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The Evolutionary Perspective
Category Archives: Chess Engines
Posted: June 22, 2017 at 5:47 am
Hey, everyone. I’ve recently become aware of how using a Chess Engine can help you improve at chess. I’ve been watching a lot of videos on youtube and the commentators always mention how they are using a Chess Engine to analyze the games or positions on the chess board.
I was wondering if there are any completely free Chess Engines I can download that can help me analyze positions? I currently have Chessmaster: Grandmaster Edition, but the Chess Engine that comes with it isn’t very intuitive or designed well. It takes awhile to set up and I can tell it definitely isn’t the best tool for what I’m looking for. Perhaps there’s a Chess Engine designed for this purpose? Maybe something that explains the reasons why the move the engine recommends is optimal?
Does anyone know of any free Chess Engines that are very good at helping you analyze chess positions and finding the next best move?
As a side note, I will not use the Chess Engine to cheat. I strictly want to use this as a tool to improve my own skill. It’s something I’ve come to realize that will help me progress in skill. Often in my games I come to a moment where I can’t figure out the best move. I then make a move never knowing whether it was right or wrong, and because of this I don’t learn from possible mistakes.
Thank you in advance for any suggestions.
The rest is here:
Posted: June 18, 2017 at 11:42 am
Virtual Reality (VR) has been around for a few years now. However, what made VR accessible to everyone was Googles Cardboard, a budget solution that gave everyone a taste of what VR could do. When Google announced its Pixel phone last year, it also launched the Daydream View, a premium VR headset for those who want a more immersive experience.
One of the things that make the Daydream View stand out is build quality. Google has used a breathable fabric for the outer body which is surprisingly well-cushioned: this makes the headset comfortable to wear for long durations.
Daydream View comes with a handheld remote control with a built-in accelerometer, trackpad, volume control, select and home button. The controller works seamlessly with VR apps for viewing content or playing games. Having a handheld controller improves the experience by a big margin. Once you are done using the headset, the controller can be tucked inside the headset so that you dont lose it very thoughtful.
Setting up the Daydream View takes a couple of minutes via onscreen instructions in the app.
Then the app shows a tiled interface for recommended apps: YouTube VR, Play Store, settings and your installed apps. You can install new apps without removing the headset, which makes things easier from a users perspective.
The VR experience with the Daydream View is unparalleled. We have used a number of VR headsets, but the visual quality, smooth interface, navigation and ease of control we got with this is mind-blowing. The audio from the headsets speakers is loud enough for personal use and adds to the overall immersiveness.
One issue with the headset is that it is compatible with only select Android phones; support for other phones will be added over time. Another problem is that most of the good VR apps in Play Store are paid and the app ecosystem is overall still limited. Apart from this, the Daydream View is one of the best headsets for VR save for the high-end HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. By Karan Bajaj
ET Chess Moves: Game for iOS and Android
So you want to play a game of chess? Obviously, you have got your smartphone; no need to carry the board. There are hundreds of free chess apps available, so why are we writing about this one? Three big reasons. One, its adfree.
Two: all features are free, including undo, resume game and online play. Three, it has a nice two-player mode in which two people can play simultaneously on the same phone. You have a board facing you while your opponent has a board facing the other direction.
Your board automatically scales up in size when its your turn a smart way to overcome the limitations of small screens! And the developer (Asim Pereira) is using the Stockfish 8 engine for the single-player mode one of the best open-source chess engines that scales well to mobile and desktop platforms.
There are 10 levels, different board designs/colours and you can share your game once it is over. Try it out if you need to brush up on your skills. By Hitesh Raj Bhagat
Rheo : App for iOS; Get It For: Free You can always head to YouTube when you need to be entertained.
But what if you want to learn something new or just have a laugh? How long will you keep browsing aimlessly? Plus, there are other video platforms, you know? Rheo presents a steady stream of curated videos and the cool thing is that it pre-buffers the next video so when you swipe to the next one, it instantly starts playing. If you want a change of mood, you can switch from default to laugh, inform, learn, taste, spark, move or chill. You dont need to sign up to use it but if you do, you can record your reactions to videos, and your friends can see these reactions when they watch the same video.
Favourite what you like and Rheo will pick up on your taste and show you more like that. It’s cool enough to take a place along with Hyper, another of our favourite video apps on iOS. By Hitesh Raj Bhagat
Posted: June 17, 2017 at 2:38 pm
Over the last 12 years, Russian chess Grandmaster Garry Kasparov has been a writer, human rights and democracy activist and a sometime chess-coach-cum adviser to top players. For an earlier generation, Kasparov is a superstar, probably the greatest ever chess player, a World Champion at the age of 22 in 1985 and a flag-bearer for human intelligence in matches against the IBM supercomputer Deep Blue (Kasparov won the first match in 1996 but lost the re-match in 1997). Twenty years later, Kasparov has written a book on the match, Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins. In an email interview with Suman Layak, New York-based Kasparov shares his views on chess, AI, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. Edited excerpts:
On why the book has come 20 years after the match The approach of the 20th anniversary of the 1997 rematch was the catalyst, but I wouldnt have written Deep Thinking if I hadnt felt ready. It was still painful to look back at that catastrophe, but enough time had passed to be objective, to find the truth, even if it was unpleasant. The other factor was that I had a lot more to say about intelligent machines and human-machine relationship. I felt that this could be an important message for others as well.
