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Member since Jun-04-08 · Last seen May-24-15
Good Day to All! Ma-ayong adlaw sa tanan. And my thanks to for this excellent website. Salamat Opinions:

1. World Chess Championship

The true Chess World Champions are the holders of the Traditional Title that originated with Steinitz & passed on in faithful succession to Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine, Euwe, Botvinnik, Smyslov, Tal, Petrosian, Spassky, Fischer, Karpov, Kasparov, Kramnik, Anand, and Carlsen. The sacredness of this Title is what makes it so valuable.

And how does one become the true Chess World Champion? In general, by beating the previous Titleholder one on one in a Match! Matches are preferred over Tournaments because of the Tradition of the WC Succession & because the chance for pre-arranging a Tournament result is more likely. The only exceptions to this rule:

A. In case where the Candidates and World Champion participate in an event that all the participants agree to be a World Championship event because of extraordinary circumstances.

Thus, the 1948 World Championship Tournament was justifiable because of the death of the Title holder Alekhine.

Likewise, the 2007 WC Tournament was justifiable under the extraordinary circumstances of the Chessworld trying to heal its internal rift over the 1993 Kasparov Schism. Anand himself became the World Champion in this 2007 Tournament & not in 2000 when he won a knock-out FIDE Tournament. Caveat: Some chess fans deem the 2007 WC Tournament as illegitimate, considering that Anand became the World Champion only in 2008, when he beat the previous Titleholder Kramnik in a WC match. From this perspective Anand only became the Undisputed World Champion in 2008.

Karpov lost his Title to Kasparov in 1985, & never regained it in the 1990s events that FIDE labeled as 'world championships'. All solely FIDE Champions that emerged outside WC Traditional Succession elaborated on above, strong as they were, were not true World Champions (eg., Bogolyubov 1928, Khalifman 1999, Ponomariov 2002, Kasimdzhanov 2004, Topalov 2005).//

B. In case the previous Titleholder defaults an event that the Chessworld largely deems as a World Championship event in the Tradition of the World Championship Succession. Thus, Karpov was the true successor to Fischer who defaulted their WC Match in 1975.

2. The strongest chess events in different eras of chess history?

Because of the brain's limitations explained below, the best professional (amateurs don't matter much in top level chess) chess players of each generation beginning in the Lasker era have always played at a similar level - near the maximum allowed by human standards. Now there are larger cohorts of chess professionals post WW2 than preWW2 thanks to government state funding in the Soviet era and presently corporate funding. The result is that large preWW2 tournaments had numerous 'bunnies', relatively weak players. By the Kasparov era, super-tournaments that featured most of the top ten, and no bunnies, had became more common. However, the top 4 or 5 since Lasker's time have always been very strong.

Consequently the smaller the top-player-only tournament, the stronger it gets. For any era. If there was a double round robin tournament in 1914 featuring Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine, and Rubinstein, and no other, it would be as strong as any present day super-tournament.

Now weed out everyone except the two strongest players in the world. What we (usually) get is the chess World Championship match.

There has been talk of elite tournaments, composed only of the strongest top masters and no weaker bunnies replacing the World Championship match in prestige, probably because of the assumption that they would be the strongest chess events possible. False assumption. The strongest chess events in chess history generally have been World Championship matches. Even the strongest masters in each generation usually do not match the world champion and challenger in chess strength. In a World Championship match, the contestant has to meet the monster champion or challenger over and over again, with no weaker master in between. Capablanca vs Lasker 1921 was just as strong a chess event as the recent Carlsen vs Anand 2013, and far stronger than Zurich 2014. (Imagine having to play 14 straight games with a computer-like errorless Capablanca at his peak.)

3. The strongest chess players in chess history?

IMO the 1919 version of Capablanca & the 1971 version of Fischer, both of whom played practically error-free chess, are it; updated in opening theory, they should beat anyone in a match.

If computers were self-aware, I have no doubt that they would unanimously choose the 1916 to 1924 Capablanca as the strongest chess player in history. And please no red herring remark that Capa played only 'simple' chess. This young Capablanca played some of the most complicated, sharp, double edged, and bizarre positions possible; and played them without making a single losing error (and by all accounts with unsurpassed quickness), something that has always befuddled my mind when I got to peruse through his games.

We have to take this question in the context of the limits of the human Anatomy and Physiology. A concrete example would be the one hundred meter dash. The human body is designed such that the limit it can run is about 9 seconds. In order for a human being to run faster, we would have to redesign the human anatomy into that of say a cheetah. One can rev up the human Anatomy and Physiology, say with steroids, but this regimen would hit an eventual Stonewall too; the same way that we could rev up human proficiency to learn openings with computer assistance.

Since the Nervous System has physiological limits (example of a limit- neuronal action potential speed don't go up much more than 100 m/s) and so limits the human chess playing ability, increasing the number human chess players, thus expanding the normal curve of players, simply creates more possibilities of players playing like a Fischer in his prime, but will not create a mental superman who plays chess at computer levels. This explains why human and computer analysis indicate that Lasker was playing on a qualitatively similar level as more recent WCs.

'Worse' in chess, any computer assistance ends once the opening is over. After a computer-assisted opening prep, every GM today has to play the game the way Lasker did a hundred years ago, relying on himself alone, with the same fundamental chess rules and chess clock. An Encyclopedic opening repertoire is not a necessity to be a top player. In fact, there are World Champions who did not do deep opening prep; they just played quiet but sound openings that got them into playable middlegames and then beat their opponents in the midlegame or endgame. Just look at Capablanca, Spassky, Karpov, and now Carlsen.

