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Member since Jun-04-08 · Last seen Jul-04-15
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 7335 times to chessgames   [more...]
   Jul-04-15 Dortmund (2015) (replies)
visayanbraindoctor: <choosea: see "The Rating of Chessplayers" by Dr. Arpad Elo which discusses the development of the Elo rating system "Serious mathematicians have devoted hard work to the rating system trying to improve it, only to have their recommendations ignored." " For women's ...
   Jul-04-15 twinlark chessforum
   Jul-03-15 Wei Yi vs L Bruzon Batista, 2015 (replies)
visayanbraindoctor: A Kasparovian like win and an old fashioned king hunt. Beginning with 20. fg6 hg6 21. Nd5 Nd5 22. Rf7, Wei went all out for the Black King with successive tactical shots whose sole purpose was to expose the Black King and mate him. The young crop of top chess players born
   Jul-01-15 Kramnik vs I Nepomniachtchi, 2015 (replies)
visayanbraindoctor: It must also be said that Nepo's blunder 46.. Be5 was only too human. He was trying to get rid of the pain in his neck, the White Knight on d6.
   Jun-23-15 visayanbraindoctor chessforum (replies)
visayanbraindoctor: 23 June 2015. A table death. 5F is a hit and run victim of a motorcycle. Apart from an intracerebral hemorrhage, the child had multiple fractures of the left tibia-fibula and the mandible. She was comatose, anisocoric, and hypotensive. Hb only 96, presumably she had bled
   Jun-22-15 Norway Chess (2015) (replies)
visayanbraindoctor: <fallen angel> Good model game. Duras vs Capablanca, 1913 The comments on this game page on the particular ending that Carlsen and Naka are playing are also instructive, and teaches a little history on the the theory behind this rook ending. Note how the attacking
   Jun-22-15 Anand vs M Vachier-Lagrave, 2015 (replies)
visayanbraindoctor: My notes in the Norway chess page on Anand's beautiful zwichenzugs while I was watching the game but they properly belong here. On 22. Rd3 <Brilliant tactics by Anand. 19. Bxh6! leads to a forced position which he resolves in his favor by the zwichenzug 22. Rd3! 22. ...
   Jun-22-15 Rubinstein vs Capablanca, 1911 (replies)
visayanbraindoctor: One of the rare games where Capablanca got out-calculated. In this game Rubinstein saw more than him. Capablanca typically does not go down without trying something concrete, and goes for an active defense. He attacks Rubinstein's Queenside and tries to force passed pawns
   Jun-22-15 J L Hammer vs Topalov, 2015 (replies)
visayanbraindoctor: This is what I call 'Forgot my opponent can makes moves' mistake. You have a planned move or series of moves, but then you completely forget that your opponent can also makes moves. So you automatically begin your series of moves as though your opponent isn't making any. ...
   Jun-21-15 Capablanca vs R T Black, 1916
visayanbraindoctor: I have been putting myself in Capablanca's shoes. This game almost defies belief. If I were to play 43. f4 at move 43, in a position that carries no risk at all to me and that most likely would have ended in a draw without any further fireworks, I had better be sure that ...
(replies) indicates a reply to the comment.

Kibitzer's Corner
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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.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: 25 May 2015.

Entry 1. Routine operation on a stuporous 27F, MF victim.

(Left temporal-parietal craniectomy, evacuation of EDH, bone transplant to left hemi-abdomen SQ layer, 5/25/15 10:27 am to 11:27 am. No BT) She woke up post-op.

Entry 2. 65F on whom I did a (Left suboccipital craniectomy, evacuation of cerebellar hemorrhage 5/2/15 10:30 pm to 11:40 pm. No BT.) is still alive, but with the usual stroke related pneumonia. The internists in charge decided to allow me to do a procedure which I had been advocating for a week already.

(Tracheostomy 5/25/15 5:07 pm to 5:22 pm.)

65F is in a private hospital ICU where nurses do regular cleaning of wounds. I had decided to allow the ventricular tube, a Foley catheter that I had inserted into the frontal horn (Right frontal craniectomy, tube ventriculostomy, 5/5/15 11:00 to 11:55 am. No BT.), to stay a while. I removed it today after three weeks, just before the tracheostomy operation. A record for me, since I usually remove it within a week. There did not seem to be any infection.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: 28 May 2015.

Unusual case, 13M was riding on a truck. An electrical wire hanging between two posts hit him and he fell down onto the road.

(Left parietal-temporal craniectomy, evacuation of epidural hematoma, bone transplant to left hemi-abdomen SQ layer 5/28/15 1:58 pm to 2:55 pm. No BT.)