On whether he would do it again No, the strength of todays chess machines makes me quite happy Im retired! A free app on your smartphone is stronger than Deep Blue ever was. And a top engine on a decent laptop is likely unbeatable by even the best human on a good day. Engines dont play perfectly, but they dont make enough mistakes of the magnitude required for a human to beat them. Draw, yes, but probably not win. It was my blessing and curse to be the World Champion during the period in which chess computers went from laughably weak to practically unbeatable. It was a fascinating moment in my life, but in the historical perspective its a tiny blip.
On whether computers can take up human jobs, replace chess coaches Job loss to intelligent automation is a critical topic, but one of the reasons I wrote Deep Thinking was because we are looking at it the wrong way, with dangerous repercussions. Worry about people, not jobs, not professions. The evolution of human civilisation is the replacement of human labour by technology. Thats progress. Its essential, and makes our lives better, longer, more comfortable and productive. We should be concerned about what people will do if their tasks are taken over by machines, yes, but that problem will only get worse if we slow down instead of speed up automation and the development of new technology. Industries that automate also expand, leading to the creation of better jobs, even new industries. We need to focus on how to train people who are being displaced, how to keep them active. The good news is that smarter tools are also easier to use with less training. Computers are already teaching kids to play chess! But there will always be a place for human coaches and teachers, to help kids reach their potential and not only in chess. With an infinite amount of information at everyones fingertips, its ridiculous to preserve the old teacher-student relationship. Teachers today should focus on teaching kids how to learn, not what to learn. Training methods and critical thinking are still essential.
On opponents Anatoly Karpov, Viswanathan Anand, Vladimir Kramnik Enjoyed isnt really the way to put it! In a professional game, especially in a World Championship match, its a life or death struggle, and even the thrill of victory leaves you exhausted. But I always felt a special surge of energy when facing Karpov who was, of course, my great rival over five World Championship matches.
Even in less consequential games later in our careers, I had a feeling like against no other opponent. We knew each other so well, and public interest was always high when we met. To answer more selfishly, my record against Anand was far better than against Karpov or Kramnik, so I suppose those games were more enjoyable in that way. Vishy was a formidable opponent so he inspired me to play my best, and more often than not it went my way.
On challenging current players They are very strong, with Magnus Carlsen still a step above everyone else. But I havent been gone so long! I played many games against several of the players still near the top, especially Kramnik and Anand. Of the young generation, they are often very good technically and still need to show their fire and dedication. One reason Im impressed with Wesley So is how hard he works. He has other chessboard talents as well, but his ability to focus and prepare is tremendous. I have no interest in big chess challenges. Top-level chess, especially classical chess, requires concentration and dedication. I have a million other things in my life today, from young children to books and politics. Its not compatible with professional chess and Im quite happy with my life.
On US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin Putin long ago decided that the US was his enemy. It is the worlds most powerful nation and so it is a potential threat to his uncontested power as the dictator of Russia. And he cant stay quiet since he needs international conflict to justify his power at home. More conflict was inevitable, but this scandal with Trump is a huge wildcard.
Why does he praise Putin, a brutal dictator who attacked the US election? Why does Russian propaganda attack the US constantly, but never say anything negative about Trump himself? So far, most of the known contacts are with Trumps team, which has more Russian connections than Aeroflot. Trump may not be intelligent enough to be part of a grand conspiracy himself, but he may end up being prosecuted for trying to interfere in the investigation of his administration and allies, like Michael Flynn.
On the dichotomy of Edward Snowden finding sanctuary in Russia Its only a dichotomy if he wasnt already working with Russian intelligence, either willingly or as a pawn. I have no special knowledge of Snowdens activities, but his path afterwards, his welcome in Putins Russia and his willingness to allow himself to be used as a tool of Putins propaganda arent in his favour as a mere whistleblower or misguided zealot. You can be happy that what he exposed was exposed and still suspect he was an agent or traitor.
On democracy in Russia There isnt any democratic politics in Russia, only that approved by the Putin regime. The balance of power is between various camps of Putins allies, pushing and pulling for influence and cash, usually behind the scenes. You cant speak of democracy or sully the word election by talking about Russia. Its a joke, a show to distract people, nothing more. Russia is a dictatorship and anyone who posed any sort of real challenge to Putins grip on power would be dead, in jail, or exiled.
Posted: June 16, 2017 at 3:55 pm
The Fourth Industrial Revolution Is About Empowering People, Not The Rise Of The Machines
Even the creators of artificial chess-playing machines acknowledge that the best chess player is actually a team of both human and machine. … Railroad locomotives are powered by massive, highly complex electrical engines that cost millions of dollars.
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Posted: at 3:55 pm
(Photos by Liena Zagare/BKLYNER)
On June 5, City Council Candidates for District 40 (Ditmas Park, Flatbush, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens) held a debate on the most pressing issues facing our district.
In case you missed it, check out this comprehensive review of the issues that matter most, before heading over to the third debate tonight (with candidates from District 45 and the Brooklyn district attorney race).
Interest in political engagement is at a high in Brooklyn, and with a total of five candidates in play, the event was packed. (Thanks to neighbors who organized the event Seth Kaplan, Calista De Jesus with support from Cheryl Sealey, Brenda Edwards, Emily Leshner, and BKLYN Commons.)
Only one chair was empty for the first part of the debate, the one reserved for incumbent Councilmember Mathieu Eugene, who arrived late (had was with a police officer who was in a coma, he said later). When he did arrive, he referred to the other candidates as his opponents throughout the evening.
