Saturday, October 29, 2011

The World Championship Cycle

Here is an interesting read on Seirawan's comeback into chess.
What does Yasser Seirawan think about World Championship cycle and matches?

I don’t like the FIDE cycle at all. I think it is foolish, without sense, which is negative for sponsors, the public and for the players.

Let us start with the obvious, chess does not have a “Premiere League,” a “Grand Prix” or a “World Cup.” We are without a ‘season’, which exists in most sports. What we do have is a “World Chess Championship.” In my view, this should be an annual event. Full stop! Once you think about this and reach the same conclusion, questions start popping into mind, such as “how would an annual cycle work?” As well as other questions.

So let us step back and think of how would we create an ‘annual cycle’ with the ‘tools’ that we have in hand today? First we come to the obvious question, “What would the final competition look like?” Should we have a traditional one-on-one match? Or should the final competition feature a tournament with a double round robin or quadruple round robin final? If you stop and choose one or the other, there will be complaints from one set of fans who prefer one type (strongly) over the other. Once that awareness seeps in, the answer is obvious, you have both.

Today, we have a strange cycle, to say the least. Let us be generous, and say that today’s cycle is a fixed two year cycle where we have ‘continental championships’ bringing ‘qualifiers’ who compete in a 128 player knockout event, the World Cup. The top three players qualify for a Candidates Tournament, alongside three highest rated players (other than the existing World Champion), the runner-up to the previous Championship match and a nominee ‘wildcard’ from the Candidate’s Tournament organizer. From the Candidate’s Tournament a ‘Challenger’ emerges and then a match is played. All of these events are staged in a two year cycle (or so). It is what it is, and these are the tools we have today. I think the cycle is stupid. Why?

First of all, let us think about the role of the World Champion. Let us presume that the World Champion is the strongest, most interesting chess player in the world. That the fans, the public, the media all love him/her and thrill to their every contest! How exciting! Well guess what, in this entire ‘two year’ cycle the World Champion does nothing! He/she does not play. Not in the National Championship, the Continentals, not in the Knockout, not in the Candidates. The World Champion waits. When a Challenger is ‘born’ at long last, the World Champion comes out of the cocoon to play a twelve-game match. Doesn’t that strike you as a silly system? It certainly does me!

Imagine, if Barcelona won the Premiere League in Spain and was declared so good, they wouldn’t have to play in the League anymore. No, the team would wait for a challenger, and Barcelona would play a ‘match’ against the challenger. That’s all. The public would be confused. It is with a similar confusion as this example that I, a professional player, look at the world of chess. We have a stupid system for determining the World Champion. If it makes no sense to me, then how can I sell the system to a sponsor? For chess it gets even worse!

Let us look at the World Chess Championship and the elite world of chess today. We all know and love Viswanathand Anand. We couldn’t ask for a better chess ambassador. Vishy is a prince and a deserved World Champion! No questions. But is he head and shoulders above his colleagues and nearest rivals? I don’t think that even Vishy would make such a claim. Rather the contrary, that he does feel that he is an elite player with a few very close rivals. Yet Vishy is separated out of this elite group and put on a pedestal and removed from playing.
My sentiments exactly. Go to Chessbase for more.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I Disrespectfully Disagree

First, as a disclaimer, I hate politics and politicians. Almost as much as I hate liars, but they are not mutually exclusive. What I cannot stand is another potshot from the light (as opposed to the dark). Whether it is a potshot from the dark or a potshot from the light is still a potshot. Just like it doesn't matter if a cat is black or white. A cat that catches mice is a good cat.

When I first read about the UMNO blogger, it felt like they took a page from Raymond Siew's playbook. Why? Let me highlight the similarities:

1. Use of the strawman
They use fake pictures just like Raymond creates false images of people he want to attack and then attack it. Then claim that they have defeated the strawman.

2. Defiant and refusal to apologize
Despite being caught with their pants down for using fake pictures, they still claim victory. Raymond has been caught with his pants down lying about the supposed deal struck with Zhuo Ren. Yet, no apology from him. Not even an admission that he was wrong.

3. Using children (juniors) as tools
This is self-explanatory. Creating stories about Zhuo Ren and the non-existent attacks. (Molesting?)

4. Stories of deal-making
The blogger alleged that Guan Eng offered a deal to the principal to cover up the story. Just like Raymond Siew alleged that the IMs offered Zhuo Ren a deal.

5. Lies exposed
The principal has come out to deny the lie, just like Zhuo Ren has come out to deny the lie. Yet, the Fuhrer has pretended that nothing of this sort has happened. Not a single mention.

