21 September 2023

I Want To Go Squirrel Hunting

In last month's Yahoos post (aka 'chess in the mainstream news'), Top Yahoos: Niemann, WRTC, and Pragg (August 2023), I mentioned,

Two of the stories in Niemann's main block were repeated in the top news, while the third story, not repeated, was the off-the-wall Elon Musk nonsense that I covered last year in It's Not Polytopia (March 2022).

A few days earlier, that same Elon Musk story had appeared as a real Yahoo (appearing in the news feed from Yahoo.com) on its own. These days real Yahoos are so unusual -- the previous sighting was How Many for Carlsen? For Niemann? (December 2022) -- that I felt compelled to record it on this blog.

The title says,

Business • Benzinga // Elon Musk Thinks Chess Is 'Too Simple' -- 'Understandable When All We Had To Play With Were Squirrels And Rocks, But Now We Have ...'

The missing word behind the '...' is 'Computers', as in 'But Now We Have Computers'. After the title we learn,

Tesla Inc. and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is known for his innovation and tendency to question conventions. Last year, he publicly stated his disinterest in the classic board game chess. ... // 3 min read

Here the missing text behind '...' is:-

Musk, who played chess during his childhood, has distanced himself from the strategic game, citing six reasons he finds it "too simple" for his liking. In March 2022, he posted on X, formerly Twitter, "Chess is a simple game. Understandable when all we had to play with were squirrels and rocks, but now we have computers."

Why is Benzinga (followed by Yahoo) picking up on on a remark from almost a year and a half ago? Maybe it was just a slow news day. For the full Yahoo, see Elon Musk Thinks Chess Is 'Too Simple' -- 'Understandable When All We Had' [etc. etc.] (finance.yahoo.com).

The best part of a real Yahoo is the comments section and this particular story earned 551 comments. Those comments plus the six bullets in the story explaining Musk's dislike for chess (e.g. No 1: 'Limited 8-by-8 grid') would be worth another post on the topic, but I can't tackle that just now. This morning I spotted a red squirrel in the back yard and I have a burning desire to throw rocks at it. [NB: No animals were or will be harmed in the making of this post.]

17 September 2023

News from Number 10

Among other stories, last month's Yahoos post (aka 'chess news in the mainstream press'), Top Yahoos: Niemann, WRTC, and Pragg (August 2023), offered this:-

  • 2023-08-08: Rishi Sunak to announce £500,000 government funding boost for English chess (ft.com)

The story is a prelude to this month's Flickr photo.

The Prime Minister hosts young chess champions © Flickr user Number 10 under Creative Commons.

The description of the photo explained,

22 Aug 2023. London, United Kingdom. The Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, together with the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Lucy Frazer, hosts young chess champions Bodhana Sivanandan, aged 8, and Shreyas Royal, aged 14, in 10 Downing Street. Picture by Simon Walker / No 10 Downing Street

For the related photo album, see The Prime Minister hosts young chess champions (flickr.com). For background to the story, see The future of English chess (chessbase.com) by Malcolm Pein.

In an earlier Flickr Favorite post, No.1 Chess Bod (April 2013), we saw No 11 Downing Street. If you came to this post looking for another example of AI chess art, like last month's Chess Sets Are the Real Deal (August 2023), you'll find one here: A turtle playing chess with a Bishop, in the style of Paul Cézanne (flickr.com).

Cézanne? I knew Cézanne. Paul Cézanne was a friend of mine. Believe me, dear visitor, this is no Cézanne. Use search to find a few more dubious AI chess photos by the same Flickr user.

15 September 2023

CFAA's Consent Management

For the current Friday series, I closed the previous post, Adsense and CFAA's CMP (September 2023; CMP = Google's Consent Management Platform), in a holding pattern:-

After adding the logo, my GDPR message was accepted. As I was preparing this post for publishing, the message still wasn't showing on my pages, so maybe I did something wrong. I'll come back to it for next Friday's post.

I had indeed done something wrong. I was watching the top level page for my domain which doesn't display an ad. The Adsense code to display an ad is the trigger for the consent message. When I accessed a page with an ad, I saw the following popup message.

