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Chess: Viswanathan Anand suffers defeat against USAs Wesley So in round two of Tata Steel Masters – Scroll.in

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Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand suffered an early jolt, losing to Wesley So in the second round of the Tata Steel Masters chess tournament in Wijk Aan Zee on Monday.

Anand, who played out a draw in the first round, was in no mood to relent and showcased some sensational moves with the black pieces.

Sacrificing a piece early in the Italian opening, he took USAs So by surprise and continued what appeared to be a brilliant attack.

However, the Indian ace faltered on the 22nd turn when another piece sacrifice would have sealed a draw, a fact that was unearthed through computer analysis after the game. Capitalising on the fault, So sealed the victory in just three moves thereafter.

The day produced four decisive games and it was again the youngsters who provided most of the entertainment. Russian Daniil Dubov, 23, defeated Vladislav Kovalev of Belarus while Vladislav Artemiev accounted for his Russian teammate Nikita Vituigov. USAs Jeffery Xiong was the other winner of the second round at the expense of Jorden van Foreest of Holland.

World champion Magnus Carlsen could do little and had to settle for a draw for the second day running as Yu Yangyi played an ultra-solid with white pieces.

Jan-Krzysztof Duda of Poland signed peace with Firouza Alireza while Anish Giri of Holland also split the point with Fabiano Caruana of USA.

With 11 rounds still remaining in the 14-player round robin tournament, its a five-way tie at the top with Xiong, Wesley, Firouza, Artemiev and Dubov on 1.5 points each.

Caruana, Giri, Foreest, Carlsen and Duda follow the leaders with one point while Anand shares the 11th spot with Yangyi and Vituigov on a half point with Kovalev at the bottom currently as he is yet to open his account.

In the Challengers section being organized simultaneously, Grandmaster Surya Shekhar Ganguly was held to a draw by Lucas van Foreest of Holland to remain in joint lead on 1.5 points. The other Indian talent Nihal Sareen drew with Pavel Eljanov of Ukraine to inch up to one point from two draws. Nihal had to defend an inferior position for quite a while but in the end escaped unscathed.

Masters Round two results: Jeffery Xiong (Usa, 1.5) beat Jorden Van Foreest (Ned, 1); Yu Yangyi (Chn, 0.5) drew with Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 1); Anish Giri (Ned, 1) drew with Fabiano Caruana (Usa, 1) Wesley So (Usa, 1.5) beat V Anand (Ind, 0.5); Vladislav Artemiev (Rus, 1.5) beat Nikita Vitiugov (Rus, 0.5); Jan-Krzysztof Duda (Pol, 1) drew with Firouzja, Alireza (Fid, 1.5); drew with Daniil Dubov (Rus) beat Vladislav Kovalev (Blr).

Challengers: Dinara Saduakassova (Kaz, 1) drew with David Anton Guijarro (Esp, 1); Abdusattorov Nodirbek (Uzb, 0.5) lost to Jan Smeets (Ned, 1.5); Lucas Van Foreest (Ned, 1) drew with Surya Shekhar Ganguly (Ind, 1.5); Max Warmerdam (Ned, 0.5) drew with Erwin LAmi (Ned, 1.5); Anton Smirnov (Can, 0.5) drew with Vincent Keymer (Ger, 0.5); Pavel Eljanov (Ukr, 1.5) drew with Nihal Sarin (Ind, 1); Rauf Mamedov (Aze, 1.5)beat Nils Grandelius (Swe).

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Chess: Viswanathan Anand suffers defeat against USAs Wesley So in round two of Tata Steel Masters - Scroll.in

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Chess grandmaster: AI wont cause the downfall of mankind – Fox Business

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Renew Democracy Initiative chairman, chess grandmaster and political activist Garry Kasparov discusses losing a chess match to a computer and the implications AI has for the future.

The man widely considered to be one of the greatest chess players of all time said humans shouldnt fear artificial intelligence.

Garry Kasparov told FOX Business' Gerry Baker on "WSJ at Large," those who are warning AI will replace us are just wrong.

