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Read Like a Grandmaster - Anand Swamped

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Just tossing in a few quickies together. New world champion Viswanathan Anand got a hero's welcome and then some when he finally arrived on native soil, according to this report (ht jaideepblue)

Unruly scenes were witnessed at the airport when chess world champion Vishwanathan Anand arrived in India after winning the crown.

The organisers, one of the top IT education companies of the country for whom Anand is a brand ambassador, failed to control the situation as a result of which the champion had to unceremoniously make his way out from the airport amidst chaotic scenes.

The waiting posse of photographers and cameramen almost climbed over each other to get a shot of the champion, which didn't amuse Anand, who quickly made his exit. There was a lot of hackling, shoving and pushing and even Anand was not spared as the organisers as well as the Delhi Chess Association officials tried to get photographed with him.

Nothing worse than hackling! Sounds like Vishy may need as many bodyguards as the subject of the next item.

As part of our attempts to make How Life Imitates Chess the best selling book by any chess champion since Bobby Fischer's anti-self-help tome How I Learned to Hate Everybody, Kasparov participated in what was for me an obscure feature on the Amazon.com website. They call it "Grown-up School" and invites authors to suggest other books in a theme of their choice. Instead of doing chess or business or cognitive science books, the latter two not being categories he's much interested in, Garry went with "books that inspired me." The list isn't under the Grown-up School area for some reason, took me a while to find it. Anyway, Garry's list is here. You expected Churchill, Alekhine, and perhaps Bulgakov. But how about Reagan and Saint-Exupéry? I'd never heard of this one but want to read it now. (I'm the one who gave Garry the Churchill/Lincoln speech book. Great for anyone doing public speaking.)

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: Wind, Sand and Stars

Saint-Exupéry is best known for The Little Prince, but this book, originally titled Terre des Hommes (Earth of Humanity) is a true-life adventure classic. The author’s tales of his time as a pilot, including a near-death experience after crashing in the desert, are mixed with his romantic philosophy and view of the world. Not only a book for children; it will inspire anyone.

Speaking of chess and business, GM Joel Lautier, a friend and all-round good egg despite his occasionally suspect allegiances (that's a joke), has made The Moscow Times with a jump into Russian business. I hope he makes the right friends and realizes that getting out fast can be just as important as getting in fast!

Lautier, 34, quit 22 years on the professional chess circuit and his Paris home in November to suit up as an analyst with Russian consultancy Strategy Partners. In six months, he has gone from analyst to an associate's role as director of international development.

"Chess and business are similar in that you are confronted with a problem that does not have a unique solution," he said in a recent interview. "In chess, you're used to looking carefully over every position to keep all your options open," said Lautier, who is one of only three players in the world to have beaten every world champion dating back to 1975 during the course of his career.

"Business analysis is also like mapping a tree of possibilities," he said. "One error can be fatal to hours of work because everything is a logical chain -- every step must have its foundation," he said. . . .

Lautier's advice to Western companies is: Take more risks in the Russian market. Latecomers are losing out to their Russian counterparts who spend less time questioning what they stand to lose. "Because if it is not you, it will be your competitors."


Quote from Gary's list at Amazon:

...Winston Churchill, wrote sixty years ago, "Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities...because it is the quality which guarantees all others."

That is actually a quote from Aristotle:
"Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees the others."


Saint-Exupéry's work is well-known among pilots, and he is discussed quite frequently in online pilot forums. I read his work when i was a student pilot at Teterboro, along with flight manuals and other technical treatises.

Antoine de Saint Exupéry (June 29, 1900 – presumably July 31, 1944) was a French writer and aviator. In 1921, he began his military service as a pilot. By 1926, he became one of the pioneers of international postal flight in the days when aircraft had few instruments and pilots flew by instinct. Later he complained that those who flew the more advanced aircraft were more like accountants than pilots.

In 1931, Saint Exupéry married a Salvadoran writer and artist. Theirs was a stormy marriage, as Saint Exupéry traveled frequently and indulged in numerous affairs, most notably with a Frenchwoman, Hélène de Vogüé, who became Saint Exupéry's literary executrix after his death.