The message is the tip of an iceberg. The text reads like this:-

mark-weeks.com asks for your consent to use your personal data to:

* Personalised ads and content, ad and content measurement, audience insights and product development devices [sic; the phrase needs verbs]
* Store and/or access information on a device

Learn more

Your personal data will be processed and information from your device (cookies, unique identifiers, and other device data) may be stored by, accessed by and shared with third party vendors, or used specifically by this site or app.

Some vendors may process your personal data on the basis of legitimate interest, which you can object to by managing your options below. Look for a link at the bottom of this page or in our privacy policy where you can withdraw consent.

[Do not consent] [Consent]

Manage options

I looked at all of the hidden text and discovered a few important points.

  • 'Learn more' expands to a series of four questions. The first question is 'How can I change my choice?'. The answer says, 'View our privacy policy to learn more' and points to my page World Chess Championship : Site map. The first section there is a 'Privacy Statement', but this is the first I learned that this page has to explain 'How can I change my choice?'. I need to address that.

The answers to two other questions discuss 'legitimate interest', which seems to be some sort of legal override of the whole consent process. Back to the popup message:-

  • The mention of 'third party vendors' expands to a single question: 'What third party vendors can access my data?'. The answer is a list of (currently) 203 vendors. By any reckoning, that's a lot of vendors.

The last line of the popup message is the most important.

  • 'Manage options' opens another section of the popup that starts, 'You can choose your data preferences. This site or app wants your permission to do the following: [...]' The first 16 consents are for 'TCF vendors' (referring to 'the IAB Europe Transparency and Consent Framework') followed by a single consent for the 'Site or app' (that means my site). This is followed by 'Vendor preferences', where each of the 203 vendors presents a cookie policy, a link to its privacy policy, and perhaps a statement of 'legitimate interest'.

What happens if a visitor to my site doesn't grant consent? No ad is shown. Since I routinely use two different devices, I'll grant consent on one and withhold it on the other. That way I'll be able to monitor both sides of Google's consent management.

What's next? I need to improve my own privacy policy to answer the questions that Google says I'm answering. To do that, I'll summarize the current series and point to that summary.

12 September 2023

September 1973 & 1998 'On the Cover'

The left side of last month's 'On the Cover' post, August 1973 & 1998 (August 2023) featured Robert Byrne, 'who finished 3rd at the Leningrad Interzonal and thus qualified for the Candidates' Matches'. This month features the winner of the second Interzonal for that cycle. It was the first World Chess Championship cycle to have more than one Interzonal.

Left: '?'
Right: '1998 U.S. CHESSathon' • 'Interplay Junior Championship ... Junior Open ... Cadet Championship ... National Scholastics ... U.S. Amateur Championships ... World Open ... it all begins [inside]!'

Chess Life & Review (50 Years Ago)

Henrique Mecking, winner of the Interzonal in Petropolis, Brazil, in a typical pose. Bulletin [inside], full story next month. Photo by Burt Hochberg.

The bulletin '[inside]' said,

Twenty-one-year-old Henrique Mecking of Brazil triumphed on his home territory, winning the second of the two 1973 Interzonals with an undefeated score of 12.0-5.0. Pre-tournament favorite Lajos Portisch of Hungary suffered a disastrous last-round loss to Soviet Grandmaster Lev Polugaevsky, creating a three-way tie for 2nd-4th places among Yefim Geller, Portisch and Polugaevsky with scores of 11.5-5.5. Since only the top three may advance to the Candidates Matches, a playoff match among the three tied players is necessary to eliminate one of them. The date and site of this playoff is not known at this writing.

Here are the final scores from Petropolis. [...] Bronstein replaced Leonid Stein, who died suddenly a few weeks before the tournament.

For more about the two Interzonals, see:-

The footnote saying, 'Bronstein replaced Stein', doesn't square with related info on my other pages. More research needed...

Chess Life (25 Years Ago)

It almost didn't happen. Having made the decision to not hold a CHESSathon this year, the USCF office was dragged, kicking and screaming, into an organizational nightmare, when one very determined USCF Past President, Denis Barry, decided that there would be a CHESSathon!

Executive Director Mike Cavallo gave Denis the green light, and with less than three months lead time, Denis was able to find a site, secure the cooperation of an entire city (Newark, New Jersey), find local sponsors ("Just One," a division of the Office of the Mayor of Newark, Public Service Electric and Gas [PSE&G]), a state sponsor (New Jersey State Chess Federation) AND he was to convince the majority of the employees of the USCF business office to once again, donate their time and experience to make the CHESSathon a reality.