CHESS GRANDMASTER BECOMES NO. 1 FANTASY SOCCER PLAYER OUT OF MILLIONS

Im really concerned aboutthe doomsayers, all these doomsayers that are trying to terrorize our minds, he said. And maybe we should stop watching too many Hollywood movies because the future is for our making.

"Im arguing that we have to work with machines, and theres the endless opportunities that will actually bring more benefits than problems, as its happened many times before.

Kasparov should know about the power of AI.His defeat in 1997 by the IBM computer, Deep Blue, is considered the major turning point in the argument over whether machines could ever outthink humans.

My experience [is]fighting machines, he said.But now, Im arguing that we have to work with machines, and theres the endless opportunities that will actually bring more benefits than problems, as its happened many times before.

Kasparov is author of the book, Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins, based on what he learned from his battle with Deep Blue. And he believes that while AI will be disruptive to the workforce, that wont spell gloom and doom for employees.

Grandmaster chess player Garry Kasparov taps the clock after a move in a match against grandmaster Fabiano Caruana on Aug. 18, 2017. (BILL GREENBLATT/AFP via Getty Images)

The machines always helped us, he points out. Yes, they always create problems. Obviously many industries are just, you know, facing their end, but jobs do not disappear. They evolve.

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But to what level of purely human achievement can computers actually reach? Kasparov isnt sure, but even so, hes betting on mankind to come out on top.

The Russian essayist and activist Garry Kasparov at the Excelsior Hotel in Rome. Rome, May 20, 2016 (Photo by Mondadori via Getty Images)

"Maybe we should stop watching too many Hollywood movies because the future is for our making.

Machines could do many, many, many things, he admits. We dont know their limits, but I think its what we should, you know, consider that our imagination, our dreams will not be limited.

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Chess grandmaster: AI wont cause the downfall of mankind - Fox Business

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January 13th, 2020 at 1:46 pm

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PRO Chess League Week In Review: Season Starts With Surprises And Upsets – Chess.com

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The 2020 PRO Chess League is back, ending a 247-day drought since the end of last season. With the new improvements to the league format, fans watched the most competitive week in PRO Chess League history. The stronger competition brought debuts forAlexander Grischuk,Wei Yi,David NavaraandEvgeny Tomashevsky, but also showcased PRO Chess League stars likeFabiano Caruana,Wesley So, Hikaru NakamuraandMaxime Vachier-Lagrave.

1. Saint Louis is still really good.

The Arch Bishops are a favorite to win this year's PRO Chess League, and after dispatching the New York Marshalls last Monday, cemented their status. Even with bothNakamuraandGadir Guseinov headlining the New York lineup, the defending league champions proved too much to handle.

The match started to slip out of reach whenSo beat Nakamura in the second round. Nakamura needed to take some risks to keep the match close, but So's solid play gave Black the endgame advantage:

Saint Louis took the match 10.5-5.5, thanks to strong performances from both So andCaruana. New York faces the Brazil Capybaras on Monday, and the Arch Bishops will take on the UK Lions.

2. Russia stuns China in season opener.

China looked like a serious competitor to Saint Louis in the preseason, butVlad Dobrov's perfect 4/4 will leave the Pandas scrambling for a better strategy next week. A last-minute substitution for Russia, Dobrov opened his day with a strong defensive win againstWen Yang:

In the third round,Weiseemed to have built an edge, but a quick blunder gave Dobrov the point:

Dobrov's performance was crucial to Russia's 9.5-6.5 win, as no other Russian players scored over 2/4. China now enters a must-win match against Armenia next week, while Russia will take on the Turkey Knights.

3. Sweden has the best fans.

After falling short of qualification in past seasons, the Wasabis finally made their PRO Chess League debut against their Scandinavian rival, the Norway Gnomes. Determined to win, the Wasabis putJon Ludvig Hammeron notice a few days before the match:

The Stockholm-based club started slowly and quickly fell behind 3-1 after the first round.Sweden slowly worked their way back into the match, and with the score locked at 7.5-7.5,Bassem Aminbroke the tie, beating Hammer with the black pieces to clinch the match:

Watching from the Wasa SK in Stockholm, Sweden's fans were pumped to see the Wasabis win in their debut. In his interview,GM Erik Blomqvist said that at least 50 fans came to watch him play live.

