Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Round 5 of the western States Open-French fight!

This was the only game I won in the B-Section of the Western States Open. It went back and forth and I got to work a bit on my French defense.

Richard Martin 1658 vs. Chris Harrington 1600

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fertile battle grounds in the French Tarrasch or my sixth round game of the Western States Open

I know I said that I would post my third round game next but I actually was pretty interested to go over this game. That's one of the most important part of looking over your game is to actually be motivated and this one intrigued me by what i might find. The distinguished gentleman in the above picture is Tarrasch himself. Old school chess master whom this line of the French gets its name.

One of the things that was interesting in the opening of this game is that we both knew the ideas pretty well. I think both of us were in book theory for 12 moves, I was sublimely aware of the book moves for 15 moves. Which brings me to a point I wanted to make. There is an interesting dogma in chess that I hear alot, "they" say you shouldn't study opening play/lines. As i've looked over more and more chess games i've found that this is simply bad advice. The only thing you shouldn't do in regard to openings is rote memorization, other than that openings have really enhanced my game in several ways.

First, I can choose openings based on style of play, pawn structure, piece strength, etc. The games might not always follow and allow for this but in general you can have some say in dictating what type of game you get into.

Secondly, by going over the opening you get a feel for different ideas in similar positions from the game you have studied, which is the same thing you are trying to do when going over middlegame and tactics, endgame, etc.

Thridly, you will get into the same or near to the same position in many of your games. This helps you develop a sense for taking an advantage when an opponent makes a subpar move.

Fourthly, you don't have to waste so much thinking time/clock time on the first few moves of the game.Therefore extending the time you can spend on the moves from the point of unknown position to the next time control.

Here is the game = )

Chris Harrington 1600 vs. John Locke 1729

Monday, October 26, 2009

Western States Open Round 1

My first game of the western States Open. This was also my first time playing in a class B tournament. Even though my score was so poor (+1 -4), I enjoyed several of the games this weekend.

Greg Sarafian 1723 vs. Chris Harrington 1600
Nimzo-Indian 4.f3 variation

After the game I wasn't upset by the loss. I had taken my time and played hard. I just couldn't quite come up with many good moves in the middle game.

My second game was a disaster based on moving fast like I was playing blitz or something.I threw away a good advantage with white and got mated quickly. I wont be analyzing it because my in-game effort was so lazy. Round three will be coming next!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Western States Open

Strongly considering playing in the Western States Open this weekend...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Chess on the road...

I was recently out of town and on a lazy day of sipping on lemonade and enjoying the end of summer I was able to travel to the Orange County chess club and picked up a sidegame outside on their outside patio. It was a nice afternoon game with a player named Javier Bolognia. He was an older gentleman whom also was in town visiting from somewhere in Europe, I think Portugal.

Anyway I was very eager to get a game against someone new, he said he didn't have a chess rating but played people of FIDE 2000 and could hold his own. This immediately got my attention and I was eager to play! I told him I wasn't very good and that I would try to give him a good game.

I had the white pieces and I had a fantastic performance...well I'll let you see for yourself!

One of my better games. I was excited for a new opponent, I believe he played a bit passive in the opening and underestimated my attack. Still I was able to find lots of good moves without a big blunder.

Monday, September 21, 2009

GM Games

Recently I've been looking over some GM level games, in fact quite a few of them and trying absorb a bit from the moves. I've been going over Fischer's games as well as Botvinnik from Kasparov's "My Great Predessors" series.

In that vein I have been trying to create a disipline and with any luck, a love of deeper analysis. For now I only have the patientce to look at several games in a short period of time. I'm hoping that I begin to enjoy looking at the sub-lines and other ideas presented in the annontation. For now I don't look at many of them. Reason being that as I look at the long tangent line I don't really understand what is going on enough to get a whole lot out of it.

I am especially interested in looking at games that are played in similar openings to my own repertoire since they tend to have ideas that may come up in my own contests, as well as leading to similar middle and endgames.

