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Chess Grandmaster Kasparov Versus President Putin 416

Posted by kdawson
from the winning-combination dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Times of London has an article on how Garry Kasparov, former world chess champion, is using his fame and intellect in an attempt to defeat President Putin at the presidential elections in March 2008. Kasparov believes that Putin is virtually a dictator who is dismantling democracy and returning Russia to an authoritarian regime. Some high-profile Putin critics, such as Alexander Litvinenko, have been the victims of unsolved murders, and Kasparov is aware of the dangers: 'I can calculate the possibilities as a chess player and I have to be honest and say that our chances are not high. But I take this as a moral duty, and when you do something out of moral duty, then who cares?'" From the article: "[Kasparov] will not be a contender for the presidency but [his political umbrella group] The Other Russia aims to create the conditions under which an anti-Putin candidate can win. It appears, however, to be an uneven contest against a man who enjoys 80 per cent approval ratings. Most Russians want Mr. Putin to overturn a constitutional bar on a third term in office. Many will back whomever Mr. Putin endorses to succeed him."
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Chess Grandmaster Kasparov Versus President Putin

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  • by neuro.slug (628600) <neuro__@hotmail. ... com minus distro> on Sunday December 17, 2006 @02:04PM (#17278274)
    In Soviet Russia, Putin checkmates you!
    • Actually... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TrisexualPuppy (976893) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @02:12PM (#17278334)
      You may not be so far off.

      There is a great controversy over this man [wikipedia.org] whom Putin may have personally had murdered. Or it could be someone framing Putin. Or it could be Putin making it look as though he was framed. Russia is a grim place. I don't expect Kasparov to live much longer...whether those "approval ratings" are truly 80% or more like (1/80)%, either Putin has the power to make it look as though he has the people's support, or he does have the people's support, obviously making him powerful.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by ShieldW0lf (601553)
        Putin has popular support and appears to have established a sustainable, balanced economy over there, speaking relatively, of course. The man has a great deal of respect, and people are prepared to be guided by his views when they vote.

        Basically, these poisonings and their possible consequences on peoples opinion of him are the only thing that could screw it up for him. And, with all the political situaions he's faced, he is the sort of man who knows it.

        Therefore, he didn't do it, and neither did anyone w
        • Re:Actually... (Score:5, Informative)

          by anaesthetica (596507) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @09:02PM (#17281522) Homepage Journal

          There are two highly disputable points in your post: one, that Russia's economy is sustainable and balanced; and two, that Putin is a socialist. Both are quite obviously incorrect.

          Russia's economic boom over the past 5-7 years has been principally attributable to the rise in oil and gas prices worldwide. Putin has been consolidating Russia's oil and gas companies into a much tighter oligarchy (cf. the reason why Khodorkovsky is in jail in Siberia). Meanwhile, he has been pressuring neighboring countries to sell their oil and gas pipelines to Russian companies. There has been a lot both in Western and Russian press about Putin's "energy empire." The rest of Russia's economy hasn't done much at all. In fact, fewer and fewer of the young generation even want to go into private business--most want to work for the state bureaucracy. Moreover, most of Russia's growth has been funnelled into Moscow and St. Petersburg (and dachas on the Volga), with the rest of the country experiencing few if any of the benefits from the oil & gas money. Lots of Russian towns in the countryside still look like they did in the 1800s. When oil and gas prices level off or fall (even temporarily so), so too will Russia's economic house of cards.

          And in no way can Putin be called a socialist. Not even close. There are two groups within his administration: the siloviki and the St. Petersburg group. Neither are socialist in orientation. The siloviki are the so-called "power" people: they control the defense, internal security, FSB (i.e. KGB successor), military, etc. These are relatively agnostic when it comes to the economy, preferring the centralization of power and stabilization of society. Moves to centralize oil and gas fit well within their worldview. The St. Petersburg group are generally liberal (in the economics sense, not the U.S. sense) reformers who favor free market solutions and getting rid of the welfare state. They have been slowly trying to divest the state of its welfare obligations (with only marginal success, since the Russian people protest when you try to reform their pension benefits). Putin himself is a chekist--a KGB man--not a socialist in ideology or practice.