Sweden will face Spain next week in a match they should be favored to win. If they do, the fan-favorite could face Vachier-Lagrave's Roosters in a clash of unbeaten teams in week three.

With the higher level of competition, this week's Game Of The Week was especially hard to pick, but none is more deserving than the fighting draw betweenYannick Gozzoli andKacper Piorun. While it's rare for a draw to be selected, this game brought a complex endgame where both sides had winning chances. For most of the game, both players were under one minute on the clock, making this draw an exciting affair:

The France Roosters went on to win the match after sweeping the Poland Hussars in the final round. This week's honorable mention goes toSam Sevianof theNew York Marshalls for his win with the black pieces againstCaruana:

Sevian played incredibly well, posting a 98.1 CAPS score against the 2018 world championship challenger.

During this week's Eastern Division broadcast, a fan asked which game deserved Blunder Of The Week. With several strong contenders, the PRO Chess League has decided to select theHungary Hunters' Gergely Antal. After holding a worse position for much of the game, Antal erred with five seconds left on the clock:

Hungary could not quite recover, and theArmenia Eagleswent on to win the match, 11-5. The Hunters play the Croatia Bulldogs next week, a match they should be favored to win.

Stats matter in the PRO Chess League. Here are three stats you may have missed in the season's opening week.

1. The Bird's Opening (1.f4) scored 100% in the opening week. Sure, it was only one game, but Italy'sLorenzo Lodici,well-prepared for his game againstWouter Spoelman, developed quickly and sacrificed pieces as early as move 15. The Bird's Opening is not a likely candidate to get more screen time this season, and new openings are always welcome:

2. Speaking of Lodici, he and just four other players scored a perfect 4/4.Ray Robson (Chicago), Anton Korobov (Germany), Dobrov (Russia) and Shant Sargsyan (Armenia) also completed a perfect day. Of the five players, only twoDobrov and Sargsyannotched performance ratings over 3000. Nearly making the list, Bassem Amin (Sweden) scored three out of three, as his first-round opponent had to forfeit.

3. All four of Argentina's players had performance ratings of 2690 and higher. In their thrashing of the U.K. Lions, each of the Krakens' players scored at least 2.5/4. Considering the performance ratings, the Krakens outperformed the Saint Louis Arch Bishops, asLeinier DominguezandLe Quang Liem both managed a 2666 performance rating. Argentina's best game came fromAlan Pichot, who beatGawain Jonesafter making a long-term sacrifice in the endgame:

This week's power rankings were compiled by Isaac Steincamp (@IsaacSteincamp), who served as a general manager for the Pittsburgh Pawngrabbers for three seasons before working with Chess.com.

Opening week in the PRO Chess League tells us which teams were prepared to play. Managers are still trying to determine their best lineups and adjust to the new format of the league. However, losses are expensive this year. With only seven weeks of regular season to play, each match is critical, and managers need to be smart moving forward.

It's easy to overreact given the small sample size of games, but here are this week's power rankings:

No surprises here. After a dominating performance against the New York Marshalls, the defending PRO Chess League champion looked the part withCaruanaandSo combining for 6.5/8. Except for Canada, it's quite difficult to see another Western Division team beating the Missouri-based squad. Its regular season losses generally stem from significant upsets: Minnesota and Pittsburgh in 2018, and Miami in 2019.

General ManagerArtak Manukyan will tell you his team is not a title contender in 2020, but his team is fun to watch.Sargsyanwas just one of two Eastern Division players to score a perfect 4/4, and Armenia beat a talented Hungary team.Zaven Andriasianis particularly impressive, notching 3.5/4. This team will need to get through Russia, India, and China to win the Eastern Division, but the race to first place just got even more interesting.

While it was not the biggest story in this week's opener, Argentina's crushing upset over the U.K. Lions is one of the big surprises in the season's opening week, although it's hard to read too much into this one result. Argentina has just one player rated over 2600, and while Pichot looks to be a star player for the Krakens, the schedule now gets tougher. For Argentina to make a significant jump in the power rankings, they'll need to upset Canada next week.