While trying to break the record for a flight from Paris to Saigon, Saint Exupéry and his mechanic crashed in the African desert. Their rescue is told in Wind, Sand and Stars, which was published in 1939.

In 1944, Saint Exupéry returned to Europe to fight with the Allies in a squadron based in the Mediterranean. Then aged 44, he flew his last mission to collect data on German troop movements in the Rhone River Valley. He took off from an airbase on Corsica the night of July 31, 1944, and was never seen again. The body of a serviceman wearing a French uniform was found several days later. Even though the German aerial combat records of July 31, 1944 do not list the shooting down of an enemy aircraft in the Mediterranean on that day, there was a tacit assumption was that Saint Exupéry had been shot down by a German fighter pilot.

Over 50 years later, in 1998, a fisherman found what was reported to be Saint Exupéry's silver chain bracelet in the ocean to the east of the island of Riou, south of Marseille. At first it was thought to be a hoax, but it was later positively identified. In 2000, a diver found the crashed plane in the seabed off the coast of Marseille. On April 7, 2004, investigators from the French Underwater Archaeological Department confirmed that the twisted wreckage of a Lockheed F-5 photo-reconnaissance aircraft was Saint Exupéry's. The wreckage did not show any traces of shooting or aerial combat. The informed assumption is that the crash was caused by a technical failure in the engine, or of the oxygen supply.

Gary's list of books is most interesting!

I read Wind, Sand and Stars some years ago.

There is a French-style bistro in Washington, DC, with 1920s aviation decor. Not many people "get" the restaurant's name: Cafe Saint-Ex!

Aren't all speeches by presidents written by ghostwriters? It would be interesting to know who wrote Reagan's speeches to give proper due.

Were I to fly from Paris to Saigon, I would avoid Africa.

Interestingly enough, German politician and Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels was the first to refer to an "Iron Curtain" coming down across Europe after World War II, in a manifesto he published in the German newspaper Das Reich in February 1945. But Churchill pinched it and popularized it in 1946. To the victors the spoils, huh?

Saint Exupéry's name is well-known in Russia; possibly he is one of the most popular foreign authors there.

It is really nice that the first link (though without a number) in Kasparov's collection is 'How Life Imitates Chess'.
Indeed. :-)

I don't know whether to laugh or cry at the deification of Reagan in the American mainstream media.

As an 'intellectual dissident', Garry should educate himself..


Kasparov must have watched "wizard of oz" to draw inspiration from! If not, Mig should tell him to do that!!

Here we go..


What make a queen out a pawn?
What makes a King out of a slave?
What makes the flag on the mast to wave?
What makes the elephant charge his tusk, in the misty mist or the dusky dusk?
What makes the muskrat guard his musk?
What makes the sphinx the seventh wonder?
What makes the dawn come up like thunder?
What makes the Hottentot so hot? What puts the "ape" in apricot?
What have they got that I ain't got?

(Now all Ninjas go...)


Unless you can source Aristotle, I'll leave it with Churchill. I have the book he used it in. (Not that he might not have poached it, something he did often, like most great speakers.) ("Great Contemporaries" is the Churchill book.) Brainyquote, like most online quote sources, is built by the public and almost never sources anything, making it worthless beyond greeting card snippets. Tons of them are incorrectly sourced or simply spurious. I spent a huge amount of time trying to verify all the quotes we used in How Life Imitates Chess. Several I couldn't and were cut. A few turned out to be paraphrases of less elegant originals, especially translations such as the Goethe.

We have stretched a few, including one of Garry's favorite for business speeches. Andrew Jackson's, "one man, with courage, makes a majority." Of course he might have said that (you can never disprove a quote!) but it probably became associated with him from a biographer putting it as a motto on his books, not intended to be a quotation. (Indeed it's sort of a critique of Jackson's less-than-democratic tendencies.) But it's made it into Bartlett's as Jackson so we're on safe ground.

The book "The Quote Verifier" is good fun for aphorism junkies.


