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Member since Nov-17-05

My wrap of our Chessgames Challenge: The World vs A Nickel, 2006 against ICCF Grandmaster Arno Nickel is at User: World Team Tribute.


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

   twinlark has kibitzed 17140 times to chessgames   [more...]
   Jul-05-15 twinlark chessforum
twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor> Does the caption to the photo on the top of the article actually refer to the National Socialist Confederation of Labor? I assume this naming is an unfortunate coincidence in bearing a resemblance to the National Socialist German Workers Party. On the ...
   Jun-25-15 Walter Shawn Browne (replies)
twinlark: RIP GM Walter Shawn Browne.
   May-04-15 Wei Yi (replies)
twinlark: Not if he's likely to win glory for China as the next World Champion.
   Apr-22-15 Nigel Short (replies)
twinlark: (continued) More tellingly, the following article (found at ) describes that hardwiring is more about the basic architecture of the brain rather than its conscious or cognitive faculties: <The question about the brain being hardwired lies ...
   Apr-19-15 Bangkok Chess Club Open (2015) (replies)
twinlark: Not quite: That might have been his national rating, but it certainly isn't his FIDE rating.
   Apr-14-15 Biographer Bistro (replies)
twinlark: Thanks. I need to mention I'm changing my bio writing routine. The main change is that I'll cease the monthly updates of ratings and rankings and replace it with information about players' highest ratings and rankings to date. Current info is naturally available at the click of a ...
   Apr-10-15 Natalia Pogonina (replies)
twinlark: <cro777> Thanks again. That manual is a doozy to work out.
(replies) indicates a reply to the comment.

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Jun-23-15  Boomie: <VBD> I'm a bit confused by your post. It begins by referring to my post about the MH-17 missile analyses. But there is no apparent bias in the links I gave and Metabunk can hardly be described as MSM. Then your post focusses on the demonization of Putin. Is this in reference to the article about the travel agency? Could you be more specific as to what this is referring to? Otherwise I don't know how to respond.
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <Boomie: Russian travel agency in a bit of hot water over Crimea warnings>

The travel agency essential says that Crimea was illegally annexed from Ukraine.

To ask a rhetorical question how is that claim going to sit with the Russian leadership or most ordinary Russians themselves?

A rhetorical answer: probably as badly in the eyes of the US leadership and ordinary Americans as a claim by a US travel agency that Texas or New Mexico (or one of the former Mexican states) was illegally annexed from Mexico.

I know that the above might strike you as offensive. But the point is that claims such as this by this travel agency or other NGOs that Crimea was illegally annexed by Russia from Ukraine sounds just as offensive to ordinary Russian ears.

The travel agency certainly knows that it would be offending its own Russian customers by its claims. I know of no authentic independent travel agancy that would offend its own customers on purpose. If I were the Russian FSB, I would investigate the finances of this travel agency, and see if its officials and owners have connections to US government.

The discussion above night sound unpleasant to you. Yet consider this: The FBI would do an exact same investigation on a US travel agency that says to its customers that Texas (or another former Mexican state) was illegally annexed from Mexico by the US. Or a claim by another travel agency that US illegally annexed Hawaii from its ancestral peoples.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <Boomie> At this stage in time, I feel that any news articles regarding MH17, even from pro-Russian sources, if unofficial and private, has stopped being significant. What we need is an official announcement by the Dutch investigators and an official response by the Russians.

Sorry for the off tangent post. I am getting frustrated at why no official conclusions have yet been published.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <twinlark, Boomie> I have been trying to find out what Crimeans had to say in public about Maidan BEFORE Crimea's official annexation/independence/secession. This would be quite telling because any public announcement against Kiev then could be legally treated as sedition or treason by the new Kiev government. If Crimeans came out publicly denouncing the new Kiev government, it would have been at personal risk of imprisonment or execution for high treason. So any such statement can be regarded as coming from the heart.

90% of Crimeans probably think this way, which partially explains their later vote for secession.

