Chess Abilities: Russia Has Lots Of This, EU, US Has Less (Except Magnus) , Women Have Much Less Than Men

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Putin is a very competent chess player and the Chinese leaders are decent Go players and both play international politics with hostile EU/US rulers who are the Bilderberg gang and this gang of intellectual giants don’t understand deep thinking strategy since they win by being very rich and destroying their own social/economic systems, basically looting it.  Meanwhile, both Russia and China are securing their nations and building something there instead of driving both deep into debt.  Russia Outplays the West

 

Bloomberg commentator Leonid Bershidsky confirms what we always said would happen: Ukraine is in a bind, Russia holds all the cards, and the Russian economy is bouncing back as Western investors flood back in.

 

Here is a comment from a reader that I can’t beat:

 

Muhammad Abbass Vera Gottlieb • 13 hours ago
If they play poker anymore they play it very poorly I’d say. Even if you’re not paying close attention you can see their hand from their faces from the other side of the room. I’d say it is more like a game of snakes and ladders. Snakes crawling about, trying to climb anything that looks like a ladder but failing because they forgot they don’t have any feet.

 

I went to university when only 16 years old and my parents and grandparents were all scientists and astronomers.  My intelligence level was at the very top tier when I was young and I had proof of this by winning scholarships that were based 100% on examinations and tests with no holds barred.  Even so, I lack ability in various skills that I attempted in the past such as playing chess.  When I was under the age of 12, I did as well as boys when playing chess.  Then, they rapidly pulled ahead of me by age 16.  I was very frustrated by this.  Up until today, no one has any explanation for this strange inability of women to compete at science and mind puzzle games like chess or Go, compared to men and even boys.

 

Trust me, I was painfully annoyed that I can’t do what men can do.  Far from giving up due to being disinterested, I feel to this day tremendous frustration and fury that I can’t come close to the top men in these areas.  I did men’s work all my life and did it very well and often, with little extra effort but when it comes to these particular mental gymnastics, I am a klutz compared to intelligent men.

 

Far from being angry with men about this, I am curious as to why this is happening to me.  Why are world class women chess players extremely rare?  Around 1% of the top chess and Go professional players are women, after all.  Since this requires no brawn, why are women so utterly incapable of competing with men in chess?

 

One of the explanations given by men who are top players is, women aren’t as ruthless or desire victory enough to compete.  I call this hogwash. I am very predatory when competing.  I have, for fun, fought in medieval armor on the battlefield where women are also quite scarce and held my own ground and then some, even doing strategy and tactics and one on one combat or even fighting several men at once which is how I broke my arm.

Top genius chess king, Carlson Magnus, demolishes top woman chess queen, Judit Polgar in speed chess tournament in London, 2012.

 

But I can’t beat men at chess!  Most annoying.  Media Storm Over Grandmaster Gender Column – Chess.com discusses the concept cooked up by people who don’t want to admit, men have mental powers women seldom have, to explain away why women can’t win very often in these mental games:

 

A month after publication, a column by GM Nigel Short on gender differences has suddenly caused a heated debate in English media. Short’s remark that “men and women’s brains are hard-wired very differently” is in the center of the argument.

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The question is almost as old as the game itself: why are women performing worse in chess than men? In his column for New in Chess Magazine 2015/2 GM Nigel Short attempted to put a different perspective, suggesting “rather than fretting about inequality, perhaps we should just gracefully accept it as a fact.”

 

Here’s the final paragraph of Short’s column:

 

“Men and women’s brains are hard-wired very differently, so why should they function in the same way? I don’t have the slightest problem in acknowledging that my wife possesses a much higher degree of emotional intelligence than I do. Likewise, she doesn’t feel embarrassed in asking me to manoeuvre the car out of our narrow garage. One is not better than the other, we just have different skills. It would be wonderful to see more girls playing chess, and at a higher level, but rather than fretting about inequality, perhaps we should just gracefully accept it as a fact.”

