Lady in Red; Coffee; Confessions & FIDE witchhunts
The lovely Tiffany Taylor (b.1977, USA) taking a dip in the pool. As the world opens up after a long lockdown, it will be a pleasure to re-discover all of the natural beauty that is around us but too often taken for granted.
Starbucks has let it be known that it lost more than 3 billion dollars in sales in the third quarter. That is a lot of coffee! Of course, everyone in the business is suffering, but considering how successful Starbucks has been in the pre-pandemic world, they are still in an advantageous position compared to other brand names.
Management has also let it be known that they will close hundreds of shops in the Americas in the next year, including not less than 200 stores in Canada alone.
However, I don’t shed any tears for these big multi-national food conglomerates who have never had any problem profitting from falling market prices that see independent farmers go out of business or have to sell their produce for less than what it costs to produce them.
To add to Starbucks troubles, the recent racial protests has seen the company reverse its policy of not allowing employees wear any ‘Black Lives Matter’ clothing. (For the moment, atleast, one can still order ‘black’ coffee!)
The above chart shows how the stock prices of each of the companies listed has faired in recent times. It very much appears that the take-away business has been booming. While it is not on the list, McDonalds has also been suffering.
On a more positive note, Starbucks in China has successfully re-opened business and is reportedly up to 70% normal activity. Hopefully China will be able to help jump-start the North American and European economies as they begin to open up this week.
False/Fake Confessions & FIDE Witchhunts
This is a new low even for FIDE. Since the Covid-19 pandemic began and chess has been forced to disappear virtually (notice the clever pun, please!) the FIDE leadership has been at a loss of how to deal with another pandemic: Online cheating.
READ: Time to pull the plug?
To get around the frustrating reality that online cheating is impossible to control, prevent or rationally manage, FIDE is today seriously considering to have participants in its future online events sign ‘” a clause that they accept to be expelled if their play appears highly suspicious.”’
If this actually goes ahead, then for the first time in my life I will seriously consider giving up chess altogether.
Online chess platforms have up to now rightfully earned a miserable reputation for indiscriminately accusing chess players of cheating.
When asked to prove their case, these platforms refuse to do so or often claim to be private companies that do not need to justify anything that they do. In the remaining cases they typically argue something like ” We can not divulge our method as this would give cheaters an edge.” Looks like they have considered all of the angles…
Why – considering the chaos of online chess – would any honest person now want to sign a letter accepting to be punished for a crime that he/she did not commit? Since when has ‘suspicion‘ ever become a good enough legal basis for enforcing punishment?
And why anticipate this ‘confession’ before play even begins?
But even more to the point, why would any rational, self-respecting and responsible person ask for such a letter in advance if they were not deliberately intending to use it against you at the first convenient opportunity to destroy your good name and harm your reputation? AM I MISSING SOMETHING HERE?
These chess platforms should just go back and use the same old crystal ball that has been the SECRET of their fraudulent anti-cheating success up to now…and leave DECENT people alone!