Because of subconscious adherence to the narcissistic generation syndrome, the belief that everything that is the best can only exist in the here and now, many kibitzers would not agree to the above theses. While it is true that there have been more active chess professionals and consequently larger cohorts of top chess masters on a yearly basis since WW2 thanks to Soviet state funding and present corporate funding, the very top chess masters since Lasker's time have always played at a similar level- within the limits imposed by the human brain. There is no physical law that bars a pre-WW2 chess master from playing chess as well as today's generation. The human brain has not changed in any fundamental manner in the past tens of thousands of years.

4. The greatest chess players in history?

A related question is who is the greatest chess player in history. The answer depends on the criteria one uses. Since I place great emphasis on the ability to play world class chess for the longest period of time, Lasker would be it. He was playing at peak form from 1890 age 22 (when he began a remarkable run of match victories over Bird, Mieses, Blackburne, Showalter, and culminating in his two massacres of Steinitz) until 1925 at age 57 (when he nearly won Moscow after winning new York 1924). Kasparov (high plateau from 1980 to 2005) and Karpov (high plateau from 1972 to 1996) would follow. (At their very peak though, I believe that Kasparov was stronger than Karpov, and both were stronger than Lasker; and the peak Capablanca and Fischer were stronger than any of them.)

5. Computers vs Humans, who is stronger?

Another related question is how history's top masters would fare against computers. It's obvious from Kasparov's time that computers would totally crush them all. Opening knowledge would not matter much. Computers swamp human opponents in the middle game, simply by calculating more variations more rapidly by several orders of magnitude. Peak Capablanca probably would have the best score among humans. Talk about another level of playing is fans' subjective and IMO wrong words for their favorite players, unless one talks about chess computers. Chess computers do play at a higher level.

6. On the game and chess players young and old, past and present:

The proposition that an older player would not be able to adjust to the openings and methods of a younger generation is false, as evidenced by the observation of strong masters whose careers happened to span generations beating the tar out of weaker masters of the next generations. Lasker provides a classic example; he was beating Mieses, Blackburne, and Steinitz in the 1890s, and crushing masters versed in the hyper-modern teaching of controlling the center indirectly- Reti, Bogolyubov, and Euwe in the 1920s. In more recent times, we have Victor the Terrible, who learned most of his chess in the 1940s and 1950s, whom we have seen competing successfully with the so-called computer generation even at an advanced age.

The notion that computers are more advantageous to younger players IMO is not quite right. Younger players should have more energy and stamina in studying chess openings and endgames for long hours everyday compared to older players without computers, but the use of computers would tend to make the learning process easier for every one including the older ones.

As a corollary, computers also make it easier today for very young players in their early teens to peak at a younger age than in past eras, although they tend to level off in their early 20s to their high plateau, defined by their inborn talents and determination.

In brief. computers tend to level chess learning for everyone, young and old.

This is not a rigid rule. The best games I have ever seen played by a 12-13 year old are Capablanca's; and Tal, Karpov, and Kasparov reached their high plateau in their early 20s in a computer-less era, similar to computer age Carlsen. However let it be noted that Carlsen reached his peak sidestepping intensive computer-prepped tactical openings and beating his competitors in the old fashioned way in the middlegame and endgame. These masters peaked early not because of computers by because of their immense chess talent. Perhaps normal rules do not apply to these geniuses.

Another false notion is that the nature of the middlegame today is somehow different from the middlegame in the past. The easiest way to prove the wrongness of this proposition is by observing CG's daily puzzles. Do not peek at the names of the players that played these puzzles, and don't look at the dates. Can you glean from the middlegame play and combinations in the puzzles the date they were played? You can't. You would not know if it was played in 2014, 2000, 1950, or 1900. Chess combinations don't just suddenly change their stripes just because a hundred years have passed.

Another observation is that when the best masters of the past, Lasker and Capablanca met the occasional 'modern' structures of the Sicilian Scheveningen and Dragon, KID, Modern Benoni, Benko Gambit, they played strategically perfectly, in just the way these opening structures should be played. So how did these masters play openings and the resulting middlegame structures that are deemed incomprehensible to them by some of today's dogmatically 'modern' kibitzers? The answer is that chess rules and principles have not changed. Center, rapid development, open files and diagonals, holes, weak pawns, piece activity, initiative and attack, positional sacrifices and all types of combinations were as familiar to them as to us.

Instead, it is the frequencies of a few middlegame pawn structures have changed since WW2. Not the Ruy Lopez or QGD, but obviously Sicilians and KIDs are much more common post-WW2. Since so many games nowadays begin with the Sicilian and KID, people associate these with being 'modern' (which is a rather vague undefined term IMO). But certainly Lasker and Capablanca understood the middlegame principles behind them and when they did get these positions they played them excellently, like the top masters they are.

Moreover, Keres is a smoking gun, bomb proof evidence of the fallacy of Watson's speculation that pre-WW2 masters would not be able to learn 'modern' chess, and Larsen's assertion that he would crush everyone in the 1930s. The glaring fact is that Keres is a 1930s pre-WW2 master whose career extended up to the 1970s, and he did learn (and contributed) to the newer opening variations (the most famous of which is the Keres attack which he invented in 1943). Tellingly enough Keres beat both Watson and Larsen.

7. On ratings:

Elo ratings reflect relative and not absolute chess strength.

Chessplayers are naturally arranged in populations partitioned by geopolitical regions & time periods that have infrequent contacts with one another. Within such a population, players get to play each other more frequently, thus forming a quasi-equilibrium group wherein individual ratings would tend to equilibrate quickly; but not with outside groups. With caveats & in the proper context, FIDE/Elo ratings are simply fallible descriptors & predictors of an active player's near-past & near-future performances against other rated players, & only within the same quasi-equilibrium group.