 

Here is a woman top player’s take at the forum: Spektrowski

 

Chess in Soviet Union were very equal-opportunity, both boys and girls were encouraged to play chess and study in chess schools as early as in 1920s. Despite this equality, Soviet woman players, even world champions, were barely master-strength players (Olga Rubtsova, for instance, won the World Championship at age 47, being a mother of five and only playing chess in her spare time. It’s quite an achievement, but if the world champion is essentially an amateur, that says something about the level of competition). The first grandmaster-strength woman that could compete with men was Nona Gaprindashvili, who came to prominence in the early 1960s. Compare one Gaprindashvili with a few dozens of male masters and grandmasters produced by the same Soviet chess system.

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But, at the same time, women faredmuch better in amateur and open Soviet tournaments. So it seems that on casual level, women are generally equal to men. But there is certain something, perhaps not even related to chess strength per se, that prevents most women from consistently playing grandmaster-level chess.

 

Women still don’t come out on top, as high as men in general at any level of chess tournaments except at the very young levels where I did well for a while.  One thing that infuriated me most was, when I began to show signs of being a woman due to hormone changes, my chess abilities faded fast.  I fell further and further behind.

 

Even more frustrating, I could still analyze other people’s games and even anticipate the best moves, both with Go and chess and could even hang out online at top player’s games there even professional players, and give a running analysis in the comments sections and everyone assumed I was also a pro player when I am utterly incompetent to play myself!  I marveled at this embarrassing inability, too.  I figure, this has something mysterious to do with how humans evolved as tool makers.

 

Here is a discussion about this business at the Japanese Go Association’s website:  Discrimination in Go at Sensei’s Library

 

BobMcGuigan: I’ll add to dnerra’s remark and say that while there may (I say may) be some physical basis [3] for the existence of women-only tennis or golf, go is a mind sport so there is really no inherent reason why women and men shouldn’t compete on an equal basis. There may be societal bias which affects women and their ability or willingness to compete. And there are several women who are very strong pro players, even Rui who won an open title in Korea (the Kuksu).

 

On extremely rare occasions, a woman’s star shines very brightly indeed.  But it remains rare like unicorn horns.  Instead of delving into why this is so, many excuses are made to avoid delving into the physical, evolutionary reasons.

 

Tamsin: There are various physical reasons why women might be less disposed toward playing go than men, in fact. Testosterone and oestrogen have radically different effects on a person’s temperament and style of thinking. These hormones have profound effects on different structures in the brain.

 

This may very well be true.  I have a man’s fighting temperament and I have a lifetime of doing male fighting.  Way back when I was dating a top Olympic saber fighter, I used to spar with him using saber swords.  This was forbidden back then.  We campaigned to change the rules and eventually women were allowed to fight this way.  Unlike fencing which tags people, with saber you slash  hard and it leaves welts which I didn’t mind at all.

 

After women were allowed to do this finally, very few entered saber fighting.  Why is that?  I wasn’t the best on earth at that.  Women who do end up saber fighting tend to be tomboy types in build and often character but I was neither.  I have a very female body.  I could feel the sensation of resistance to learning and doing saber fighting from inside myself and was determined to overcome this impulse.

 

But I was never anywhere near the level of male saber fighters and had no illusions of being as good as them, after all, my teacher was awesomely difficult to win against even if one was a very good male fighter.  Nonetheless, I couldn’t ever go scale the heights he scaled seemingly easily.

 

Velobici: women might be less disposed toward playing go than men what effects might this have? Fewer women studying Go with sufficient vigor to reach professional strength? All women that do study go, studying with less intensity and perhaps not reaching the strength of male players?

 

Rich: I agree, Tamsin; in fact, while the influence of various sex hormones affect temperament, Perhaps the most obvious way they affect people is developmentally. The quote “Go is a mind sport so there is really no inherent reason why women and men shouldn’t compete on an equal basis” seems idealistic; since sex hormones during development radically affect almost every aspect of the body – muscle, hair growth, skin tone and so on – why should it be a surprise that it affects brain structure? Other individual competitive mind sports, like chess, are equally male-dominated.

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I don’t know one way or the other, and personally have no clue whether it’s nature or nurture; but consider this – if women are generally less physiologically disposed to high-level success in go than men, so what?

