March 1, 2005

Quick hits  

1. Is the Wall Street Journal really in danger of becoming irrelevant? [via]

2. Lenka Reznicek on Taylor Ham: "There is no substitute for real pork roll, and outside of its geographic home one must sagaciously seek out proper channels to obtain a taste."

3. In case you haven't seen it, here's Christopher Hitchens asking about voting irregularities in Ohio. A friend (in an email) describes the irony of our passive acceptance of election results: "It's a curious thing that this country's democratic values are ingrained so deeply that it actually has the effect of subverting democracy in this case."

4. And here's a nice profile of Susan Polgar, the top ranked woman chess player in the world. The teaser at the top suggests the piece will have some insight into why so few women compete at the very top levels of chess, but I didn't learn anything new on that front. Perhaps this is the deterrent? More about Susan Polgar and her sister Judit here.

Haggai  {March 1, 2005}

That relates to a hilariously wrong quiz bowl answer that happened in a game while I was in college. The question started off something like, "They were schooled from an early age in literature, music, history, science, and many other subjects," plus maybe one other clue relating to precocious early development, or something like that. The answer ended up being the philosopher kings, from Plato, but one guy on Caltech buzzed in early and guessed the Polgar sisters! It was totally classic.

paul  {March 1, 2005}

That's great... their story really does stick in your head, doesn't it? Maybe because it's so anomalous?

Hugo  {March 2, 2005}

Who will tell Larry Summers?

john  {March 2, 2005}

Just so you know, Susan is not generally considered to be the most talented of the sisters - Judit and Sofia are apparently both more talented, and Judit is by far the strongest.

There was one other particularly rediculous comment comparing blitz chess to sprinting, rapid chess to middle distance running and standard time control chess to a long distance run. It ends by saying that usually people are only good at one type of chess. That's bullshit. Every world class player is a very strong blitz player and it's the same for rapid. I get annoyed by things like this - people writing or talking about chess who don't really know what they're writing or talking about.

paul  {March 2, 2005}

Thanks for pointing that out John, I'd always thought Judit was the best of the three, so the article kind of threw me.

Speaking of comparisons with chess and other pursuits, you might be interested in this statement from Nick at BTD from a post on poker:

Truth be told, I doubt people understand that they're more likely to become a successful chess player than a successful high-stakes poker player. It's as simple as the advantage of succeeding with perfect vs. imperfect information.

My response is there.

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