The organizers reached out to local political rockstar Duane Joseph and asked him to play moderator. Duane Joseph is a long-time resident of Flatbush via the Caribbeanand describes himself as a concerned resident looking to bridge the information gap.
You can watch the entire, 2-hour debate here, or read our edited synopsis below:
While waiting for Eugene to arrive, each candidate introduced themselves and their goals.
Brian Cunningham, who announced his candidacy last May, focused on his experience in government. I am running because I have seen a lot of changes in the last ten years, he said. I love this community, I was born and raised in this community and after this race is over, my commitment to public service will not be over.
Pia Raymond, who we interview in February, emphasized her work with economic engines along Nostrand Avenue and on the board of CB9. My story is part of your story, she said. I know what it means for a business to be displaced. Raymond reiterated what would become some of the ongoing themes of the night: changes, rent costs, and young people in need to engage. But she also focused on crime. in the midst of all the things happening here, we are still dealing the persistent crime problem.
Jen Berkely focused on an issue she has worked on for the last decade. I am here because our community is in a housing crisis. It not being addressed. How do I know its not being addressed? she asked out loud. Because I looked to see the how many affordable units we had when the City Councilmember took office. We have 15,000 less affordable units than we did when he took office.
Rose St Albord explained she is a masterpiece and a work in progressrunning because it is time for us to re-invent ourselves. Her objectives focused on our need to makes homes affordable, schools accountable, our streets safer for all residents.
Then, the questions began.
Given the importance of transportation as it provides access to getting an education and to economic opportunity. How would you improve it?
Brian Cunningham:Many simply cannot afford the cost of the subway, he said. Cunningham was the only candidate to suggest a solution, citing the 1700 people who use the Church Avenue train station between 6 and 9am every weekday morning: He believes we should mimic what the both the subway in the West Coast and the Metro North here do, make off-peak hours cheaper.
Pia Raymond:cited her experience increasing transportation options along the Nostrand business strip, like the select bus service, and a metro card to encourage shopping along the Nostrand strip. Raymond also cited her role in helping to create bike lanes and bike parking options to encourage business and travel options. Obesity is the number one health issue in Brooklyn, she said, with a commitment to simplify walking and biking options.
Jen Berkely:highlighted repeated fare increases when the service has been getting worse and worse and worse. She felt strongly that we need to send the message that we wont continue to foot the bill as service gets worse. She will do whatever she can to make sure the service gets better.
Rose St Albord:suggested a discount for families and for older straphangers. She also agreed that select buses were a great idea, but that select busses have angered some residents who see multiple select buses pass by while regular service seems to be suffering. This comment appeared to have hit a nerve and triggered a round of applause.
How Do You See Yourself Being An Advocate For Safer Streets?
Pia Raymond:said encouraging walking is a path toward safer streets, especially for seniors. She discussed her work in getting Citibike to come to her areaand wants more benches and bus shelters to encourage more outdoor activity.
Jen Berkley:said the current bike lanes are a great idea but painted lanes on the street force you to take your life into your hands. Its a delicate balance to increase foot traffic and other forms of transportation, she said, and intends to conduct a survey on it.
Rose St Albord:believes it takes a village we have to increase accountability for both bikers and walkers. We cannot look only at our side. People are reckless when they ride, people are reckless when they walk while texting.
Brian Cunningham:complemented the Mayor on the success of Vision Zero and cited the need for protected bike lanes. There are parts of the city where there is a row of parked cars or other dividers insulating the bike lanes.
Explain Your Plan for Tackling the Housing Crisis
Jen Berkely:given the high numbers of property violations against landlords, she would create a registry of the worst violators and aggressively fine them. She cited her work as a fighter for victims of landlords looking to push people out of their homes.
Rose St Albord:cited landlords who refuse to make repairs to inspire non-payment for which they can evict. Albord would make all landlords fill out a form of what kind of maintenance they would be expected to keep up and force them to either make repairs or forfeit the rent. She would also provide more pro bono legal help in fighting for tenants rights.
Pia Raymond:cited continued work with Impact Brooklyn and Brooklyn Legal Services, and the Flatbush Tenant Coalition. She will use her platform at City Council to educate the public and support these groups.
Brian Cunningham:feels strongly about land and tax abatements. We need to use the possibility of canceling them as a tool, he said. If you take city dollars you have responsibilities to uphold.
Councilmember Eugene:Housing is one of the biggest crises in the nation, he said, citing funding he gave tonon-profitsand testimony he gave before the DOB against raising rents.
What Are Your Plans To Push For a Fair Property Tax Program (because many taxes are going up to cover the new values because of buildings that are getting abatements)?
Rose St Albord: Property taxes are already high. Her goal will be to work to find ways to make new developments pay for the new costs to cover older residents raises in costs.
Brian Cunnigham:said that the 421A tax abatementneeds to be killed outright because any tax abatement is a zero sum effect. He would like to downzone, to disincentivize 421A. Cunningham also cited specifics numbers regarding the percentage of affordable housing being delivered for tax breaks.
Pia Raymond: Shared the commitment to downzoning. She cited her history on CB9 for support for downzoning.
Councilmember Eugene: said he voted to downzone Victorian Flatbush. He also said we need to lower the tax cost for retirees. It is very complicated, there is no one answer.
Jen Berkeley: Downzoning is only one answer to the problem. She says the Community Boards play a big role in downzoning and believes that City Council can play a bigger role in negotiating with developers.