 

It matters a lot.  The curious hole in studying the reasons why women can’t compete in science, math, mental games like Go or chess, is political.  No one dares venture into ruthless research in this vital area.  Instead, all sorts of goofy excuses are made to explain away this fascinating difference between men and women.

 

Here is a typical attempt at being stupid:  Are Girls Bad at Chess? – Scientific American (which has been dumbed down over the last 60 years I have read the magazine):

 

Psychologists have hypothesized that repeated exposure to stereotype threat might cause people to avoid the activities that are causing the threat. In other words, one reason why women may shy away from math-oriented careers is because of their previous experiences with stereotype threat in math-related situations. To see if this might be happening with young female chess players, Rothgerber and Wolsiefer looked at the number of tournaments played by their research participants in the following year. In addition, they calculated the number of months that passed until each player competed in their next tournament. They found that girls who performed more poorly than expected tended to play in fewer tournaments the following year. They also waited longer before competing again. For boys, their performance was unrelated to their later decisions to continue playing. Therefore, only girls who perform more poorly than expected seem at risk to give up on chess.

 

So, ‘girls give up!’ is the scientific answer????  I want to saber sword slash these dumb psychologists.  I hate giving up.  I want desperately to compete. Yet I find this odd mental discomfort place where men are quite comfortable and it is not due to psychological problems.  My parents and grandparents wanted my sisters as well as me to excel in these areas and yet we struggled to do what our several brothers did so seemingly effortlessly.

 

This research demonstrates that stereotype threat may, in fact, thwart performance in real-world situations. Even outside the laboratory, where there are so many variables at play, stereotypes have the potential to cause vulnerable individuals to falter. Overall, the study suggests that stereotype threat may be an issue for even young girls and may contribute to girls’ early avoidance of certain activities. To prevent girls from giving up in areas where they are negatively stereotyped, parents and educators may need to step in early.

 

Except, due to zero research in this fascinating field of study, the differenced between male and female brains, the brainiacs debating this issue want more efforts to lead female horses to the water trough to drink when the horses have no interest in drinking but rather would eat grass instead.  A round about verbal way of saying, ‘You can lead a horse to water but can’t force it to drink’.

 

Lots of wasted effort goes into forcing people to do or learn things they don’t want to do or learn.  Meanwhile, males who excel in these things are chastised for being mean to others when they compete ferociously with each other in these areas.  Demands that they make nice and back down are heaped on high level males especially when they are boys.  This does not happen with sports.

 

Everyone accepts that women are hopelessly inferior to men in sports and women therefore, universally, have their own sports areas to compete only with each other.  This is true in Go and chess: women prefer to go for their own sex specific titles.  The few who make it to the upper 1%  of players in the male world remain very much a 1% of the top 1% and seldom anywhere near the very top rankings.

 

At a debate raging on another chess forum is this comment:  Why are men better at chess than women at the GM level and all other levels? – Quora

 

2) Some boys as teenagers have an extraordinary ability for tunnel vision and can spend long hours in front of the chess board while loving every single second. Those are typically the one that become very good chess players. I simply did not see that same behaviour in most girls, with a few exceptions.

 

3) At the top level (grand master level and higher), there might be other subtle reasons contributing, that are of neurobiological origin. I just don’t know and I don’t think you can scientifically test this easily.

 

The last comment is BS.  This is ridiculously easy to scientifically test for this.  But no one dares do it.  At universities, any professor doing this would be terrorized, lose his or her position, they would be hounded by screaming students, the administrators would begin sabotaging their daily lives on campus.  The media would attack violently, politicians would demand the professors be investigated.

 

All hell would break loose.  So instead, we pretend that girls are weaklings who give up because…they are GIRLS!  I am highly insulted by this. I never give up due to being a weakling, I gave up due to recognizing I didn’t have the ability due to something different in my brain.  I can see clear as day, how the top chess and Go players think and operate their brains but I can’t do it myself!  How annoying is that?

 

Very annoying.  Congratulations, all you guys: you have something I will never have.

