Good morning, Wednesday! Quite a few tournaments taking place right now but the Riyadh blitz and rapid is capturing all of the international headlines. With good reason I suppose. World Champion Magnus Carlsen is participating, as well as many of the top-15. With $2 million up for grabs, the temptation is very strong despite the very obvious controversy regarding Saudi Arabia as organizer and sponsor.
Must be the tournament with the ‘best dressed’ record. All of the players had to agree to very strict norms before being allowed to participate. With such a big prize fund, few complaints were heard…
Who is the favourite to win? In the women’s tournament it is pot luck. However, in the men’s tournament the smart money is on the Armenian Aronian, who has had an absolutely fantastic year. With all due respect to the current World Champion Carlsen (who lost his first round game!), Levon Aronian is playing the best chess in the world.
German grandmaster Elisabeth Paehtz pushing the clothing norms to see how much she can get away with. (So far Azmaiparashvili has not attacked her (!), nor have the Saudi authorities. But yesterday was just the first day!)
The Saudi organizers allow the women players to dress ‘normally’ within the confines of the tourament site, but must respect the Saudi dress norms if they venture beyond.
Canada has one more grandmaster!
Congrats to Aman Hambleton for achieving his 3rd and final GM-norm at the just completed Sitges International. Aman’s talent may not stand out as much as some of his colleagues, but he has other polished skills and qualities that more than explain why the grandmaster title is well deserved. Congratulations!
More MSM trashing chess
LINK to story
Continuing with how MSM (main_stream_media) likes to sensationalize, distort , trivialize and/or take out of context anything to do with the game of chess. Several weeks ago in England the story of Richard Pentreath (age 64) , also known as Hilary Clifford Thomas, and his being sentenced to 35 years in prison began appearing in almost all of England’s MSM, including the BBC.
The basics of the story had absolutely nothing to do with chess and otherwise was silly and had very little to justify such an intensive coverage. Pentreath was a common rapist doing what rapists do best…and he got what was coming to him. End of story.
Or should have been the end of story! But it was not.
The story got embellished because Pentreath used to be a relatively weak chess player who had authored several obscure books on the games of Tal. Soon the real story that was spiced up and projected was that of yet another chess player who went on to do what chess players are supposed to do best: go crazy and become killers, rapists, arsonists and otherwise all round psychopaths.
”Pentreath, who as Hilary Thomas wrote the chess book The Complete Games of Mikhail Tal in 1980, began raping his primary victim when she was 11, telling her they were making love. She told detectives that, when she tried to stop his weekly attacks, he became violent. He went on to abuse a young boy aged about 13 in the 1990s.”
Really, had Pentreath not been a chess player, the story would have never made it as far as it did. Sad.
MSM representation of a typical chess player when he loses a game.
Submarines that can swim and other AI nonsense.
This year has seen quite a bit of hype about AI and how the latest toys of our AI researchers can learn our difficult game in an afternoon and then kick our butt. The stories were carried all over MSM. And why not? They meet the same low standards that exist for anything to do with chess, much as in the previous item above.
The truth, however, is far from this mystical representation of AI’s progress. We in the chess community had long since accepted that fast processors and clever algorithms together can beat our best talents. Long ago. Full stop. End of discussion.
The present reality, according to AI engineers, who are actually not seeking cheap and easy PR from MSM , and instead are trying to create something useful and helpful to society, is that you do not put ”artificial intelligence” and ”learning” in the same sentence. Ever. Or atleast for the next 30 years you shouldn’t.
Those AI scientists who play with their latest generation of toys in labs against games that have complete information are a very different breed from those AI engineers who live in the real world and know only too well that reality never has anything to do with complete information games.
So, sorry to disillusion you. Or maybe I am not sorry. We are not there yet. Or even close. And as for submarines that can swim, an analogy Chomsky likes to use when he talks about AI (check out his YouTube videos), it all depends on your definition of what swimming is or is not. And nothing else….and least of all not on AI.