      • Re:Actually... (Score:5, Informative)

        by statusbar (314703) <jeffk@statusbar.com> on Sunday December 17, 2006 @02:55PM (#17278646) Homepage Journal
        Of course the most recent news:
        ...Litvinovich said the officers made copies of all documents they found of interest and she was told the search was connected to suspicions that Kasparov's group was involved in extremist activity...

        --jeffk++

      • Re:Actually... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Shihar (153932) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @03:52PM (#17279094)
        Putin's approval ratings are mostly real. Russia's transition to democracy (well, it isn't one any more) was rough. The people went from full bellies and empty souls to being hungry and confused. Russia was pillaged in its transition to a market democracy due to some awesomely bad economic policy (which the west does indeed share some blame for). By the time Putin came to power the people just wanted stability and anything other then a rapid economic plummet. Putin has given that to them, and they love him for it.

        The problem is that in stabilizing Russia Putin also gobbled up all the power he could find and has set Russia on course to look more like Russia of old then Europe of the US. Hell, Putin calls the Russian style of government "managed democracy". Putin has pooled all of the power of the state into his own hands. Russia suspended elections for governors and now simply appoints them with an old skool nod to the USSR. Russian TV is now almost entirely state and blatantly used for propaganda, making campaigning against Putin and his allies all but impossible. The government, while not throwing people in Siberian slave labor camps Stalin style, happily detain activists by the thousands before any attempt to hold a protest.

        Russia hasn't caught up with their old Soviet ways yet but they are headed that way. Russia still maintains a relatively free printed press, and Putin has so far refrained from writing himself as dictator into the constitution. That said, the direction Russia is headed isn't pretty, and I really doubt that Putin is going to appoint a successor who is going to be a champion of liberalization and democracy.
      • Re:Actually... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by orzetto (545509) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @03:56PM (#17279116)
        whether those "approval ratings" are truly 80% or more like (1/80)%[...]

        I would strongly suggest you to reconsider this statement. Just because you are an autocrat and govern for the benefit of a restricted circle of oligarchs, it does not mean the people will not like you. The bulk of the people can be made incredibly stupid when you control enough of the media.

        The classical instrument to make the people love you even when you are actually screwing them is finding a scapegoat: Hitler had Jews, but he certainly did not invent the tactic, nor anti-semitism itself (he was instead special in that he actually believed that crap). It runs all the way back to the Romans (who blamed, say, Christians) and beyond. It has to be a small minority without an actual capability to politically fight back, yet recognizable enough. Putin has Chechen rebels, Ahmadinejad has Americans and Israel, Bush has terrorists, Berlusconi has Communists, Le Pen has immigrants.

  • Hmmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cp.tar (871488) <cp.tar.bz2@gmail.com> on Sunday December 17, 2006 @02:07PM (#17278296) Journal

    Ever since I read Bill Gates was a rather good Go player, it explained a lot to me about his business strategy.

    A brilliant chess player like Mr Kasparov should not only be able to calculate the odds, but also devise some ways to alter them.

    If he's really getting ready to battle Putin, he really should apply his best tactics to politics.
    Which he might do, too.

    Let's see what happens...

    • Re:Hmmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kassemi (872456) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @02:13PM (#17278336) Homepage
      Strategic games like Go and Chess are great exercises for the mind, but outside the benefits in reason and patience you receive from practice, I don't see them helping calculate the odds of a political statement reaching an audience. In terms I know we'll understand: programming skills != social skills, just as chess skills != political foresight.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by cp.tar (871488)

        Strategic games like Go and Chess are great exercises for the mind, but outside the benefits in reason and patience you receive from practice, I don't see them helping calculate the odds of a political statement reaching an audience. In terms I know we'll understand: programming skills != social skills, just as chess skills != political foresight.

        Of course not.