 

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39 Comments

Filed under nature, Politics

39 responses to “Chess Abilities: Russia Has Lots Of This, EU, US Has Less (Except Magnus) , Women Have Much Less Than Men

  1. melponeme_k

    My experience playing chess…

    My mind becomes totally distracted by the numerous possibilities. I can’t narrow it all down to the best possible move, I think of more. And this is only my chess moves. When I start to think about the opponent, total brain lock down.

    But when it comes to social situations and anticipating the reactions of everyone in the room….easy as eating pie.

    ΩΩΩ

    ELAINE: SAME HERE!

    I suspect that women are good at observing others for this is how we evolved and survived.

  2. Peter C.

    When I started my first job in Telecommunications in the 80’s all the techs were male and at lunch there would be at least 6 or 7 chess games going on at lunch in the shop.(this meant half the crew of 30 or so were playing chess at lunch every day!)
    Sadly the computer chess games came along and the guys started playing against their computers instead of each other.
    We had a couple of women who got hired but they soon left.
    Our brains are different,us males love to play with gadgets and tools,and I never remember seeing any girls in the chess club.

  3. Henry

    “Congratulations, all you guys: you have something I will never have”

    This used to called penis envy. LOL!

  4. joseppi

    Recent scientific studies have revealed that women by far have a gender advantage over men in all verbal domestic disputes.

  5. emsnews

    Absolutely.

    Female logic trumps male math! 🙂

  6. vengeur

    I can strongly relate to this subject, and as a man. I have three older brothers, all of whom excelled in mathematics, chemistry, physics, etc. There were differences in their aptitudes, some being more hands on and “mechanical”, others more inclined to the study of theory, but all inclined toward science. I, on the other hand started having trouble with math in the 7th grade. There was just something stark and cold and frightening about it. Well by the ninth grade, I flunked algebra, which was totally incomprehensible and a scandal in my family. I repeated the course and got an “A”; I learned to jump through the hoops. I continued on, even taking calculus in college, which I somehow passed not having the slightest clue what I was doing. Physics and chemistry were absolute torture. I found quite by accident that I had an aptitude for language, but never dared to embrace it until years later, and learned French and German, basically with classes and tutors , as a sort of hobby. I would also watch the Spanish channels on TV (before I knew ANY Spanish, which would drive people absolutely crazy.) The point of all this being: my studying math etc. was a total and complete waste of time. I also marvel at people who are mechanics, I wish I could be mechanical. Yes, I can muddle through. But it just isn’t there, and pretending it is asinine. So I do understand this pressure on some women “to be good at math and science”. Yes, a basic understanding of science, geology, math etc. is a good thing to have, and I believe almost everybody can attain that. But aptitude should be an entirely individual thing. A friend of mine’s daughter was an absolute whiz at math and science, and got her dream job as a CSI tech because of it. People like me have to be content with the TV show. But I cannot stress enough that stereotypes are also put on men, since we are SUPPOSED to be mechanical and science inclined , and many of us are not. One last analogy: The sports loving father who wants his talentless or average son to be an athlete. Same situation. He ends up hating sports (and his father) or spends his life “tying to be the best”.

  7. Duski

    I played some chess when I was young, I still do a bit from time to time. It’s same for males, really, when you compare yourself to the top players: It just feels like they are on different level of thinking.

    And also, analyzing the game from the side, it feels like it’s easier to make more correct decisions than when playing the game. Could it be that there’s something with mental stress that makes it harder psychologically to play at your best?

    Magnus Carlsen seems to be absolutely best player psychologically, seems like he does not stress at all in his games, very relaxed and composed. He himself has told that he does not calculate often much or “think” much, he just “feels” what is right (not exact quote but that’s what I remember, hopefully right). After all, in any single move, there are not THAT many options, but when analyzed by top computers, it’s amazing how often Carlsen can make absolutely best or very close to best move. That is also why he often likes to keep grinding on games, trying to keep on maneuvering pieces until he’s opponent makes one or more slight mistakes which allows him to push for win.

    For example that game against Polgar you posted, Polgar made only one slight mistake, but Magnus just kept on making very accurate moves and ever so slowly building pressure… which is very tough psychologically to handle over time for opponent.

    Also, Judtih Polgar has been pretty much only serious woman contender ever in chess, being at top 8 at best. I think we can safely say she has been able to play at the very top level, so it’s not impossible to women play at top level, but it certainly takes something very special in individual to do so.

