Coffee, FIDE & Potpourri
Have you ever noticed the number of gloomy ‘studies’ on coffee consumption that are in newspapers and online? They almost jump out at you and attack you with big fonts and even bigger subtitles.
Some are apocalyptic sounding: caffeine might cause cancer, blindness, diabetes, heart disease and impotence. Or worse…new studies keep coming out at regular intervals and this practice is not going to stop anytime in the forseeable future.
It is enough to make us coffee drinkers feel guilty whenever we ask for another cup of coffee. As if we might be harming ourselves and shortening our life because of our next cup…
Now let me ask you about alcohol ‘studies’. Chances are that you do NOT remember the last time you saw new findings from some ‘hot’ new study on the health issues of alcohol consumption! There are virtually no studies done in this area. Everybody knows that alcohol is not good for you.
So why is it that just the coffee consumers are getting hassled?
The statistics say it all.
Not these ones (even though they are shocking): less than 100 people died in the US in 2018 from the excessive use of caffeine containing dietary pills, energy drinks or ‘study all night’ pills VERSUS 88,000 people died in the US in 2018 from direct alcohol abuse.
BUT these ones: in the US last year 18 billion dollars worth of coffee was sold VERSUS 254 billion dollars of alcohol being sold.
And alcohol consumption is growing much more rapid each year than coffee consumption. World wide, alcohol is already a TRILLION dollar business.
The alcohol lobby actively discourages newspapers and online platforms from shitting on their party. Placating five dollar expressions like ‘drinking in moderation’ or ‘drinking responsibly’ hijack the discourse before the nasty reality of alcohol abuse and its direct and indirect cost on society is about to become the subject of discussion.
I have said it before on this blog, and say it again: I think that many of these apocalyptic coffee studies are likely funded by the alcohol lobby so as to distract us–the readers–from a much more serious issue. God knows the alcohol lobby can afford it!
The FIDE Paradigm
Replacing one Russian Oligarch with Another.
How much POSITIVE change has FIDE president Arkady Dvorkovich actually achieved since October 3rd of last year when he was elected head of chess’ most important organization?
The answer to this question must be closely linked to what Dvorkovich promised when he first entered into the FIDE 2018 campaign. In particular, the first priority of Dvorkovich was to make FIDE transparent. In an interview (summer, 2018) with Peter Dogger (of Chess.Com fame) he said:
FIDE is not transparent. There’s no transparency in management, in financing, in nominations, appointments, closing venues, world championship cycles, et cetera. The whole system requires major reshape, major change.
Fast forward to today, many in the chess world have now come to suspect that Arkady Dvorkovich’s idea of transparency has nothing to do with the modern world’s idea of what transparency signifies. This is worrisome. His ideas seems to be much closer to what existed in the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and this has been noticed by more than just a few.
The following is what I wrote on January 4th of this year, 3 months after Dvorkovich’s election. It has only gotten worse since.
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Compared to the policy followed during Kirsan’s reign (and continued by Makropoulos in the interim period leading up to 2018), FIDE has today shut itself off from the chess world. Dvorkovich has killed all public discussion/participation of important topics.
He has forced the Presidential Board to sign non-disclosure agreements, and sealed off the Presidential meetings from outsiders or from the press. The 2nd Presidential Board meeting (June 27-28) still has not published the ‘decisions’. And when it gets published in the next couple of days (hopefully) you can be certain that these decisions are FINAL and not open to public debate.
What I , and many others with whom I have spoken to, FEAR is taking place in FIDE under Dvorkovich is a steady and deliberate regression into the dark past of a Cold War mentality. Where there are enemies everywhere and paranoia rules the day to day activities.
Today Dvorkovich deliberately and routinely avoids the type of open and ‘democratic’ interviews that he made during the FIDE election campaign. Perhaps, the 2018 propaganda campaign has achieved its purpose…so why bother anymore!?
There are now only the Rulers and the Ruled. Democracy itself inside FIDE might be threatened. And remember, we are only discussing Dvorkovich’s first broken campaign promise. There are others. And there will likely be more…Even the normally combative, opinionated and super-controversial Nigel Short has been completely muzzled! (Perhaps Dvorkovich’s only REAL contribution to the chess world !?)
(To be continued)