<Boomie> I would recommend that you watch through the entire interview. It gives an entirely different perspective from that which MSM is portraying.

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor>

<Homo neanderthalis, from what I can see of the skulls, was a distinct species of man. The skull is quite prognathic closer to that of Homo erectus than Homo sapiens, but is also quite larger than that of Homo erectus, especially in the occipital area. It lacks the distinct frontal bossing of Homo sapiens though. The Neanderthal skull looks like a Homo erectus skull that is larger and bigger at the back.>

But the fact that they interbred means, ipso facto, that homo sapiens and homo neanderthal were the same species. Could these differences in skull shape be more phenotypical, involving only a few genes, rather than a more extensive genotypical variation necessitating a new species-specific taxonomic classification?

From what you're describing, it seems that we are still basically homo erectus, but perhaps a sub-species more correctly described as homo erectus sapiens, while our neanderthal siblings could have been described as homo erectus neanderthalensis.

If I were to be stickler for taxonomic conventions, I would probably take Jared Diamond's suggestion that we are in point of fact the third species of chimpanzee, perhaps more correctly labeled pan africanus (ie: homo erectus), with the sapiens and neanderthelensis subspecies (and probably denisovan, floriensis et alia subspecies thrown in).

That's one rant off my back. Much like the earth centred cosmologies that have proven inadequate in science, so human centred taxonomies continue to irk me.

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor>, <Boomie>

<The FBI would do an exact same investigation on a US travel agency that says to its customers that Texas (or another former Mexican state) was illegally annexed from Mexico by the US. Or a claim by another travel agency that US illegally annexed Hawaii from its ancestral peoples.>

Yes, it's interesting. Of course the same could be said of Israel (exceeding the UN's 1948 mandated partition), and Australia (exceeding the British monarch's instructions to make peace with the natives, not to mention that Australia is the only country in the former British empire that didn't have a treaty with the natives.

This caused a legal problem during the frontier wars as to whether the aborigines should be treated as prisoners-of-war or British the end this legal vacuole causing them to be treated as both and neither, with extensive extermination and dispossession being the default options implemented by the ever expanding settlements, often contrary to colonial policy. These facts are still more or less swept under the Australian political, historical and legal carpes.)

Jun-24-15  Boomie: <visayanbraindoctor>

The Crimea was made a part of the Ukraine in 1954. That made sense geographically. Making the Crimea an independent state would have also made sense since it is culturally different than the Ukraine. Anyway the Crimea was trouble free for over 50 years. So the decision to include it into the Ukraine cannot be called a mistake.

The political changes after the breakup of the USSR apparently upset the Crimean applecart. Why that happened will probably never be understood completely. The Russians moved in for whatever reason. That leaves the Crimea in limbo in relation to international law.

The travel agency was trying to inform its customers about some problems that could arise in the Crimea due to its nebulous status. I can't see how that could possibly be interpreted as treasonous. It's just the reality of the beastie. They have every right to inform their customers of possible problems. The Russian government responded with its usual heavy handedness. They took down the agency's web site and threatened them with jail time.

Your Texas analogy doesn't fit here. Texas was a part of Mexico until the Texicans revolted and broke away, creating the Republic of Texas. Texas was an independent country for 10 years before joining the US. However the Mexicans never ratified the treaties at the end of the revolt. They opposed Texas statehood. The US went to war with Mexico to decide the issue.

The Crimeans did not break away from the Ukraine. There is no way they could have succeeded against the Ukrainians. The Crimea was taken by the Russians. That's a completely different situation than Texas. If the US had occupied Texas to begin with, then your analogy would make sense. The Texicans did apply to President Jackson for help. But he decided against it. So they were alone in opposing the Mexican expedition to suppress the revolt.

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <Boomie>

I'll let <visayanbraindoctor> to respond to your latest missive about Crimea, although I think you are overlooking some very obvious points that have already been made.