What is your position on Charter Schools and the effect they have on public schools?
Councilmember Eugene: We have to invest in [public] education. But if there are other schools, we should support them.
Brian Cunningham: It is the citys responsibility to take care of the public schools first. He cited an example of how a school got a 501C3 attached to their school to allow them to pursue outside funding. He also cited the difference between Capital funding and other monies, saying we need to generate funding for both.
Pia Raymond:served as a program director in a public school and feels its critical to support public schools, college preparation, and fighting the digital divide. She would also support existing charter programs but not focus on new ones for the future.
Jen Berkely:Our city is one of the wealthiest in the world and the schools and should not have to hold bake sales to pay the bills. She also called out our low graduation rate in nyc as a particular issue she would address.
Rose St. Albord:said many kids arent learning but rather are taught to memorize She feels that many school problems need to be dealt with by instituting accountability for our school leadership and not just throwing money at problems.
Councilmember Eugene: Explained that he gives money to every school, supporting chess programs and other special events.
Joseph then switched gears and called on audience questions, like: How would you intervene in gang violence? (Create more community centers and vocational training, said Albord; raising rates of summer jobs, said Eugene; expand interest-based social development programs, said Raymond; make every school a beacon instead of creating new spaces, said Cunningham.)
What can you do to help the small businesses keep up with the rising cost of rent?
(specialized commercial rent control, saidBerkeley;encourage the SBA to take over a percentage of the store rent, saidSt. Albord; more programs like shop local supported by city council, and a separate stream to help preschools, said Raymond; explore landmarking small businesses integral to the cultural landscape, said Cunningham. Everyone who comes to Brooklyn wants to go to Juniors Cheesecake. We have places that could have that kind of draw.)
The last question was a personal one for Joseph and the immediate community. Since we are in the area covered by CB9 can you tell us what you would do to make it more functional. This question got applause and clearly was important to this room.
Pia Raymond, the only candidate onCB9, said, Unfortunately we have had a lot of discord and changes in leadership which has held up voting on things like liquor licenses. But she said we have new leadership and expressed confidence that things would go smoother this year.
Cunningham called for a more formal application process and training for Community Board leadership. He also felt strongly that there should be term limits on Community Board service. This last point received applause from the audience.
Learn more about each candidate, with videos, here.
Originally posted here:
Posted: June 14, 2017 at 4:49 am
Chess is a game which has more books on it than any other books in the world combined. The field of chess literature is so vast that one can go on and on and still not find a way out. The history of books on chess go down to many centuries ago. Even in the seventeenth century when it was played in Europe, the players relied on different books on the sport for strategies. The first world champion, Wilhem Stenietz also created his own collection of books. The book My System by Aron Nimzowitzch has sold millions of copies. It is now considered a treasure to have an original copy of his book.
So, why are chess books so popular? What are some of the recent books on the game which have become popular? The answers to these two questions are in fact quite simple. The chess books are immense in the content that they offer. They are full of details which can be easily understood by the player. In fact, there are different levels of books on the game.
One of the greatest series is authored by none other than the world champion Garry Kasparov called My Great Predecessors. It is a five volume book and talks about Kasparovs greatest predecessors and has their games annotated by the champion himself. This series has been read by most of the worlds top grandmasters and even novices looking to make it big in the sport. Reading chess books makes the player sharper and makes him develop his game. It also helps him analyse various games of the past. Another classic example of a chess book is the book by Bobby Fischer, My Sixty Memorable Games. It shows sixty of his best games and helps the reader understand the logic behind his moves. The reader can enjoy each of Fischers games with relative ease as it is written in a pure and natural text.
These two books are just small examples from the large world of chess books. There are other books on chess which talk about psychology and the mindset of the players during games. One such book is How Life Imitates Chess by Kasparov. It talks about how Kasparov thinks life and chess are co-related. He talks about his life as a chess player and what it meant to be a world champion. He gives insights into his grueling schedule before world championship matches and also his thoughts on what chess meant to him. It is a must read for every book worm whether playing or not.
Chess Books are a great way to improve your game. The biggest advantage with these are that they are self explanatory. One can easily read and understand them. They are the best ways to practice, and books are able to tell the player something that even the worlds best engines cannot say. In fact, a book gives insight knowledge by another human who has been on the same stage earlier and has done his research. Simply relying on computers has never been an effective way to grow and even the worlds best players still rely on these books for enhancing themselves. Thus, chess literature has a whole new future ahead.
Chess in films has risen in the past two decades. One of the earliest films that I can recall seeing was Searching for Bobby Fischer, based on the true life story of International Master Josh Waitzkin. This film is based on the book of the same name by Fred Waitzkin, Joshs father. It showcases the world of a chess player and how the role of a parent is crucial for a childs development in the early part of his or her career. The movie tells Joshs story in such a powerful manner that even a grandmaster can learn a lot by watching it.
A recent film on the game was directed by the acclaimed director Mira Nair called Queen of Katwe. The film has inspired millions of people across the globe, including the world champion, Magnus Carlsen. What makes this film unique is the fact that a young girl from an extremely poor background rises up the ladder and becomes the first player from her country -Uganda- to participate in the Olympiad. All of sixteen, this girl wins the heart of millions by her never say die attitude. She was none other than Phiona Mutesi, who along with her coach, Robert Katende, made the game popular in an area where the people were so stricken with poverty that they had no place to stay in even in the worst conditions. The film showcases how to overcome extreme hardships in life with a positive mind frame.