Even more unusual, on the same day that 13M had his wire accident, 5/26/15, a patient I admitted yesterday 25M also had an accident coming from an electrical wire. He was driving a motorcycle behind a logging truck full of falcata. The topmost log hit a high wire, which was cut and fell down the road. 25M hit the wire and fell off his motorcycle. Fortunately he did not need an operation although he sustained an ethmoid frontal fracture and pneumocephalus.

Pneumocephalus means air inside the brain. It's usually due to an open fracture that allows air (and outside bacteria) to enter. In 25M's case, his ethmoid-frontal fracture allows air from his nasopharynx to enter the brain. Such cases are usually treated with antibiotics for a week. I operate only if persistent CSF leak occurs or an abscess develops.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: 1 June 2015.

I was riding in an Avanza at around 2:15 pm, when a tornado struck. The slight drizzle suddenly turned into an opaque torrent of howling wind and rain. I could not see anything outside the windshield. Visibility zero, the driver stopped in the middle of the road.

When the winds cleared up after a few minutes, I saw that the roof of a waiting shed had been lifted into the air and had landed on top of a van just ahead and to the right of us. Fortunately the van, with the roof sitting on top of it, looked to be intact, and so whoever was inside must have been uninjured.

There was an immediate brownout. Electricity came back late at night. While waiting for power to come back, I spent the evening watching a movie in a mall. The two local malls have electric generators.

Premium Chessgames Member
  scout118: Hi <vbd>: May I ask why you write these pieces? Pretty good compositions, if I may add.

In between work and travel, I'm trying to write an eBook on life experiences, sort of techno finance short stories. Haven't written other than business plans and prospectuses delving on facts and strategies, but not so much on creativity. So this will be much easier said than done; though hope perches in the soul.

- s

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <scout118> Nice to know that you like them. It's an experiment.

Wishing you success on your planned e-book.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: 10 June 2015.

Yesterday I had 7M, a head injured kid who fell off a jackfruit (langka) tree, brought to the OR. I found out his relatives had procured nothing at all for the operation, not even a cautery pen. His father was a disabled person lacking a lower limb, and his mother was said to be insane (buang) by his relatives. So I decided to postpone the operation. I was not unduly worried as he would occasionally still wake up and communicate.

This morning I had 7M was wheeled into the OR once again, but I found out that he was comatose (decorticate) with dilated fixed pupils. I immediately operated.

(Right fronto-parieto-temporal craniectomy, evacuation of epidural hematoma, 6/10/15 9:03 to 9:24 am. No BT.)

Too late. 7M never woke up and died in the afternoon.

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  visayanbraindoctor: 15 June 2015.

65F whom I operated on 5/2/15 was brought home against advise by the relatives, who could not stomach the hospital costs.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: 17 June 2015.

In the afternoon a Neurologist called me. He has admitted a comatose 44M stroke patient in PrH1 ICU. This patient had suffered a hemorrhagic hypertensive left basal ganglia stroke 3 days prior to consult, but was admitted in a different hospital previously, where it was not suspected that he was in a potentially critical situation (this explains the delay).

Although still relatively young, 44M was obese and has had a long history of untreated hypertension. He is an engineer who eats a lot according to a niece who signs his consents forms (since his wife is a domestic helper abroad).

I went and examined the patient. He was GCS 6 but his pupils were still bilaterally small (2mm), indicating that his diencephalon (the thalamus) was being compressed. Next stage would be uncal herniation, wherein his mesencephalon would be compressed by a herniating uncus. His ipsilateral pupil (same side as the lesion) would then dilate. Generally, patients like that die, whether you operate on them or not.

I knew I have to operate before that happens.

(Left fronto-parieto-temporal craniectomy, frontal cortisectomy, evacuation of left basal ganglia hemorrhage, hemostasis, bone transplant to left hemi-abdomen SQ layer 6/17/15 9:10 to 10:42 pm. No BT.)

44M was also developing pneumonia, as typical in comatose patients. So I did an additional operation.

(Tracheostomy 6/17/15 10:50 to 11:05 pm.)

The scrub nurse assisting me complained that I was moving too quickly for them. But also told me they were happy that I was the surgeon, since I operate clean and fast, which makes things less tiring for them. They hate hours long surgical procedures, but I finish nearly all of my operations within 2 hours (cutting to closure, skin to skin), even hemorrhagic stroke and tumor cases.

Post-op I told the niece that if her uncle makes it past 3 days without further deteriorating, then he would have good chances for survival.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: 19 June 2015.

Something that surgeons dread and hate, the late referral.

64F was walking by the roadside yesterday when she got hit by a trisikad (a foot powered pedicab). She arrived in PrH1 ER. Normally she would have been referred to me immediately. Because she was covered by a private insurance, she was referred to a doctor who was in the accredited list of the insurance, as a private patient. The admitting physician then referred her to a Neurologist who made the unfortunate but common mistake of trying to manage her on her own. Neurologists can do nothing if a patient that needs an operation deteriorates.