One thing that has stood out in Bobby Fischer's games seems to be his sublime understanding of the position in comparison to all of his competition. It seems that even when his opponent gets a good initiative or advantage on him he is able to flip the game around and take control.

Well just a few quick thoughts, and I am really considering playing in the Far West Open!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Book Review: Remotely Global-Village Modernity In West Africa

In keeping with the Anthropology vein of this blog I wanted to briefly review the ethnography "Remotely Global" by Dr.Charles Piot. For those of you who aren't Anthro nerds an ethnography is basically a written account of a researcher's field work along with research from other sources and conclusions derived from deductive logic.

Charles Piot is pretty well known in cultural anthro circles, he's a big shot prof. at Duke actually. He is most-well known for his African research, although he dabbles with African-American studies and is a pretty well known leftist.

Anyway the subject matter is the Kabre people of northern Togo. Piot wraps his thesis around the idea that the U.S. State Dept. as well as previous anthropologists have stereotyped African villages and that colonial as well as postcolonial influences have had as much effect on the Kabre people as anything indigenous.

When I began reading this book I had the distinct feeling that Dr. Piot was trying to hard to grind out a place for himself in this discussion. Basically straw-maning many previous researchers while at the same time setting up his own research to seem as real and relevant as possible. I will complain that he "beat a dead-horse" with his attack against early Functional/Structural theory, since the ideas during the 1930s-1960s were in their developmental phase and much thought has been put in to adjust these ideas. He also seemed to give a bit too much attribute in this book to Marxism, which in fact his a part of his own political baggage and not directly all that relevant to the study of the Kabre people.

Ok now to the parts I found intellectually interesting. Piot writes about the Kabre "Gift Economy" which in essence he says gift-giving in the Kabre community is "always a type of moral inquiry,an interrogation of the other". Gift-giving in this community is a form of control and creates indebtedness in the reciever. Therefore making him subserviant in some regard.Its important to give gifts when meeting strangers since one doesn't know how they will respond this is a good way to gauge their character and intentions by waiting for the response or reciprocation.

Their ideas of "Person" is interesting as well. For example the idea that when a child is born into a family it is considered a stranger until the family can figure out which ancestor or dead relative has been reincarnated. Children in fact are considered androgynous, it is only through initiation rituals that children become"incomplete" or gendered. They become a boy or a girl officially after they have been initiated into that phase of life.

Of course this survey is very brief the book itself is highly theoretical and dry at times but at the same time very interesting and thought-provoking.

I recommend this ethnography to anyone interested in cultural anthropology.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Phatic responses

Sometimes Anthropology examines things that we all identify with. This is quite often the case with Linguistics. Language being a fundamental attribute of humanity, its study sometimes brings to light aspects of our own behavior that we may or may not have been aware of.

For example, often we take part in general pleasantries when coming into contact with other people. Some of these interactions are particularly interesting, I wanted to talk briefly about so-called "Phatic responses".

Two men are passing each other in the hall at their place of employement...

Speaker A:"Hey, how are you?"

Speaker B:"What's up?"

Both walk away contented.

This is an example of Phatic responses. These responses are not considered literal speech and don't expect to be answered as such. Although one can use the same language to ask a response-oriented question. The hearer usually can figure out the difference using pragmatic deduction based on context and other nuances. These "automatic" devices in some ways are utilized at the base level to acknowledge the existence of another person and to conform to accepted norms of Functionalism.
In other words you are performing a social duty which subconciously you feel obligated.

I was reading some of Bronisław Malinowski's very early work on this subject and I thought I'd test the reaction of those around me whom I took literally all their Phatic responses. The results were interesting.

In terms of those that lived with me I saw the least amount of action. These seemed to be the most-likely group to either ignore or naturally adhere to the flow of me taking their responses literally.

When I took this to my co-workers I got a slightly different reaction. In fact two of my three co-workers were thrown slightly off-guard by my three to four sentence responses to their simple "How are you?" and "What's up?" In fact the look on their faces showed confusion and the present of thinking as opposed to the mindless pleasantries.