        However, I do believe he knows his strategy... in this kind of games, without strategy, you're nothing.
        I should know; I play rarely, have no strat

        • Re:Hmmmm (Score:4, Insightful)

          by thesandtiger (819476) on Monday December 18, 2006 @04:41AM (#17283822)
          That's hardly "insightful" - you're assuming that the strategic thinking that works in chess (a game where there are a finite number of pieces, fixed rules for how those pieces can move, and in which play-order is determined) is somehow going to transfer over into "real world" strategic thinking (a "game" where there are an unknown number of pieces, unknown rules for how those pieces can move, and not only is there no play order, but an unknown number of players, and they can switch sides at any time).

          In fact, I suspect that Kasparov's incredible skill at chess would actually hamper his abilities in politics - his mental reflexes were trained for much of his life to focus on ways to think in terms of a fixed set of rules, while politicians tend to make up new rules as it suits them and they are VERY good at that. So Kasparov might fail at having to deal with such an incredibly unpredictable environment, while politicians often fail at grasping the concept that maybe some rules ought to apply to them.

          I'd say the comparison that was made of technical skill != social skill is a very very good one. Many of the attributes necessary for real mastery technical material seem to be in opposition to attributes necessary for real mastery of social environments.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by nomadic (141991)
        In terms I know we'll understand: programming skills != social skills, just as chess skills != political foresight

        Only chess was a political institution in the USSR. As Kasparov came up the ranks he became intimately familiar with the government, and had to deal with the people in power frequently. Furthermore, the Soviet chess machine was very much a political organization too. Kasparov was just the face of Soviet chess, he had many players who basically subordinated themselves to advancing his game,
    • Unfortunately for Garry Kasparov, dealing with Vladimir Putin differs sharply from simply playing a chess game. In chess, there is a set of rules respected by both players. The rules dictate the means of determining a winner.

      However, Putin does no respect the rules of the political game. The rules are essentially basic human rights, the Russian laws, and the spirit and the letter of the Russian constitution.

      Putin is analogous to a chess player who, upon seeing an imminent checkmate by his wily oppone

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by timeOday (582209)

        Unfortunately for Garry Kasparov, dealing with Vladimir Putin differs sharply from simply playing a chess game. In chess, there is a set of rules respected by both players. The rules dictate the means of determining a winner.

        Kasparov will not be using his chess skills, but rather trading on the notoriety as a chess grandmaster. In a democracy, perhaps the best cure for the KGB authoritarian-style ruler is Russia's version of Arnold Schwarzenegger - a dilettante cashing in on fame and fortune.

      • by h4rm0ny (722443)

        Unfortunately for Garry Kasparov, dealing with Vladimir Putin differs sharply from simply playing a chess game. In chess, there is a set of rules respected by both players. The rules dictate the means of determining a winner.

        There are rules in chess, but you make it sound civilised. Chess is an incredibly aggressive game when you get to championship level. Kasparov has not only brains but also a Hell of a lot of attitude. If you read the linked article, Kasparov sounds far from a fool. And as he points o

        • by cp.tar (871488)
          There are rules in chess, but you make it sound civilised. Chess is an incredibly aggressive game when you get to championship level.

          What people seem to ignore is the fact that both chess and Go are wargames.

          Yes, there are rules to the game. There are rules as to how certain pieces can move.
          Just like there are "rules" as to when you can launch some aircrafts or when you can just bring on the artillery.

          Pick your analogies wisely.

      • by cp.tar (871488)

        However, Putin does no respect the rules of the political game. The rules are essentially basic human rights, the Russian laws, and the spirit and the letter of the Russian constitution.

        Actually, that's what you think the rules are.

        I think Kasparov knows very well that the rules are substantially different from the official ones.
        Besides, in politics as well as in other things, it's not cheating if you don't get caught.

        Kasparov is no fool. We'll just have to see if he knows the game well enough.

    • A brilliant chess player like Mr Kasparov should not only be able to calculate the odds, but also devise some ways to alter them.

      Only in a chess game, and only as long as it's against another human and not a computer.

      Kasparov seems to be rather eccentric, perhaps not as much as Bobby Fischer, but his ideas are too weird for someone who wants to govern a country. His analysis of European history [new-tradition.org] should be enough for anyone to be wary of him. He seems to believe the Middle Ages didn't exist.