As corollaries: the best way to evaluate a player's strength is to analyze his games & not his ratings; one cannot use ratings to accurately compare the quality of play of players from the past and present, or even the same player say a decade ago and today; & care should be taken in the use of ratings as a criterion in choosing which players to seed into the upper levels of the WC cycle. All the above often entail comparisons between players from different quasi-equilibrium groups separated by space and/or time.

Regarding inflation deniers, they imply that Elo ratings reflect absolute and not relative chess strength. Professor Elo himself would condemn their view. If the top 20 players were to suffer a serious brain injury and begin playing like patzers, but play no one else for the next decade, they would more or less retain their 2700s ratings, although they would be playing terrible patzerish chess.

8. Best Qualifiers?

The credible, fair, tried & tested Zonals - Interzonals - Candidates (with known strong players directly seeded into the Interzonals & Candidates; & here ratings may be used with caveats) over the random World Cup and the elitist Grand Prix. If possible long Candidate matches and 16 to 24 game World Championship matches. However, with the passing of the state-funded chess era of Soviet times, I begin to doubt if the strict money guzzling qualification process above can be re-installed.

9. The 1993 Chess Rift and Kramnik:

Regarding the Rift in the chessworld after Kasparov split in 1993, I believe that Kramnik has done more than any other individual in helping heal it by concrete actions - agreeing to a WC Match with Topalov in 2006 & not walking out when he could have done so with the support of most of the world's top GMs after getting accused of cheating; & agreeing to Defend his Title in a WC Tournament in 2007, the first time a living Titleholder has agreed to do so in chess history. My eternal gratitude to him.

10. Finances of a would-be Challenger:

Regarding all kinds of problems chessplayers outside of Europe & the USA face in their quest for the Title, Capablanca & Anand have proven it's possible for a non-European non-USA chessplayer to be World Champion; but apparently only if you have the chess talent of a Capablanca or Anand! For others, I guess they would have to try to get monetary support & good seconds somewhere to have some hope for a Title shot.

11. Ducking a World Championship re-match:

Alekhine vs. Capablanca - Not definitively resolved. If pushed, I would tend to favor Capablanca given that pre-WW 2, there was no definitive cycle to choose the Challenger &, after all is said and done, it was the Champion who set the conditions & who chose his Challenger. AAA could & should have chosen Capa; & there was ample time, more than a decade, to do so before WW2. On the other hand, Capa's pride may have caused him to behave arrogantly & thus offend AAA. The issue is very much debatable. //

Kramnik vs. Kasparov - For me, it's resolved. Kudos to Kramnik for trying his best to install a decent Qualifying Event. Kasparov for his reasons clearly did not want to go through the Qualifying Event that he himself had pledged before losing his Title; & did not even seem serious in playing the solely FIDE champions. Why? I can only speculate that Kasparov would rather retire than risk a loss in a Qualifier or a match to either a FIDE champion or to Kramnik. If he regained his Title, he would be the greatest Champion in history, but there was risk involved. If he retired, he would still be the greatest Champion in history, but there would be no risk involved. Kasparov chose the latter & no one should blame him for that decision; & more so don't blame Kramnik!

12. Predictions for Hypothetical World Championship Matches:

Lasker vs. Pillsbury, Rubinstein, Maroczy - Lasker wins 2, loses 1 match //

Lasker vs. Capablanca (inexperienced) 1914 - Lasker close win //

Capablanca (not overconfident & not having TIAs) 1929 to 1937 vs. Alekhine or any other master - Capa win //

Alekhine (sober & prepared) vs. Capablanca (w/ severe HPN & numerous past strokes), Botvinnik, Keres, Fine, Reshevsky, Flohr 1939 - Alekhine win //

Alekhine (alcoholic, ill, & depressed) vs. Botvinnik 1946 - Botvinnik win //

Fischer (inactive for 3 years) vs. Karpov 1975 - Karpov win//

Kasparov vs. Shirov 2000 - Kasparov win. (But GKK should still have given it to Shirov. And don't blame Kramnik. Had Kramnik declined, GKK would have chosen another; & Shirov would still be frustrated.)


I have opened a <'multi-experimental' forum> below. Its nature is that of several secret social and psychological experiments, whose objectives and parameters, and the rules that follow, are strictly defined and which I may or may not reveal. Readers of this forum might be able to deduce some of these rules. Accordingly messages shall be retained or removed with or without explanation, even those from my dear friends here in CG, although I am making it clear here that absolutely no offense is intended to any one in this experiment. I may or may not respond to certain questions and messages, also according to the rules. To my friends: Please bear with me in this matter. There can be a certain amount of disinformation and propaganda in the messages that are retained.

The title of this <'multi-experimental' forum> is:

Biased Journal of a Fourth World Brain Operator

Some abbreviations

CiH = the public City Hospital

PrvH = Private Hospital. There are three main ones. So PrvH 1, PrvH 2, PrvH 3.

ProvH = the public Provincial Hospital

SOL = Space Occupying Lesion

SQ = Subcutaneous tissue layer of the skin or scalp

CVA = Cerebrovascular accident = stroke

EDH = Epidural Hematoma, blood above the dura mater, the outer covering of the brain, and beneath the skull.

SDH = Subdural Hematoma, blood beneath the dura mater.

ASDH = Acute Subdural Hematoma, SDH incurred recently, usually less than a week

CSDH = Chronic Subdural Hematoma, SDH that is more than two weeks old

HCP = Hydrocephalus, too much CSF in the brain's ventricular system

CSF = Cerebrospinal Fluid

CNS = Central Nervous System

CAB = Continuous ambubagging

ETT = Endotracheal tube (for airway purposes)

NGT = Nasogastric tube (for feeding purposes)

NOD = Nurse on duty

The Oracle = personification of the CT (computed tomography) scan.