Strangers who were friendly enough to ask a phatic question when I made eye contact walking by almost always responded with smiles and suprised giggles.

To wrap this up it is apparent to me that phatic responses are an accepted funtion of our language interactions and when an individual responses to them literally it leads to off-balanced and unprepared interaction.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Class Champ. Match Round 3 White works the ending!

Hello! I'm happy to report that I came through with a victory in the third round of my match to break a two draw tie. If I win or draw on thursday I defend my title = p
If I lose we play a two game playoff. I played well enough this game. I missed several tactics but converted an even ending into a crushing mate.

Chris Harrington vs. Ricardo Arteaga

Monday, July 20, 2009

Class Championship Round Two Ateaga vs.Harrington

Round two ended in another draw. We will have two games to prove the class championship. This game was played at a fast pace with both players spending very little time analysing variations. As a consequence both of us made critical errors. I equalized quickly and then ended up giving white a game winning advantage in the ending, then white blundered it away.Here is the game

Ricardo Arteaga vs. Chris Harrington

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Brazil's Pirahas

"In the end, not a single one could count to ten."

One of the hottest debate in Linguistics(a major field in Anthropology) today is the research involving the Pirahas people of Brazil. Maybe I can relay the disputes. First of all these people don't use subordinate clauses.

Instead of saying, "When I have finished eating, I would like to speak with you," the Pirahãs say, "I finish eating, I speak with you." Even famed linguist Noam Chomsky has had trouble believing that this is the only language without S.C.

Here is a quote from a recent article:"The debate amongst linguists about the absence of all numbers in the Pirahã language broke out after Peter Gordon, a psycholinguist at New York's Columbia University, visited the Pirahãs and tested their mathematical abilities. For example, they were asked to repeat patterns created with between one and 10 small batteries. Or they were to remember whether Gordon had placed three or eight nuts in a can.

The results, published in Science magazine, were astonishing. The Pirahãs simply don't get the concept of numbers. His study, Gordon says, shows that "a people without terms for numbers doesn't develop the ability to determine exact numbers."

Psycholinguist Peter Gorden: Are we only capable of creating thoughts for which words exist?
His findings have brought new life to a controversial theory by linguist Benjamin Whorf, who died in 1941. Under Whorf's theory, people are only capable of constructing thoughts for which they possess actual words. In other words: Because they have no words for numbers, they can't even begin to understand the concept of numbers and arithmetic."

This interests me since i've put quite a bit of time exploring the theories of the so-called "cultural turn" which basically suggests that words and symbols can't give access to direct experience, but merely highlight the complexity of meaning. Since these people have little symbolism to express concrete numerical value they have a hard time conceptualizing them.

It seems that this culture has a sort of "live for the now" personality that has had a deep effect on their language. Very little abstract thought communicated or the use of numbers or ideas of the past leads one to live in the moment.

These people aren't isolated from other natives and mix regularly. They are as modern and intelligent as any other modern population.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Class Championship match finals Game 1

I played the white side of another Ruy Lopez in my first game of a championship match with Rick Arteaga. The game ended in a draw. I had a winning advantage as soon as the dubious 3...f6?! was played but slowly allowed him to equalize. here is the game:

Chris Harrington vs. Rick Arteaga

Friday, July 3, 2009

Speed Chess-Queen's Indian

I know I should make a better habit of taking my time to find the best moves, but this thursday I had a bye and ended up playing a sidegame against Wesley Situ. Last time I played wesley I mated him pretty quickly and this game wasn't all that challenging. Although I do see he is improving and starting to use his time effectively.

I think I used about 18 minutes for the whole game. I could have found a few better moves but for the most part I equalized quickly as black then built a steady advantage till Wesley made a critical error. I'm not going into great depth in the anaylsis since I didn't go into much depth of thought in the game.

