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The Evolutionary Perspective
Category Archives: Chess Engines
Posted: August 6, 2017 at 3:42 am
Since the first industrial revolution, inventors have been driven by the idea that an automaton could mimic human intelligence.
There was even an attempt at a chess-playing automaton, the Mechanical Turk. This later turned out to be a hoax, as its inventor had someone sit inside the machine to make the supposedly intelligent chess moves against its human opponent.
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Just over two decades since the worlds first robot chess champion, Deep Blue, took its bow, artificial intelligence (AI) is breaking new ground technologically.
In March this year, AlphaGo from Googles DeepMind subsidiary proved that an AI could beat the best at the ancient game of Go an achievement many had predicted would take AI many years.
AlphaGos success suggests that the pace of AI technological advancement is accelerating. In time, it seems an AI will inevitably test what it means to be human.
There have been many heroic attempts at AI over the past 70 years, leading to several breakthroughs in AI and machine intelligence.
But beating world champion Garry Kasparov in a chess tournament, which is what IBM achieved with Deep Blue, is arguably more about the raw processing power of its hardware than the prowess of AI and logical reasoning.
In the UK, the first proper machine that was tasked with playing a game was the Hollerith Electronic Computer (HEC), which is currently on display at The National Museum of Computing (TNMOC) at Bletchley Park.
The machine was displayed to the public in 1953 at the Business Efficiency Exhibition in London. Raymond Bird, the electronics engineer who was tasked with developing the HEC, described the demonstration of the noughts and crosses game as a great success in showing the potential power of computers.
Andrew Herbert, chairman of TNMOC, says HEC became an instrument of the Cold War and used AI to help it achieve this. It was programmed to do automatic machine translation, he says. The computer was set up to convert written Russian into English the sort of demo that Microsoft often does today to show off the idea of a Star Trek-like Universal Translator.
In the 1950s, AI was also developed to support image recognition for the analysis of satellite photos during the Cold War. Again, the idea of learning to identify cats or whatever in a series of images is widely used today. AI was about clever pattern recognition, says Herbert.
But by the 1970s, AI scientists were attempting to second-guess how the human brain worked, he says. That is something neuroscientists still do not truly understand.
During the 1980s, Japan announced what it called the Fifth Generation computer initiative. This was the dawn of workstations and Japan saw that powerful computers could be made more intelligent. It led to the development of expert systems machines that could become domain experts in areas such as medical diagnosis, says Herbert.
Such expert systems captured a finite amount of information on a given subject domain, allowing less expert users to work on more complex problems without needing to have a specialist on hand.
With ubiquitous internet access, much more data became available, which led to what is now called machine learning. A big driver was search engine development by the likes of Bing, Google and AltaVista and, later, the recommendation engines all of which are based on pattern recognition technology.
The original man versus machine contest took place on 11 May 1997 when an IBM computer called Deep Blue defeated the reigning world chess champion, Garry Kasparov, grabbing the worlds attention and imagination. The six-game match lasted several days and ended with two wins for IBM, one for Kasparov and three draws.
But as with the Mechanical Turk of the 18th century, AI did not play much of a role in early logic game conquests.
Deep Blue was not a true AI because it analysed all possible chess moves using a brute force algorithm.
Primary Key Associates co-founder Andrew Lea has had an interest in AI for 35 years. His company uses the technology in data analytics to identify unknown knowns in datasets.
Lea says the reason why logical games such as chess and Go are strongly associated with AI is because they are closed domains. People were so much better than computers at playing these games, he says. Now we have the conundrum where computers are getting much better.
Lea wrote his first chess program for the BBC Model B, and recently developed a version for the Arduino microcomputer board. Writing good chess programs hasnt really increased our understanding of how people think, he says. I wrote a chess program 30 years ago. I remember writing chess on the BBC B microcomputer and its about how to make it smart on a small 8-bit computer. I think what makes AI is the ability to be smart and big, where big equals knowledge and experience.
For Lea, being smart is the opposite of brute force, where sheer computational power is thrown at the problem of identifying the best possible move for the robot chess player to make. Its about pattern recognition, knowing intuitively what you learnt from a previous game, and how this can make a difference in the current game, he says.
During the first decade of the new millennium, a step-change occurred as computational power increased to the point where neural networks and deep learning algorithms could be applied to AI.
Deep learning , to use IBMs definition, is based on the human brains decision-making process. By building multiple layers of abstraction, deep learning technology can solve complex semantic problems.