So, is this UMNO blogging ordeal more similar to Raymond Siew, or more similar to Jimmy and friends (whoever they are)? Anyone who can add any more similarities to the list is welcome to do it :) Feel free to disagree with me, and support Raymond Siew. You can also do it anonymously in the comments section. I am a strong advocate of free speech.

P/S: I most certainly hope that Raymond has tried to offer some apology in private of some sort. I can't speak for the chess community, but I think the public deserves the truth. As for me, I can safely assume that the truth is more or less out.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Let It Be Known

I think the person who reported back to Fuhrer has a lot to explain. This is a very easy way to escape any form of responsibility. Hide behind a ghost. Someone said this to me. I am just going to pass the word even though it was a lie. Doesn't this remind you of what someone said about Rationality. All Jimmy and I did was to pass along Rationality's blog post and Fuhrer here decides that Jimmy is in charge of the attack. Now, let me use the same logic that since Fuhrer used the information that a deal was offered, he is claiming it to be true. Let us also postulate that he must have done his homework and found all relevant evidence to support his claim that a deal was offered to Zhuo Ren.

If this was not true, then the above statement which I grabbed from FGM's blog is simply malicious. It was posted with an intent to lie and mislead and more importantly, to dishonour the IM's. For someone to lodge a complaint, one must have at least cause for concern. I cannot simply run around lodging frivolous complaints. Every one with a pea brain knows that. So the big elephant in the room is, what is the cause for complaint? Who is the "informer". I put it to you that there is no informer. It is just Raymond making up stories because we now have proof that there is no deal. Raymond has used an "informer" to escape responsibility of posting vicious lies.

What about this one:

He is accusing Jimmy (and friends) of selling shortcuts. Now, it has been proven that no such thing happened. So where is the answer now Fuhrer?

Now, Fuhrer says that he did not say that Jimmy attacked Zhuo Ren. Or did he? His complicity on the attack on Zhuo Ren? What did he do to attack Zhuo Ren? Zhuo Ren asked Jimmy to post an email as a favor, and Jimmy did it. According to, the meaning of complicit is as follows:

choosing to be involved in an illegal or questionable act, especially with others; having complicity.
So, if Fuhrer is saying that Jimmy is complicit on his attack on Zhuo Ren, then it means that Jimmy has chosen to be involved in "attacking" Zhuo Ren, and especially with others. So actually, yes, Fuhrer has specifically said that Jimmy attacked Zhuo Ren. Unless we have to go back to, "throwing" a game is not actually throwing a game. We have all played that game before.

And now, the biggest bullshit of all:

OK, so he has not said Jimmy attacked Zhuo Ren. But the biggest question then is, "WHO DID?" Could it be FGM himself? Could it be that FGM attacked Zhuo Ren, but Jimmy was helping Zhuo Ren clear his name, and therefore he is now culpable for all the attacks on Zhuo Ren? To be honest, I am very curious... What is this attack that FGM always speaks of? What exactly is this attack? Was it the non-existent deal that was offered to Zhuo Ren? But if there was no deal, then there was no attack? FGM has a lot to explain.

Now, he also says that Jimmy was also culpable. Again, big words for a small man. Let us leave no room for gaps and go to again.
deserving blame or censure; blameworthy.
So, if Jimmy did not attack Zhuo Ren, and there was no attack on Zhuo Ren, then he is to be blamed for what? Posting an email? Who is to say that if Jimmy did not post that email, Zhuo Ren would not start his own blog and post his email there? What would the difference be then? 

This is the kind of poor attitude and logical skills of the mind coach that Malaysia has for its chess team. It makes me worried about the state of Malaysian chess. Please call for a selection for mind coaches. We want a written selection for mind coaches. Or at least a transparent process on who the mind coach should be. After all, he is "endorsed" by the MCF. That means he is able to use that "endorsement" to actually acquire favors.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Logical Fallacy: Part 3,452

I kinda lost count on the number of times I have written on logical fallacies. For the uninitiated, let me first talk a little bit about how we think. Our little brain works with models and frameworks. In short, we take what we observe and then we generalize or simplify it into a model or framework to allow us to predict what will happen if something similar occurs again.

Take for example, we observe that every time someone pushes a door, it opens. This happens often enough that we generalize that every time a door is pushed, it will open. So we don't even think about it anymore. Can you imagine that one day, if you pushed the door and your hand goes right through it? That would be totally bizarre and even if you told someone else about it, no one would believe you. This is because we have internalized the concept that if a door is pushed, it will open. Past experience tells us so, therefore it must be so. Our minds have simplified it to that model.