Wesley Situ vs. Chris Harrington

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

unrated side game Ruy Lopez Bird Defense

Well I had the luck of meet a visitor from Atlanta, in town for the Reno Bowling tournament who claimed to be a USCF chess player rated around 1810. We ended up playing a unrated side game with a Game in two hour time control. I had white and he ran into a trap which is part of my repertoire in the Ruy Lopez. the game became complicated and I almost gave it back to him. Here's the game:

Sunday, June 21, 2009

You gotta crawl before you can walk?

This is a catchphrase that is apparently looking less and less true through the research of anthropologists.Especially after reading over in Scientific American's latest issue featuring the work of Anthropologist David tracer of the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Many indigenous people never teach their children to crawl and for apparent good reason. Outside of the modern Western world sanitation is always a great concern and putting a child face-first onto the ground is a good way to catch diahrea from dirt on the hands as well as getting things in the child's mouth which don't brlong there.

In fact not crawling seems to have no negative effect. Peoples from New Guinea, Indonesia, Mali and Paraguay don't allow crawling. Yet our children's psychologists have built up a mountain of so-called science based on crawling, even though this research as well as a myriad of others working in the field seems to show that this is another close-minded view of human development.

I recommend picking uo this issue of Scientific American. There were many good articles.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Evaluation of Material Imbalances: Part One

I've been really interested lately with the relative value of pieces and pawns given the position and how to know when their values fluctuate. With this in mind I was quite interested to read about IM Larry Kaufman's research here

Briefly to give you an idea what interested me was the sheer magnitude of the research as well as using the computer to provide relative precision in the evaluation of chess positions.

The research shows that the rook pawn for example (that red-header step-child of foot soldiers) is worth roughly 15% less then his fellows. Making it typically advantageous to "promote him" to a knight-pawn whenever the chance to capture may occur. Other than this minor difference the pawns tend to hold the same value from their starting squares.

The value of the Bishop pair is refined to be in almost all cases worth an extra half pawn. The reasoning isn't completely certain but it seems that the bishop pair is superior to the knight-pair as well as a bishop and knight possibly for their lack of redundancy. Often times the inferior pairings will control the same squares limiting their overall effect on the board in most cases. the bishop pair never cross each other's path therefore maximizing their board presence.

Furthermore his research suggests that if you have the bishop pair and your opponent's one bishop is a "bad bishop" you have a FULL pawn compensation. To me this is quite important information and very revealing!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Book review: Standard Chess Openings

I got this and several other books for free several years ago and was interested in checking out what looked to be the biggest chess book in existence. All of the Standard Chess openings! Wow this would be lots of fun to read was my initial idea. How would this stand up in comparison to NCO and other big opening omnibus?

Well I'm sorry to say it but this book is a big let down. First this guy (Eric Shiller)is a PHD yet his published book has so many spelling errors I was shocked. I mean even chess blogs written hastily have less mistakes. For example: on page 240 we get this classic sentence, "The Sozin Variation appears in several Sicilian Defenses, including the Najdort, Sahevening and Classical Variations."

Has anyone heard of the Najdort? or Sahevening? Did you mean Najdorf and Scheveningen?

In his intro game to the Semi-Slav the analysis is very poor. 23...d4! The move is actually a mistake and leads to a quick loss for black.

Many of the openings have only one game to show them off, this would be fine but sometimes the one game he uses is a pointless early deviation which shows little about the opening.

Shiller defines a Standard Opening as "...any opening which an active chessplayer might reasonably expect to encounter frequently(Shiller 14)".

Ok so then he includes the "Elephant Gambit" 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d5. Has anyone ever encountered this line in a rated game? this line is weak and the game to highlight it happens to be a telegraph match from 1954 where black gets crushed.

Questionable is the inclusion of the so-called "King Walk Variation" [A59] if you are interested which in Mega Database 2009 out of over 4 MILLION games had a whole 500 or so games with this line. Not exactly standard.

The Janowski Indian which you may never face in your lifetime 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 d6 3.Nc3 Bf5 which again has hardly any games in the Mega database.