In 2011, IBM showcased its deep learning technology with the Watson computer, which beat two of the most successful human contestants on the long-running US TV game show Jeopardy!. The game show requires participants to provide a question in response to general knowledge clues. In the event, Watson marked a breakthrough in AI with its understanding of natural language and ability to make sense of vast amounts of written human knowledge.
Last March in Seoul, the Go-playing computer program AlphaGo, developed by Googles DeepMind division, defeated the best Go player of the last decade, Lee Sedol. AlphaGo won by resignation after 186 moves. Go is regarded as one of the hardest games for computers to master because of its sheer complexity. There are roughly 200 possible moves for a given turn compared with about 20 in chess, and more possible board configurations than the number of atoms in the universe.
People thought it would take 20 years for a computer to be able to beat a human at Go, but Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, believes AlphaGo’s mastery of Go shows just how quickly AI is evolving.
TNMOCs Herbert says: We are making great strides in enabling computers to perceive things, so we can build amazing applications that can mimic human behaviour, but it is not intelligence in the way of a human.
The risk to humanity that Musk fears is an AIs ability not only to outpace human intelligence, but to exploit an intelligent network in a way that could undermine society in order to achieve a seemingly benevolent objective.
Speaking at the National Governors Association on 15 July, Musk said: The pace of progress is remarkable. Now AlphaGo can play the top 50 Go players and crush them all.
There are now AI systems capable of learning without ever having being taught the fundamental principles or a basic understanding of the subject matter. You can see robots that can learn to walk from nothing within hours, which is way faster than any biological being, Musk told US state governors at the event.
One of the most recent breakthroughs came in June, when Facebook published research introducing dialog agents with the ability to negotiate. Similar to how people have differing goals, run into conflicts and then negotiate to come to an agreed-upon compromise, the researchers demonstrated that it is possible for dialog agents with differing goals implemented as end-to-end-trained neural networks to engage in start-to-finish negotiations with other bots or people while arriving at common decisions or outcomes, according to Facebooks blog.
While the ability to exhibit human-like negotiation tactics is certainly a big step forward, the Facebook bots gave a very public demonstration of an inherent risk in self-learning technology. They were switched off after they invented their own language for communicating a language that could not be understood by the human researchers.
Originally posted here:
Posted: at 3:42 am
For 45 moves today, Magnus Carlsen played a model “Carlsen” game in the Sinquefield Cup. Getting little from the opening, he created complex positional problems and was rewarded with subtle errors from Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. However, as the engines began crowing about advantages as high as +4, Carlsen erred, immediately allowing a resourceful Vachier-Lagrave to get back into the game and then to claim the advantage.
Headline photo: Lennart Ootes, Grand Chess Tour.
Despite fierce resistance from Carlsen, Vachier-Lagrave claimed the full point. This swing reintroduces questions about Carlsen’s status as the world number-one. He has a 10-point edge over Fabiano Caruana who is currently second (in Saint Louis and on 2700chess.com), but there is a real possibility that continued tribulations could allow Caruana to overtake Carlsen in Saint Louis. Meanwhile Vachier-Lagrave is leading the tournament and is only a fraction of a point shy of re-crossing 2800.
The day’s other winner was Ian Nepomniachtchi who won surprisingly quickly against Hikaru Nakamura.
For now, here are the games. Check back tomorrow for quotes, analysis, and more.
2017 Sinquefield Cup | Round 4 Standings
Here is the original post:
Posted: June 29, 2017 at 11:58 am
Marion County Development Review: 8:30 a.m., Office of County Engineer, 412 SE 25th Ave., Ocala. Visit 671-8686.
Walk to the Hits!: 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., Marion Oaks Community Center, 294 Marion Oaks Lane, Ocala. Free. Call 438-2830.
T.O.P.S.: Take Off Pounds Sensibly: 9 a.m., Spring Lake Village, 2450 NE 146th Terrace, Silver Springs. (625-3358); 10 a.m., Ocklawaha United Methodist Church, 13335 SE 123rd St., Ocklawaha. (347-2841); 10 a.m., Grace Baptist Church, 10835 SE 70th Ave., Belleview. (245-9593); 7 p.m., Belleview Christian Church, 7149 SE County Road 25A, Belleview. (245-2603); and 4:30 p.m., Dunnellon Womens Club, 11756 Cedar St., Dunnellon. (763-602-1055).
Scrappy Angel Quilters: 9:30 a.m., Memorial Baptist Church, 3693 SE 95th St., Ocala. Call 347-4453.
Quilt Club: 10 a.m., Forest Community Center, 777 S. County Road 314A, Ocklawaha. Call 438-2840.
