A game of which I’m very proud

Sorry, nothing to do with politics or anything like that, just wanted to share this, but if you don’t like shameless self-indulgence and navel-gazing just move on.

The game, brought in full length below, isn’t all that interesting in itself. What made it interesting enough for me to repeat it here is the fact that it was against an opponent with a chessbase server rating of 2709 – and I didn’t lose. The average server rating on playchess is 1665, the rating of beginners is appr. 1200 and a rating differential of 300 points corresponds roughly to an expected win/loss ratio of 7-8/1 (you need to win something like seven out of eight or eight out of nine games against a player rated that much below yourself to maintain this level of rating differential). Right now, looking at the player list in the main playing hall on playchess, my opponents rating is higher than three Grandmasters and nine IM’s. As another comparison, Nigel Short right now has a rating of 2879, only 170 points more than my opponent. And I got a draw against that guy, in a blitz game! It sure feels nice, even if it probably won’t help me pass my exams…

US (DEN) – Sebastian Korman (FIN), blitz 3+0:

1.e4 e5, 2.Nf3 d6, 3.h3 Nd7, 4.d4 Ngf6, 5.dxe5 dxe5, 6.Bd3 Be7, 7.Nc3 c6, 8.Be3 Qc7, 9.Qd2 Nc5, 10.0-0 0-0, 11.Rad1 b5, 12.a3 a5, 13.b4 axb4, 14.axb4 Nxd3, 15.cxd3 h6, 16.Bc5 Bxc5, 17.bxc5 Nd7, 18.d4 exd4, 19.Qxd4 Re8, 20.Nd2 Ne5, 21.f4 Ng6, 22.f5 Ne5, 23.f6 g6, 24.Qe3 Kh7, 25.Nf3 Nc4, 26.Qd3 Ra3, 27.Nd2 Ne5, 28.Qc2 Qa7, 29.Ncb1 Ra2, 30.Qc3 Ra4, 31.Rde1 Qa5, 32.Qxa5 Rxa5, 33.Nb3 Ra2, 34.N1d2 Rc2, 35.Rc1 Rxc1, 36.Rxc1 Be6, 37.Re1 Bc8, 38.Kf2 Rd8, 39.Ke3 Kg8, 40.Nd4 Kf8, 41.g4 g5, 42.h4 gxh4, 43.Kf4 Nxg4, 44.Rh1 Rxd4, 45.Nf3 Rc4, 46.Rxh4 Nxf6, 47.Rxh6 Ng8, 48.Rxc6 Bd7, 49.Rc7 Ke8, 50.Rb7 b4, 51.Rb5 b3, 52.c6 Rxc6, 53.Rxb3 Rf6+, (severe time trouble for both players now and for the rest of the game) 54.Ke3 Be6, 55.Rb8+ Ke7, 56.Rb7+ Kf8, 57.Rb8 Kg7, 58.Ne5 Rg6, 59.Rxg8+ Kxg8, 60.Nxf7 Kxf7, 61.Kd4 Rf6, 62.e5 Rf4+, 63.Kc5 Rf5, 64.Kd6 Rxe5, 65.Kxe5 – draw (both of us had appr. 1 sec left)

May 28, 2008 Posted by | Chess | Leave a comment

A game

A game I played yesterday. As my opponent was a rather high rated player I felt proud of the win, especially given that this was a 3+0 blitzgame, not a 1+0 bulletgame where all kinds of weird things tend to happen:

US – Léonard Steffenello (FIDE elo: 2112, server rating 2237), 3+0 blitz:

(if it wasn’t for the fact he spent 18 seconds on that move, I’d have thought it was a mistake. It looks very strange, but I won’t discard the posibility that it might be theory)

8.Qe2…Bg7 (I must admit I regretted playing Qe2 almost the second I’d let go of the piece, in games against a kingside fianchetto the Queen belongs on d2 in a great majority of lines)

11.Na4…Qc7 (…Nxd4 is probably somewhat stronger, but after the exchanges it looks awfully drawish. The fact that my rating was much lower than my opponents probably played a role here, as I doubt he would have been content with a draw, prefering instead to go into a slightly inferior position with potential winning chances later on)

The position is probably roughly equal here.