These are but a small sample of many mistakes in this book. I do have to give the author credit for attempting to annotate this many games from all kinds of openings. It must have taken lots of time and effort.

overall I rate this as a 1/5 as far as chess books are concerned.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Book Review: Dangerous weapons The Nimzo-Indian

The Nimzo-Indian is my favorite defense to 1.d4 and I am slowly building up a reliable repertoire with this system. I like Black's chances in the middlegame and feel like it is a strong fighting defense. I have had quite a bit of fun reading through the "Dangerous weapons" series and have actually used several of their lines in rated games. Some of them have actually been assimilated into my personal favorites.

Now since I've yet to take up 1.d4 in my own games there are only 8 out of 17 sections that actually apply to my current situation. But, truth be told, I found most of these lines to be worth trying or at least considering.

Chapter 13 entitled "going Dutch" is written by John Emms and appeals to me for several reasons. The first being the after 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Nf3 black has pretty comfortable opening chances. 4.Nf3 is not a very aggressive move and black can use that idea to get a bit frisky. The idea is after 4...Ne4!? This line was actually played by Karpov against Kasparov in a championship match. Since the knight has been placed on f3 white no longer has the normal development Nge2 or the pawn push f3, these points help black to create his own threats right out the gate.

I like this line because it gives black a straight-forward plan...go after the doubled c-pawns and try to mix things up positionally with an early f5.

Its no suprise why I like chapters 5 and 6, they are both written by Richard Palliser whom i've come to enjoy as a chess writer for his easy to understand and logical advise in the openings.

Chapter 5 is entitled "The Romanishin Gambit" after 4.Qc2 d5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.Qxc3 c5!? 7.dxc5 d4 black should obtain a big center and a lead in development. This gambit is slightly worse for black but seems to give realistic pressure on White's position for a nice lasting initiative. I would use this line without hesitation if confronted in a big tournament with the option. I feel in practice this line is hard to deal with and could easily result in a big advantage for black.

Overall this book gives some fun lines for black and after reading through the ideas for white it seems to give him some new ideas to work with as well. I would say this book is for players over 1700 in general. Or people that plan to face strong opponents, since you are very unlikely to get an opportunity to play one of these lines.

If you play 1.d4 or if you use the Nimzo-Indian I would recommend this book as a change of pace or a fun gambit guide. Rating 4/5.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Book Review: Play The Ruy Lopez

Hello everyone!

I have been reading and evaluating this book for quite a while now and have come to the conclusion that this is the most complete and satisfying opening repertoire guide I have come across.

Andrew Greet has made in this book one of the most comprehensive and accessible manual to play the Ruy Lopez.

One of the most interesting features of the book is that he has used a subvariation as his "mainline". the move 5.Qe2 also known as the Worral System is his remedy to the maddening theory of the Spanish game.

At first I was skeptical since it ins't all that common. But after a look through Mega Database 2009 it has become quite popular in the last few years with GMs. the foreword is written by GM Nigel Short, in which he gives edification to Greet as well as the Worral. Showing how he used the system and similar lines to beat Karpov in a bigtime match. Not going to the extreme to say that it was the lines which were strong, but that they were solid and that the impression they made lead to mistakes by Karpov.

The most amazing thing about this book is the devotion to early alternatives. Anyone whom has ever purchased an openings book has come across the often spotty coverage of alternative lines. Greet gives us 120 pages of "third move alternatives for black"!! Then another 65 pages for fourth move alternatives!!With a solid 120 pages dedicated to the so-called mainlines.

This is an excellent resource for those wanting to play the Ruy Lopez and looking for preparation and improvement in many different lines of this opening.

What I was especially impressed with was his seemingly unbiased point of view even though this is obviously from White's point of view. Giving much respect to sublines like the Cozio and the Bird.