Sexual assault survivors support group: 10 a.m., Ocala Domestic Violence Sexual Assault Center. Call 622-8495 for location.
LifeSouth bloodmobile: Call 622-3544.
Walmart, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., 2400 SW 19th Ave. Road, Ocala
Publix, 11:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m., 2575 SW 42nd St., Ocala
A Better World: Environmental Awareness: 10:30-11:30 a.m., Belleview Public Library, 13145 SE County Road 484, Belleview, 438-2500; and 1-2 p.m., Belleview Public Library, 13145 SE County Road 484, Belleview, 438-2500.
Summer Reading – John Storms World of Reptiles: 10:30-11:30 a.m., Lady Lake Public Library, 225 W. Guava St., Lady Lake, 272-3900.
Cardio strength and balance: 11 a.m., Marion Oaks Community Center, 294 Marion Oaks Lane, Ocala. Free. Call 438-2830.
Ocala Lions Club: Noon, Ocala Golf Club, E. Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala. Call 854-6715 or email email@example.com.
Ocala Silver Springs Rotary: Noon, Knights of Columbus, 1510 SW Third Ave., Ocala. Call 207-1247.
Silver Springs Shores Kiwanis Club: Noon, Silver Springs Shores Presbyterian Church, 674 Silver Road, Ocala. Call 687-1119 or visit silverspringsshoreskiwanis.org.
Drawing and painting class: 12:30 p.m., Hobby Lobby classroom, 2400 SW College Road, Ocala. $14 per hour. Call 528-0169. Taught by experienced artist and instructor.
Start Your Engines!: 2-3 p.m., Dunnellon Public Library, 20351 Robinson Road, Dunnellon, 438-2520. Program for families.
Film Fest!: 2-4 p.m., Freedom Public Library, 5870 SW 95th St., Ocala, 438-2580. Program for teens.
Thread Therapy: 2:30 p.m., Headquarters-Ocala Public Library, 2720 E. Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala. Free. Call 351-6110 or visit YardsNYarn.com. Gathering for needlecrafters.
Thursday Matinee: 2:30-4:30 p.m., Reddick Public Library, 15150 NW Gainesville Road, Reddick, 438-2566.
Bingo: Doors open 4 p.m., games 6 p.m., American Legion Post 58, 10730 US 41, Dunnellon. $6. Call 489-4453.
Fit Kids: 4:30 p.m., Marion Oaks Community Center, 294 Marion Oaks Lane, Ocala. Free. Call 438-2830.
Ocala Chess Club: 5 p.m., Headquarters-Ocala Public Library, 2720 E. Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala. Call 812-4221.
Escape Room: Protect the World: 5-6 p.m., Headquarters-Ocala Public Library, 2720 E. Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala, 671-8551. Solve clues to escape; program for teens.
CF Young Singers: 5:30 p.m., Dassance Fine Arts Center at CF, 3001 SW College Road, Ocala. $25 dues. Call 854-2322 ext. 1419. Choir open to ages 8-12, performs twice yearly.
Martial arts: 5:30 p.m., Forest Community Center, 777 S. County Road 314A, Ocklawaha. Call 438-2840.
Walk it Off in 30 Days: 5:30 p.m., Marion Oaks Community Center, 294 Marion Oaks Lane, Ocala. Free. Call 438-2830.
Forest Jam: 6 p.m., Forest Community Center, 777 S. County Road 314A, Ocklawaha. Call 438-2840. Musicians and singers of all levels welcome, acoustic only.
Deep worship: 6-8:30 p.m., Sacred Fire Ministries, 12226 County Road 301, Belleview. Call 203-4810 or visit sacredfireministries.com.
Al-Anon: 7:30 p.m., First United Methodist Church, Room 21, 1126 E. Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala. Free. Visit al-anon.org.
U.N.I.T.Y. Group Services, Inc.s Clothing Closet: Anyone in need of free clothing can make an appointment on Tuesdays and Sundays, U.N.I.T.Y. Group Services, Inc.s Clothing Closet, 7 E. Silver Springs Blvd., Suite 102, Ocala. Call 1-800-910-3574 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations welcome; may qualify for tax credit.
Fort King National Historic Landmark and Visitor Center temporary closures: 3925 E Fort King St., Fort King, will be periodically closed due to construction without notice through July for construction of replica fort. Visit fkha.org/donate-now.
Marion County Public Library Systems “Finders Keepers”: Through July 31, all library locations. Find treasure-packed geocahes and earn the chance to win a prize pack. Visit geocaching.com or ask a librarian.
