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Been a bit busy with the real world lately but I'm getting back on track for a few days before heading to Seattle. You may have noticed that I'm having some server problems with the comments. No one can figure out why it went to hell all of a sudden. Each comment spikes my server so high that the reaper bots shut it down, creating the error. Still searching. This is starting to feel like a good advertisement for WordPress...

The Kasparov invasion is making its way westward as well. Garry just blitzed Amsterdam to promote the Dutch edition of How Life Imitates Chess. (I don't know the exact Dutch title but I'll bet it has more vowels.) He's now in Vienna giving a speech to a Bruno Kreisky Foundation event to honor assassinated Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya. He's delivering a 45-minute speech we just spent the last few days working on. Sleep is for sissies.

To combine both themes, the official English site of The Other Russia is now live. That's the opposition coalition of which Garry is one of the leaders. Strike a blow for freedom, or at least do me a solid, by linking to it and sending it around.


Yow, that's how busy I've been. I started to write that at 11 o'clock last night and have been sitting here working on the speech since then! Yaawwn. I'm sure the Kramnik-Leko games will wake me up.

I'd always guess the Dutch title would have more consonants compared to the English title... Anyway, everyone can count for themselves: "Waarom het leven op schaken lijkt", "Why life is similar to chess".

Did I see somewhere (in a review I can't find anymore) that the German version has two offical authors? When I search for an English version the book seems to have only 1 official author.

"Why life resembles chess" is a better translation, actually. Why they didn't choose "Waarom het leven schaken imiteert" - unclear.

The report in the Dutch newspaper is revealing. "The only witness against me was a police officer. He couldn't say when and where I was arrested. Still, the judge found his testimony trustworthy, because he was a police officer. That's democracy in Russia.".

"The only witness against me was a police officer. He couldn't say when and where I was arrested. Still, the judge found his testimony trustworthy, because he was a police officer. That's democracy in Russia."

Apparently Garry has never gotten a traffic ticket in the US... Or had too much to drink in public in the US.

That's not the full story. The problem was the officer giving the testimony wasn't the one who arrested him. He couldn't name the location or time of arrest, or even put in a good guess. They just grabbed somebody to make up some stuff.

In the 1930s, one of the Soviet Generals who was put on (show) trial during the Purge managed to escape execution, by pointing out that the man who the Prosecution claimed had been witness to the General's supposed transgressions had, in fact, been killed months earlier during a border war with the Japanese (Jehol, 1937). Apparently, that was too much, even for a Stalinist Era judge, and the case was tossed

hey mig, can you pass on to garry about the constitutional amendment pending in the congress about the separation of chess and state.

hey mig, can you pass on to garry about the constitutional amendment pending in the congress about the separation of chess and state.

Well I can see Garry's point, if the arresting officer was NOT there in court to testify, the case should have been dismissed. I worked in law enforcement for many years, and at least here in the states, If I didn't show up in court the next morning, the person I arrested walks. Sometimes this is the only hope for a defendant.

"It is imperative that hearsay evidence be considered' in trials of Guantanamo detainees." - US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales (l.), at a Senate hearing Aug. 2 with deputy defense secretary Gordon England "

Now which country we're people complaining about?

Is Garry claiming he wasn't there, wasn't arrested, and generally didn't do anything?


Thanks for making it clear you lack an understanding of hearsay evidence. For completeness, I give you the entire passage:

"It is imperative that hearsay evidence be considered," Mr. Gonzales said. "Military commissions must try crimes based on evidence collected everywhere from the battlefields in Afghanistan to foreign terrorist safehouses," he said.

"This is a different kind of conflict," the attorney general added, "Oftentimes it's hard to verify or hard to have firsthand access" to witnesses or evidence.

"It would serve us well as a country to sit down and come up with a hearsay rule that has exceptions for the needs of the war on terror, not just ignore the hearsay rule in general," Senator Graham told Mr. Gonzales in a hearing last week. "There are 27 exceptions to the military hearsay rule," Graham said. "I'm willing to give you more."

But he suggested he is unwilling to write a blanket exemption for military commissions.

"To scrap the whole rule - to do that wholesale - is just asking for trouble," says Muneer Ahmad, a professor at American University's Washington School of Law, who serves as civilian counsel for Guantánamo detainee Omar Ahmed Khadr. "It is inviting unreliable evidence. It is inviting wrongful convictions, and at the end of the day it undermines the legitimacy of the entire system."

Now I hope you realize which country people are complaining about.

"Did I see somewhere (in a review I can't find anymore) that the German version has two offical authors? When I search for an English version the book seems to have only 1 official author."

Maybe you meant this one http://www.chessbase.de/nachrichten.asp?newsid=6534

Mig's name (indeed Mig) appears inside the book, not on the cover.

I agree with the reviewer that the German title, "Strategie und die Kunst zu leben – Von einem Schachgenie lernen" (Strategy and the Art of Life—Learn from a Chess Genius), is indeed terrible.

Unfortunately the German translation isn't the best either (see amazon.de for another review). And the cover ... ok, enough said. A colleague has already read the complete book and the only thing he really didn't like were a lot of repetitions towards the end. Maybe that's some sort of Russian style? I noticed the same in a book of Gorbachev some years (decades?) ago.

What was your point exactly? You claim I don't understand hearsay evidence, and then you provide no evidence I can see of your assertion. Instead you copy text from some article and describe it as "the entire passage". If I copy the entire transcript from the congressional hearing will that give me extra credit or something?

My point was the Attorney General and administration of the US were asking Congress to seriously weaken restrictions on the use of hearsay evidence and create a blanket authorization at Guantánamo to allow hearsay when a military judge deems it probative and reliable.

Hearsay from one cop to another is problematic, hearsay based on coerced testimony of a terrorist certainly seems even more problematic, at least to me.