    Darn Elaine, I have this half-serious dream of meeting you sometimes in this life, I want to play a game against you in addition to million subjects I’d like to talk! I was never that greatly strong hehe, you might kick my ass.🙂

  8. nclaughlin

    I love it when people say political incorrect things!

  9. DeVaul

    @ venguer

    “I found quite by accident that I had an aptitude for language, but never dared to embrace it until years later, and learned French and German, basically with classes and tutors , as a sort of hobby.”

    Same thing happened to me in college, venguer. I got a D in calculus (I deserved an F) and said: “this is for the birds”. I had actually given up after spending the first THREE WEEKS on “limits”! Pure torture!

    Fortunately, I convinced the administration to allow me to take German at the same time (normally not allowed), and I loved it. I majored in German and became fluent in it later in Germany. I also loved grammar and phonetics, and anything linguistically related, but the huge math book I bought at the beginning of college was never once cracked except to kill a fly or act as a paper weight, and I was the top math student in my high school.

    My parents were disappointed that I was not going to become an engineer. They just couldn’t get over it. Maybe because I was the oldest son.

    ΩΩΩ

    ELAINE: DeVaul, you are a most interesting person indeed! I wish you could visit me. Anyone who wants can visit me, my door is always open to visitors, I own this interesting little mountainside…a bear visited last night and smashed my bird feeder!

  10. vengeur

    Devaul I am so glad you “escaped” the expectation trap. I love your comments “I got a D in calculus (I deserved an F)”. LOL. That reminds me of how , whether physics or math or chemistry problems, I would NEVER get the right answer. I could only hope to get partial credit for the process of getting there. http://www.goethe.de/ins/br/cur/bib/zuz/deindex.htm

  11. Jim R

    I never did well at chess, except at the very lowest levels. Back in the ’80s I failed to beat the chess program in the 99/4A computer, which according to my co-workers was a very poor program and easy to beat.

    I always did well in math and got high scores on tests of all kinds.

    But never could see more than a couple moves ahead in chess. To really win at it, you have to see five or six moves ahead, and have a strategy, an instinct for which positions are better than which other ones.

  12. Christian W

    Chess can be learned up to a point, you can learn the basic strategy, how to see the board and break it up (center, left flank, right flank, lines, diagonals, rows, weak squares, strong squares eg), how to optimize the interaction of the pieces, pawn structures, isolated pawns, double pawns, is the game open, semi closed, or closed, how to calculate variations, tactical themes, opening theory, middle game theory, end game theory etc.

    But the exceptionally good players, the very top, they have an ability you simply cannot learn, they have some kind of profound talent to see the position and intuit the best continuation combined with a rock solid ability to calculate hard variations when needed. I think it is some kind of intuitive, spatial and logical sphere, an ability to grasp (even “feel”) patterns changing in space and time combined with an understanding of what is the critical factor at any given time, and how that factor changes with the changes in position.

    Computers don’t have this ability, they just calculate an enormous amount of variations based on set parameters made by programmers. Those parameters are based on the basics of chess I outlined in the first paragraph.

    Magnus Carlsen may be the best player ever, possibly only Garry Kasparov at his peak was better. One of Magnus’ greatest strengths is his ability to be open to the game and switch strategy when the situation demands it. Other players may go for a strategy and pursue it very well, which Magnus also does, but Magnus has the additional ability to simply go with the current position and adapt a new approach on the spot. Magnus plays very solid chess slowly improving his position and when the opponent makes a slight mistake Magnus is quick to use it to improve his position even further while his opponent chances diminishes until they are snuffed out.

    Strong, solid playes like Magnus are very difficult to play against because they hide their positional weaknesses where it is hard to get to them. If you try too hard you will just create weaknesses in your own position that your opponent will instantly exploit.

  13. DeVaul

    “I could only hope to get partial credit for the process of getting there.”

    Amazing! That’s exactly how I got a D. The professor would give me credit for writing out the “formula” even if I had no idea how to use it, but would dock some brilliant kid 15 points if he got a minus or plus sign wrong somewhere in a mile long equation. I could not believe what he was doing, but he was from Sweden, so maybe he had some kind weird way of grading.