“Con-Text: The Word-Based Images of Tyrus Clutter”: Through Aug. 6, Appleton Museum of Art, 4333 E. Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala. Admission fee. Call 291-4455 or visit appletonmuseum.org. Colorful and unique works of art relying heavily on text throughout the years; explores the ways humans interpret words and images.
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Posted: June 22, 2017 at 5:47 am
Hey, everyone. I’ve recently become aware of how using a Chess Engine can help you improve at chess. I’ve been watching a lot of videos on youtube and the commentators always mention how they are using a Chess Engine to analyze the games or positions on the chess board.
I was wondering if there are any completely free Chess Engines I can download that can help me analyze positions? I currently have Chessmaster: Grandmaster Edition, but the Chess Engine that comes with it isn’t very intuitive or designed well. It takes awhile to set up and I can tell it definitely isn’t the best tool for what I’m looking for. Perhaps there’s a Chess Engine designed for this purpose? Maybe something that explains the reasons why the move the engine recommends is optimal?
Does anyone know of any free Chess Engines that are very good at helping you analyze chess positions and finding the next best move?
As a side note, I will not use the Chess Engine to cheat. I strictly want to use this as a tool to improve my own skill. It’s something I’ve come to realize that will help me progress in skill. Often in my games I come to a moment where I can’t figure out the best move. I then make a move never knowing whether it was right or wrong, and because of this I don’t learn from possible mistakes.
Thank you in advance for any suggestions.
The rest is here:
Posted: June 18, 2017 at 11:42 am
Virtual Reality (VR) has been around for a few years now. However, what made VR accessible to everyone was Googles Cardboard, a budget solution that gave everyone a taste of what VR could do. When Google announced its Pixel phone last year, it also launched the Daydream View, a premium VR headset for those who want a more immersive experience.
One of the things that make the Daydream View stand out is build quality. Google has used a breathable fabric for the outer body which is surprisingly well-cushioned: this makes the headset comfortable to wear for long durations.
Daydream View comes with a handheld remote control with a built-in accelerometer, trackpad, volume control, select and home button. The controller works seamlessly with VR apps for viewing content or playing games. Having a handheld controller improves the experience by a big margin. Once you are done using the headset, the controller can be tucked inside the headset so that you dont lose it very thoughtful.
Setting up the Daydream View takes a couple of minutes via onscreen instructions in the app.
Then the app shows a tiled interface for recommended apps: YouTube VR, Play Store, settings and your installed apps. You can install new apps without removing the headset, which makes things easier from a users perspective.
The VR experience with the Daydream View is unparalleled. We have used a number of VR headsets, but the visual quality, smooth interface, navigation and ease of control we got with this is mind-blowing. The audio from the headsets speakers is loud enough for personal use and adds to the overall immersiveness.
One issue with the headset is that it is compatible with only select Android phones; support for other phones will be added over time. Another problem is that most of the good VR apps in Play Store are paid and the app ecosystem is overall still limited. Apart from this, the Daydream View is one of the best headsets for VR save for the high-end HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. By Karan Bajaj
ET Chess Moves: Game for iOS and Android
So you want to play a game of chess? Obviously, you have got your smartphone; no need to carry the board. There are hundreds of free chess apps available, so why are we writing about this one? Three big reasons. One, its adfree.
Two: all features are free, including undo, resume game and online play. Three, it has a nice two-player mode in which two people can play simultaneously on the same phone. You have a board facing you while your opponent has a board facing the other direction.
Your board automatically scales up in size when its your turn a smart way to overcome the limitations of small screens! And the developer (Asim Pereira) is using the Stockfish 8 engine for the single-player mode one of the best open-source chess engines that scales well to mobile and desktop platforms.
There are 10 levels, different board designs/colours and you can share your game once it is over. Try it out if you need to brush up on your skills. By Hitesh Raj Bhagat
Rheo : App for iOS; Get It For: Free You can always head to YouTube when you need to be entertained.
But what if you want to learn something new or just have a laugh? How long will you keep browsing aimlessly? Plus, there are other video platforms, you know? Rheo presents a steady stream of curated videos and the cool thing is that it pre-buffers the next video so when you swipe to the next one, it instantly starts playing. If you want a change of mood, you can switch from default to laugh, inform, learn, taste, spark, move or chill. You dont need to sign up to use it but if you do, you can record your reactions to videos, and your friends can see these reactions when they watch the same video.