Still one of the favorites to win the title this year, China will have to grow quickly from their loss to Russia. Other than conceding a perfect score against Vlad Dobrov, China did everything else right by holding the other three boards to a combined 5.5/12. Based on this week's result, don't be surprised ifLi Di becomes a featured player in the Pandas' lineup. The 20-year old is a proven force in the PRO Chess League with victories over So,Eltaj SafarliandTigran Petrosian in 2019.

Truly impressive opening-week performance, even with a loss to the France Roosters. WithoutJan-Krzysztof DudaandRadoslav Wojtaszek, the Hussars still nearly upset the Central Division favorite last Thursday. While they will need some help to win the division, second place is easily within reach for them. With so many other strong players on the roster, Poland is officially a dark horse to win the PRO Chess League.

This year the PRO Chess League is raising the stakes with its Fantasy Contest that offers weekly cash prizes and even more opportunities to win. Every week will have three contests, one for each division. The first-place finisher in each contest will wina three-month diamond Chess.com membership, and a perfect submissionin any contest will win up to $100, so make sure to complete your three submissions every week.

This past week's winners are:

Make sure to submit your Fantasy lineup for every division each week to win prizes! You can reach the Fantasy portal on the PRO Chess League website by clicking the button below:

Next week the PRO Chess League will bring a critical prime-time match between the California Unicorns and the Chicago Wind. California will be looking to rebound from last week's loss to Canada, while the Wind have a chance to win two straight after beating Brazil. California needs a win to stay in the playoff race, as a second loss before facing Saint Louis and New York can put its postseason hopes in serious jeopardy.

Wednesday will bring the first division doubleheader of the season. The China Pandas face the red-hot Armenia Eagles in a 2018 PRO Chess League Final rematch. China avenged their 2018 defeat by winning in last year's third-place match, so next week's match will be the third edition of the rivalry. TheNorway Gnomeswill face the France Roosters in the Central Division's prime-time match, a key test for both sides.

Have a burning question about next week's matches? Starting Sunday, every weekly preview will answer at least one question from a fan. To submit your question, you can tweet using #prochess or leave a question in the comments of this article. You can ask about your favorite team, player, or anything related to the PRO Chess League!

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PRO Chess League Week In Review: Season Starts With Surprises And Upsets - Chess.com

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January 13th, 2020 at 1:46 pm

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1st-Ever ChessKid Speed Chess Championship Of India Starts Next Week – Chess.com

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Kid don't often get to meet their heroes, until now.

ChessKid.com, the official scholastic extension of Chess.com, has announced the inaugural ChessKid Speed Chess Championship of Indiato beginJanuary 15-19.

Ten winning ChessKids will get quite a prize: the opportunity to meet national hero and the five-time world chess champion Viswanathan Anand.

The event is a continuation of the partnership between Anand and ChessKid. Last summer,at a press conference in Anand's hometown of Chennai, the legendary grandmaster announced he would become ChessKid's chief mentor of India.

Any child aged 15 or younger (born on or after January 1, 2005) who both resides in India and goes to school in India is eligible to compete in the two-stage event.

From January 15-19 there will be four qualifier tournaments per day, beginning at 3:30 p.m. India Standard Time (IST) on ChessKid's "Fast Chess" (live) server. If a ChessKid finishes in the top five of any one of those events, then he/she qualifies for the championship stage.

In the championship stage, the top six finishers on that day will win the grand prize and punch their ticket to meet Anand.

If you are an Indian child and already have a ChessKid account, make sure to join this club so that you'll see the tournaments in the Fast Chess server. If you are an Indian child and do not yet have a ChessKid account, please create one with the "Sign Up" button on the official registration and rules page.

All games will be scrutinized by ChessKid/Chess.com's fair play protocols.

Note that in the case of ties for top placements in either the qualification or championship stages, ChessKid's normal tiebreak methods will be used. Also, if a child finishes in the top five in more than one qualifier, no special benefit is derived, nor will qualification "drop down" to the sixth-place finisher.