    I was an excellent chess player, but I lost interest about 20 years ago.

  14. Pontiff Holysh*t

    Magnus Carlsen is Norwegian.

    Yeah, Nigel Short got a huge backlash with his comments.

    Here is one U.S. International Master’s comments on the matter:

    Women in Chess
    http://www.gregshahade.com/

    His sister is actually a pretty strong master as well.

    The best player from the U.S. is Hikaru Nakamura. Unfortunately, he is a bit a douche-bag.

    Anyone can improve at chess, but #12 is right that to be a top player, you have to be gifted.
    But if you are are bored and you really want to get better, here is the place to do it:

    http://chesstempo.com/chess-tactics.html

    If you are stupid enough to want to waste enough time to be good at chess (ahem), it is important to learn basic endgames first, like king and pawn vs. king, and work from there. Otherwise it is much more difficult to figure out how to play the earlier stages properly, i.e. if you don’t know what endgames are favorable or not.

    And learning enough about opening theory to compete at the master level is another really time consuming agenda.

  15. vengeur

    OT: a bit of sanity from Europe:http://tass.ru/en/world/792891

  16. emsnews

    Magnus is changing chess totally.

    Watch his games! Guess what? THE KING IS VERY ACTIVE IN MANY OF HIS GAMES. It is an attack piece!

    Furthermore, he even says, ‘You have to give your king room to breathe and fight’.

    His daring mobility for the king is awesome to watch. He also sacrifices the queen often quite quickly in his games.

    I saw one game where the king and two pawns and two castles destroyed the other player. Clue: all of them stayed TOGETHER.

    The castles were nearly always side by side and the pawns stuck to the mobile king as he relentlessly moved all the way across the board to the other king which he and his two castles killed. Amazing player.

  17. DeVaul

    Well, that’s one of the great things about chess. Even after thousands of years, all new strategies can be developed using the same pieces in a different way. My guess is it will never die out. It is too versatile, and yet simple to learn how to play.

    I lost interest because too many players 20 years ago pushed the game into gridlock, which I hated. I would sometimes sacrifice a piece just to open a gap in the other player’s lines and then use what was left to chop him up.

  18. Petruchio

    ” women aren’t as ruthless or desire victory enough to compete. I call this hogwash.” It IS hogwash. Notable examples of women who prove the stereotype wrong: Christine Lagarde, Janet Yellin, the head of the SEC is female and, of course, THE most hideous, revolting, disgusting, vile, sleazy example of them all, Hillary Clinton. I think women , if put in certain positions, will try to OVERcompensate for being even more ruthless than men. Margaret Thatcher is a good–but disgusting–example of that.

  19. Ziff

    I find math some how aestheticaly repulsive. Interesting piece,.

  20. Jim R

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_Blue_versus_Garry_Kasparov

    Nowadays, if you are willing to throw enough computer power at it, you can evaluate all those millions of positions, several moves in advance.

    Still, it was noteworthy that Kasparov could beat the stupid machine sometimes.

  21. melponeme_k

    @Jim R

    Many people do not accept the Big Blue win. Mainly because the programmers were allowed to REPROGRAM Blue during the match. Why was this allowed? If there was a glitch or a bug, the proper and required action was to forfeit. But instead IBM LIED. And this isn’t the only time they did it. In fact a film theorist, Rob Ager, thinks that Kubrick added many jokes at IBM’s lying ways in 2001 A Space Odyssey.

    And this ties into what Elaine writes about regarding elites, their companies and their pet hobby horses. They are incapable of intellectual honesty.

  22. emsnews

    Computers (I used to make computer board prototypes for Texas Instruments long long ago, for example, and worked in the RPI computer fabrication research laboratory in NY, too) are smarter than us and dumb as rocks.

    They can’t think their way out of a maze if that maze suddenly becomes a catastrophe (Fukushima) only humans have the mental flexibility to do shockingly different things suddenly when the world is turned upside down which is why humans still triumph on the battlefield no matter how many high tech stuff is thrown at them.