Favourite what you like and Rheo will pick up on your taste and show you more like that. It’s cool enough to take a place along with Hyper, another of our favourite video apps on iOS. By Hitesh Raj Bhagat
Posted: June 17, 2017 at 2:38 pm
Over the last 12 years, Russian chess Grandmaster Garry Kasparov has been a writer, human rights and democracy activist and a sometime chess-coach-cum adviser to top players. For an earlier generation, Kasparov is a superstar, probably the greatest ever chess player, a World Champion at the age of 22 in 1985 and a flag-bearer for human intelligence in matches against the IBM supercomputer Deep Blue (Kasparov won the first match in 1996 but lost the re-match in 1997). Twenty years later, Kasparov has written a book on the match, Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins. In an email interview with Suman Layak, New York-based Kasparov shares his views on chess, AI, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. Edited excerpts:
On why the book has come 20 years after the match The approach of the 20th anniversary of the 1997 rematch was the catalyst, but I wouldnt have written Deep Thinking if I hadnt felt ready. It was still painful to look back at that catastrophe, but enough time had passed to be objective, to find the truth, even if it was unpleasant. The other factor was that I had a lot more to say about intelligent machines and human-machine relationship. I felt that this could be an important message for others as well.
On whether he would do it again No, the strength of todays chess machines makes me quite happy Im retired! A free app on your smartphone is stronger than Deep Blue ever was. And a top engine on a decent laptop is likely unbeatable by even the best human on a good day. Engines dont play perfectly, but they dont make enough mistakes of the magnitude required for a human to beat them. Draw, yes, but probably not win. It was my blessing and curse to be the World Champion during the period in which chess computers went from laughably weak to practically unbeatable. It was a fascinating moment in my life, but in the historical perspective its a tiny blip.
On whether computers can take up human jobs, replace chess coaches Job loss to intelligent automation is a critical topic, but one of the reasons I wrote Deep Thinking was because we are looking at it the wrong way, with dangerous repercussions. Worry about people, not jobs, not professions. The evolution of human civilisation is the replacement of human labour by technology. Thats progress. Its essential, and makes our lives better, longer, more comfortable and productive. We should be concerned about what people will do if their tasks are taken over by machines, yes, but that problem will only get worse if we slow down instead of speed up automation and the development of new technology. Industries that automate also expand, leading to the creation of better jobs, even new industries. We need to focus on how to train people who are being displaced, how to keep them active. The good news is that smarter tools are also easier to use with less training. Computers are already teaching kids to play chess! But there will always be a place for human coaches and teachers, to help kids reach their potential and not only in chess. With an infinite amount of information at everyones fingertips, its ridiculous to preserve the old teacher-student relationship. Teachers today should focus on teaching kids how to learn, not what to learn. Training methods and critical thinking are still essential.
On opponents Anatoly Karpov, Viswanathan Anand, Vladimir Kramnik Enjoyed isnt really the way to put it! In a professional game, especially in a World Championship match, its a life or death struggle, and even the thrill of victory leaves you exhausted. But I always felt a special surge of energy when facing Karpov who was, of course, my great rival over five World Championship matches.
Even in less consequential games later in our careers, I had a feeling like against no other opponent. We knew each other so well, and public interest was always high when we met. To answer more selfishly, my record against Anand was far better than against Karpov or Kramnik, so I suppose those games were more enjoyable in that way. Vishy was a formidable opponent so he inspired me to play my best, and more often than not it went my way.
On challenging current players They are very strong, with Magnus Carlsen still a step above everyone else. But I havent been gone so long! I played many games against several of the players still near the top, especially Kramnik and Anand. Of the young generation, they are often very good technically and still need to show their fire and dedication. One reason Im impressed with Wesley So is how hard he works. He has other chessboard talents as well, but his ability to focus and prepare is tremendous. I have no interest in big chess challenges. Top-level chess, especially classical chess, requires concentration and dedication. I have a million other things in my life today, from young children to books and politics. Its not compatible with professional chess and Im quite happy with my life.
On US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin Putin long ago decided that the US was his enemy. It is the worlds most powerful nation and so it is a potential threat to his uncontested power as the dictator of Russia. And he cant stay quiet since he needs international conflict to justify his power at home. More conflict was inevitable, but this scandal with Trump is a huge wildcard.
Why does he praise Putin, a brutal dictator who attacked the US election? Why does Russian propaganda attack the US constantly, but never say anything negative about Trump himself? So far, most of the known contacts are with Trumps team, which has more Russian connections than Aeroflot. Trump may not be intelligent enough to be part of a grand conspiracy himself, but he may end up being prosecuted for trying to interfere in the investigation of his administration and allies, like Michael Flynn.