Kasparov will be interviewed on The National (CBC's TV News program with Peter Mansbridge) tonight, April 27th, Friday.
Thanks to Glen Beaudin for that tip.

I could not find any preview of this at www.cbc.ca, but maybe that's how they do it. Keep us guessing. Tomorrow they might have
the interview as a webcast (for watching but not downloading). Try:


Here is an interview (podcast, you can download it) that Kasparov gave to As It Happens (CBC Radio). It came out on his birthday, April 13th, around the time he was being arrested!


Kasparov interview from (intro) 58 seconds to (Kasparov speaks) 2:10 to 20:15.

He is a brilliant speaker, with great vocabulary
and understanding, but still a rather thick accent in English. Maybe he should have voice lessons. A few hours might make a big difference.

Oh yes, he's talking mainly about Russian Politics. Though he does mention how chess helped with thinking about other matters, and his new book on the subject.

In all of his books, does he relate that he learned any lessons about Democracy through his experiences with the GMA, PCA etc?

Zhorik, Kibbles point is that loosening up restrictions on hearsay evidence is treated seriously in US judicial system and allowed in special situations only. No, not coerced testimony of terrorists (which is a description that makes me wonder if you read any of the article) but in cases of reports of undercover intelligence agents, where use of primary source is often impossible. Compare that to the instance of Kasparov's arrest, where the cop "couldn't name the location or time of arrest, or even put in a good guess."

I am often baffled that people who point out that US has shortcomings often want to equate it with several clearly inferior systems, rather than simply accurately point out the US's faults. If you are going to tell me US doesn't have a perfect democracy, I will agree and listen to what you have to say. If you are going to tell me we are as undemocratic as North Korea, you sabotage any point you might make about the US.

Oops, I gave the file name on my hard drive, not on the web.

Here is where you can download the Kasparov radio


Thanks supergrobi, that's the one I was talkng about! I just couldn't find it anymore.

Yuriy, I'm not so sure that was Kibbles point since he opened with claiming I don't understand hearsay evidence and then not providing evidence of that.

I'm still not sure what the "the entire passage" and "the article" are. Can you provide a reference to "the article" you are referring to? I was making general references to the circumstances at the time where the Bush administration and US Justice Department were pushing hard to increase the admissibility of hearsay evidence, not just from undercover intelligence agents, while allowing statements gathered under coercion for the military tribunals. For example, see the following Christian Science Monitor article: http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0807/p02s01-usju.html

I agree with most of your post, and democracy and civil liberties in the US generally work better in the US than in Russia (although North Korea is clearly an exaggeration in this case, like throwing Hitler or Stalin into a conversation to make a point when it's not necessary). Yes, there are problems with democracy in Russia, but I really don't think Kasparov intentionally getting himself arrested and then perhaps some questionable testimony at his hearing for a minor offense highlight any of the real problems in Russia. It's theatrics for the Western media and interests.

BTW, does anybody have a link to online media coverage that backs up Mig's story about the hearing? Preferably both Western and Russian versions from mainstream media. I'm sorry, but I don't trust Mig to deliver an impartial version on this topic.

What a boring site. Some pics of those flashy Nazi-Soviet flags, that new symbol of Western-style democracy, would spice things up!

Putin: "To be frank, our policy of stable and gradual development is not to everyone’s taste. Some, making skilful use of pseudo-democratic rhetoric, would like to return us to the recent past, some in order to once again plunder the nation’s resources with impunity and rob the people and the state, and others in order to deprive our country of its economic and political independence.

There has been an increasing influx of money from abroad being used to intervene directly in our internal affairs. Looking back at the more distant past, we recall the talk about the civilising role of colonial powers during the colonial era. Today, ‘civilisation’ has been replaced by democratisation, but the aim is the same – to ensure unilateral gains and one’s own advantage, and to pursue one’s own interests."


Zhorik, I started writing a response but realized most of it would amount to "this is what KandB means" which is kind of silly thing to argue about. I think it is pretty clear what KandB's point was even though his opening sentence was a bit misleading. The "entire passage" which he stated comes from the article you got the quote from (or rather it's a caption of the photo next to the article).

The fact that a change in rules of hearsay is being publicly discussed and debated in front of Senate committee and Supreme Court is good support of the relative transparency of American judicial system. One can understand how some of the evidence in terror investigation might be more loosely gathered (search warrants? testimony under oath?) and one can also argue that the restrictions should be kept in place.

Compare that to Kasparov trial. If an opposition figure went on trial in US, you can bet the investigator would want to cross their t's and dot their i's to eliminate all possible appearances of improprieties. Stuff like getting the wrong cop and a cop who doesn't know jack about the case and can't be bothered to memorize the details just won't fly here. You and I have been to Russia, so we know how much the justice system over there is dominated by what the higher-ups want.

I chose North Korea precisely because I wanted to pick a country whose relative democratic merit nobody would want to debate :)

It seems that the US has many freedoms and rights when there is no threat. As soon as a threat comes along, they react like any other country (for example Russia) and clamp all sorts of restrictions on legal rights. Usually with some doom and disaster them against us rhetoric attached to it.

I came for the chessology, but a "battle" over (?)ology broke out. Is it heresy to suggest that hearsay about hearsay be somewhere else say? Oh, I forgot the mandatory... eh? [PS: Hi, Jonathan - thanks for the CBC info.]

Len S
Might you, in some other era, have been called a "tournament director of iron"? Or since we're into -ologies, the Canadian Chess Stalin? If so, then warm greetings from the West Coast. If you are still where you were then, you'll need the warmth until May. Or so.

Len S's post read like a poem. This may even have been intentional, what with today being the last day of National Poetry Month.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on April 25, 2007 11:04 PM.

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