    Computers follow rules and chess is all about very limiting rules. No lightning bolts or tsunamis allowed.

  23. melponeme_k

    “…smarter than us and dumb as rocks.”

    Of course, but IBM, for decades, has tasked itself with creating the first A.I. that will rival human beings. It can’t be done. We will run out of money and fall into the dark ages before it can be attempted in an even half-ass fashion. But that hasn’t stopped IBM from lying every which way to Sunday that they are on the verge. They have been on the verge so long it is hilarious and each “proof” shows there was a bit skulduggery involved.

    And of course, we haven’t even touched on the cultic belief of Singularity that many in the tech world are so gung ho for nowadays. They all actually think they will be uploaded into some super-sentient computer and they will live forever. Its kind of funny….imagine being forced to live inside a Windows program forever.

  24. Petruchio

    Elaine: just curious, but how do you explain someone like Danica Patrick? She can race cars at 200mph with the men. An anomaly, maybe? There isn’t a big crowd of women coming up in the racing ranks, so it’s hard to figure–at least with my feeble male brain! HAHA

  25. Moe

    We come full circle to the ‘Nature vs. Nurture’ dialogue. It’s become obvious to me over many years that the ‘Nature’ side prevails.

    It’s all in the genes, folks. Of course, that comment fails to explain the gender differentiations discussed here, and a more comprehensive theory would be gratifying. Until then, viva la différence!

  26. Jim R

    @mel,

    In fact a film theorist, Rob Ager, thinks that Kubrick added many jokes at IBM’s lying ways in 2001 A Space Odyssey.

    Well, now really. The Deep Blue contest was in 1996 and ‘2001’ was filmed in 1968.

    But, Kubrick definitely had a keen eye for bullshit. Computer bullshit in ‘2001’ and military bullshit in ‘Strangelove’. He just loved to send-up the bullshitters.

  27. Moe

    #3. Henry: “This used to called penis envy”. Tsk, tsk, Henry. As already commented on, not PC. It is odd though, that your comment was precisely my first thought in response to Elaine’s article. Great minds think alike, (and fools never differ!).

    A very good friend of mine, (now deceased) was a psychologist. Though Freudian trained, he disagreed with Freud on this issue. My friend’s contention was that penis envy was not intrinsic to sibling gender relationship, but was tribally/culturally induced through favoritism, most radically illustrated and enforced via female infanticide. His contention was that female children valued and treated equally well as their male siblings, did not develop penis envy.

    Now that I think of it, I should follow up and see if any studies have been done on this.

  28. emsnews

    Oooh boy…HAHAHA.

    Girl’s views of penises: EEEEWWWW.. Now handsome young vampires? YUMMMMY.

    See?

  29. Petruchio

    I don’t know about penis envy from personal experience, but I do know about penis worship!!!! LOL

  30. vengeur

    Well, women used to play bridge, back when people used to play bridge.

  31. CK

    Games have rules, so games have cheats.
    Sports, both team and individual, have rules and restrictions so sports not only have cheats, they have Lenin’s basic understanding of human nature; Who, Whom. ( кто кого)
    Reality, (Mother Nature married to Father Time and not in a gay way) has no permanent rules, the future is always provisional.
    One can cheat reality for a while, one can play Who Whom on what Whim for a while. Eventually we will all die not knowing when reality will inadvertently reassert itself.
    Maybe on the next go round ova will be prolific and sperm will be in short supply. It is such a wonder filled universe and it almost repeats itself and almost rhymes too.
    One cannot step in the same stream twice, time changes the stepper and the stepped in; the very act of stepping now will change that into which you step(ped) … now.

  32. Pontiff Holysh*t

    I think its a bit of a stretch to say Carlsen is changing chess totally.

    For example Wilhelm Steinitz, the first official world chess champion, advocated the King as a fighting piece over 100 years ago: http://www.wilhelmsteinitz.com/Fighting_King.html

    The truth is that chess is a very concrete game and, despite Carlsen’s proclamations, it is primarily his superior calculation ability that allows him to take advantage of apparently subtle nuances that sometimes escape his world class super grandmaster opponents.

    Computers, on the other hand, are totally changing chess.