On the dichotomy of Edward Snowden finding sanctuary in Russia Its only a dichotomy if he wasnt already working with Russian intelligence, either willingly or as a pawn. I have no special knowledge of Snowdens activities, but his path afterwards, his welcome in Putins Russia and his willingness to allow himself to be used as a tool of Putins propaganda arent in his favour as a mere whistleblower or misguided zealot. You can be happy that what he exposed was exposed and still suspect he was an agent or traitor.
On democracy in Russia There isnt any democratic politics in Russia, only that approved by the Putin regime. The balance of power is between various camps of Putins allies, pushing and pulling for influence and cash, usually behind the scenes. You cant speak of democracy or sully the word election by talking about Russia. Its a joke, a show to distract people, nothing more. Russia is a dictatorship and anyone who posed any sort of real challenge to Putins grip on power would be dead, in jail, or exiled.
Posted: June 16, 2017 at 3:55 pm
The Fourth Industrial Revolution Is About Empowering People, Not The Rise Of The Machines
Even the creators of artificial chess-playing machines acknowledge that the best chess player is actually a team of both human and machine. … Railroad locomotives are powered by massive, highly complex electrical engines that cost millions of dollars.
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Posted: at 3:55 pm
(Photos by Liena Zagare/BKLYNER)
On June 5, City Council Candidates for District 40 (Ditmas Park, Flatbush, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens) held a debate on the most pressing issues facing our district.
In case you missed it, check out this comprehensive review of the issues that matter most, before heading over to the third debate tonight (with candidates from District 45 and the Brooklyn district attorney race).
Interest in political engagement is at a high in Brooklyn, and with a total of five candidates in play, the event was packed. (Thanks to neighbors who organized the event Seth Kaplan, Calista De Jesus with support from Cheryl Sealey, Brenda Edwards, Emily Leshner, and BKLYN Commons.)
Only one chair was empty for the first part of the debate, the one reserved for incumbent Councilmember Mathieu Eugene, who arrived late (had was with a police officer who was in a coma, he said later). When he did arrive, he referred to the other candidates as his opponents throughout the evening.
The organizers reached out to local political rockstar Duane Joseph and asked him to play moderator. Duane Joseph is a long-time resident of Flatbush via the Caribbeanand describes himself as a concerned resident looking to bridge the information gap.
You can watch the entire, 2-hour debate here, or read our edited synopsis below:
While waiting for Eugene to arrive, each candidate introduced themselves and their goals.
Brian Cunningham, who announced his candidacy last May, focused on his experience in government. I am running because I have seen a lot of changes in the last ten years, he said. I love this community, I was born and raised in this community and after this race is over, my commitment to public service will not be over.
Pia Raymond, who we interview in February, emphasized her work with economic engines along Nostrand Avenue and on the board of CB9. My story is part of your story, she said. I know what it means for a business to be displaced. Raymond reiterated what would become some of the ongoing themes of the night: changes, rent costs, and young people in need to engage. But she also focused on crime. in the midst of all the things happening here, we are still dealing the persistent crime problem.
Jen Berkely focused on an issue she has worked on for the last decade. I am here because our community is in a housing crisis. It not being addressed. How do I know its not being addressed? she asked out loud. Because I looked to see the how many affordable units we had when the City Councilmember took office. We have 15,000 less affordable units than we did when he took office.
Rose St Albord explained she is a masterpiece and a work in progressrunning because it is time for us to re-invent ourselves. Her objectives focused on our need to makes homes affordable, schools accountable, our streets safer for all residents.
Then, the questions began.
Given the importance of transportation as it provides access to getting an education and to economic opportunity. How would you improve it?
Brian Cunningham:Many simply cannot afford the cost of the subway, he said. Cunningham was the only candidate to suggest a solution, citing the 1700 people who use the Church Avenue train station between 6 and 9am every weekday morning: He believes we should mimic what the both the subway in the West Coast and the Metro North here do, make off-peak hours cheaper.
Pia Raymond:cited her experience increasing transportation options along the Nostrand business strip, like the select bus service, and a metro card to encourage shopping along the Nostrand strip. Raymond also cited her role in helping to create bike lanes and bike parking options to encourage business and travel options. Obesity is the number one health issue in Brooklyn, she said, with a commitment to simplify walking and biking options.
Jen Berkely:highlighted repeated fare increases when the service has been getting worse and worse and worse. She felt strongly that we need to send the message that we wont continue to foot the bill as service gets worse. She will do whatever she can to make sure the service gets better.