In addition to the six ChessKids winning a Vishy meeting after the championship stage, four other lucky Indian ChessKids will be chosen at random to attend. To be eligible for that lottery, you must be a ChessKid gold member and you must have completed all of the games of one qualifier.

All winners will be contacted by email, so make sure your ChessKid account has a valid email address associated with it.

The date of the championship event and of the Anand meeting are both to be determined. A nice bonus for the 10 winning ChessKids: You get to bring one parent with you for the occasion, and the prize includes airfare for both of you!

The gathering with Anand will likely be in Chennai and will include games and instruction with India's most famous chess player. Anand was India's first-ever GM, first world junior champion and first world champion...but it remains to be seen who will become first-ever ChessKid Speed Chess Champion of India. Good luck to everyone!

The full rules of the event can be found here.

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1st-Ever ChessKid Speed Chess Championship Of India Starts Next Week - Chess.com

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January 13th, 2020 at 1:46 pm

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A bad game of chess | News, Sports, Jobs – The Daily Times

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President Donald Trump is playing a bad game of chess on the world stage.

With his leadership and the backing of some conservative pundits on the Fox News Channel and some Republican senators, he is backing America to the edge of being recognized as the bad guys on the block.

G.W. Bush and Dick Cheneys presidency owns the invasion of Iraq with lies that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. If its the same game plan with Iran, using lies from the White House about Irans intent to develop nuclear weapons, with President Trumps erratic behavior, if he would use one of the tactical nuclear weapons stored at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey on Iran, Americas reputation in the world is doomed.

The rest of the world leaders would have to consider if they were next.

Kim Jong-un in North Korea, Xi Jinping in China and Vladimir Putin are adversaries you should not be in love with.

During the cold war, there always was the fear that it would get hot. Trump is showing signs of accidentally causing a war with Iran on purpose. Whats the rush?

Maybe the impeachment inquiry has the president riled up enough to do something unimaginable, God forbid.

Be careful, Mr. President. The meekest person eventually rises up against the bully in the schoolyard. Hopefully, your unpredictable actions dont bring the world down on America. You already have POd half the world. Whos next?

Steve Kopa

Weirton

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Chess greats to compete in Tauranga – The Bay’s News First – SunLive

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Competition opens tomorrow afternoon for the annual New Zealand Chess Congress at Trinity Wharf.

This will be the first tournament in the competitions 127 year history to be held in Tauranga.

Chief organiser Bob Smith says the field is top class, with three grandmasters and six international masters in attendance.

The New Zealand players are up against competition from countries including Russia, England, India, Brazil and Australia.

Bob says the event is attractive for international players because it piggybacks an Auckland competition, giving players a two-for-one New Zealand experience.

He hopes the players not from Tauranga will recognise the towns charm and want to visit again.

Five events are scheduled as part of the tournament. This includes a junior event, but Bob says the younger players should not be underestimated.

These juniors are very dangerous with the potential to become good fast. I would take them very seriously.

The competition runs from January 14 24 with the first round at 2pm tomorrow.

The event is open to the public however some conditions will need to be respected in the playing area. These include not distracting players by talking or making noise, not crowding the boards and not bringing phones into the playing area.

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Using chess to teach – KFYR-TV

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BISMARCK, N.D. - Chess forces its players to think quickly and critically, which are important skills for developing minds.

A Bismarck Public Schools employee wants to share the game with all students, regardless of their economic status.

Chess instructor Todd Wolf has been teaching chess at Will-Moore Elementary for two years and in schools for more than three decades. He says chess is more than a fun pastime.

"Chess benefits the kids in so many ways. Some of them the social aspect of it, because chess is an opportunity to make friends" said Wolf.

"Daily activities start with learning new moves and tricks on chess.com and then it's time to bring out the boards," said fourth-grader Berkley Schettler. "He's really fun, and he helps kids learn about chess. Like, I came to chess Club not knowing how to play and know it's one of my top three favorite games," said fifth-grader Stephaniee Crawford.

