object is the NET FORCE (effort) applied on the object over a distance. Or for those of you who are more mathematically inclined, W = F x d (very simplified version, but it is actually the integral of F.d (since both force and displacement are both vectors)). But let us not complicate things. So the second sentence clearly follows:

If d=0, then W MUST = 0, i.e. if there is no movement, then there is no work done. Like I said, I am not trying to argue against the statement, but showing why this is a poor analogy.

But is the above relationship REALLY true?

WARNING: This part is for those of you who have some further training in Physics, as opposed to some people who try to use Physics without fully understanding it.

Now, you should have caught on that I used the term NET FORCE. The reason is this. If there are two equal forces pushing against each other, the net force is zero. When the net force is zero, it actually implies there is no acceleration. It does not mean that there is no movement. For example, an object moving at constant velocity (no acceleration), has no NET FORCE applied on it, but it is still moving. But because there is NO NET FORCE, i.e. F = 0, the work done is zero (W = F x d = 0 x d = 0).

So, if we use this analogy in "real life", we can claim that, if we are progressing on our own at constant velocity, and our own effort (FORCE), but moving against an equal but opposing resistance (opposing FORCE), NO WORK IS DONE!! This shows that even if we have milestones and meeting them, it is possible that no work is done. Yes, I have managed to twist this into something that is totally destructive, but I guess I can't help myself for having critical thinking. Perhaps next time, when you want to choose an example, use a real one. Or else, you will just sound stupid, but then again, you have the right to do so.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

1st Step to GM

By now, I am sure that everyone is tired of reading about how to become GM by mere rhetorics:

1. Chess is about decision-making (No kidding)
2. Chess is a mental sport, so we must free the mind (Wow, spoken like a true expert)
3. Chess requires analyzing opponents (And we didn't know that?)
4. Think on it
5. No, seriously, think on it
6. Think on it again

I could go on all day. As I said before in a previous post (Why First GM is Stupid), getting the whole country to want a GM is a stupid idea. It is a very Mahathirist frame of mind, where the success of one person can represent the success of everyone. It is like saying, America has Steve Jobs, or Bill Gates, we should all be happy, because America Boleh (Or in Obama's words, Yes, We Can (although he was speaking in a totally different context)). In Malaysia, we always want things like the tallest buildings, sending people to space, climbing Mount Everest, and in the chess scene, a GM.

As I asked before, what use is a GM in Malaysia if the chess environment doesn't improve? In Singapore, for many years after Wong Meng Kong attained his GM title, chess in Singapore was relatively stagnant. It is only recently (last 10 years or so?) when they started opening up their borders to chess talents that the level of chess exploded from the doldrums.

Anyway, I digress. The main issue I want to talk about is simple. The first step to becoming a GM starts from yourself. If you start expecting the chess federation or whoever to support you in your efforts to become a GM, then it will remain a dream forever. The two REAL questions (as opposed to useless rhetorics) that you must ask yourself are:

1. Do I want to become a GM?
2. How badly do I want it?

I think if you ask yourself these two questions daily, and provide yourself with honest answers, you can accurately assesss how close you are to become a GM. The second question is probably the one that is the most important. How badly do you want it?

Of course, asking yourselves questions is never enough. The above questions are guiding principles. In fact, they apply to everything we do. Success is achieved through personal motivation. We don't expect our bosses to give us a high-paying job, but we work to deserve it, because we want it. And how hard we work depends on how badly we want it. Simple as that. For some of us, we want big cars, big houses, comfortable lives etc. We slog day and night for it. Why do we do that? Now, imagine yourself wanting to become a GM as much as you want a big house, or a big car. Are you willing to give all that up?

We don't expect our spouses or children to automatically love us. The same goes for chess. We should not expect anything from the MCF or whatever F there is.

The question is simply how badly do you want it?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Some Loosely Chess-related Post

As Ilhamuddin pointed out before, Kenneth Rogoff is a GM and an Economics professor at Harvard University. He was also a Chief Economist at the IMF.

I don't think he plays chess seriously anymore. His FIDE rating is at 2505 but his last game on record was in 1985. My guess is that he has decided to focus on his career in Economics. Here is his latest op-ed about Technology and Inequality. It is a good read for those of you who are more economically inclined, and he does bring in a chess example to illustrate his point.