Another amazing film on chess was Magnus. A film by a Norwegian debutant director Benjamin Ree, this film has the live footage of several important moments in the world no.1s career. It shows how he became a grandmaster at thirteen and how his quest for becoming a world champion came true in 2013. The documentary draws on the experiences of the entire Carlsen family and how they, as a unit, helped the reigning world champion become a phenomenon that he is today.
The above examples are just a few from the world of chess literature and films. It is rightly said that chess is an ocean full of treasures. It not only ignites the mind, but it also helps to develop oneself holistically. The game of chess is not only a sport, it is an art, a science, and a philosophical sea. One can only reap the benefits from this beautiful game.
Image courtesy: The Seventh Seal (Movie)
See the article here:
Posted: June 12, 2017 at 8:42 pm
The Edmonton Eskimos have a linebacker named Terrance Bullitt on their roster. Bullitt! Too bad he didnt play his college ball at Western.
For those of you too young to get that reference, Bullitt is the name of one of the greatest action movies of all-time, with the grand-daddy of all car chase scenes in it, one that made a particular sports car an indelible cultural icon. You think Vin Diesel is cool? Pffft. Steve McQueen in Bullitt makes Vin Diesel look like a background extra in a chess club episode of Big Bang Theory.
Here are this weeks takeaways.
Deep down in the Edmonton quarterback depth chart lies an incredible natural resource just waiting to be tapped for the good of all mankind: Zach Klines exuberance. The rookie quarterback came on in the fourth quarter of Sunday nights thriller (you dont really get to say that about a pre-season game very often do you?) and on his very first read in a CFL game, saw a wide open Dhaquille Williams down the right side.
He let it fly and boom, Edmonton had a 75 yard touchdown play:
The isolation camera shot on Kline was fantastic as we got to watch the 23-year-old native of Danville, Calif. take off on a sprint, right arm thrust into the air most of the way, hand balled up in a fist. Then, looking for anyone everyone, actually to celebrate with. Moments later, on the sideline, he was still whooping it up like he was 10years old and had actually really, really gotten a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. Gotta love moments like that.
Note to the Eskies: Next home game, hook up one of the sideline bikes to the stadium lights and turn Kline loose. Ive a hunch he could save you oodles on your electricity bill. Of course, there IS the chance he could pop a few bulbs.
The third-year quarterback from Mississauga, Ont., looked very good against Winnipeg on Saturday night, propelling himself into serious conversation about who ought to start the season as Saskatchewans back-up man behind Kevin Glenn. Bridge may have been lost a wee bit in the shuffle with the comeback of Vince Young and the surge of Bryan Bennett dominating the talk at Roughriders camp.
Bridge looked cool as a hollowed out watermelon Im assuming thats why theyre worn, for the coolness on a hot prairie afternoon against the Blue Bombers, going 20 for 26 for 201 yards and a touchdown. Bridge did most everything right and displayed a terrific release as he zipped a missile into Duron Carter for a touchdown strike. Air Canada flight 16 is revving its engines on the tarmac.
Rick Campbells squad eked out a one-point win over Hamilton on Thursday night and the coach rewarded his team with a field trip to the House of Commons, where they apparently held a quick team meeting. Fuddle Huddle, I call it. Or, Huddle Duddle if you prefer.
I understand that while they were there, the team installed a couple of new plays for Thursdays game against Montreal and passed Bill C-1127, which will see the red bands on Canadas flag changed to red and black plaid, allow the team to practise inside Rideau Hall during inclement weather and declare the end zones they defend to be national nature preserves, trespassers being subject to fine and/or imprisonment. Its a bit of an omnibus bill and the REDBLACKS are being roundly criticized for that. As they should.
Going forward, Ottawa fans can celebrate touchdowns by pounding their seats and yelling Hear, hear!
Alouettes kicker Boris Bede is looking for a bounce back season in 2017 (Johany Jutras/CFL.ca)
The Montreal kicker and punter, who had a mostly miserable 2016 season, may have found the root of what was ailing him. Against the Argos on Thursday night, Bede was a perfect 4-for-4 in field goal attempts, his longest from 48 yards. He also strong-legged the pigskin by way of punts (averaging 44.4 yards, better than his career average) and kick-offs (64.5 yards).
Bede went a miserable 11-of-21 on field goals last season, including the 7-of-16 start that saw him lose his job in August. When granted a reprieve in October, Bede did come back looking a little better, but the sample size was small. Thursdays performance in Toronto may be a signal that hes returned to the form of 2015, when he went 36-of-40.
Lets travel from East to West and highlight a guy like that from each franchise. These are really nine mini-takeaways among the fifth takeaway, so memo to CFL.ca head office: Ill be billing for overtime even though, as we all know, there is no overtime in pre-season.
Montreal: George Johnson. The lanky receiver from London, Ontario, caught a touchdown pass and then capped it with a terrific grab on the ensuing two point convert.
Ottawa: Sherrod Baltimore. The defensive back from Maine had five tackles, two of them on special teams. And he had an interception that was called back due to a penalty on some other guy.
Toronto: Jimmy Ralph. The Alberta-born receiver gathered in four receptions for 54 yards, including a splendid diving grab on a bomb and another nifty, ground-level catch for a touchdown.
Hamilton: DT Davon Coleman. The Arizona State grad raised a few eyebrows with good interior play, including two tackles, a sack and a pass knockdown.