I've actually tried to cut down on Garry using quotations in his speeches. They are cheap thrills, but you want the audience to remember your words, not Churchill's! There's a good line (a quote!) I believe from McGovern, on advice he got about this when he was planning to finish a big speech with a quotation. "He said, it's like making love to a beautiful woman and then asking Churchill to come in and finish for you." It wasn't Churchill but it's a good point. Will try to find the story when I get home. (Hello from Boston.)

Now now, Mikhail, be kind. We didn't design the page and of course its entire purpose is to promote the author's book! I felt bad that so many of his selections are out of print or simply unavailable in English. But Amazon didn't seem to mind. I was surprised the Alekhine collection is out of print. Zweig is not well known in the US, unfortunately. Many of his books have fallen out of print here for years, although there is now a relatively new series of them. Sad the Churchill books are out of print. Most of his collections are only available in abridged versions.

Yah, Garry and I get into it over Reagan sometimes but it's apples and oranges. To people behind the Iron Curtain looking west he was a beacon. To the teenage son of a schoolteacher, not so much! But it's not like Garry cared about Reagan's domestic fiscal policies and attitudes about abortion and unions, or I about democracy in Eastern Europe and bankrupting the USSR. But the thought of him being on the dime does make me want to stock up on nickels.

Let Anand lose a match to Kramnik, and they'll be stoning his parents' home and burning him in effigy.

Mig: [Reagan] To people behind the Iron Curtain looking west he was a beacon.

Yes indeed! In fact the communists hated him so much that you got to
love him. He is the only politician I ever wrote a 'Thank You' letter
to (when I came to the States -- well, I was young and impressionable).
Now I'm married to a liberal who dismisses him with a Bostonian smirk,
but he was a great man.


P.S. Nice to see that my prediction from an year ago came true -- "if
Anand wins try to convince 1.5B Indians that he's not the Champion".
The fine points and technicalities of the Steinitz title lineage will
be lost to the masses. It's more like an ancient dispute on who of the
illegitimate bastards is in line for the French crown.

P.P.S. To "Audioq", from an old thread -- despite the format, match or
a tournament, there will alwayus be greater or lesser champions. It is
unavoidable. Like in every other sport, there is a difference between
the one who holds 5 World titles, to the one who holds one (or 5
Winbledon's vs. 1). There are always the Smislov's vs. the
Botvinik's. Anyway, chess needs to become more like the other sports
with annual or bi-annual Championship Tournament, instead of this
archaic match tradition, particularly after it was so badly abused in
the last decade. The idea that the Champ can take the title home, get
ill, or for whatever reason can't play and can lock it in his locker
and hold the chess world in the perpetual check of an endless dispute
is unacceptable and unfair to other great current players.


Well, when it comes to Reagan, Garry's right! You're with that other group on an island within the borders of the State of New York. I think all of you should save your nickles, but no penny for any of your thoughts.

Aristotle did not say that courage (andreias) was the highest virtue; but he selected it first for treatment when he described the moral virtues:

"eipomen proton peri andreias"
(Eth. Nic., III, 6);

this in turn was interpreted by some as meaning that Aristotle had in mind a hierarchy of virtues, with courage coming first, and debates on whether this or that order was the correct one had been fought by those interestes in "virtue ethics" ( a branch of moral philosophy)
for instance, in the 13th century Toma d'Aquino made a case for 'justice' as the primary virtue and courage as a derivative.

Well Mig, with Andrew Jackson on our $20 bill, our shame really couldn't get any worse.

Kasparov's book points out that 'location, location' location' is important in real estate, and also in positioning your knight on the chess board.

Enough to make Donald Trump take up chess I bet.