      He is very arroga

  • Good luck, Mr Karparov! Anything you can do to modernise the Russian political landscape is a good thing. No one wants a nationalistic anti-West Russia on EU's and NATO's doorsteps. I certainly support a democratic Russia integrated into the EU (and why not NATO, too). Mr Putin should consider a West-Russia-Japan-India alliance against an increasingy powerful communist China which continues torturing Tibetan nuns and denies the Taiwan's independence.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 17, 2006 @02:13PM (#17278346)
    Remember that Putin is ex KGB.

    My wife has family in Russia so that is why I am posting anonymously.
    They hate Putin. Yeltin was a dream compared to Putin.
    Look how Russia in implicated in the poisoning of several prominent people outside of Russia including the President of Ukraine.
    Under Putin the Russian State is gradually taking control of key industries.
    Look at the past week and how Shell were forced to relinquish control of a major Oil/Gas project in the Far East of the country.
    The project will now go down the Tubes and fall apart but to Putin's idealogs this does not matter.

    Russia controls most of the Gas Supplies to Western Europe so Government here dare not say anything against him for fear that their Gas supplies get cut off in the forthcoming winter period.

    IMHO, any challenge to Putin is worthwhile.

    Just my take on the issue. Right On Kasparov!
    • by cp.tar (871488)
      The project will now go down the Tubes

      Down the Internets?

      Sorry, I just had to...

    • melodrama (Score:4, Interesting)

      by SuperBanana (662181) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @03:00PM (#17278688)

      My wife has family in Russia so that is why I am posting anonymously.

      Right. Because the KGB is reading Slashdot, has a lookup table between slashdot usernames and addresses, and has nothing better to do except target the family of some guy who said a few nasty words about Putin.

      Putin may be very evil, but don't use melodrama to puff up your claims, please. Also- Yeltsin's name is spelled with an S.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by really? (199452)
        Err... just because you are paranoid, it doesn't mean they are not out to get you.

        I am not Russian, nor do I have any connection to Russia. I do however still have friends and family in another Eastern European country. I thought I had half a clue as to how things were there ... I went back a couple years ago and was VERY VERY surprised. Forget what you read in the news, even the reliable news sources don't get deep enough. And those that do ... don't surface.

        I have no doubt that Russia is just as bad, if n
      • by TheSuperlative (897959) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @03:15PM (#17278794)
        Actually, it's spelled with an entirely different alphabet.
      • by RESPAWN (153636)
        Actually it's spelled with a -- .
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Sloppy (14984)
        Because the KGB is reading Slashdot, has a lookup table between slashdot usernames and addresses, and has nothing better to do except target the family of some guy who said a few nasty words about Putin.
        I see your point, and you're probably right. One question, though: Wanna bet your life on something that is "probably" true?
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by langelgjm (860756)
        Right. Because the KGB is reading Slashdot

        Whether he's justified in his paranoia or not, I'm pretty sure the KGB isn't reading Slashdot, since it ceased to exist in 1991.
  • 80% approval rating? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @02:14PM (#17278352) Homepage

    That sounds almost like Alberta. Well, except Alberta's economy was been booming under Klein's regime, and nobody has accused him of murdering his opponents, but that's still a pretty high approval rating. Why is it so high? The impression the media here gives us is that Putin is a ruthless dictator and enemy of the people. (Media bias, anyone?)

    • by Sciros (986030) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @02:17PM (#17278386) Journal
      Hmmm well the best answer to that is, think about what Stalin's "approval rating" would have been during his rule? I would venture 100%. And not out of popular fear, but popular love and admiration. The 80% does not surprise me in the least, and doesn't make me think "oh, he must be a swell guy after all" for a second.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Well most of you probably don't know what this approval rating comes almost exclusively from polling Moscow residents. Moscow, while being the capital, has very little in common with the rest of the country. It's so different in attitude that one can almost imagine being on a different planet when comparing Moscow and the rest of the country. I bet Bush's approval rating is pretty high in Texas too.
    • by killjoe (766577)
      President Bush said he looked into Putin's soul and sees a good man there. He calls putin "putty put" or "puddin put" or something like that. He has a very funny nickname for putin.
  • by bigdavex (155746) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @02:14PM (#17278354)
    If he wins, Deep Blue will run in the next election.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 17, 2006 @02:14PM (#17278360)
    Antiwar has an interesting article [antiwar.com] about the case:

    Berezovsky, who employed Litvinenko while he was alive and is using him in death as the symbol of Putin's malignity, is the key figure in all this: the man slain Forbes journalist Paul Klebnikov called Russia's "godfather." The real Mafia could learn a thing or two from Berezovsky, who, Klebnikov averred, assassinated his business rivals - one with an obscure nerve toxin - while the authorities stood by and let it happen on account of the oligarch's connections with top Kremlin officials. When Putin rose to power, however, and turned against Berezovsky - his former supporter and patron - the rule of the oligarchs was over. Berezovsky, Nevzlin, and the others fled Russia, and haven't stopped plotting to discredit and ultimately overthrow their nemesis ever since.
  • Watch out (Score:4, Funny)

    by MrP- (45616) <rob@@@elitemrp...net> on Sunday December 17, 2006 @02:15PM (#17278364) Homepage
    I see some radioactive chess peices in Kasparov's future.
  • by staticdaze (597246) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @02:19PM (#17278398)
    Kasparov vs Putin

    1. f3 e5
    2. g4

    Putin to move
  • by Viol8 (599362) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @02:19PM (#17278402)
    Putin might (or might not) be a dictator, but the sort of people who could take his place if he was deposed doesn't bear thinking about. Theres a whole nest of former and current FSB/KGB mixed up with BIG organised crime bosses behind the scenes. Russia is a political mess right now and I'm not sure theres a solution.
  • Kasparov on NPR (Score:5, Informative)

    by Pancake Bandit (987571) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @02:26PM (#17278444)
    Kasparov was on NPR's All Things Considered a while ago, and spoke about his move into politics. Here is a link [npr.org] to the interview.
  • by Joebert (946227) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @02:33PM (#17278488) Homepage
    If this goes well, you can count on seeing George Bush in a Rap Battle with Eminem in the near future.
  • Did Putin lift Kasparov's shirt up and give him a kiss on the stomach during a chess match?
  • Russian democracy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mr. Underbridge (666784) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @02:44PM (#17278554)

    Most Russians want Mr. Putin to overturn a constitutional bar on a third term in office. Many will back whomever Mr. Putin endorses to succeed him."

    Well, as much as Kasparov is complaining about the democratic process, it seems to me the people are getting what they want. Who are we to tell them they're wrong? It's in America's culture to distrust extended rule and anything that smells like a monarchy. It's in Russia's culture to prefer stability of a strong leader to the uncertainty that can be found in the absence thereof. If they truly want Putin to rule them, let him.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by agent dero (680753)
      Who are we to tell them they're wrong? It's in America's culture to distrust extended rule and anything that smells like a monarchy. It's in Germany's culture to prefer stability of a strong leader to the uncertainty that can be found in the absence thereof. If they truly want Hitler to rule them, let him.
    • That's a Putin Lie (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      "Most Russians want Mr. Putin to overturn a constitutional bar on a third term in office."

      It comes from the "Yuri Levada Analytical Centre",. Yuri Levada died November 16th this year (heart attack), but his organization has had repeated attempts at take over by the Kremlin, including trying to replace the board in 2003, that didn't like his polls showing Russians critical of Putin. Without Yuri, information put out in his name is likely tainted by the Kremlin. The poll was done just before Yuri's death, and
    • But how do we know that the Russians want Putin to lead them? Considering all the shenanigans that have happened (apppointed governors, assassinated critics, jailed business men, etc), do we really know what people actually think of Putin? Do 80% of Russians approve of him, or do 80% of Russians fear speaking out against him? Yes, Russia tends to more authoritarian figures (I think a lot of people in the world actually do), but that doesn't mean that we are currently seeing is actually the will of the peopl
      • by guacamole (24270)
        Do 80% of Russians approve of him, or do 80% of Russians fear speaking out against him?