" I like my teacher because well every day at chess he teaches us new ways to move and makes me understand chess more better. because the first time I started chess, because the first time I started I was confused, so he made me understand chess better".

Wolf says he hopes his students take away one thing: "Chess creates a community that everybody can belong to, and it doesn't matter whether you're and athlete, honor student. You can have a handicap, I mean anybody can play.

With everyone involved, Wolf says, he'd like to develop a large chess playing community in the Bismarck-Mandan area.

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Using chess to teach - KFYR-TV

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‘I Have a Dream’ chess tournament set for Jan. 20 – Herald and News

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Klamath Union High School will be the location for the annual I Have a Dream Chess Tournament, planned for 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 20, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr., according to a news release.

The event is again open to any age and will be Northwest Special Recreation Association rated. If players are not ranked they will be grouped based upon ability. This is a five round, no eliminations, chess event for K-12 chess players to get ready for the Klamath & Lake County Chess for Success Tournament to be held in February, the State Tournament in March in Portland, and for the OSCF Seaside tournament in April.

There is a $10 fee for pre-registered players in kindergarten through the 12th grade that can be paid the day of the tournament. A fee of $15 will be charged at the door for any late registrations and all adult players. The $15 adult fee will go toward the adult cash prize winners.

Registration and payment will be just outside Pel court between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m. The first round is anticipated to start at 10 a.m.

Early registration is due by 5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 19. Send the name, grade, school and contact information of the persons phone number or e-mail address to: Tournament Director: Ciara Dykstra at cecedee224@gmail.com, or call 541-331-5220.

Organizers request that for every four players, one adult be present, or request parents to stay to help with supervision. Players should bring some quiet games, for between rounds, and sack lunches. There may or may not be a snack bar. Adults and players who are in grades nine through 12, are encouraged to bring a tournament size chess board and clock.

Chess advisers will set up around 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 19, at Klamath Union, at 1300 Monclaire St., and ask those who can help or drop off chess boards to contact them.

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'I Have a Dream' chess tournament set for Jan. 20 - Herald and News

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Even after Iraq, too many US elites still think war is a bloodless chess game – The Guardian

Posted: January 6, 2020 at 10:44 am


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The cheerleading the American media radiates when discussing US military maneuvers would disturb Americans if such joy were expressed by any other country, yet it continues without self-reflection. Photograph: Hubert Delaney Iii/US Department of Defense/AFP via Getty Images

Donald Trump may act like a schoolyard bully and an impetuous infant, but he is not the only one to blame for recklessly bringing the world closer to a catastrophic war. While the responsibility for approving the assassination of Qassem Suleimani, Irans top general, in a drone strike near Baghdad international airport is certainly his, Trumps actions would not have been possible without the deep infrastructure for war that lies at the core of the American political system, especially since 2001.

After the War on Terror began, the United States already a deeply militarized country essentially abdicated public deliberations of war and peace when Congress passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). The executive branch has been invoking the AUMF for almost two decades as its primary legal basis for military operations around the world.

Put another way, war isnt hell. War is mundane.

Weve already arrived at the point when even the Senate armed services committee couldnt tell you who, precisely, the United States is at war with, as a must-hear 2014 episode of the show Radiolab made clear.

This corrosive lack of transparency recently led a bipartisan group of lawmakers to add language to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the annual defense budget bill, that would have required Trump to get Congresss approval before striking Iran. That bill failed in the Senate, which Trump will no doubt interpret as freeing his hand even more when it comes to war with Iran.

As Representative Ro Khanna tweeted, Any member who voted for the NDAA a blank check cant now express dismay that Trump may have launched another war in the Middle East.

I hear the objections to this point already: Trump is so lawless, some will probably say, that none of this legal parsing matters much. But its this legal infrastructure of waging war notably assassination by drone that makes Trumps actions possible in the first place. And that drone program was legally expanded and entrenched by none other than Barack Obama. Considerable responsibility lies with Obama and all those within the Democratic establishment who continued the march toward todays manifestation of the imperial presidency, which itself began under George W Bush.