I do not think that it is wrong for Kasparov to use Churchill quotations. It makes Kasparov's own world vision more clear to others. Also, these days Churchill has a better image in Russia than Kasparov himself. After all Churchill was an ally in the big war, while Kasparov is viewed by many as an enemy of the Putin's neosoviet paradise.
Recently I was really surprised to read that Kasparov is intending to take part in the presidential elections. But, maybe it can be rather good for his safety, because, speaking about elections, he is just absolutely harmless for Kremlin. Something like 1% of votes is what he would normally get in the fair and open elections. Even pro-Western intellectuals from the big Russian towns do not politically support him as a rule... Well Kasparov is unique in the Russian politics: no one else there can be assosiated with the US Republicans. At least it is hard to recall anyone.
...Zweig is a well-known author in the Russian-speaking world. I remember how Ivanchuk was asked at the press conference at the Moscow 2002 Fide final whether he ever read a chess-related book of Zweig. Ivanchuk replied, that he tried, but disliked a book and stopped to read it quickly.
...Regarding Amazon: I understand of course, they should promote new books.

I tried to visit the World Cup website (www.ugra-chess.ru/eng/main.html) and my virus scanner alerted me that the webpage was trying to install a trojan horse. It seems like the website got infected (or maybe this is just another episode of Kirsam's quest for world domination).

>... while Kasparov is viewed by many as an enemy of the Putin's neosoviet paradise...>

Russia has reverted to unpleasantness and despotism.
But it is now apparent that this is no accident of fate, it is what Russians want and you can't free those who choose to be slaves.

Rather than fancy quoting Churchill (appealing to the Western mind-set and values) Kasparov would be right on target quoting from Dostoyevsky.
This indeed would help one understand where the Russians have always been going :

"There are three powers, three powers alone, able to conquer and to hold captive forever the conscience of these impotent rebels..those forces are miracle, mystery and authority.

'The Grand Inquisitor' Fyodor M. Dostoevsky

Vishy has offered Kasparov a match!

"Yes, if Kasparov is interested. It will be very interesting. For me it will be a nice challenge. There is a match waiting for him if he wants" at http://www.rediff.com/sports/2007/oct/16anand.htm

>"Yes, if Kasparov is interested. It will be very interesting. For me it will be a nice challenge. There is a match waiting for him if he wants">

Phony. Anand turns out to be a cheapos.

I let http://linkscanner.explabs.com/linkscanner/default.asp test the url www.ugra-chess.ru/eng/main.html and it didn't find anything. (Of course, anti-virus/spyware/malware scanners can never give a 100% guarantee.)

"Andrei Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago: 1918-1956"

Am I the only who noticed Solzhenitsyn's wrong first name (he is Aleksandr)? I am sure this is not Garry's fault. However I will not be surprised if Garry soon read about himself in some Russia paper that this only confirms that he is completely out of touch with Russia because every Russian does know Solzhenitsyn's first name.

"Well Mig, with Andrew Jackson on our $20 bill, our shame really couldn't get any worse.

Posted by: ross at October 15, 2007 21:47"

Actually, our National shame CAN get worse:

The US Mint will be producing $1.00 coins to honor each President.

So, not only will Andrew Jackson have a $1.00 Coin to honor him, but so will Andrew Johnson (who ruined the chances for a genuine Reconstruction of The South) and James Buchanon (who essentially made it inevitable that the US would have to suffer Civil War in the first place).

Nor will I be looking forward to handling the coins that commemorate such lousy Presidents as Polk (War with Mexico), Fillmore, U.S. Grant (massive corruption), Harding (more corruption), Coolidge (The Bubble Boy), and, oh yeah: Richard Milhous Nixon.

Yes, Ronald Reagan will get his commemorative dollar--although his widow Nancy will have to wait a good 10 years before the coin will be issued.

Still, Reagan gets his mug on currency, and that ought to take the momentum out of the drive to put Reagan on the Dime.

Grover Norquist and his cronies probably don't even really care about honoring Reagan. The gesture was more out of spite at FDR, then out of respect for Reagan.

If coinage was to be issued with Reagan's image, it ought to be the Wooden Nickel. That way, the 3 Dollar bill can be reserved for Dubya.

Ironically, since the US mint will not issue these $1.00 coins while the Presidents are still living, it may well be the case that Bush 43's Dollar will never be minted, since there is a good chance that he'll outlive the existence of the USA as an independent country.


'Crime, once exposed, has no refuge but in audacity.'

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on October 15, 2007 5:46 AM.

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