Magic mirror = the computer monitor where one can see CT scan images.

Witching Hour Admissions or Referrals = 12 midnight to 5am

MF = Motorcycle Fall

Craniectomy = neurosurgical procedure that involves removing a portion of the skull

Tracheostomy = a surgical procedure to create an opening through the neck into the trachea (windpipe)

INTUBATE: To put a tube in, commonly used to refer to the insertion of a breathing tube into the trachea for mechanical ventilation

EXTUBATION: the removal of a tube especially from the larynx after intubationócalled also detubation.

Uneventful day = Most likely still a busy day, making daily rounds in the hospitals, following up post-op patients, seeing patients in the OPD, answering referrals, admitting all kinds of patients in the hospitals; nevertheless a day in which nothing interesting has caught my attention.

>> Click here to see visayanbraindoctor's game collections. Full Member

   visayanbraindoctor has kibitzed 7255 times to chessgames   [more...]
   May-24-15 twinlark chessforum (replies)
   May-22-15 visayanbraindoctor chessforum
visayanbraindoctor: 22 May 2015. Entry 1. A 'routine' operation on 7M, a kid that got hit by a motorcycle. (Right parietal craniectomy, evacuation of epidural hematoma, bone transplant to left hemi-abdomen SQ layer 5/22/15 11:12 am to 11:50 am. No BT.) After the operation above, I rode home
   May-21-15 Annie K. chessforum (replies)
visayanbraindoctor: <Annie K.: And the other question is, might these people still be contagious carriers?> Probably yes, if the virus becomes systemic again in the patient.
   May-13-15 K Richter vs Rellstab, 1942
visayanbraindoctor: 7. g4 ?! What is this, the five pawns attack? Richter the attacker lives up to his reputation and pawn storms the KID right from the opening bell. The move leads to a pawn sac for open lines and the initiative. Don't know if it's truly sound. This game was played in ...
   May-11-15 Alekhine vs K Richter, 1942
visayanbraindoctor: Never has there been quite a tactical player like Alekhine (until Kasparov arrived). How in the world was he able to even think of moving 18. Qf1 with the view to moving back up the board with 19. Qb5 next move if Black takes the proferred d-pawn? Moreover, he must have ...
   May-10-15 Paul Keres (replies)
visayanbraindoctor: <A player can sometimes afford the luxury of an inaccurate move, or even a definite error, in the opening or middle game without necessarily obtaining a lost position. In the endgame ... an error can be decisive, and we are rarely presented with a second chance> - ...
   May-08-15 Vladimir Kramnik (replies)
visayanbraindoctor: I am no different from the rest of the chess world in wanting to see a Kasparov vs Kramnik rematch. Although I dislike Kasparov's politics, I believe that he would have easily won such a rematch. The 2000 Kramnik was an anomaly. Kramnik managed to raise his level of play ...
   Apr-26-15 W So vs Carlsen, 2015 (replies)
visayanbraindoctor: 10. Qa4 looks as if it unnecessarily exposes the white Queen to a tempo-gaining attack by Black later on. Carlsen reacts vigorously with 10.. a5 and 11.. b5. From then on, I think Black had equalized. Instead of Ba3, Carlsen suddenly simplifies with 28... Bb6. It seems ...
   Apr-20-15 W So vs Akobian, 2015 (replies)
visayanbraindoctor: <Other times I see ads for Filipino women.> Apparently anytime anyone anywhere in the world opens up into the internet, there is a likely chance of seeing an ad for Filipinas (?). That's mildly troubling. As a chess player, I would not have complained. But I guess ...
   Apr-20-15 W So vs R Mamedov, 2015 (replies)
visayanbraindoctor: <cro777: 14...Qa5?> You're right. Later after 18. fg6 fg6 19. e5! de5 20. Be5 IMO So had a positionally won game. Mobile queenside pawn majority, good central control, weak isolated Black e-pawn. So simplified straight into the winning endgame here when he had the ...
(replies) indicates a reply to the comment.

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: April 22. I cancel my clinic and instead go and watch a movie. My secretary texts me that a death certificate needs to be filled up in the office. I tell her to bring it to me.

<21 April 2015: 30M died shortly before and 52M died shortly after I finished the difficult operation on 23M above. Not a good day.>

In the middle of the movie my secretary texts me that she is just outside the cinema. I come out. A pretty young woman waits with my secretary. How are you related to 30M, I ask? I am a policewoman she replies. 30M was a SWAT policeman. I sign the death certificate and told her that I did everything I could for her colleague. She told me 30M was a good man taken too early, and that they all were thankful I did my best to save him (even though I obviously fell short).

For the past two days, a recurrent scene has been playing on my mind. When I opened up 30M's brain, it was not pulsating even after I had removed the blood clots. Sign of a massive infarct, a dead supratentorial brain. I knew he would die then. As he was being transited out of the OR into the RR (which in CiH is unfortunately located in the main surgical ward with no direct connection to the OR which means every post-op patient exiting the OR gets to be seen by anyone in the ward), his wife was there carrying their only child, about 5 years old. The little girl looked at her papa and began crying. Not loudly, just a soft continuous crying. Baby don't cry, an auntie told her. But she kept on. The crowd of people around fell silent beneath the child's crying. My Anesthesiologist and I left in the silence.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Annie K.: None of them were your fault, doc... they arrived already in hopeless condition. :(
Premium Chessgames Member
  centralfiles: <Moreover, Keres is a smoking gun, bomb proof evidence of the fallacy of Watson's speculation that pre-WW2 masters would not be able to learn 'modern' chess, and Larsen's assertion that he would crush everyone in the 1930s. The glaring fact is that Keres is a 1930s pre-WW2 master whose career extended up to the 1970s, and he did learn (and contributed) to the newer opening variations (the most famous of which is the Keres attack which he invented in 1943). Tellingly enough Keres beat both Watson and Larsen> That's tongue in cheek, of course Keres (one of the all time greats) beating a lesser player like Watson doesn't show much. I think Watson would claim that keres and Botnnivik belong to the more modern chess era. Watson isn't claiming computers are changing anything but rather that middlegame understanding advanced, e.g. Karpov would be able to win certain games that Capablanca or Lasker wouldn't, that's not the same as saying that capa can't beat karpov in a game though.
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <Annie K.: None of them were your fault, doc... they arrived already in hopeless condition.> Yes, thanks for consoling. Yet it was still so sad watching the little girl cry. A scene that's hard to forget.
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <Watson isn't claiming computers are changing anything but rather that middlegame understanding advanced>