An interesting example of Greet's creative ideas and breakage with typical Lopez recommendations is his recommendations against the "Classical Variation" 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Bc5 the recommendation of 4.Nxe5!? is interesting and not at all bad, although not very well tested. After the best reply 4...Nxe5 5.d4 leads to complications which will be interesting for White, especially if he has preparation on the unfavorable replies.

Overall I think this book is well-written and the ideas are easy to understand. there is a mountain of information and variations but I didn't feel overwhelmed and, in fact quite enjoyed going through the lines. In conclusion I feel like this book can prepare anyone to play the Ruy Lopez and give in a 5/5 rating for a fantastic chess book!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Reno Class Championships Round 3

Round Three had me paired as White vs Bob Bennett. A friendly guy and interesting player whom I've played several times in the past. Our last encounter had me on the winning side of a French Tarrasch and I was interested in playing the same line to get some more work in against the isolated d-pawn.

Leading up to this tournament my goal was to use more of my clock and to spend more time looking for good moves. Unfortunately I again raced through the game and missed many oppourtunities. I'm a knucklehead sometimes! My opponent made a few dubious moves in the opening and I had a comfortable winning advantage by move fourteen. Then I proceeded to try and get tactical...while spending zero time working out the calculations. Its funny how easy it seems after the fact but I just need to take my time.

Needless to say my threat backfired and I was getting crushed. Fortunately my opponent returned the favor and let me fork some big pieces and get a wicked attack on his bare king.

Chris Harrington 1596 vs. Bob Bennett 1500

Monday, June 1, 2009

Round Two Reno Class Championships

This was round two of the Reno Class Championships and I really wanted a win with Black since I had already had a painful draw in round one. I knew my opponent preferred a slow buildup with White and tended to trade towards a draw offer. I ended up playing a Queen's Indian Defense, an opening I'm still not that comfortable with but in this game I never felt like I was under any pressure from White as he played for a passive yet equal position.

I was really hyped for the rare four knights ending we ran into. It was later pointed out from another player (Drunknknight) that I shouldn't have won as easily as I did. It's true.

I was happy with the result and its also nice to play a game without any serious blunders. I have white next week against Bob Bennett and I will again be playing all out for the full point.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Far West Open Accelerated Dragon-Maroczy Bind

This win got me to Board one in the final round of a big tournament recently. I was happy with my results from the Far West Open since I hadn't played any rated games in six months. This game was against a chap named Robert Rettenmaier. I played the White pieces and we got into a Hyper Accelerated Dragon. I choose to play the Maroczy Bind and we developed very naturally until the Queen came out to a5 and I began working on Nd5 tactics.

Needless to say he fell into the trap and I was able to win the ending. Although I gave back many chances for equality and missed a five move pattern which picks off a rook. It was still a good win for me and gave me confidence that i could win my section in the evening!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sexual Selection

I will be posting some games as soon as I settle on a PGN viewer which I wont struggle to understand. In the meantime i've been reading alot of Darwin lately, specifically his under-represented work "The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex"

Charles Darwin had a hard time buying the idea that the differences in human ethnic groups could be accounted for strictly through natural selection. His research is often over-looked for fears of backlash on the motivations of the research. Darwin even made sure to be careful how he approached the subject, but in the end realized that scientific solutions to unanswered questions were paramount to the advance of evolutionary theory.

Natural selection runs into problems as an all-encompassing solution to human variation.If it could in fact explain the most basic of racial differences:skin color, and eye color, hair, we should in fact see that trait eventually in other parts of the world with similar environmental conditions. Scientists could then come to a conclusion on say... the advantage of blue eyes, as opposed to competing eye colors.

The run of the mill explanation is that skin color is largely influenced by the rays of the sun. In fact it is true that if those with light-skin stay in the sun too long they will increase their chances of skin cancer. Therefore it makes "obvious" sense that this is the main reason for skin variation in the equatorial regions where sunlight is at its maximum strength.