Winnipeg: Flix Mnard-Brire. The former Montreal Carabins kicker did miss a 44-yard field goal attempt. But that miss was highlighted by him chasing down the returner from behind to stop a touchdown. He also nailed two converts and averaged more than 64 yards on four kick-offs.
Saskatchewan: Returner Quincy Walden. The running back out of Bethel University averaged 24.5 yards on two kick returns and hauled back that missed Winnipeg field goal 87 yards. Yes, he got caught by a kicker but Im told that might say more about Mnard-Brire than Walden.
Calgary: Receiver Reggie Begelton. The Texas native reeled in five catches for 88 yards against the BC Lions, one of them for a touchdown. Of his yardage total, more than half came after the catch.
Edmonton: Kent London. The defensive back from California, signed just last week, picked off a pass and earned high marks for run defence support. When the camera caught him on the sideline, he said Let em know youre here. He did that.
BC: Linebacker Micah Awe, born in Nigeria and university trained at Texas Tech, got an edge in the Who Replaces Adam Bighill competition with four tackles, one of them on special teams.
Mike Reillys suit of armour gets polished a bit more. Switching from 13 to zero for a game to honour Larry Highbaugh? Classy.
The rest is here:
Posted: June 8, 2017 at 11:48 pm
Magnus Carlsen vs Hikaru Nakamura was a great fight that ended in a draw, the same result as the other four games in round three of theAltibox Norway Chess tournament. Friday is the first rest day.
The start of Carlsen vs Nakamura. | Photo Maria Emelianova.
In November 2013, when Anand was struggling in his match with Carlsen, Nakamura tweeted the following famous tweet. Ever since a clash between him and the world champion is something special.
After 12 losses and 18 draws, only in Bilbao 2016, Nakamura managed to win his first classical game against Carlsen. After that, they played the 2016 Chess.com Blitz Battle and one blitz game in December in Qatar, but today’s game in Stavanger was their first classical game in a year. Itdidn’t disappoint.
Via a different move order compared to last year, the players reached a g3-Dragon and again Carlsen played b2-b3 early on. This time, Nakamura was well prepared for it.
For a change, Carlsen arrived early at the game, several minutes before Nakamura. | Photo Maria Emelianova.
Carlsen was “ashamed” of 11.b3 as he “didn’t grasp Hikaru’s idea at all.” That idea was to simply swap pieces on d4, which normally gives White a pleasant space advantagebut not here.
Happy with his position, Nakamura decided to play actively with 21…f5, the start of “insanely risky” play according to Carlsen.
However, the world champ didn’t make the most of his chances. A key position was this:
Carlsen was unhappy with 24.Rc6, the best moves according to the engines but not very practical. 24.b5 would have been tougher to meet. A knight appearing on c5 will just be taken off the board.
Carlsen:”With this time control you need to play for the initiative…” Nigel Short: “…and prevent his.” Carlsen: “Exactly.I have no clue what he is going to do…”
In the game, Nakamura sacrificed a pawn to create an active play, and in a phase where Carlsen missed several of his opponent’s moves, he was almost lucky not to get in trouble.
Hikaru Nakamura correctly judged that he would have enough counterplay.| Photo Maria Emelianova.
Interestingly, after the game, it turned out that both players had been optimistic about their chances. In that sense, a draw was a good result.
Carlsen joins the TV2 live show every day right after he finishes. | Photo Maria Emelianova.
Levon Aronian vs Anish Giri was a great fight as well, which started slowly though, compared to the other games. While Karjakin and Anand had already drawn, and others reached endgames, these players were still in their early middlegame. That was mostly because of Aronian using a lot of time: almost 20 minutes on 13.0-0, 19 minutes on 16.Qb3, 13 minutes on 19.Bc1 and 18.5 minutes on 20.dxe5.
Giri in deep thought.In the post-mortem, he said that during the game he realized that Aronian probably looked at this opening for Black in preparation for his second round game against Nakamura. | Photo Maria Emelianova.
That last move was right afterGiri had put the board on fire as he pushed the g-pawn in front of his king two squares.A tactical sequence followed and the chess board became a mess, but more important was Aronian’s horrendous time trouble. He needed to make 12 moves in less than 2 minutes.
Giri: “What we didn’t take into account here is that Levon had like a couple of minutes for 12 moves. The objective evaluation of the position is absolutely irrelevant.”
“This time control is very strange. You’re playing the classical control and then you have 20 minutes less. It’s weird. Takes time to adjust,” said Aronian, who was kind of lucky that an endgame was reached where he had a number of simple moves.
Giri is impressed by the “cheapo artist,” as Short called Aronian the other day. | Photo Maria Emelianova.
Aronian is not the only player having difficulty adjusting to the time control in Stavanger (which is 100 minutes for 40 moves, then 50 minutes for 20 moves and then 15 minutes to finish the game with an increment of 30 seconds per move, starting from move 61).
Today Vladimir Kramnik, who drew a long game with Wesley So, revealed that he got it wrong initially. He assumed 2 hours for 40 moves and was wondering why he was getting so low on time during the first round. Then, at the start of round two, he noticed the clocks saying 1:40:00, and thought it was a mistake!
Despite attending the players meeting, Kramnik got the time control wrong during the first round. | Photo Maria Emelianova.
The first game to end today was Sergey Karjakin vs Viswanathan Anand. It only took about 1.5 hours, but there was a nice story behind it.