I always keep on reading this, but what exactly concrete has advanced? All practical combinations have been known since the 19th century. The art of sacrifice has been around for a long time. If one looks at Lasker's games and other games of his era, it's quite obvious that the top masters knew exactly what dynamic play and piece activity were, in contrast to static pawn structures and material deficits. Maybe they did not state it the way Watson would, but they certainly knew of all pertinent middlegame principles.

Let's take one supposed to be undiscovered pre-WW2 middlegame principle. The exchange sacrifice. A quick look at Janowski's games and the other top masters then shows that they thoroughly knew of this and applied it.

No one has ever been able to give me a so-called middle game 'advanced' phenomenon that I have not seen played excellently by pre-WW2 and even pre-WW1 masters. Because of the lack of such concrete observational data, (just a repetitive unsubstantiated claim of the advancement of the middlegame) I believe it's a myth originating from the narcissistic generation syndrome, the belief that everything right here and now is intrinsically better than anything in the past. And perhaps a difference in semantics. The old masters used difference terms in order to describe their play.

There's one way to wean oneself off from this myth. Play through top master pre-WW2 games and totally pretend (if that's possible) that they occurred yesterday. You would quickly realize that once the middlegame is reached, they well may have been played yesterday.

For me personally, the truth definitely dawned when I took part in Bridgeburner's computer studies of the Lasker vs Schlecter 1910 WC match. You will never see more complicated combative World Championship games. Lots of the positions are so sharp and double-edged that they defy first glance perusals. Talk about dynamics, piece activity, material imbalances, initiative, attack, imaginative play and it's all there. Yet they played unbelievably accurately, committing a minimal number of human errors. In brief, in 1910, Lasker and Schlecter were playing approximately as well as Kasparov, Kramnik, and Anand in their WC matches.

<Karpov would be able to win certain games that Capablanca or Lasker wouldn't> I am a Karpov fan as well as Capa's and am familiar with their games, and IMO Capa was a stronger player than Karpov in middlegame tactics and the endgame in general. (So I think that Capa would have been able to win certain games that Karpov would not have, for example the 1918 Marshall middle game melee and the 1924 Tartakover endgame, which I believe Karpov would not have won.) I think that Karpov was stronger than Lasker in closed and semi-closed middlegames. In open sharp double-edged positions with lots of piece activity, perhaps Lasker was slightly better than Karpov.

I would disagree with your statement if what you mean is winning an objectively won position. I believe that if any of the three were given a position in which they were objectively winning, chances are all three would nail it.

Premium Chessgames Member
  centralfiles: I was just explaining Watson I don't have a strong opinion on the matter myself. Two of the examples he gives are positional pawn sacrifices and positional exchange sacrifices which he claims are very rare in the pre-modern era he might have a point here.
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <centralfiles: I was just explaining Watson I don't have a strong opinion on the matter myself. Two of the examples he gives are positional pawn sacrifices and positional exchange sacrifices which he claims are very rare in the pre-modern era he might have a point here.>

Could you give them to me? A link to the CG base on these games.

Premium Chessgames Member
  centralfiles: Unfortunately I no longer have the book, though I do remember one game that figures prominently as an example of a positional pawn sacrifice Botvinnik vs Kan, 1952 19.?

As you can see Watson considers Botvinnik to be a modern player.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <centralfiles> I see no point at all in Watson claim that this is 'modern', as presumably opposed to old fashioned.

1. On the temporal level, both Botvinnik and Kan are masters who learned their chess in the 1920s and 1930s.

2. The pawn sacrifice is a clearance sacrifice in order to increase piece activity. In spite of it's profundity it's not new at all.

Here is an even more profound example, wherein not one but two pawns are sacrificed in order to increase piece activity.

Dus Chotimirsky vs Capablanca, 1925

I made some notes on this game, which you could peruse through. If I were to demonstrate a game showing the principle of increasing piece activity at the cost of material pawn sacrifice, I would easily choose this game over the above example. Now why would Watson ignore this game and nitpick something from the 1950s (and even then it was played by masters from the 1930s) as a showcase of 'modernity'. He has not shown any new evidence for the 'advancement' of the middlegame by doing this.

This could go on and on, but in brief, I have never seen any so-called 'modern' middlegame principle or tactic that has not already been played pre-WW2. The whole Watson hypothesis remains a speculation with no basis in evidence based observation. It only gains credence because Watson tends to nitpick his examples, confining them to post WW2 games.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: 23 April 2015.

(Right frontal tube ventriculostomy 4/21/15 11:55 am to 12:20 pm. Bilateral sub-occipital craniectomy partial excision of right cerebellar tumor. 4/21/15 1:05 to 3:16 pm. 1 unit BT.)

