Econstudentlog

Clips from North Korea

The guys from VBS have been to North Korea. They made 14 videoclips, all of which are available here. Highly recommended, this is probably the best piece on NK I have ever seen.

I know that when posting links only a tiny fraction of the readers actually follow them. In this case I can only say: Please, do click the link to the VBS-series. The only reason why I have not uploaded some of the clips here on the site, which I know would result in far more views than a link on its own, is because I have no idea how to do it (the format is not youtube or googlevid). If you have to limit yourself to one clip I recommend part 5, but of course you don’t and the whole series doesn’t last not much more than an hour, maybe an hour and a half.

HT: Samizdata.

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March 25, 2008 Posted by | communism, North Korea | 2 Comments

Gorbatjov III

Tidligere posts her og her.

Jeg har valgt bare at gøre det til en løs afrunding, for han siger sandt at sige ikke ret meget interessant i bogens sidste sider. Det koger mest ned til: ‘Peace, love and understanding’. Gorbatjov vil have afsluttet våbenkapløbet, for russerne kan ikke længere følge med. Han taler smukt om alle de mange områder – videnskab, teknologi, handel, udenrigspolitik – hvor Vesten burde samarbejde med Sovjet; eller i det mindste ikke modarbejde dem. Han mener selvfølgelig ikke, Sovjet skylder Vesten noget videre, og ideen er naturligvis, som jeg også bemærkede i afsnit II, at Vesten bør give indrømmelser uden at forvente at få noget igen.

Jeg har ikke været særligt venlig overfor Gorbatjov i disse posts, og måske har jeg også været lige en lille tand for skarp. Ikke sådan at forstå, at jeg tager min kritik tilbage, på ingen måde, kritikken i mine posts er både berettiget og helt på sin plads. Men når det kommer til den svære afrunding, hvor der skal opstilles en konklusion, er der forhold jeg ikke indtil nu har været omkring, som jeg mener fortjener at komme med i betragtningerne. Jeg mener det primære fokus, når der fældes moralske domme, bør vær på handlinger og konsekvenser, ikke på intentioner, og det er et stærkt argument for, at dommen over Gorbatjov ikke bør være hårdere end som så: Manden ledede en politistat, han var marxist og kollektivist, han var inspireret af en vulgærmarxistisk historicisme, han var historieforfalsker, en løgner, et magtmenneske og en masse andet grimt, og sandt at sige har jeg intet andet end foragt tilovers for det system, han regerede, og mange af de ideer, han havde. Men der er som sagt også den anden side af mønten. Det er svært at komme udenom, at de reformer han satte i gang var medvirkende til, at netop det system han forsøgte at redde blev fjernet fra jordens overflade. Det var ikke det, han havde forestillet sig ville ske, men det var det, der skete, og alt i alt var sammenbruddet, og den måde det fandt sted på, ikke noget dårligt udfald – og på det tidspunkt var der, bør vi huske på, rigtig mange grimme udfald, som spøgede i kulisserne (militærkup, lang og blodig borgerkrig, ect). Man kan naturligvis argumentere for, at Gorbatjovs rolle i det store spil var ret lille, og at systemet ville være kollapset uanset hvad han havde gjort. Der er nogen vægt bag denne indvending, men det er svært for mig at acceptere et argument om, at perestrojkaen ikke fremskyndte processen.

March 23, 2008 Posted by | bøger, historie | Leave a comment

Find the move!

From a blitzgame yesterday. Richter-Rauzer Sicilian (5+0), white to move:

chess.jpg

So, what’s next? A hint: You know you can’t afford to make a mistake in a sharp line if you follow one of Fritz‘ main lines for almost 10 moves and still manages to end up with a completely lost position.

I have displaced the answer: The moves that followed are placed some lines below, and if you don’t want to know before you’ve looked at the problem just click the picture right now to see the position in full view – then it will be a lot easier to analyze without letting your eyes ‘slip downwards’…

Ok, the move is: 1.Nd5! My opponent played …Qc5+, the other non-losing move is of course just …exd5 without the check. Fritz prefer to let the Queen stay on the 7th rank, and it probably does lead to better chances of a draw – black gets to keep the bishop if he doesn’t check and he doesn’t lose that second pawn. In short, the check was not the best defence, and in this position the second best move just isn’t good enough. In the game, the line that followed (after the check) was: 2.Kh1…exd5, 3.Bxd5+…Be6, 4.Bxe6…Nxe6, 5.Qf7+…Kh8, 6.Qxe7…Qe5, 7.Qxb7…Rg8, 8.Qd5…Qxd5, 9.exd5. Now black is simply two pawns down, the queens are off the board (so no perpetual), and he furthermore has two isolated pawns far away from the king – a king with very low mobility due to the rook on the 7th rank. The position is lost. Fritz also gives a line without 7.Qe5, where the black queen go to the c4-square instead. It’s better, but black is still in deep trouble. All that because of that first move that didn’t even look all that strong (and now you ask: Did I really see that far? Well, no it was blitz. I had a good idea what was going to happen until Qxe7 but not after that. Incidentally I more or less took it for granted that he would check on c4 – though I did figure I wouldn’t loose material if he didn’t and it ‘looked interesting’ either way – and this is bad: Expecting your opponent to play the inferior move is always a very bad strategy).

If no check on c5 it would probably have looked something like this: 1…exd5, 2.Bxd5…Be6, 3.Bxe6+…Nxe6, 4.Qf7+…Kh8, 5.Qxe6…Bf6. Black is better off than he was in the game, as white’s e-pawn and a-pawn are both hanging and he gets to keep the bishop (and the queen), but of course black still has to fight hard to obtain a draw.

March 19, 2008 Posted by | Chess | Leave a comment

Anand won in Linares/Morelia, Carlsen second

Results here, games here and a summary as well as some commentary here.

Two observations: i) Anand certainly proved during this tournament that he isn’t ‘getting old’. ii) After this tournament Magnus Carlsen will probably move to the top five on the fide rating chart. It will be interesting to see how far he can go.

March 10, 2008 Posted by | Chess | Leave a comment