But that's only the beginning of the story. The rest of it appears [inside]. Our cover shot, from the sixth floor of the PSE&G building, overlooks the PSE&G Plaza, and was taken by Brian Killigrew.

This is the first issue that most youth members, coaches, and parents will receive as the new school year begins. Make the most of it! Our three National Scholastics, the Cadet, the Junior, the Junior Open, the CHESSathon, a bright piece on college chess and scholarships, Chess-in-the-Schools, our youth team in England -- it's all in this issue. Just what the doctor ordered to convince an edgy school board, a doubtful principal, or a curious PTA, to get a chess program started or expanded.

By any standard, that's a long explanation of the month's cover. It raises a number of points that deserve a deeper look, but I've run out of time for now.


Later: If ever there was an issue of Chess Life (CL) devoted to scholastic chess, it was for September 1998. The table of contents looked like this:-

p.36 College Chess by Tim Redman
p.38 National High School by Steve Immitt
p.40 National Junior High
p.42 National Elementary
p.44 U.S. Cadet Championship by Anthony Crawley
p.46 U.S. Junior Open Championship by Karl Heck
p.48 U.S. Interplay Junior Championship by Steve Immitt
p.50 Intercontinental Youth Team Tournament by Beatriz Marinello
p.52 Chess in the Schools by Brian Killigrew
p.53 Chess Profiles: David MacEnulty by Brian Killigrew
p.56 CHESSathon 1998
p.58 U.S. Amateur Championships
p.64 Goldin is Golden at the World Open by Jerry Hanken
p.69 Donny Ariel by Nick Conticello
p.71 U.S. Amateur Playoffs
p.72 Dahlia vs. PBS by Shay Bushinsky
p.73 Alexei Shirov visits N.Y. by Irina Krush

The first 11 stories were about scholastic chess. The next two stories, the U.S. Amateur and the World Open, would have been lead stories in most other issues of CL. Following are some highlights.

Hikaru Nakamura had his photo in the three related stories that started with the 'National High School' championship, as did his brother Asuka. The brothers appeared together in the first photo for 'CHESSathon 1998'. The younger Nakamura, a future GM and U.S. champion, had his own CL cover a few months ago in May 1973 & 1998 'On the Cover' (May 2023).

Jennifer Shahade was honored as 'Player of the Month' and had her photo at the top of the story for the 'U.S. Junior Open Championship'. From that tournament report:-

The 17-year-old Shahade became the first woman ever to win the U.S. Junior Open in its 53-year history, on July 19 in Ithaca, New York, by scoring 5.5-0.5 in the tournament's Open section. Shahade (2200), the tournament's highest-rated player, won her title the hard way, by facing four of the top five players below her in the standings.

Shahade's brother Gregory (Greg) was also mentioned in 'Player of the Month' and had his photo in the report 'U.S. Interplay Junior Championship'. He finished in the middle of the ten-player event.

Irina Krush, on top of writing the story 'Alexei Shirov visits N.Y.', was pictured in 'Intercontinental Youth Team Tournament', where she led the '14 and under' team that finished well ahead of the three other national teams. For another angle on the Shirov visit, see last year's post Shirov's SmartChess Videos (December 2022).

Cover photographer Brian Killigrew has been mentioned in two previous 'On the Cover' posts this year. His credits for the two 'Chess in the Schools' stories in this issue were for 'Photos and Text'. I expect we'll be seeing more of him in future 'On the Cover' posts.

10 September 2023

'Let Others Say You're a Champion'

At the recently concluded Chess World Cup 2023 (wikipedia.org), India's Praggnanandhaa, who turned 18-years old during the tournament, was runner-up. He lost to former World Champion Magnus Carlsen in the final round.

Praggnanandhaa Asks: How To Handle Tension in a Game? | Chess World Cup (6:58) • '[Published on] Aug 24, 2023'

The description of the video said,

Chess prodigy and grandmaster, Praggnanandhaa, attended the Inner Engineering Program at the Isha Yoga Center in 2022, and asked Sadhguru a question about handling tension during a tight game. Watch Sadhguru's answer.

The description also mentioned, 'Official YouTube Channel of Sadhguru' and explained,

Considered among India’s 50 most influential people, Sadhguru is a yogi, mystic, bestselling author, and poet. Absolute clarity of perception places him in a unique space, not only in matters spiritual but in business, environmental and international affairs, and opens a new door on all that he touches.