First, Karjakin admitted that the line he played against the Berlin wasn’t anything special, but Black needs to know what he is doing. Then Anand revealed how his memory had worked: at some point, early in the game, he remembered the position with 21…Bd7. From that point onwards he was trying to figure out how to reach it!
Karjakin vs Anand. The latter “won” the opening battle as he managed to remember his analysis. | Photo Maria Emelianova.
Anand vividly remembered the conversation with one of his seconds, who suggested that 21…Bd7 move. “I almost fell off my chair,” Anand said. But Black is fine there, his second told him, and today he could show it in the game.
Both Kramnik-So and MVL-Caruana can be found in the PGN file.
2017 Altibox Norway Chess | Round 3 Standings
In the evening a group of grandmasters joined in the hotel lobby. Guess what they were doing?
Friday is a rest day. The pairings for round four on Saturday are Aronian-Carlsen, Nakamura-MVL, Giri-Anand, Caruana-Kramnik, and So-Karjakin.
You can follow the games in Live Chess each day starting at 4 p.m. local time (7 a.m. Pacific, 10 a.m. Eastern).We’re providing on-site coverage on Chess.com/News and on our Twitter, Facebook and YouTube channels.
Here is the original post:
Posted: at 11:48 pm
By Chris Cook, for Trend
Obama’s Smart Energy Strategy
On taking office in January 2009, President Barak Obama inherited a failed energy policy from the George W. Bush administration which had attempted to secure Middle East oil & gas resources by military means through creating client states and imposing one-sided contractual terms favouring US International Oil Companies (IOCs). However, China’s threat in 2007 to pull the plug on the US financial system forced the US to back off in Iraq, in the same way that the US threat in 1956 to pull the plug on sterling forced the UK to pull out of Suez.
Consequently, the 2008 US financial meltdown obliged the incoming Obama administration to take a very different approach to US energy security. There were two major objectives of Obama’s resource resilience energy strategy: firstly, to rid the US for good of their historic reliance on Saudi oil, and secondly, to make a transition through gas as a bridging fuel to a low carbon economy.
The first objective was achieved by Obama’s investment bank collaborators who used Saudi/GCC petrodollars to inflate the oil price from its low of $35/barrel in 2009 by manipulating the Brent/BFOE benchmark oil price. The price was then maintained in a range between a collar under oil prices of $80/barrel and a US gasoline price cap at levels which would not threaten Obama’s 2012 re-election chances.
The effect of these artificially high prices were firstly, to fund indiscriminate lending to US shale oil and gas developers and secondly, to finance renewable energy such as wind and solar which substituted for fossil fuels. Finally, high prices led to massive investment in energy savings such as in more efficient car engines. As a result the US increased oil production by 5m barrels per day, and made oil product savings of maybe 2m bpd. When added to new high cost global sources of oil such as Canadian tar sands, and global renewable energy and efficiency, particularly in the EU, this led by 2014 to a substantial global surplus of oil production, which has now become structurally embedded.
The increasing surplus of oil supply led as I forecast it would in 2011 to a collapse in the oil price to $45 to $50/bbl in late 2014 after the financial Quantitative Easing (QE) pump of Federal Reserve Bank dollars was finally turned off.
Obama’s Energy Doctrine
Obama’s strategy executed through Hilary Clinton’s State/CIA power nexus was for Caspian and Qatari gas to supply Europe, displacing crude oil and oil products and competing with Russia. Resource nationalism particularly in Turkey and Syria – stood in the way of this. Meanwhile the massive US base at Al Udeid has effectively come to secure Qatari gas production and an effective position of Qatar as a US proxy in the MENA region acting against resource nationalism by promoting Islamism.
The US strategy was therefore to create a new wave of non-nationalist Sunni Islamism such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and elsewhere, and Gulenism in Turkey. The outcome desired by the US was Balkanisation of the region to create a Kurdish Petro State (which would be tolerated by a Gulenist regime in Turkey) with Islamist territories elsewhere acting as conduits for Qatari gas transit to Europe by pipeline.
However, Obama’s smart energy policy was so successful that the accompanying wave of new smart technology and investment led to an irreversible tipping point in the global economy of Peak Demand the effect of which is to cap the global oil price at or around $50 per barrel.
Saudi Arabia has clearly learnt the truth of Yamani’s dictum that the Oil Age is not ending for lack of oil, since they would not conduct the Aramco IPO if the future oil price trajectory were upwards. Clearly, Saudi Arabia is now casting covetous eyes on Qatari gas, since this will enable them to free crude oil for export, particularly in the summer. In other words, Qatari gas will act as a bridging fuel while their ambitious (and in my view unimplementable) Energy 2030 programme progresses. Such a Saudi gas for oil swap is unlikely to take place on favourable terms for Qatar.
So President Trump has now turned away from the Obama doctrine at least in part due to his personal antagonism to anything Obama was able to achieve in office. Unfortunately, as with his similar rejection of COP 21 and Obama’s domestic US energy policy he has no constructive Plan B.
As a result of Trump’s impulsive action, Saudi Arabia has now been permitted to take extraordinary measures, with the full support of the US, which essentially constitute war on Qatar by economic means. Moreover, Qatar has been presented with a detailed ultimatum including a draconian prohibition in dealings with Iran and the scope for rapid escalation is clear.