        Oh please. As someone who had lived in Russia and who still follows the developments in Russia, I can tell you: yes, they want him. And there are plenty of ways of speaking against Putin, and many people do.
  • If I were to pick a single Russian of perfect integrity to challenge Putin for the presidency, it would be Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn [wikipedia.org]. The man who wrore The Gulag Archipelago, one of the most important books of the 20th centur [wikipedia.org], and the one which exposed the vast Soviet network of slave labor concentration camps, as well as either the first or second worst (depening on which set of numbers you use) genocides of the 20th century. [hawaii.edu]

    The man who put his life on the line to tell the truth about the evil's of communism is one of the great intellectual heroes of our day, as well someone of absolute integrity and moral authority. Alas, he is also 88 years old, and it's hard to conceive of him undertaking the rigors of a political campaign, or even the office of President, at that age. but one can dream...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by niktemadur (793971)
      Back in the early nineties, there was a right-wing-ideals convention in my college in Guadalajara, Mexico, endorsed by the dean, with a New Youth type of theme attached to it. Huge colorfull silkscreen banners hung all over the place a month in advance, there were full-page newspaper ads in colour, etc. One out of every three banners sported a picture of Solzhenitsyn, while quoted text warmly "applauded the convention, hoping this type of convention would spread all over Latin America, signed, Alexander S
  • Chess player? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vga_init (589198) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @02:58PM (#17278672) Journal

    I can calculate the possibilities as a chess player and I have to be honest and say that our chances are not high.

    Don't get me wrong... chess is one of my hobbies too. I also enjoy digging into politics, and I feel like I have enough experience in computer science to be able to identify and analyze systems. First, I can tell you that the game of chess and politics are two very different systems. So different, in fact, that being good at one will not ever help you with the other.

    Chess is in fact a simple, deterministic game that is very limited and loses complexity over time. We've written software that can play chess excellently for a very long time. As far as I know, no computer systems have ever been elected to office.

    I can tell you right off the bat that Kasparov's edge in politics is not his chess ability--it's his fame. That will attract more attention than anything else. Also, there is the public notion that anyone who is good at chess is some kind of genius, something he can use to his advantage as well. He keeps bringing up the fact that being so good at chess makes him smart enough to do all these things. People don't have trouble believing something like that, so maybe he is a good politician after all.

  • It appears, however, to be an uneven contest against a man who enjoys 80 per cent approval ratings. Most Russians want Mr. Putin to overturn a constitutional bar on a third term in office. Many will back whomever Mr. Putin endorses to succeed him.
    Then they deserve who they get!
  • I am quite familiar with the Russian expatriate communities in the USA and in the UK. While of course there are individual exceptions amongst intellectuals, students, and the like, the bulk of these expats truly disgust me, politically speaking. Yes, most of these expats are, after all the layers of bullshit are removed, economic migrants who came to better life for themselves and their families. There's nothing wrong with that - if I was in a place of want, I'd consider furthering my self interest by mo
    • by guacamole (24270)
      This situations in Ukraine, Iran, and Russia are very very different, and it is wrong to generalize by saying that the right thing to do for the Russian expats is ALSO to badmouth their government. The comparison with Iran is completely ridiculous. However, even Russian vs. Ukrainian politics are very different. Ukraine ethnically is a very divided country. About 50% living there are Russians (most of whom live on portions of Ukrainian land that they believe was unfairly assigned to Ukraine by USSR in 50s),
  • FTA: [his political umbrella group] The Other Russia

    Considering that umbrellas were used at least once by the KGB in an assassination (poison dart gun hidden in an umbrella), I wonder what sort of 'umbrella group' we're talking about here.
  • Or the Deep Blue, Kasparov Ticket. Chess skill is all well and good but I wouldn't vote for someone on that basis anymore than I would deep blue or little yapping dog.
  • by Garrett Fox (970174) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @08:36PM (#17281358) Homepage
    It's interesting to see a chessmaster involved in this situation. Long ago, Ayn Rand wrote an essay titled "An Open Letter To Boris Spassky," who was then a chess champion. She denounced him for being a pawn of the Soviet state, turning his intellectual abilities to a pointless logic game because he wasn't willing to change the rules of his country's "game."

Do you suffer painful illumination? -- Isaac Newton, "Optics"

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