As of today, the channel has '11.5M subscribers' and the video has had '1,155,698 views' with close to 1200 comments. Sample comment:-

The last few sentences are extraordinary: "Give attention to the game. Don't think that you are a champion. Just think you're a great chess player. Let others say you're a champion."

He's a champion.

08 September 2023

Adsense and CFAA's CMP

Last Friday's post, Adsense and the CMP (September 2023), established a plan:-

Google's permanent page on the subject [...] sets a deadline: 'Beginning January 16, 2024, publishers and developers using Google AdSense, Ad Manager, or AdMob will be required to use a Consent Management Platform (CMP) [...]'. The page contains a list of 'Google-certified CMPs' that currently has 50 names with a link for each name. Only one of the 50 names was even vaguely familiar to me, 'Google consent management solutions', so no prize for guessing which one I chose to investigate further. [...] That leads to the next stage of the adventure, which I'll cover in the next Friday post.

That 'next Friday post' is today's post. When I signed into Adsense to continue the adventure, I received a new notification on CMPs, shown below.

Since I had already started to create a GDPR consent message for the previous post, I chose the second option and CONFIRMed. Now I was nagged a second time with the message:-

Notifications: Remember to publish your GDPR message using a Google-certified CMP to continue showing AdSense ads on your site in the EEA and the UK. If you don't publish it by January 16, 2024, we'll publish one for you.

This was the first time I knew that Google would 'publish one' for me. If I had known that earlier, I probably would have gone that route. Instead, I accessed my stored message and published it. I received an error message:-

Your message is almost ready to publish. You need to add a logo to publish your message.

My domain has two main sites (linked near the top of the right sidebar), both with a different logo. The CFAA portion of the site generates the most Adsense revenue, so I used the following logo. It's based on the logo for the CFAA pages, but respecting Google's CMP requirements.

After adding the logo, my GDPR message was accepted. As I was preparing this post for publishing, the message still wasn't showing on my pages, so maybe I did something wrong. I'll come back to it for next Friday's post.

03 September 2023

1963 and 1966 Piatigorsky Cups

In last month's post, Dachshunds Play Chess (August 2023), the latest for the long-running series Top eBay Chess Items by Price (March 2010), I wrote,

After so many years of Top eBay Chess Items, I sometimes can't be sure whether I've already featured an item or not.

This month I was sure that I had featured the item(s) pictured below, but when? It turned out that half of the current auction appeared in Mrs. Piatigorsky's Autograph Collection (April 2017).

The current auction was titled, 'Piatigorsky Cup Signed Programs - 1963 & 1966 - Chess - Bobby Fischer - Photos!'. The winning bid was US $2026 after nine bids from five bidders on a starting price of $1000.

The description proclaimed, 'This is a rare find for chess enthusiasts!', and continued,

Two signed programs from the prestigious Piatigorsky Cup in 1963 and 1966. The programs feature photos of legendary players including Bobby Fischer, and are in their original condition as printed in the United States. These programs are a piece of chess history, perfect for collectors and fans alike.

The first edition programs also include special attributes such as signatures from Bobby Fischer, Boris Spassky, Tigran Petrosian, Jan Hein Donner, Borislav Ivkov, Jordan Bent Larsen, Miguel Najdorf, Lajos Portisch, Samuel Reshevsky, Wolfgang Unzicker, Isaac Kashdan, Harry Borochow, Pal Benko, Svetozar Gligoric, Paul Keres, Fridrik Olafsson, and Oscar Panno.

This includes a copy of some unpublished photos from the tournaments!

Starting with Fischer, the first ten names were players in the 1966 tournament. The last five played in the 1963 tournament along with Petrosian, Najdorf, and Reshevsky, who played in both. Kashdan served as tournament director in both, 'assisted by' Borochow (plus George Goehler and Jack Moskowitz) in both. The name 'Jordan Bent Larsen', given in the program as 'Jorden Bent Larsen', should have been 'Jørgen Bent Larsen'.

Crosstables for both tournaments are in Piatigorsky Cup (wikipedia.org). Viktor Korchnoi was listed as 'Reserve' on the list of players for the 1963 program. The 'unpublished photos' mentioned in the description were all from 1966.