23M developed a post-op complication, an epidural hematoma and acute subdural hematoma beneath the tube ventriculostomy. The reason is an incorrect decision on my part. In my local setting I use a relatively large gauge Foley catheter french 16 for the tube, instead of the more expensive small gauge commercial silastic ventricular tubing. Because the Foley catheter is larger, there is more chance for bleeding as I insert it into the frontal horn of the lateral ventricle. This problem never presents itself when I do a small craniectomy instead of a tiny burr hole. The craniectomy allows me to visualize any bleeding, which a tiny burr hole may not do.

In 23M's case, I did a burr hole, which is quicker. I don't know why I deviated from my normal routine; perhaps my mind was not fully in the present but was already anticipating and focusing on the much longer and harder second operation (the sub-occipital craniectomy).

Two days post-op, 23M's sensorium began to deteriorate. A repeat CT scan showed the above-mentioned EDH and ASDH. So I had do do another surgery.

(Right frontal craniectomy, evacuation of epidural hematoma and acute subdural hematoma 4/23/15 5:12 pm to 6:41pm.)

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: 28 April 2015.

I did another tube ventriculostomy, this time on 65M, a case of left cerebellar infarct and hydrocephalus. The swelling cerebellum had partially blocked the fourth ventricle, leading to the HCP. This time I did a small craniectomy on the frontal bone (area rongeured off equivalent to about 6 burr holes). Fortunate too, because the diploe (the vascular space between the skull bone's outer and inner table) began bleeding profusely. The patient is an alcoholic, and alcoholics tend to be bleeders. I applied bone wax and tacked the dura, which stopped the bleeding.

Since 65M also had severe pneumonia (I had intubated him two days ago when CiH internists first referred him to me), I also did a tracheostomy.

(Right frontal craniectomy, tube ventriculostomy 4/28/15 4:26 to 5:02 pm. Tracheostomy 4/28/15 5:21 to 5:35 pm. No BT.)

There is a fair chance that 65M will fall off the pneumonia-sepsis ride, but we'll see.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: 2 May 2015. Three operations in 24 hours.

Entry 1. Just before midnight I was called to the PrH2 ER. A Cardiologist and a Neurologist had referred to me a 50F, the Cardiologist's private patient. A relative of a nurse. She allegedly lost consciousness after a domestic quarrel a few hours prior to admission. CT scan showed a left hemisphere acute subdural hematoma. She was deteriorating fast and so I did a stat operation. I was hoping the operation would last about an hour, as is normal for me in these cases, so I could go home and get some sleep.

But I had my misgivings. The CT scan did not show any sign of soft tissue swelling on the head. In trauma cases severe enough to cause ASDH, there are almost inevitable CT scan findings of some part of the scalp and face that are swollen. None for 50F. What gives?

When I opened up the skull, there was indeed a large ASDH, but one that looked as if it had just newly clotted. I had only partially removed it when all of a sudden a thick spurting fountain of blood nearly hit me on my face from the surface of the parietal lobe.

To panic in this situation means a table death. The patient will die of exsanguination on the OR table.

Fortunately I have encountered this type of bleeding several times already. It arises from ruptured aneurysms or arteriovenous malformations.

I cleared the cortex around the spurting fountain of blood, packing the bleeding area with OS and constantly suctioning the blood through the OS. Until I could clearly visualize the balloon like ruptured vessel. Then I cauterized the whole thing with bipolar cautery. It was near the surface and so I am confident totally cauterizing it won't effect and large infarct for the brain territories that it feeds or drains. It stopped bleeding. I think I lost more than 250 cc of blood in less than three minutes.

I decided to place 'aneurysm' for the diagnosis. Without a prior angiogram I thought that it could have also been an AVM. Post-op the patient woke up. I requested the Neurologist to place the patient under an induced coma for a few days, so as to minimize infarcts and re-ruptures.

(Left parieto-temporal craniectomy, cauterization of aneurysm, evacuation of ASDH, bone transplant to left hemi-abdomen SQ layer 5/2/15 12:35 am to 2:00 am. BT 1 unit.)

Entry 2. A routine motorcycle fall case of 57M in PrH2. He had bihemisphere subarachnoid hemorrhage, severe cerebral edema, and beginning hydrocephalus secondary to trauma, and was stuporous. Most of the blood and swelling was on the left hemisphere. I had intubated him right after operating on 50F above, but he was still awake enough to self extubate himself around noon. I decided not to reintubate him since I was going to operate on him anyway.

(Left frontal craniectomy, tube ventriculostomy, bone transplant to left hemi-abdomen SQ layer 5/2/15 6:17 to 7:24 pm. No BT.)

Entry 3. Shortly after 57M above, I went to Prh1, to operate on the relative of a doctor, CVA case 65F. She had a huge left cerebellar hemorrhage. She was comatose (GCS 7) and fat, with a thick neck. I decided to place her on prone position. Head flexed on a head holder, shoulders held up up by specially designed cushion pads. Per my SOP, I cut midline, following the avascular ligamentum nuchae. The cervical muscles I retracted aside progressively with self retaining retractors. I cleared the suboccipital bone and C1 cervical vertebra (atlas) of periosteum and muscles until I could clearly visualize them. The I did a burr hole on the left, and from there ronguered off more bone for sufficient exposure. I opened the dura and did a little cortisectomy with with cautery, until I hit the cavity with the hemorrhage. Old non-clotting blood and some firm blood clots came out, which I suctioned off. I placed a drain and closed all the layers I had opened with absorbable vicryl sutures.

(Left suboccipital craniectomy, evacuation of cerebellar hemorrhage 5/2/15 10:30 pm to 11:40 pm. No BT.)

Her prognosis is not so good because of her age and diabetes, but let's see what happens.

