Saturday, March 19, 2011

Epic Failure

Winning! - not.

T45 is over.  My last loss of the season summed up perfectly how T45 went for both me and our team.

I went 1-4.  The team finished with 1 match point and finished last.

The last loss ... I had no vision, no desire, no fight ... nothing.


I guess it's time to re-group.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Cogmed and Chess

Our 10 year-old daughter has been diagnosed with ADD.  We've been working with psychiatrists and psychologists to help her overcome this disability.  At the same time, we've been trying other methods to try and tackle her focus issues.  There is no doubt in our minds that our daughter is very intelligent, but we see that focus is an issue.  We also think this issue is hereditary - my wife and I experience the same issues that are described in our daughter.

So in discussing these challenges with other parents who's kids have the same issues, we came across a program called Cogmed.  We just heard about it last week and I finally got around to going to the website to get more details.

As I was reading some of the user case studies, I found that one user used Cogmed to improve his chess.  Not only did it help him improve, he went from placing 26th in a tournament before using Cogmed, to winning the state championship after using Cogmed for a month.

Click here to read this brief case study.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Chess Boxing to Control Your Emotions

I ran across a fascinating article that discusses using chess-boxing to create the "ability to effectively regulate emotions in order to maintain cognitive control."

You can read it in its entirety: "Could Chess-Boxing Defuse Aggression?"

Tuesday, March 08, 2011


In playing a 3-game set with another player, I lost the first game and was about to crash and burn in the 2nd and 3rd games ... but I didn't.

Game 2
Game 3

Burning Castles

Even though he hasn't posted for almost a year now, I still find Wormstar's blog highly fascinating.  I've been toying with the concept of trying to replicate what he did.

Burning Castles

Chess Reference

I would have just copied the chess reference quote and included a link, but it looks like the author (Scott Adams) had to take the post down.  It is a worth-while read ... and I bolded the chess reference.

The topic my readers most want me to address is something called men's rights. (See previous post.) This is a surprisingly good topic. It's dangerous. It's relevant. It isn't overdone. And apparently you care.

Let's start with the laundry list.

According to my readers, examples of unfair treatment of men include many elements of the legal system, the military draft in some cases, the lower life expectancies of men, the higher suicide rates for men, circumcision, and the growing number of government agencies that are primarily for women.

You might add to this list the entire area of manners. We take for granted that men should hold doors for women, and women should be served first in restaurants. Can you even imagine that situation in reverse?

Generally speaking, society discourages male behavior whereas female behavior is celebrated. Exceptions are the fields of sports, humor, and war. Men are allowed to do what they want in those areas.

Add to our list of inequities the fact that women have overtaken men in college attendance. If the situation were reversed it would be considered a national emergency.

How about the higher rates for car insurance that young men pay compared to young women? Statistics support this inequity, but I don't think anyone believes the situation would be legal if women were charged more for car insurance, no matter what the statistics said.

Women will counter with their own list of wrongs, starting with the well-known statistic that women earn only 80 cents on the dollar, on average, compared to what men earn for the same jobs. My readers will argue that if any two groups of people act differently, on average, one group is likely to get better results. On average, men negotiate pay differently and approach risk differently than women.

Women will point out that few females are in top management jobs. Men will argue that if you ask a sample group of young men and young women if they would be willing to take the personal sacrifices needed to someday achieve such power, men are far more likely to say yes. In my personal non-scientific polling, men are about ten times more likely than women to trade family time for the highest level of career success.

Now I would like to speak directly to my male readers who feel unjustly treated by the widespread suppression of men's rights:

Get over it, you bunch of pussies.

The reality is that women are treated differently by society for exactly the same reason that children and the mentally handicapped are treated differently. It's just easier this way for everyone. You don't argue with a four-year old about why he shouldn't eat candy for dinner. You don't punch a mentally handicapped guy even if he punches you first. And you don't argue when a women tells you she's only making 80 cents to your dollar. It's the path of least resistance. You save your energy for more important battles.

How many times do we men suppress our natural instincts for sex and aggression just to get something better in the long run? It's called a strategy. Sometimes you sacrifice a pawn to nail the queen. If you're still crying about your pawn when you're having your way with the queen, there's something wrong with you and it isn't men's rights.

Fairness is an illusion. It's unobtainable in the real world. I'm happy that I can open jars with my bare hands. I like being able to lift heavy objects. And I don't mind that women get served first in restaurants because I don't like staring at food that I can't yet eat.

If you're feeling unfairly treated because women outlive men, try visiting an Assisted Living facility and see how delighted the old ladies are about the extra ten years of pushing the walker around. It makes dying look like a bargain.

I don't like the fact that the legal system treats men more harshly than women. But part of being male is the automatic feeling of team. If someone on the team screws up, we all take the hit. Don't kid yourself that men haven't earned some harsh treatment from the legal system. On the plus side, if I'm trapped in a burning car someday, a man will be the one pulling me out. That's the team I want to be on.

I realize I might take some heat for lumping women, children and the mentally handicapped in the same group. So I want to be perfectly clear. I'm not saying women are similar to either group. I'm saying that a man's best strategy for dealing with each group is disturbingly similar. If he's smart, he takes the path of least resistance most of the time, which involves considering the emotional realities of other people. A man only digs in for a good fight on the few issues that matter to him, and for which he has some chance of winning. This is a strategy that men are uniquely suited for because, on average, we genuinely don't care about 90% of what is happening around us.

I just did a little test to see if I knew what pajama bottoms I was wearing without looking. I failed.