Rose St Albord:suggested a discount for families and for older straphangers. She also agreed that select buses were a great idea, but that select busses have angered some residents who see multiple select buses pass by while regular service seems to be suffering. This comment appeared to have hit a nerve and triggered a round of applause.
How Do You See Yourself Being An Advocate For Safer Streets?
Pia Raymond:said encouraging walking is a path toward safer streets, especially for seniors. She discussed her work in getting Citibike to come to her areaand wants more benches and bus shelters to encourage more outdoor activity.
Jen Berkley:said the current bike lanes are a great idea but painted lanes on the street force you to take your life into your hands. Its a delicate balance to increase foot traffic and other forms of transportation, she said, and intends to conduct a survey on it.
Rose St Albord:believes it takes a village we have to increase accountability for both bikers and walkers. We cannot look only at our side. People are reckless when they ride, people are reckless when they walk while texting.
Brian Cunningham:complemented the Mayor on the success of Vision Zero and cited the need for protected bike lanes. There are parts of the city where there is a row of parked cars or other dividers insulating the bike lanes.
Explain Your Plan for Tackling the Housing Crisis
Jen Berkely:given the high numbers of property violations against landlords, she would create a registry of the worst violators and aggressively fine them. She cited her work as a fighter for victims of landlords looking to push people out of their homes.
Rose St Albord:cited landlords who refuse to make repairs to inspire non-payment for which they can evict. Albord would make all landlords fill out a form of what kind of maintenance they would be expected to keep up and force them to either make repairs or forfeit the rent. She would also provide more pro bono legal help in fighting for tenants rights.
Pia Raymond:cited continued work with Impact Brooklyn and Brooklyn Legal Services, and the Flatbush Tenant Coalition. She will use her platform at City Council to educate the public and support these groups.
Brian Cunningham:feels strongly about land and tax abatements. We need to use the possibility of canceling them as a tool, he said. If you take city dollars you have responsibilities to uphold.
Councilmember Eugene:Housing is one of the biggest crises in the nation, he said, citing funding he gave tonon-profitsand testimony he gave before the DOB against raising rents.
What Are Your Plans To Push For a Fair Property Tax Program (because many taxes are going up to cover the new values because of buildings that are getting abatements)?
Rose St Albord: Property taxes are already high. Her goal will be to work to find ways to make new developments pay for the new costs to cover older residents raises in costs.
Brian Cunnigham:said that the 421A tax abatementneeds to be killed outright because any tax abatement is a zero sum effect. He would like to downzone, to disincentivize 421A. Cunningham also cited specifics numbers regarding the percentage of affordable housing being delivered for tax breaks.
Pia Raymond: Shared the commitment to downzoning. She cited her history on CB9 for support for downzoning.
Councilmember Eugene: said he voted to downzone Victorian Flatbush. He also said we need to lower the tax cost for retirees. It is very complicated, there is no one answer.
Jen Berkeley: Downzoning is only one answer to the problem. She says the Community Boards play a big role in downzoning and believes that City Council can play a bigger role in negotiating with developers.
What is your position on Charter Schools and the effect they have on public schools?
Councilmember Eugene: We have to invest in [public] education. But if there are other schools, we should support them.
Brian Cunningham: It is the citys responsibility to take care of the public schools first. He cited an example of how a school got a 501C3 attached to their school to allow them to pursue outside funding. He also cited the difference between Capital funding and other monies, saying we need to generate funding for both.
Pia Raymond:served as a program director in a public school and feels its critical to support public schools, college preparation, and fighting the digital divide. She would also support existing charter programs but not focus on new ones for the future.
Jen Berkely:Our city is one of the wealthiest in the world and the schools and should not have to hold bake sales to pay the bills. She also called out our low graduation rate in nyc as a particular issue she would address.
Rose St. Albord:said many kids arent learning but rather are taught to memorize She feels that many school problems need to be dealt with by instituting accountability for our school leadership and not just throwing money at problems.
Councilmember Eugene: Explained that he gives money to every school, supporting chess programs and other special events.
Joseph then switched gears and called on audience questions, like: How would you intervene in gang violence? (Create more community centers and vocational training, said Albord; raising rates of summer jobs, said Eugene; expand interest-based social development programs, said Raymond; make every school a beacon instead of creating new spaces, said Cunningham.)
What can you do to help the small businesses keep up with the rising cost of rent?
(specialized commercial rent control, saidBerkeley;encourage the SBA to take over a percentage of the store rent, saidSt. Albord; more programs like shop local supported by city council, and a separate stream to help preschools, said Raymond; explore landmarking small businesses integral to the cultural landscape, said Cunningham. Everyone who comes to Brooklyn wants to go to Juniors Cheesecake. We have places that could have that kind of draw.)