This is precisely what 64F did. From drowsy, she became comatose. Only then was she referred to me, at the ungodly hour of 4am. I dislike these witching hour stat referrals because they mean I won't be able to sleep and get discombobulated for the rest of the day. After a little delay as the daughter was still deciding to push through or not with the operation, I proceeded to operate stat on 64F. She was GCS 5 (decorticate coma), with pupils dilated to 6mm and 4mm.

(Left temporo-parietal craniectomy, cortisectomy, evacuation of intracerebral contusion-hematoma 6/19/15 7:25 am to 8:30 am. No BT.)

The delay in referral will probably prove fatal for 64F. She would have had better chances if I operated on her while she was still merely drowsy. Comatose decorticate patients carry very poor prognosis, whether one operates on them or not.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: 20 June 2015. 64F died.
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: 22 June 2015.

Something new and rare. 5 days old neonate baby girl was born with a huge occipital mass jutting out of her posterior skull, which also happened to be microcephalic (a congenitally small head). Before and upon birth, she was referred to me by the OB, as the anomaly was already detected 6 months into the pregnancy by an ultrasound.

When I saw the baby, it confirmed my suspicion of an occipital encephalocoele. The skull does not develop properly, leaving a gap through which the brain herniates out in a sack-like structure. As is common among these cases, part of the skin covering the externally located brain was very thin and about to rupture. I recommended an immediate operation. However, I also told the family of the higher risks in neonatal operations.

Most of these encephalocoeles are located in the fronto-ethmoid area, in front of the skull. Most of the frontal lobes are considered to be 'silent' areas, but not the occipital areas. The location of the lesion and the CT scan even suggested that the cerebellum might be involved. From the CT scan I could see however that the brainstem was not.

So an operation was feasible. If the brainstem had also herniated out, it would have been inoperable, and fatal. However, the microcephaly would ensure that the patient would never develop normally even with a successful operation.

The family decided to transfer to the nearest big city, not trusting the medical facilities in our locality. Then yesterday they transferred back. Maybe the big city hospitals were too expensive for them. By this time the encephalocoele had ruptured. It had to be operated on or the open wound exposing the brain would result in meningitis and abscesses.

So I finally operated on the baby. The CSF that gushed out on opening the sack was yellow, indicating that infection had already set in. I found out on opening that the cerebellar vermis (the medial structure of the cerebellum) had herniated outside the skull along with parts of the occipital lobes. I had to excise all of these externally located brain. This is done by using bipolar cautery in order to cauterize the brain vessels, suctioning off the surrounding brain tissue, and cutting the vessels. I kept repeating this procedure until the entire encephalocoele base had been severed from the normal brain located at the level of the skull's outer table. I had preserved a lot of the dura, which I afterwards used to repair the defect. then I closed the galea and skin.

(Vermian cerebellectomy, partial bi-occipital lobectomy, repair of occipital encephalocoele. 6/22/15 3:18 pm to 4:30 pm. 60 cc BT.)

I had preserved a lot of dura and skin from the encephalocoele sac for closure purposes. This resulted in an empty sack of skin with enormous dog tags at the back of the baby's head, but this will eventually disappear as the baby grows up and her head stretches the rest of her scalp. Better an excess than a lack of skin in closing these things.

Now hopefully, 5 day old baby girl still has not developed meningitis. She is now in Pedia ICU in PrH1 and so far doing fine.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: 23 June 2015. A table death.

5F is a hit and run victim of a motorcycle. Apart from an intracerebral hemorrhage, the child had multiple fractures of the left tibia-fibula and the mandible. She was comatose, anisocoric, and hypotensive. Hb only 96, presumably she had bled a lot from her scalp lacerations and fractures. I started BT pre-op in the CiH ICU, and proceeded to operate while BT was still ongoing.

(Right parietal-temporal craniectomy, cortisectomy, evacuation of basal ganglia intracerebral hemorrhage 6/23/15 2:41 pm to 3:50 pm.

Tracheostomy 6/23/15 4:06 to 4:22 pm. No further BT other than the ongoing pre-op one.)

As I was closing the tracheostomy operation, my Anesthesiologist announced that he could not detect any heart beat. Cardio-pulmonary arrest. (Most of these table deaths occur when a patient already has low BP, as in this case.) After a failed resuscitation, I pronounced 5F dead. Then I went out and told the mother. She was already prepared to receive the bad news as pre-op I had already explained that the young girl most likely would not live. She had insisted that I operate anyway, as the last chance for her child.

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  WannaBe: Very, very, sad.
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