The Anesthesiologist (not my usual one) and the Internist monitoring the procedure were the patient's relatives. They seemed a bit surprised at how fast it took, and the Internist told her relatives it was 'madali', a term that connotes both easy and quick. I good naturedly told her that it was quick but not easy. I have always been a fast operator.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: 3 May 2015. The streets are almost empty. Nearly every one is watching Pacquiao fight.

In the evening, a Neurologist called me. His patient, 70M, was deteriorating fast in PrH2 ER. 70M had bet on Mayweather and won. Very much excited, his sensorium began to deteriorate, his right side paralyzed. The rapidity of his deterioration accelerated in the late afternoon. At the ER I found that he was comatose.

I had him brought to the OR stat, and operated on him. I removed approximately 80 cc of intracerebral hematoma.

(Left frontal-parietal craniectomy, frontal cortisectomy, evacuation of basal ganglia hemorrhage, hemostasis, bone transplant to left hemi-abdomen SQ layer 5/3/15 7:10 to 8:34 pm. No BT.)

I requested the Anesthesiologist to place him under an induced coma post-op.

The brain is the (oxygen) gas guzzler of the human body. It consumes nearly 20% of all the O2 we breathe in. If it can't access this much, as what happens when increased intracranial pressure occurs and when its blood supply is compromised by direct damage, the brain dies. However, if its metabolic rate is lowered, by inducing a coma, the brain would consume less Oxygen, and so have better chances for survival in cases where its access to O2 is compromised.

In addition, in a coma the patient is less prone to coughing, and so less likely to re-rupture the microaneurysms that caused the hemorrhagic stroke.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: 5 May 2015.

Entry 1.

Near midnight admission, 58M, a mootorcycle fall victim. He arrived decorticate and anisocoric. CT scan showed a huge left occipito-parietal EDH, under a linear fracture which probably ran through the transverse sinus lacerating it and causing it to bleed. Usually removing a massive pure EDH will improve the patient's sensorium, but in 58M's case, Oracle also showed a massive cerebral infarct beneath the EDH. I operated on him, and let's see if he improves.

(Left occipital-parietal craniectomy, evacuation of epidural hematoma, bone transplant to left hemi-abdomen SQ layer 5/5/15 1:55 am to 2:48 am. 1 unit BT.)

Entry 2.

<2 May 2015. 65F. She had a huge left cerebellar hemorrhage.

(Left suboccipital craniectomy, evacuation of cerebellar hemorrhage 5/2/15 10:30 pm to 11:40 pm. No BT.)>

65F remained comatose post-op. Repeat CT scan showed that she had developed HCP, which was not present in the first CT scan. So I drained it. I followed my usual routine and did a small craniectomy rather than an even tinier burr hole.

(Right frontal craniectomy, tube ventriculostomy, 5/5/15 11:00 to 11:55 am. No BT.)

Entry 3.

<3 May 2015. 70M.. his sensorium began to deteriorate, his right side paralyzed.

(Left frontal-parietal craniectomy, frontal cortisectomy, evacuation of basal ganglia hemorrhage, hemostasis, bone transplant to left hemi-abdomen SQ layer 5/3/15 7:10 to 8:34 pm. No BT.)>

70M was stable until around 9am yesterday, then the NODs called me (ICU NODs in private hospitals are quick to do this on any sign of deterioration, unlike in public hospitals) to say that he was suddenly unresponsive, both pupils dilated. He was brain dead in an hour.


I had a repeat CT scan done. Oracle told me that he had re-bled, this time mostly to the contralateral brain.

It's a problem with cerebrovascular disease. The patient has a stroke because of a generalized disease that make his blood vessels weak. Hence they can easily re-rupture or rupture in other areas of the brain, not necessarily on the site of the first one.

70M died today.

May-06-15  SugarDom: OK based on the above data. I think the odds are against 58m and 65f. They need a miracle.
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <SugarDom: OK based on the above data. I think the odds are against 58m and 65f. They need a miracle.>

She's still alive, in spite of my gloomy expectations. You never know.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: 11 May 2015.

<5 May 2015. Entry 1.

Near midnight admission, 58M, a mootorcycle fall victim. He arrived decorticate and anisocoric. CT scan showed a huge left occipito-parietal EDH, under a linear fracture which probably ran through the transverse sinus lacerating it and causing it to bleed. Usually removing a massive pure EDH will improve the patient's sensorium, but in 58M's case, Oracle also showed a massive cerebral infarct beneath the EDH. I operated on him, and let's see if he improves.

(Left occipital-parietal craniectomy, evacuation of epidural hematoma, bone transplant to left hemi-abdomen SQ layer 5/5/15 1:55 am to 2:48 am. 1 unit BT.)>

58M died today, shortly after I did a tracheostomy on him.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <The true Chess World Champions are the holders of the Traditional Title that originated with Steinitz & passed on in faithful succession to Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine, Euwe, Botvinnik, Smyslov, Tal, Petrosian, Spassky, Fischer, Karpov, Kasparov, Kramnik, Anand, and Carlsen. The sacredness of this Title is what makes it so valuable.>

This is quite true. It made me think of the record longevity of the world chess champion title. Even if we consider 1886 as the year of Steinitz's coronation (when he beat Zukertort, as opposed to his 1866 defeat of Anderssen), is there any other sport or game that can claim such a longevity for its crown?

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <is there any other sport or game that can claim such a longevity for its crown?>

AFAIK none as clearly defined as the Chess World Championship institution and lineage.

There are other popular board games, some of which are far older than western chess. (For example, Go has been around for more than 2000 years.) But they do not have a clearly defined lineage or institution comparable to that of the World Championship in chess. Admittedly I do not know much of the other board games as they are usually played by north east Asians, except for <sungka> which I played a lot for fun with cousins when I was a kid. So I could be wrong.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <Fusilli> I just checked Wikipedia, and it seems that <sungka> is regarded as one of the so-called <mancala> games.