The last question was a personal one for Joseph and the immediate community. Since we are in the area covered by CB9 can you tell us what you would do to make it more functional. This question got applause and clearly was important to this room.
Pia Raymond, the only candidate onCB9, said, Unfortunately we have had a lot of discord and changes in leadership which has held up voting on things like liquor licenses. But she said we have new leadership and expressed confidence that things would go smoother this year.
Cunningham called for a more formal application process and training for Community Board leadership. He also felt strongly that there should be term limits on Community Board service. This last point received applause from the audience.
Learn more about each candidate, with videos, here.
Originally posted here:
Posted: June 14, 2017 at 4:49 am
Chess is a game which has more books on it than any other books in the world combined. The field of chess literature is so vast that one can go on and on and still not find a way out. The history of books on chess go down to many centuries ago. Even in the seventeenth century when it was played in Europe, the players relied on different books on the sport for strategies. The first world champion, Wilhem Stenietz also created his own collection of books. The book My System by Aron Nimzowitzch has sold millions of copies. It is now considered a treasure to have an original copy of his book.
So, why are chess books so popular? What are some of the recent books on the game which have become popular? The answers to these two questions are in fact quite simple. The chess books are immense in the content that they offer. They are full of details which can be easily understood by the player. In fact, there are different levels of books on the game.
One of the greatest series is authored by none other than the world champion Garry Kasparov called My Great Predecessors. It is a five volume book and talks about Kasparovs greatest predecessors and has their games annotated by the champion himself. This series has been read by most of the worlds top grandmasters and even novices looking to make it big in the sport. Reading chess books makes the player sharper and makes him develop his game. It also helps him analyse various games of the past. Another classic example of a chess book is the book by Bobby Fischer, My Sixty Memorable Games. It shows sixty of his best games and helps the reader understand the logic behind his moves. The reader can enjoy each of Fischers games with relative ease as it is written in a pure and natural text.
These two books are just small examples from the large world of chess books. There are other books on chess which talk about psychology and the mindset of the players during games. One such book is How Life Imitates Chess by Kasparov. It talks about how Kasparov thinks life and chess are co-related. He talks about his life as a chess player and what it meant to be a world champion. He gives insights into his grueling schedule before world championship matches and also his thoughts on what chess meant to him. It is a must read for every book worm whether playing or not.
Chess Books are a great way to improve your game. The biggest advantage with these are that they are self explanatory. One can easily read and understand them. They are the best ways to practice, and books are able to tell the player something that even the worlds best engines cannot say. In fact, a book gives insight knowledge by another human who has been on the same stage earlier and has done his research. Simply relying on computers has never been an effective way to grow and even the worlds best players still rely on these books for enhancing themselves. Thus, chess literature has a whole new future ahead.
Chess in films has risen in the past two decades. One of the earliest films that I can recall seeing was Searching for Bobby Fischer, based on the true life story of International Master Josh Waitzkin. This film is based on the book of the same name by Fred Waitzkin, Joshs father. It showcases the world of a chess player and how the role of a parent is crucial for a childs development in the early part of his or her career. The movie tells Joshs story in such a powerful manner that even a grandmaster can learn a lot by watching it.
A recent film on the game was directed by the acclaimed director Mira Nair called Queen of Katwe. The film has inspired millions of people across the globe, including the world champion, Magnus Carlsen. What makes this film unique is the fact that a young girl from an extremely poor background rises up the ladder and becomes the first player from her country -Uganda- to participate in the Olympiad. All of sixteen, this girl wins the heart of millions by her never say die attitude. She was none other than Phiona Mutesi, who along with her coach, Robert Katende, made the game popular in an area where the people were so stricken with poverty that they had no place to stay in even in the worst conditions. The film showcases how to overcome extreme hardships in life with a positive mind frame.
Another amazing film on chess was Magnus. A film by a Norwegian debutant director Benjamin Ree, this film has the live footage of several important moments in the world no.1s career. It shows how he became a grandmaster at thirteen and how his quest for becoming a world champion came true in 2013. The documentary draws on the experiences of the entire Carlsen family and how they, as a unit, helped the reigning world champion become a phenomenon that he is today.
The above examples are just a few from the world of chess literature and films. It is rightly said that chess is an ocean full of treasures. It not only ignites the mind, but it also helps to develop oneself holistically. The game of chess is not only a sport, it is an art, a science, and a philosophical sea. One can only reap the benefits from this beautiful game.
Image courtesy: The Seventh Seal (Movie)
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