13.h3?…Nxd4 (Bxf3! is even stronger, ie. 14.Qxf3…Nxd4! and the knight on c5 is hanging. The only good thing to be said about my move here is that it brought about a complicated position that made Steffenello spend a lot of time)
15.gxf3…Qc6 (Qxe7 is much stronger, the rook on e7 does not pose a threat)


21.Re1…Rf8 (objectively bad, but you can’t blame him for trying to keep the pieces on the board)
24.Qxa7?…Nhx3+ (This queenmove was a horrible blunder in a won position caused by just a few seconds’ loss of attention to the board. Sometimes that’s all it takes, now it’s hardly more than a draw with optimal play by both. However, I did have an advantage on the clock, Steffenello now has only 10 seconds left on his clock whereas I have 35 secs)

25.Kg2…Nf4+ (Nxf2! – if White takes with the King, 26…Qh2+ followed by 27…Qxd2)

28.Qc5…h5?? (three seconds left on his clock, I still have 20)
… resigned (why resign one sec. before you lose on time or get mated?)


The end position:

May 19, 2008 Posted by | Chess | 2 Comments

Zimbabwe year on year inflation reaches 355.000%

YEAR on year inflation for the month of March surged to 355 000% from the February figure of 165 000% as prices rose on the back of increased money supply to finance the 2008 harmonised elections.

the CSO [Central Statistical Office] projection, sources said, has placed inflation for May at over 1 200 000% if the trend continues.

The figures come at a time the RBZ has introduced higher denomination bearer cheques notes to counter the adverse effects of inflation.

The central bank introduced the $500 million bearer cheques for the public and the $5 billion, $25 billion, $50 billion agro-cheques for farmers. The new notes come hardly two weeks after the introduction of the $250 million bearer cheques.

Here’s the link, via Greg Mankiw who also links to this report from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. An excerpt:

1.24: Our economy is and has been in trouble for over ten years and our extraordinary interventions by whatever name have helped to keep the wheels of this economy moving. [my emphasis]

1.25: Even though our efforts have been criticized and derided clearly for undisguised political reasons, we are proud that we had the courage to do something that made a positive difference when it would have been far too easy for us to appear reasonable by doing nothing and thereby make the situation worse.

Make the situation worse? How could things possibly get worse than they are now? How could any other course of action not have improved matters relative to the way they are now? No – don’t answer those questions. The last thing Mugabe needs right now is new ideas on how to make the lives of his countrymen even more miserable than they already are.

May 17, 2008 Posted by | Africa, economics | Leave a comment

Who knew?

According to a new study, Europeans get drunk to have sex.

The leader of the study, Mark Bellis:

Millions of young Europeans now take drugs and drink in ways which alter their sexual decisions and increase their chances of unsafe sex or sex that is later regretted.

Yet despite the negative consequences, we found many are deliberately taking these substances to achieve quite specific sexual effects.

They do? Seriously?

[banging my head against the wall…]

May 9, 2008 Posted by | alcohol, studies | 2 Comments

Placebo has no effect?

Maybe the power of the mind isn’t as strong as some people think:

Hróbjartsson and Gøtzsche published a study in 2001 and a follow-up study in 2004 questioning the nature of the placebo effect. … They performed two meta-analyses involving 156 clinical trials in which an experimental drug or treatment protocol was compared to a placebo group and an untreated group, and … found that in studies with a binary outcome, meaning patients were classified as improved or not improved, the placebo group had no statistically significant improvement over the no-treatment group. Similarly, there was no significant placebo effect in studies in which objective outcomes (such as blood pressure) were measured by an independent observer. The placebo effect could only be documented in studies in which the outcomes (improvement or failure to improve) were reported by the subjects themselves.

Here’s the link. I haven’t found a working link to the 2004 study, however the original 2001 study is available here. Here’s a Danish summary of the 2004 paper.

May 9, 2008 Posted by | medicine | Leave a comment

Caught in the middle

There are lots of reasons why beginners are told again and again that it’s a good idea to castle as soon as possible in open games – or rather, that it is a very bad idea not to do so. This is one of those reasons:

The end position from a blitzgame I played yesterday (incidentally not against a beginner).

May 9, 2008 Posted by | Chess | Leave a comment

Surprising fact of the day

For almost 9000 patients who had heart surgery in the UK between 1996 and 2003, receiving a red cell transfusion was associated with three times the risk of dying in the following year and an almost sixfold risk of dying within 30 days of surgery compared with not receiving one

Here’s the link.

May 3, 2008 Posted by | medicine, random stuff | Leave a comment

Sort arbejde

Lidt data fra Rockwoolfonden jeg faldt over, da jeg skrev en kommentar ovre på econlog, er tilgængelig her:

Hvis man finder emnet interessant, og man kender lidt til matematik og modeller, er Eichhorns paper fra Public Choice Society’s møde i 2005 nok værd at se nærmere på. Konklusionen alene burde være nok til at fange manges interesse: Niveauet af skatteundragelse påvirker ikke vækstraten [‘hvis antagelserne holder og alt det der’, det er et teoretisk paper, men stadig…].

May 3, 2008 Posted by | data | Leave a comment