A 16-year Harvard study recently published in The World Journal of Biological Psychiatry indicates that caffeinated coffee may lower suicide risk in both men and women by 50%. LINK Apparently the study drew upon as many as 200,000 test subjects and compared the suicide risks amongst those who drank between 2 and 4 cups of coffee a day with those who drank decaf or less than 1 cup of coffee a day.
Well, that is great news… I suppose…even though I am NOT contemplating suicide any time soon –atleast not in the next 16 years or so. Not quite on parr with studies that show that coffee makes you smarter and improves your sex life, but –hey–it is only Tuesday and the week is still young!
No risk of suicide here!
As an aside, I often wonder what people are supposed to do with studies like this? How should we react? Start drinking lots of coffee? Give up decaf? Or will doctors now recommend that those with higher risks of suicide start drinking 4 cups a day? In any case, the paranoid part of me suspects that the coffee in this study was provided free from a leading coffee maker…
DOWN BUT NOT OUT!
One of the unique things about chess –compared to other games–is that in chess the game ends with CHECKMATE! There is no continuing beyond that point, though there can often be plenty of hard feelings, arguing and other nasty behaviour for hours afterwards. Checkmate ends the game and that is all there is to it. But in LIFE checkmate does not exist, even if you have lost and are out of the game. Case in point is American entrepreneur and passionate chess fan Andrew Paulson.
As my readers are only too aware (LINK) one of Paulson’s companies- AGON- originally bought FIDE rights for the World Champion cycle for the next 10 years or so for a paltry 500-k dollars but ended up crashing and burning. Certainly well intentioned and more than capable of pulling things off than the rest of us, Paulson quickly ran into a wall: CHESS REALITY: today there are no interested sponsors for big-time chess!
A 2009 study of all sports found that chess lacks visibility and prestige. Hence no Money.
Today, while the future of the relationship between AGON and FIDE is uncertain, and with both AGON and Paulson out of the global chess game for the time being–if not permanently, Andrew Paulson’s passion for the game and especially his desire to do something positive for the chess world has not diminished in the very least! I respect him for his tenacity! This week Paulson is running for the presidency of the ECF (English Chess Federation) and you can find an informative interview with the man right HERE. Plus you can read Paulson’s election platform HERE.
PLAY IT AGAIN, SAM!
Chess politics, for all its noise and whoop-la, is a total bore. Yesterday, in Tallinn (Estonia) the delegates of the FIDE Congress held in said city were treated to the official kick-off of Gary Kasparov’s 2014 campaign for the FIDE presidency. While it had long been rumoured that Kasparov was going to make yet one more bid–despite the bitter experience in 2010–no one was really certain who would make up Kasparov’s team. He ended speculation yesterday.
Now having quite a competent team beside him , including moneybags Rex Sinquefield and Sheikh Mohammed bin Ahmed AlHamed, Kasparov then presented a surprisingly tame 6-step campaign platform…including colourless cliches and unenthusiastic promises (more sponsors, more transparency, more chess in schools, better management etc)…that sounded a lot more like a minor municipal by-election in Canada than a serious effort to transform the chess world.
I think that the feedback by readers of ChessVibes pretty much sums up the chess world’s take on seeing yet one more Kasparov initiative to take control. I think the chess world is tired of both Kirsan and Kasparov, and turning the 2014 FIDE election into splitting hairs by seeing which individual they like less is going to guarantee that chess politics continues to be a total bore. At a time when ISSUES should be discussed instead, the election could quicky get bogged down in the personality faults of the candidates (and there are many!).
But don’t get me wrong! I believe that Kirsan–while well intentioned and sincere–has failed miserably to live up to his original promises when he first took control of FIDE in late 1995. The fast time controls, the lack of transparency and democracy, Kirsan’s unique management style, the excessive focus on getting IOC approval and especially Kirsan’s lack of sophistication when dealing with the media has all contributed to marginalize chess in today’s global corporate world. I think that, while not a bad leader, should Kirsan not want to change course on his ideas for the chess world, then the chess world would be better off without him. Eighteen years is long enough to learn from one’s mistakes…
HOWEVER, is Kasparov an alternative? No, I don’t think so. For as much as one can find ways to find fault with Kirsan, most in the chess world trust FIDE’s future in his hands more than in Kasparov’s hands. And who is on Kasparov’s team would not change the way most see this issue. Kasparov is not–and never was–a team player.