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Metaphor Irony Dept.

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This from the AP the other day.

Iran official to US: Chess better game than boxing

"The United States needs to play on a chess set (with Iran) instead of playing in a boxing ring," IRNA quoted Ali Larijani as telling a group of visiting reporters in Tehran Saturday.

Someone might wish to point out to him that the mullahs in Iran have, on occasion, banned chess as un-Islamic. (A centuries-long argument not limited to Iran, of course.) Not at the moment though, which is nice. Anyway, I'd take team USA over their guys any time. Iran did field an all-GM Olympiad team in Dresden and drew Hungary in the first round. Led by Ghaem Maghami they finished in 40th, exactly where seeded. I think I noted at the time that only Iran and England (#15) finished exactly where seeded. Ah, trivia.

Karpov is supposed to begin training the Iranian team, which was recently coached by Nigel Short.


Expect to see a PC comment defending Iran in this space soon!

A four board match between native-born teams from the US and Iran would be a close contest:

And a match between native-born, ACTIVE players might go the way of their last World Cup (soccer) encounter.

I wonder if they realise that with chess, you slowly try to out-maneuver your opponent until you can finally crush them...

I wont defend Iran , but in a contest of stupid remarks USA would be out before even starting.
Not because of you Mig , not because of any american citizen , but your ex president Bush has made a fool of himself more than any human being in the planet.

Defending Iran from what?

I'll never figure out the point of insisting on not counting guys like Nakamura and Seirawan, who got their entire chess upbringing in the US. Is it only to demean their accomplishments or the US? If the point is the players the US can or cannot produce, then not counting them doesn't make any sense because they are obviously US chess products. Those who were FIDE-rated before coming to the US, at least that's an argument, if not the one we are having at the moment. Unless you think there is some sort of injection babies receive in US hospitals at birth that affects chess, where they were born is irrelevant.

Ahmadinejad can hold his own with anyone in the dumb remarks competition. His appearance at Columbia U alone would cover years of such things for most people.

I forgot to add a few other Iranian chess links to the article. One on Karpov training their team, the other more of an overview on their top players from a few years ago.



If you want to say that Iranians are weaker than Americans at chess then comparing native born US players to native born Iranians makes the most sense to me.

No-one is arguing that that babies in the US receive an injection at birth that effects their chess (nice attempt at a straw man though). But, I disagree that just because someone lived in the US means that he/she is a "product" of the US chess system. Most people retain the norms, ethics, and cultural attributes of their home countries for at least a generation. And, that has demonstrably a much greater impact than the fact that they did or did not grow up in the US.


The many non-native chess players indicate there must be something right with the US. Despite all imperfections. They made a conscious decision to live there. Why are there only native-born players in Iran?

@Larijani's remarks:

Quite on the spot, I would say.

"Most people retain the norms, ethics, and cultural attributes of their home countries for at least a generation."
This probably makes sense for ex-Soviet players, even if they emigrated to other countries at childhood age - maybe you could even add 'genes' to your list. But for Nakamura and Seirawan: How did it help their chess careers that they were born in Japan and Syria, respectively?
(I was inclined to put ,:) - but as Mishap seems to be serious, my question is also serious ...)


Could be their parents. At least in Nakamura's case that is very likely as his step dad is a FM.

BTW. I'm not arguing that the US is a terrible place. I think just the opposite, the US is great.

I only take issue with Mig's self righteous: "Anyway, I'd take team USA over their guys any time." Which is a bit ironic because a majority of the top players were neither born nor brought up here.

@ Mig and Manu
I think a 4 game match between Bush and Ahmadinejad is what is called for to resolve the argument :)

"Nakamura and Seirawan: How did it help their chess careers that they were born in Japan and Syria, respectively?"

"Could be their parents. At least in Nakamura's case that is very likely as his step dad is a FM."

Huh??? The reason that Nakamura being born in Japan helped his Chess career is his step dad, who is actually of Sri Lankan birth??

Again .. huh?? Makes no sense whatsoever, on about 100 levels.

My note of not defending Iran was a response to the first post on this thread:
¨Expect to see a PC comment defending Iran in this space soon!¨

I see no sense in comparing a poor 3rd world country like Iran (or my own: Argentina) with USA.
When you start to feel that you resent (or hate or dont like or whatever) people that lives half a world away from you , it is time to ask yourself who told you to feel that way.

@ Bartleby: ¨Why are there only native-born players in Iran?¨
Camon dude, that is not a fair question , we all know USA is rich and powerfull ,etc,etc.
Your question is like asking why poor people like to dress so bad .
Dont let a false sense of superiority grow inside of you , hystory teaches us that the most powerfull empires were made with the colaboration of the less intelligent masses.
And about being born here or there , check this out:


Wait, does anyone actually know why poor people like to dress so badly?

Don´t know , i try to look the other way every time.
It gets harder in some countries.

"a poor 3rd world country like Iran ..."

Is this really true? And if so, whose responsibility is it? After all, its oil and gas resources are not that insignificant ... .

It was easy to blame George W. Bush for everything - and also in my opinion, quite often justified. But those days are over.

This is not the place for that discussion Thomas , maybe some other time.
The point i was trying to make is that you cant make a valid comparison between the players from the 2 coutries with so diferent situations.
The oportunities for the children in those countries are so diferent that is absurd to make a comparison with USA.
Im not blaming Bush for everything , i mentioned him because he is the undisputed WCH in making stupid remarks.

Interesting discussion, but there's not much point in it because I very much share your views.

To me the non-natives on the top of the US list represents one of the more likable sides of the US - embrace of diversity and (sometimes) immigration.

From what I know Iran ideologically embraces diversity, too, and houses large numbers of refugees. So I am rather curious about ¨Why are there only native-born players in Iran?¨
I would be delighted if someone tells me that #2 is in fact a Soviet-born Grand Master who immigrated from Central Asia, #5 the son of an Afghan refugee, and #7 a pious Muslim from Georgia who came for religious reasons.

Generally I agree with Manu that "this is not the right place" for such discussions - even though they were presumably expected, maybe solicited by Mig when he posted this entry.
But I am at least surprised by one quote from Bartleby and would like to know a bit more about it:
"From what I know Iran ideologically embraces diversity, too, ..."
This is the first time I hear or read anything like that ... . To start with, Iran refers to itself as 'an Islamic republic' - so diversity or tolerance with respect to other religions is very limited (even not taking into consideration if/to what extent this proclamation is enforced in practice).
I do not mean to imply that the USA are 'perfect' in that respect: Muslims have a hard time there (and in manny other countries), and - to my knowledge - Obama was the first one explicitly saying that atheism is also a legitimate part of American culture. Just a disclaimer, more on this would really be off-topic.

I know see what you meant, great!

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on February 19, 2009 6:55 PM.

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