Today’s events in Tehran an attack on the Majlis and an unprecedented suicide bombing at the shrine of Ayatollah Khomeini provide a grave challenge to President Hassan Rouhani and his colleagues in Iran’s government. Trump’s top military/security team is extremely antagonistic to Iran, and clearly hope and expect that Iran will act stupidly and aggressively in response to this provocation.
What is Iran’s Smart Move in this difficult position?
The Smart Move
In my view, the smart, and unexpected, policy for Iran would be to propose a constructive regional initiative based upon energy/resource co-operation and resilience. This may perhaps commence with a humanitarian offer to Qatar of essential supplies through international waters.
What appears to be a unilateral US-backed resource grab by Saudi Arabia creates an opportunity for Russia, Iran & Qatar (who between them possess more than 60% of global gas reserves) to collaborate in launching a networked physical and financial global market in natural gas based upon a new settlement between gas producers and consumers.
The market in Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) is key to such a new settlement. While historically the global natural gas market has been fragmented and largely bilateral due to deliveries via static pipelines, the last five years has seen massive new production and infrastructure for liquidising and decompressing Liquid Natural Gas (LNG). The combination of diversity of supply, flexibility of delivery and homogeneity of gas (there are many grades and qualities of oil, but CH4 is CH4) has now led to an over-supplied global ‘buyer’s market’ in natural gas. The emergence and convergence of a global LNG price is strikingly illustrated by this chart.
I believe based upon my experience of implementing the UK Natural Gas Balancing Point Futures contract in 1995 as a Director of what is now ICE Europe that the potential now exists for a global gas ‘Balancing Point’ physical gas market price based upon the price at which LNG is delivered into and out of global LNG infrastructure. This could enable financial energy credit instruments (not derivatives) based upon this price which are issued, traded, cleared and settled within a global energy clearing union.
The EU, which is fuming at Trump’s America First antics, as well as China, India and Turkey (whose President Erdogan has offered to intermediate), could be expected to support a new global gas market settlement, while neutral countries like Norway and Switzerland could be expected to facilitate it.
So my advice to President Rouhani is to play chess where Trump is playing the fool, and to begin a process of depoliticised energy diplomacy based upon competition for quality of energy as a service and cooperation to reduce energy costs within a new natural gas global market paradigm.
Chris Cook is a former director of the International Petroleum Exchange. He is now a strategic market consultant, entrepreneur and a commentator.
Posted: at 11:48 pm
As a fan of things that go fast, I have drag racing near the top of my must-watch motorsports list. I have been fortunate enough to attend some Outlaw Diesel Super Series events, and Ive noticed that Im definitely not the only one enjoying the thrill of the drags. The number of people who come out to spectate continues to grow, as does the total count of competitors who enter each event. More and more diesel jockeys are eager to see what they and their rigs can do on the strip. This ever-increasing enthusiasm for diesel drag racing is amazing to witness, and its definitely growing the sportin both popularity and competiveness.
In April 2017, I attended the Rudys Diesel Performance season-opening event at Piedmont Raceway in Julian, North Carolina. It was a great two days of diesel madness, highlighted by the Outlaw Diesel Super Series drawing 165 competitors to the venue to wage war in six different drag-racing classes. The category with the largest turnout was our own (well, ours and ATS Diesel Performances) 7.70 Index Class, with 62 truckers reporting to the staging lanes for the first round of eliminations. For every race across all classes, the stands were packed to near capacity with cheering spectators watching vehicles roar down the eighth-mile.
As the enthusiasm continues to increase for this type of drag racing and the competition gets more heated, drivers willingness and desire to push themselves and their vehicles to the next level will rise. Competitive people want to winthey will not voluntarily let themselves sit idly or settle for second best. Their free time is spent at the track testing and racing, or in the garage prepping and building.
It is not an easy endeavor to put the right combination of components together. The engine alone has so many different ways it can be manipulated for power. Combine that with the complexity of the rest of the drivetrain, and you have a lot to get right. Getting everything to sync together and perform at its peak is a chess game. One move can take you forward or set you back. But that desire to be on top pushes people to keep trying and experimenting with new ideas.
Ingenuity and creativity are the things that really push motorsport technology forward. The guy or gal who can really think outside the box and bring something completely different to the table may have the key to winning. I understand there are rules in many classes that limit what can be done to an engine or vehicle, but he or she who has an ability to apply new concepts to the sport (a mechanical principle or technology that is not normally associated) could gain an advantage, and any edge, even a slight one, can be rewarded with a spot on the podium.
Racing has traditionally been the cornerstone for research and development of performance parts. That need and desire to go faster and win has stirred the creativity in many an individual and opened their eyes to ways of creating more power, speed, or efficiency from what is many times the simplest concept. Most ideas or theories have to be proven through trial and error. But, in the end, the sacrifice of time and energy (and money) proves it could definitely be worth it.
There is a reason auto and truck builders around the world support racing in one form or another and why they pump money into research and development. Racing is where a lot of new technology is born and where that technology is proven. Many of the advances made in competition will make it into what is driven on the road. The fastest production cars in the world owe much of their performance ability to peoples desire to race and win.
Even the new high-powered diesel pickup trucks on the market today owe much of their torque and power to racers and enthusiasts desires to improve their engines. Manufacturers pay attention to what is being done to the powerplants they produce, and then analyze what works and what doesnt perform as expected.
As more people continue to enjoy the excitement of racing diesels, the more the technology will develop, which will continue to push the industry and racing to new levels. Im waiting to see what the next big step forward is and where it comes from. Never count the little guy out.