And, of course, Iran would not even be a powerbroker in Iraq if Bush and his administration had not overseen what is one of the largest crimes against humanity of our time: namely, the invasion, occupation, and destruction of Iraq. With over a million of their people dead, their country in ruins, and corruption rampant, the Iraqi people are the unheralded victims of the recent strike.

Over the past months Iraqis had been peacefully rising up to protest the sectarianism of their political system and lack of opportunity to improve their lives, only to be viciously gunned down by their own government. Stuck precariously in an escalating proxy battle between Iran and the United States, their fate is bound to get worse.

But the struggles of the Iraqi people will remain largely invisible to the American public because we like our wars to be uncomplicated, to be caricatures of war, to be wars between identifiable good guys and bad guys, between cowboys and Indians. And make no mistake. Muslim are todays Indians.

This all leads to a media fascination with war that is dreadfully simplistic and sometime almost gleeful. The cheerleading the American media radiates when discussing US military maneuvers would disturb Americans if such joy were expressed by any other country, yet it continues without self-reflection. And January 2020 feels like the return of 2003.

Following the assassination of Suleimani, Fox News had on Ari Fleischer and Karl Rove, as if the Bush administration were still in Iraq. CNN interviewed Max Boot, a loud supporter of the 2003 Iraq invasion, and CNBC published an op-ed titled America just took out the worlds No. 1 bad guy.

In the media and political ecology of the United States, war isnt a catastrophe of inhuman proportions. War is a parlor game.

There is no doubt that the Iranian regime carries out a merciless foreign policy across the Middle East. Suleimani wont be missed by many especially in Syria, where he assisted the Assad regimes bloody prosecution of the Syrian civil war but he will soon be replaced.

The irony or is it more of a tragedy? is that until this assassination there were budding signs of possible thaws and shifts in the region. Iran and Saudi Arabia were engaged in peace talks in Pakistan, and while the talks hadnt yet yielded a positive outcome, they had been putting pressure on both Iran and Saudi Arabia to hash out a shared vision for Yemens future. At the same time, some of the largest anti-government protests Iran has seen in years also took place. All of this will probably now evaporate.

I worry for what comes next and I already lament the unnecessary deaths, from all sides, that will inevitably come. But, in the United States at least, nothing will change as long as our culture worships war without its consequences and as long as our politicians believe that war is good for their careers.

In order to get elected, #BarackObama will start a war with Iran, tweeted citizen Donald Trump in November of 2011. Today, people are laughing in smug disgust at his duplicitous comment. But this isnt only about Trump. Its about the deep infrastructure and logic of war that pervades American culture and the US political establishment. And its about the need for that to change.

Moustafa Bayoumi is the author of the award-winning books How Does It Feel To Be a Problem?: Being Young and Arab in America and This Muslim American Life: Dispatches from the War on Terror. He is professor of English at Brooklyn College, City University of New York

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Even after Iraq, too many US elites still think war is a bloodless chess game - The Guardian

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January 6th, 2020 at 10:44 am

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Chess star Koneru Humpy opens up on comeback and Moscow title win – Hindustan Times

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Koneru Humpy has just returned from Russia after winning the World Rapid Championship title and finishing 12th in the World Blitz. But expectations are already highcan she win the Classical world title, the holy grail that has eluded her so far? On the comeback trail after a two-year sabbatical after the birth of her daughter, Humpy accepts she has had a great start in her second innings but will not be running after tournaments and titles like earlier.

If it happens, I will be very happy but I dont want to think too much about it, says the former world champion in Under-10, U-12 and U-14 sections.

The 32-year-old from Vijayawada spoke to Hindustan Times about how people took to her comeback and the difficulties, the difficulties of re-entering competitive chess, and why the Moscow win was unexpected.

Excerpts.

You have finally won a World Championship title after missing the Classical world title despite repeated attempts. Were you expecting this breakthrough?

Of course, I didnt expect to win the rapid title at all. It was never my focus and I was like 13th seed in the tournament. When I started the event, I thought just getting a medal would be a great result for me. But on the last day of the event, after a few rounds, I felt that I had a good chance of finishing at the top. My final game with the Chinese player (Tan Zhongyi) was crucial; when I beat her, I was sure of getting silver (medal). At the same time the other Chinese player (Lei Tingjie) lost her game so I got an opportunity to play the tiebreak.