But truth be told skin cancer causes very few deaths, even when light-skinned peoples are exposed to the sun for extended periods. As the author Jared Diamond puts it "As agents of natural selection, they have an utterly trivial impact compared to infectious diseases of childhood (the Third Chimpanzee 114)". I wont get into the ideas associated with vitamin D deficientcies and over-absorbtion, just know that the theory runs a similar vein with little natural selection measures to back it up.

The deepest objection revolves around the idea that the connection between dark-skin and sunny environments is very inconsistent. Another J.D. example revolves around the fact that natives of tasmania have very dark skin even though they live in an area with very little sun light. Even in equatorial South American you don't get any dark skin attributes resembling sub-saharan African skin tones.

The objection to this complain is the time factor. Some have suggested that there hasn't been enough time for these traits to take hold. If that is the case then how do we account for blonde haired, blue-eyed Scandinavians? They have only been able to populate these northern areas for about 9,000 years. That is since the pirmafrost receeded and we start finding human remains. Why is it that we find such diverse variation in Scandinavians so quickly? the answer seems to be posed by Darwin.

Sexual Selection

Here is a quick peek at what others have said in regards to S.S.

Charles Darwin conjectured that the male beard, as well as the relative hairlessness of humans compared to nearly all other mammals, are results of sexual selection. He reasoned that since, compared to males, the bodies of females are more nearly hairless, hairlessness is one of the atypical cases due to its selection by males at a remote prehistoric time, when males had overwhelming selective power, and that it nonetheless affected males due to genetic correlation between the sexes. He also hypothesized that sexual selection could also be what had differentiated between different human races, as he did not believe that natural selection provided a satisfactory answer.

Geoffrey Miller, drawing on some of Darwin's largely neglected ideas about human behavior, has hypothesized that many human behaviors not clearly tied to survival benefits, such as humor, music, visual art, verbal creativity, and some forms of altruism, are courtship adaptations that have been favored through sexual selection. In that view, many human artefacts could be considered subject to sexual selection as part of the extended phenotype, for instance clothing that enhance sexually selected traits.

Some hypotheses about the evolution of the human brain argue that it is a sexually selected trait, as it would not confer enough fitness in itself relative to its high maintenance costs (a quarter to a fifth of the energy and oxygen consumed by a human).Related to this is vocabulary, where humans, on average, know far more words than are necessary for communication. Miller (2000) has proposed that this apparent redundancy is due to individuals using vocabulary to demonstrate their intelligence, and consequently their “fitness”, to potential mates. This has been tested experimentally and it appears that males do make greater use of lower frequency (more unusual) words when in a romantic mindset compared to a non-romantic mindset, meaning that vocabulary is likely to be used as a sexual display (Rosenberg & Tunney, 2008).

The evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins has speculated that the loss of the penis bone in humans, when it is present in other primates, may be due to sexual selection by females looking for an honest advertisement of good health in prospective mates. Since a human erection relies on a hydraulic pumping system, erection failure is a sensitive early warning of certain kinds of physical and mental ill health.

The photo of this Japanese "blonde" is interesting as individuals have been able through cosmetic techniques to aquire traits for Sexual Selection. The Japanese being on an isolated island for 1,000s of years lack the genetic diversity that many ethnic groups hold. Differentiation is now able to be enhanced by hair dyes, color contact lenses and a large assortment of easily accessible methods to stand out and attract a mate.

In the past this wasn't the case. Humans were able to select traits of which specific groups found to be attractive and then cultivated those traits within the population.

I will go into more detail at a future time. This is a primer for more advanced discussion on this and other topics.

My next post may be strictly Chess based!

A Different Approach

I'm not sure if this will last but I had the urge to blog again. this time it will be a bit different. The demise of my former blog was more a testament to the futility of my computer skills. I prefer to show my games through a PGn viewer but have too much trouble getting them to post. Therefore I would rarely post and lost interest.

This time around I will be looking for the easiest version of game viewer and try to figure it out. This might end up being more about my ideas on issues or subjects of Anthropology and related topics than Chess. But let's see how things shape up. I view Chess as being interesting and quite daunting. I've become relatively proficient without much practice and have recently been working a bit harder and putting in some more time on the game.