<If the US had occupied Texas to begin with, then your analogy would make sense.>

This is exactly what happened. The Mexican government had a very permissive migration policy that allowed US Americans to settle in Texas, more or less to their heart's content, but never ceded Texas.

Once Americans had the numbers, they quite unilaterally decided that Texas should be theirs, and took it from Mexico. The Wiki entry at on this subject seems reasonably accurate although my primary source for this is Rodolfo Acuna.

<Texas was an independent country for 10 years before joining the US. However the Mexicans never ratified the treaties at the end of the revolt. They opposed Texas statehood. The US went to war with Mexico to decide the issue.>

Soon afterwards, the US controversially snatched California and New Mexico from Mexico, ie: its best land, during the Mexican-American War. Wiki again:

<American territorial expansion to the Pacific coast had been the goal of President James K. Polk, the leader of the Democratic Party. The war was, however, highly controversial in the United States, with the Whig Party, anti-imperialists and anti-slavery elements strongly opposed.>

I might add that Lincoln considered this nothing more than an imperial land grab. Which of course it was.

Mexico still hopes to regain that land, a situation which I believe most Americans understand, and IMO is a significant part of the hostility by Euro-Americans in the US toward Chicanos, their border crossings across the Rio Grande, and their birth rates that are gradually bringing their numbers into the majority in the SW. Mexico would have been a much wealthier state and much less of a mendicant basket case if it had retained California, so the Mexican-American War has left a huge legacy, mainly negative for Mexico.

There's no hate quite like that created by imperial suppression, something which indigenous people of the Americans are all too aware since the conquistadors, especially in hell holes like Guatemala and Honduras, but also in northern Mexico. In a way I suppose, what comes around goes around with the Spaniards in turn being suppressed by the quasi-European imperialism, but as they say in the classics, two wrongs don't make a right.

It's taken over 500 years for the first indigenous president to be elected to office in South America, ie: Bolivia's Evo Morales, who has now called for a national debate on wealth distribution in that country:

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <twinlark> I was raised under Ernst Mayr's biological species concept. A species consists of populations of organisms that interbreed and are reproductively isolated from other populations.

If Homo erectus, neanderthals and modern humans could interbreed and did interbreed, then by this definition they were one species. The Homo sapiens lines must have began as a slightly different racial phenotype of Homo erectus.

However, we get to the problem that there are no more Homo erectus and Neanderthals today. There is no question that we still interbreed with them. We don't.

I believe that makes many Biologists fall back to the typological species concept, an old and traditional definition that says that if individuals resemble each other closely in their morphology, then they are one species. It's quite a vague definition given that the parameters are vaguely defined (say the presence or absence of a tail) and individuals may not resemble each other physically closely yet are of the same species (you can have a tailless dog, but it will still be a dog).

Now consider that:

1. Now it so happens that there are significant differences in the morphology of Homo erectus, neanderthalis, and sapiens, such as the ones I described above.

2. Barring actual interbreeding populations, taxonomists generally fall back to the typological species concept.

3. There are no actual ongoing interbreeding populations of extinct organisms that can be observed.

Since they can't observe Homo erectus, neanderthalis, and sapiens interbreeding with each other (because the latter two are extinct), then most present-day taxonomists classify the three as separate species.

Note this is based on obvious phenotypical differences, using the typological species concept.

I agree though with you. In a hypothetical world where all three of Homo erectus, neanderthalis, and sapiens are empirically interbreeding with each other, then they all should be considered as one species.

This is a sticky problem, I myself often get confused by it.

Jun-24-15  Boomie: <twinlark: <If the US had occupied Texas to begin with, then your analogy would make sense.>

This is exactly what happened.>

No, it isn't. Notice the phrase "to begin with". Immigration to Texas had been going on long before the revolt. In fact, long before the Mexicans achieved independence from Spain. The people who moved to Texas became citizens of Mexico. The revolt against Mexico was by both native Mexicans and immigrants. Making a distinction between Texans of Mexican descent and immigrants smacks of racism. Even today, Texas has a large and growing population of Mexicans and is proud of its Mexican heritage.