Now, let us consider a certain madman who believes that Jimmy was leading the attack on some tournament that I don't even remember. One of the main reasons for this is because he sees all this "attack" going on in the chatbox in Jimmy's site. Therefore, the madman can only conclude that Jimmy must be behind these attacks. He cannot think of any other reason, therefore it must be the only reason. His brain has simplified the problem into his model and no matter what else happens, he can't accept it. Madman pushes the door, door must open. If the door does not open, he will never be able to explain or understand it because in his brain, there is only one dimension.

It is "easier" to believe that Jimmy is leading an attack and therefore it is easier to attack Jimmy. It is always harder to take a look at oneself and ask, "Am I the problem?".

Let me throw in some alternatives. What if, the madman is the one that is wrong? The main reason "everyone" is gathering at Jimmy's chatbox is that it is "the most convenient" place to express their dissatisfaction towards the resident loony. I urge all of you to consider what will happen if Jimmy closes his chatbox. I believe that all the chatboxers will move on to the next most convenient location and continue their discussion. If this is the case, would Jimmy then be "leading the attack"?

What will the madman then conclude? Perhaps he will think that Jimmy has put the wheel in motion, and now it can't be stopped? I think any person with half a brain would know that if Jimmy was that influential, he could takeover the country and become President for life. All Hail, Jimmy.

For someone who prides himself in being the master of the mind, his inability to process alternative explanations would just be too bizarre. It is just easier to believe that he is right. His brain is just unable to process any other evidence because he has already internalized his model. Even if Copernicus himself were to come along and present evidence that the Earth revolves around the Sun, he can't accept that he is not the center of the universe. Even if Ferdinand Megallen, who has sailed around the Earth were to tell him the Earth is round and not flat, he would still insist that we would fall off the edge of the earth if we sailed to the horizon.

Of course, our observations have created new models to help us process our experiences, but some madmen simply cannot process models that are beyond their own capabilities. Quite simply, he is just behind his time. He is still living in a world that is flat.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Good At Chess?

We do not need a self-proclaimed mind-coach cum idiot to tell us that chess skills can be applied elsewhere successfully. This is a long-standing, well-known fact known for centuries as many a successful chess player have transitioned from chess into successes elsewhere. As an example read here (Good at Chess? A Hedge Fund May Want to Hire You). Here are some excerpts:

Boaz Weinstein’s opening move on Wall Street came as a result of chess.
Mr. Weinstein, now a star hedge fund manager, was trying to get a summer job at Goldman Sachs in 1991, when he was just 18. After being told there was nothing available, he stopped in a bathroom on the way out and ran into David F. Delucia, then the head of corporate bond trading. 
Mr. Delucia, who is ranked as an expert by the United States Chess Federation, had played Mr. Weinstein, ranked as a master by the federation, many times. He arranged for a series of interviews until Mr. Weinstein got an internship on a Goldman trading desk.
Mr. Weinstein is not alone among Wall Streeters who have a chess connection. 
Chess helps in trading, Mr. Weinstein said. To become a good chess player, he learned to focus on how he made decisions because he could not calculate the results of all his possible moves. Learning to deal with that uncertainty or risk has been useful. When you make an investment, “you can have an 80 percent chance of being right. And then the 20 percent comes up,” he said. “But really it is the process that you used to make the decision.”
But being skilled at games is no guarantee of success. James E. Cayne, the former chief executive of Bear Stearns, which collapsed in March 2008, is a world-class bridge player who has won many international bridge tournaments.
Still, the idea that gaming skills may be adaptable to investing spurred a hiring program in the early 1990s at Bankers Trust. At the time, the bank had a successful trader named Norman Weinstein (no relation to Boaz Weinstein), who had earned the title of international master from the World Chess Federation. In an effort to replicate his success, the bank hired a small group of people who had little or no trading experience, but were world-class chess and bridge players.
David Norwood, a World Chess Federation grandmaster (the highest ranking a player can obtain), was one of the recruits. “I was studying history at Oxford,” Mr. Norwood said. “Right out of the blue, I got contacted by Bankers Trust who said, ‘You would really make a good trader.’ I had no idea what trading was.”
Mr. Norwood took the job and was soon put on a trading desk, but it was too sudden. “It was like being stuffed into a world-class chess match without knowing the moves,” Mr. Norwood said. He quit after only a few months.
Despite the setback, Mr. Norwood said the experience “kind of planted a seed in me.” After a year, he found a job at Duncan Lawrie, a British private bank, and began learning trading and investing. In 2008, at the age of 40, he retired a multimillionaire.