30 January 2011


Juan Cole has some good commentary on the Egyptian protests. Whereas Tunisia and Yemen are interesting, a major change in Egypt could spark some major reshuffling in regional alliances, so it'll be interesting to see how this plays out.

23 January 2011

Throwing caution to the wind

This game shows one of those wild attacks that works out. I know I shouldn't pat myself on the back too much for such an undisciplined blitz, but there is, I think, a clever move here (knight takes bishop g7) that sets up the sequence leading to mate. After that point, the black queen is exposed and white has great freedom to maneuver. Black does make a few grevious errors here, such as boxing in his own king.

17 January 2011

Mote the pillars fall

When the revelations about banks collusion with the wealthy start coming out of Wikileaks, my guess is that all hell will break loose. These are very powerful people after all, who have the most powerful politicians in their pockets. That's precisely why we need more of this sort of thing.

Rudolf M. Elmer, the former head of the Cayman Islands office of the prominent Swiss bank Julius Baer, said on Monday that he had given Julian Assange (Wikileaks founder) details of more than 2,000 prominent individuals and companies that he contends engaged in tax evasion and other criminal activity. Although he refused to name any of the individuals or companies, he did tell reporters that about 40 politicians and “pillars of society” worldwide are among them and that they come from “the U.S., Britain, Germany, Austria and Asia — from all over,” and include “business people, politicians, people who have made their living in the arts and multinational conglomerates — from both sides of the Atlantic.”

15 January 2011

Looking for common ground

Vagabond Scholar has a clever series of charts examining the differences between Democrats and Republicans. As always, the chart comparing wealth in the U.S. is shocking:

I wholeheartedly agree with VS's comment on the graph: "I can find common ground with people who recognize that plutocracy and democracy don't mix."

10 January 2011

The fine art of scrambling

This is from a recent game on chess.com. Yours truly, Ruzulo, has played his favorite defense, which I've dubbed the anti-castling variation of the French based on the fact that white often has a hard time castling or ends up trading off the light-squared bishop, making white's backwards pawn immediately vulnerable. Unfortunately, I get in dire trouble after the questionable knight to a6 earlier in the game. At this point, I'm down in material and lack any avenues of attack. So what would you do if you were black?

My opponent (listening to the loud sound of the ticking clock) made a few errors such as putting the queen on the 8th rank instead of forcing a trade to fend off the perpetual check which resulted in a draw. For that matter, I should have brought the e7 knight up into the attack. But anyway, the lesson here is never give up in 5-minute chess where anything is possible.