In the end though it remains a game to me, not all that important, but fun to write about! I find myself more interested in learning about Social Stratification, Political Leadership and Warfare(from a scientific point of view) as well as the often misunderstood ideas of Sexual Selection.

My Chess game is something in my life that i can attempt to monitor and improve while having fun along the way. In recent news I came out of a six month hybernation to compete in the Far West Open and played on board one in the last round of my section. Took home 3rd place out of thirty some-odd people, felt like my game was solid for my rating and I'm now moving forward.

When I have White I have always played 1E4. These openings tend to favor the type of positions which I enjoy playing. I'm currently seeking to improve my middlegame strategy and mindset as well as improving my clock management skills. Two areas I feel are lacking in my game. My endgame is solid for my level and my Opening knowledge surpasses pretty much everyone in my class.

That's my Chess story in a nutshell.

There are very few people that understand what goes on in my head. If I tell people some of my ideas briefly they typically disagree or more often reject them out of hand when they conflict with societal norms which they have accepted as fact. i understand this for I too succumb to the conformity associated with the social contract between people in proximity of one another.

When I started studying American Pragmatism I was really interested with the ideas of so-called pragmatic ideology. William James interested me most, I loved the way he viewed philosophy and the material world in general. "give me an idea I can ride" he would say, which was so important to my absurd quest for clarification.

As I enhanced my study of ideas I came to assimilate a bizarre mix of existentialist as well as pragmatic religious ideas of identity. As I tried to get inside the mind of some of the World's most explosive thinkers it really enriched my own sense of individual subjectivity. In other words I began to be more aware of my own sense of agency.

I have yet to really meet anyone that would agree with me on many issues. I prefer to let the ideas of the mobs repel me. Most "other" Christians tend to find my feelings on the Divine to be irreconcilible with the accepted canon. This tends to humble me for I can see that their sense of identity is tied closer to established norms than say an experience with the sublime elements of existence.

Atheists tend to become frustrated with my firm acceptance of evolutionary tenets and a complimentary love for the Creator. How can someone cross these seemingly polar lines and straddle the fence. chris you're trying to have your cake and eat it too" or something to that sentiment.

How can you be so attracted to the writing of Camus but at the same time find such value in the Bible? The answer to that question is lengthy and not all that clear in reality. the thing to keep in mind is that as we seek to define the borders of "things" whether it be ideology, race, class, etc. We have this troublesome grey area. Unavoidable ambiguity will exist to some degree whenever a line is drawn and a classification is made.

Scholars that have embraced the now ubiquitous ideas of "The Cultural Turn" navigate the waters of direct experience in a more holistic and refined methodology then that of their predecessors. Scholars in the Post-Modern world realize that Language and symbols are unable to give us access to direct experience. They can only reveal the complexity devoted to Meaning.

All of this is well and good, but the question remains, is anyone still reading? if not I don't blame you. Would sound like ramblings for the most part. Much of this needs a proper introduction and isn't done justice with a few quick paragraphs. My point was simply to think outloud a bit. Let you get an idea of Chris and his mind.

Of course its not all intellectual self-awareness that I contemplate. I get out and have a great time! Love to meet cute girls as much as the next guy. Enjoy the simple pleasures in life, a laugh, a drink,a song I can dance to, friends I can be immature with, the typical stereotype guy, in many regards. Introductions are difficult, especially when you aren't sure whom is listening.

We can talk about Chess again! In fact, next thursday at the Reno Chess Club we begin the annual Class Championships. I wasn't going to play because I have been pretty content the last few weeks working on my game with my coach and on my own. But it should be fun and keep me sharp. I should probably be playing in Class B. But there is only one other B player at the club and wasn't really interesting with a six week match with him. So being rated like 1590 something currently I will seek to defend my title in Class C.

I think that's good for now. let's see how this blog idea pans out.

until next time