Return to Chess After 44 Years

I retired from chess in 1977 at the age of 12. I wasn’t a pro player. I wasn’t in any tournaments. I was just a kid in Lincoln, Nebraska looking for a good game. I was studying the game eight hours a day every day of the week. I was the 7th Grade self-crowned King of Chess at Robin Mickle Jr. High School until, that is, I cleared a chessboard of its plastic pieces while I thought I was playing a friend in Chess — until others in the class started to line up next to him, giving turns advice, and warning him against my traps — and I ended up playing the entire class Over the Board (OTB), even though we had a strict “no kibitzing” rule that, I guess, applied only to me. If I had been clearer minded, and perhaps a bit more mature, I would have taken it as a compliment that it took 28 other kids to give me a good game; but, back then, winning was everything, and resigning with a dramatic sweep of the arm across a chessboard was just too tempting to ignore. 1972 was a great year for Chess when the world turned, and it was still spinning in 1977. Bobby Fischer beat Boris Spassky for the World Championship in 1972, and the Cold War was Hot again! Now, after my retirement in 1977, 44 years later today, I’m back in the Chess game by demand of dying age, and wondering spectacle, and next I’ll tell you more about the why of it; and I’ll also explain the story behind the curious board setup you see below. Chess, the ancient game, changed a lot over a half century!

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The Value of a Liberal Arts Education

We live in a sneering world where if one isn’t majoring in business or actively becoming a lawyer — one’s future is worthless and their worldview is infantile. Who needs a Poet when you can sell your soul and then sue the person for breach of contract when they buy it and try to take it home from you?

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Never Discuss Process

Your process — of creation, of thinking, of being — belongs to you and only you, and to discuss your process for understanding the world, and for coping within its spinning — is something you should never do, because nobody but you comprehends the when and the why of how you get things done to contextualize meaning.

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Do Modern Research Methods Make Students Stupider?

I grew up a child of the library.  I borrowed books.  I read books.  I researched college research papers.  I did it all in my local public library and my campus libraries.  The library was the safe haven — the Smart Place — it was a niche where I fit in because I created my own intellectual indentations that nobody else could question unless I decided to share what I was thinking.

Children today don’t have buildings called libraries that mean the same thing to them that it means to people of my generation.  Kids today have virtual hangout places like the internets, and if they want to find something to read to reflect upon or research, they just fire up The Google and all their boring inquiries are returned unimagined.

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Why Brainstorming is an Individualistic Cloud and Not a Group Ray of Hope

When I was growing up in school, brainstorming was a popular way to force students to mingle ideas and to allegedly communicate non-judgmental bits of information. Unfortunately, if you didn’t have a proper leader for a brainstorming session, the task quickly became dull, and critical, and I always found those forced sessions to be less about new ideas and more about everyone deciding to just confirm the mainstream, mortal, status quo. I also learned to keep my mouth shut, and my contributions to a minimum, because I knew my outlier notions would be met with ridicule and misunderstanding.

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Convenience Over Capacity: Watson Will See You Now

Are we comfortable with machines being smarter and faster than us?  All machines start out at least as smart as the person who built them, but then what happens when their mechanized learning and capacity to think beings to outweigh and outgrow their human captors?

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