Things worked for you in crucial moments in rapid section, but not in blitz as you lost the last three games to finish 12th

I am not a strong blitz player either and even though I lost the last three games, I can say that this is the best blitz result I have ever had. It went pretty well till the 14th round and I was in clear second spot, at some time I was also joint first. I think at that stage I felt like I got exhausted and collapsed, because in blitz once you lose the thread, it is very difficult to come back because of shorter time control.

But you had a great start, five wins in first five rounds.

Yeah, I had a great start and on the first day I lost to (Kateryna) Lagno (the eventual winner) a crucial game (in which) I was completely winning and I would say I was just unlucky to lose that game.

In general I am satisfied with my play. Not like before when I would lose on time, without giving much fight. It was not like that (this time), I fought, and I fought till the end.

How difficult was for you to decide on a comeback?

I was always intending to continue playing chess, I never had thoughts of stopping. I just took a break because it was needed but once my baby was born, I thought okay, I need to be with her. I told the doctor, she is one year old, so I decided to start playing. It was a well-thought of plan that I want to get back to chess.

Preparation wise, how difficult was it?

It was not so easy for me because a two-year break from chess is something very big because a lot of development happened during that time and also I lost board practice completely. I hadnt seen chess at all during this period. So, it became quite difficult and I had my share of failures when I came back. After three tournaments, I slowly started playing at my level and then I came back.

Is it more difficult now to keep your focus on the game when you have a family, a baby?

No, actually when I am playing a tournament, I dont get distracted at all. Once I start travelling for an event, my complete focus will be on chess itself, and I never get a second thought. But when I am at home practicing, then it is not completely chess. Its like any other normal person, I have other family things.

Do you plan to have a shortened calendar, or go full throttle into the circuit?

No, I wont be playing many tournaments, I will be very choosy about what I am playing. Even in 2019, I started by playing in Gibraltar, which is a strong mens tournament. I took part in that because I was playing after a long time and I thought it will help improve my game. After that I took a break for two months and then I played in some Chinese leagues, they were just four games, three games, so it was easy for me to travel and stay in touch with family. Thats how I maintained a balance. After that I played in the Grand Prix Series, which is the official FIDE event. So, I played two Grand Prix events and European Club Cup, three Chinese leagues and of course Gibraltar and then this World Rapid and Blitz Championship. I was in all the major official tournaments and the rest I played to keep myself focussed and to stay in touch. I will do the same thing this year also.

The Grand Prix Series was quite successful for you in one event (Skolkovo, Russia) you finished first and in the second (at Monaco from Dec 2-15), joint first. How was it playing against top women players?

It was very difficult for me because when you play a round-robin tournament you need very good preparation to outclass your opponents. Its not just the game but you also need very concrete stuff in the opening. For that I really had to work hard, not only before the tournament, but even during the event. I felt I was back into the game after the Chinese leagues and Gibraltar. But the only problem was the lack of opening preparations but I somehow managed without that in my first Grand Prix event. But now I think I am more or less in the normal state that I was before the break. In that sense, the first Grand Prix event was crucial.

How was the reaction when you made a comeback?

For sure many thought I will not get back to chess because I took such a long break. I havent played even online tournaments and I was not in the chess circuit. Even when I came back, they had doubts about how much I will do. Some of them said to me, now that you have a kid, it will be difficult to concentrate on the game. Its better to enjoy your life. Everyone has their opinion but at the end of the day the passion and the ambitions you have will help you to rise.

Do you think there is some unfinished business for you, winning the Classical World Championship, maybe?

Yeah true, thats haunting me. But I dont want to think about it too much. Just want to concentrate on improving my game and I really dont know whether I will end up winning the world title or not, but I will keep on trying.

Continued here:

Chess star Koneru Humpy opens up on comeback and Moscow title win - Hindustan Times

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January 6th, 2020 at 10:44 am

Posted in Chess


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