    I would venture that most chess aficionados believe, rightly, that Kasparov would likely have beaten Deep Blue in a rematch; i.e., he lost because he simply underestimated the machine and therefore did not prepare for the match like he would were he competing against a world class human opponent.

    Of course, modern computer programs would crush all the top players today even running on consumer systems, let alone industrial super-computers.

  33. Seraphim

    Now, there are domains at which women are far superior to men. It is how nature works.
    As to the comparison of the games that Russian, Chinese and Americans play, it was made long ago. It went like this: Americans play Monopoly, Russians play chess. Some commenters retorted: Americans play poker, they don’t have time to waste, they are doers. Comments continued like that: Americans play poker with marked cards, staking the deck, cheating in other words. When they are exposed they pull out the gun and win all!

  34. emsnews

    If you screw around with reality, the more successful you are, the worse the backlash is when Reality comes screaming back in full attack.

    Reality ALWAYS wins in the end.

    One can fake things for a long, long time. But the crushing destruction of the fake system is complete when the backlash hits. ‘Out on a limb’ is what goes here.

    Yes, computers can outthink us but not outwit reality. This is the entire problem with machine logic systems which Asimov wanted desperately to eliminate with his ‘robot rules’ for example.

    But even his Foundation series showed the flaws of his own system designed to make robots safe from annihilating humans.

    But thanks to humans wanting to annihilate each other, robots will do this because humans running robots will design them to do this. Ask the Pentagon how this works!

    The backlash is obvious and a number of great SF writers detected it: the robots will analyze the need to eliminate their masters to save the earth or whatever the project is, and thus, kill off the rulers. Like on Solaria, the planet of robots in the Foundation series. The robots smothered the rulers to the point, the rulers could no longer function as free creatures but were terrified lunatics hiding from each other.

  35. melponeme_k

    “The backlash is obvious and a number of great SF writers detected it: the robots will analyze the need to eliminate their masters to save the earth or whatever the project is, and thus, kill off the rulers.”

    Elaine, that will never happen. We will run out of money and collapse before such robots could be created. As far as programmed intelligence, computers are barely on level with lower forms such as insects. At this rate, IBM and the rest of the Tech world should drop that money suck project and work on quality of life projects such as getting us off oil as an energy source.

  36. emsnews

    Tis most easy to live with no oil, humans did this for a million years.

    If you are a master/ruler it is perfectly comfortable, too. For the miserable human slaves, not so good.

  37. DeVaul

    Umm…. you are saying that medieval dukes, barons, and kings were “perfectly comfortable” sleeping on sacks of hay or goose feathers filled with fleas, bed bugs, and other things best not mentioned?

    Again, I don’t believe this. The average “ruler” during the Dark Ages and even earlier could only DREAM of living a modern middle class American lifestyle. Most never even bothered to daydream about it, since they were too busy just trying to stay alive.

    The difference between a medieval king and his peasants in the area of comfort was not extreme at all. In areas regarding access to healthy food, water, and fancy clothing, and perhaps transportation, the extremes became more apparent.

  38. Peter C.

    Rich Romans had flushing toilets and water faucets and ice.
    The poor?Not so much.

  39. wellwell

    Very interesting piece, Elaine. I agree that most of us would not want to live in a solar powered society without the energy bonanza of fossil fuels.

    “For nearly three hundred years Britain, reconciled to the Roman system, enjoyed in many respects the happiest, most comfortable, and most enlightened times its inhabitants have ever had. . . . In this period . . . . persons in Britain lived better than they ever did until late Victorian times. From the year 400 till the year 1900 no one had central heating and very few had hot baths. A wealthy British-Roman citizen building a country house regarded the hypocaust which warmed it as indispensable. For fifteen hundred years his descendants lived in the cold of unheated dwellings, mitigated by occasional roastings at gigantic wasteful fires. Even now a smaller proportion of the whole population dwells in centrally heated houses than in those ancient days. As for baths, they were completely lost till the middle of the nineteenth century. In all this long, bleak intervening gap cold and dirt clung to the most fortunate and highest in the land.”

    Winston Churchill, A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, Vol. 1, pp. 4, 35-36).

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