Below is a Wikipedia picture of a typical 'board' (in this picture it is apparently hundreds of years old and in a museum, but at any rate it looks just like modern ones). The 'pieces' are cowry shells.

In real time, the start of the game is more exciting to watch than a typical classical chess game. Both players begin moving simultaneously, which is to say picking up and sowing shells. You try to 'eat' the shells before your opponent can, and to finish after your opponent has been forced to stop 'sowing', which would give you the advantage of the first solo turn. Thus in terms of chess time control, the opening is played in blitz or rapid pace.

When it's your turn, after the initial rapid start, you calculate ways in order to eat up your opponents shells. You begin thinking more slowly, and the pace of the game begins to resemble that of classical chess time controls.

This game does not have any tradition that even approaches that of the chess World Championship institution and lineage.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: I've played mancala. I don't remember the rules at all, but I do remember it was fun.

Chess might not be the longest world monarchic sports/game dynasty, after all. Heavyweight boxing goes back to 1885, beating chess by one year if we consider Steinitz-Zukertort as the starting point in 1886. ( I haven't looked at other boxing categories, but I suspect heavyweight is the oldest one. This to mention a sport that is likely more popular than chess, but strictly speaking, "real tennis" seems to be the oldest world champion title, going back to the late eighteenth century. (

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <Fusilli> The world championship in both heavy weight boxing and tennis is much diluted in prestige and recognition by multiple claims by various organizations and individuals. In tennis, in the minds of most fans the real 'world champions' are the Grand Slam winners.

IMO neither of the two can compare to the strength, prestige, recognition, and durability of the Chess World Championship. There is nothing like it in the world of sports.

Going back to Steinitz, IMO he had the vision to formally institutionalize a titular 'Chess World Champion'. Notice that he never did so while Morphy was still alive. (Morphy was actually younger than Steinitz.) It seems that every one considered Morphy as Chess World Champion although informally. Steinitz knew he would never be recognized as a world champion while he had not beaten Morphy in a match. In practical terms, Steinitz announced 'I am succeeding Morphy, who has now passed away, as the titular chess champion of the world and I am doing so in an official manner, such that any one who wishes to obtain this title will have to beat me first in a match.'

In a sense, the institution of the chess world championship had its origins in Anderssen and Morphy. Later the idea of a chess world champion began to spread such that by the time Steinitz chess fans were ready to accept it becoming institutionalized.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: 14 May 2015. Drinking and driving don't mix. Especially when driving a motorcycle. One of the first areas of the brain to be affected by ethanol is the cerebellum, which plays a huge role in our sense of balance. It's almost like suicide if one drinks to intoxication and then drives a motorcycle at high speeds in a public highway.

38M did it and crashed. He arrived comatose in PrH1 ER. Fortunately his family had enough money to afford an immediate admission and operation in this private hospital, else I would have had to transfer him to the public CiH which means a significant delay, and increased morbidity and mortality.

(Left parietal-frontal craniectomy, evacuation of epidural hematoma, bone transplant to left hemiabdomen SQ layer 5/14/15 11:05 pm to 1:10 am. One unit BT.)

38M turned out to be a bleeder, as is often the case with alcoholics. After closing, I noticed that the scalp above the operative site was expanding. I had to re-open. I found out that blood was oozing out of the galea and loose connective tissue of the scalp, and that the posterior branch of the middle meningeal artery had begun oozing blood too. I placed more tacking sutures around the middle meningeal artery and lightly cauterized the oozing parts, taking care not to open the dura. I also cauterized all the oozing parts of the galea. Usually I complete EDH operations in an hour, but in 38M's case, I finished in two hours.

Pre-op and post-op, 38M could not move his right extremities. Oracle told me that the brain beneath the EDH was largely contused or infarcted, seen as a large hypodense area. If 38M survives, he will be hemiparetic on the right, and dysphasic as well. (The left brain controls our volitional movements on the right and is the center for comprehension and speech.)

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: 17 May 2015.

Entry 1. A comatose and terribly aspirated pedestrian 34F hit by a PUV arrived around noon in PrH2 ER. After an emergency intubation, I did a tracheostomy. I suctioned out a lot more bloody secretions from the trachea. Nevertheless she died after a few more minutes.

The husband kept on ambubagging the patient even after I had pronounced her dead. When I left the ER he was still ambubagging the cadaver. He simply refused to talk or listen to me and the ER nurses.

Entry 2. A nearly brain dead patient 39M arrived a couple of hours after 34F above. 39M was shot multiple times in the body and extremities. One bullet had also entered the right parietal bone, and must have also fractured the temporo petrous bone as evidenced by blood pouring out of his right external auditory meatus (left ear). The right pupil was fully dilated indicating brain herniation. He died after a few minutes more.

The relatives of 39M refused to have any XR or CT scan done after I informed them of the poor prognosis shortly after he had arrived.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: 22 May 2015.

Entry 1. A 'routine' operation on 7M, a kid that got hit by a motorcycle. (Right parietal craniectomy, evacuation of epidural hematoma, bone transplant to left hemi-abdomen SQ layer 5/22/15 11:12 am to 11:50 am. No BT.)

After the operation above, I rode home on a PUV. A white American in his 60s with a pronounced limp waved the PUV to a stop, and requested the man riding beside the driver in front if he could ride there, as he would have a difficult time clambering aboard the main back compartment. The man graciously transferred to the back. I noticed that the American was wearing a cap with the caption 'Vietnam veteran'. A passenger in front of me observed (he limps) 'kiang siya'. I said that he might have been injured by a mine in Vietnam. I thought that he was wearing a prosthesis.

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