The Texans appealed for help with the revolt from Washington and were turned down. Usually President Jackson was spoiling for a fight but he saw this, I think correctly, as an internal Mexican affair. After capturing Santa Anna at San Jacinto, they signed treaties establishing the Republic of Texas. The Mexican government didn't recognize these treaties as Santa Anna signed them under duress. But the Republic of Texas remained independent for 10 years before applying for statehood.

It's true that the US picked a fight with Mexico in 1846 to grab land to the Pacific. But that is beyond the scope of the Texas analogy. The point being that the Texans fought a revolution and the Crimeans did not. Maybe all the Crimeans wanted to break away from the Ukraine but not enough to fight for it. More likely, only a part of Crimea wanted to separate. Given that no information coming out of that part of the world can be trusted, we'll never know what the real situation was.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <Boomie> regarding Crimea, I think enough has been written about it and its past history in this forum. Have you read and thought through them? Have you seen the Crimean video I linked to?

How do you think the two Crimeans in the video would react to such a dismissive statement of yours like <Anyway the Crimea was trouble free for over 50 years. So the decision to include it into the Ukraine cannot be called a mistake.>?

If we must talk intelligently about Crimea, you just have to go back and read through all the previous posts on it, and try to place yourself in their shoes, even if only temporarily.

I brought up the former Mexican states now with the US as an analogy. I think it is a good analogy, but first you have to see things from the perspective of a Mexican. I don't know if you are even aware that many Mexicans (maybe even most Mexicans) regard those territories as annexed by force by the US.

The US will view the acquiring of those territories as legal and will teach it that way in American schools. One thing I am almost certain of. If Mexico had a more powerful military than that of the US in the mid 1800s, those territories would never have passed on to the US. After all has been said and done, US got those territories (almost half of present-day Mexico) because it had the stronger military.

I see that you have reacted to the Mexican analogy negatively, dismissively. Please read <twinlark's> post on your objections.

My point is slightly different. I posted the Mexican analogy in order to draw a a reaction from you. And as we both expect, it's a negative reaction from the Mexican perspective. You may not realize it because from an American perspective, your reaction is the correct and positive one.

But react you did.

Now for a thought experiment.

Please put yourself in the shoes of Crimeans in the video. (Important: You have to watch it first and think through it.) Then imagine how they will react to all your previous posts on Crimea and Ukraine. Try to think of how they will answer your previous posts.

If you think you know how these Crimeans will answer your posts, I would invite you to write it down, what you think their written reactions would be.

Jun-24-15  Boomie: They may have to come up with a new word to describe the relationship of Neanderthals and modern humans. So far, they haven't found any trace of Neanderthal genes in our mitochondria. So only the offspring of human females and Neanderthal males were viable. Either that or the Neanderthal females resisted the human males, which they could do without too much effort. That seems more likely to me. Offspring ought to be viable both ways. Alas, there would be no way to prove this.

I'd like to think they were the same species as us for some reason. It pushes back our lineage by a couple hundred thousand years. Perhaps their adaptations were in response to ice ages. Neanderthals started at an ice age about 350,000 years ago. But they disappeared during the start of another ice age. Between those two periods, there were a lot of low ice volume periods. The evidence isn't compelling.

Jun-24-15  Boomie: <visayanbraindoctor: Have you seen the Crimean video I linked to?>

I like anecdotal evidence because of its intimacy. "The Good War" by Studs Terkel comes to mind as an excellent example. I have no doubt that the testimony given by Ms. Poklonskaya is true. No way could she be a good enough actress to be lying there. She was clearly shaken by the events of the coup.

One sad truth about riots is that criminals thrive in them. I'm sure the Kiev version of the skinheads had a field day. Her outrage at the defacing of WWII monuments is spot on. The Ukraine lost more people during the war on a percentage basis than any other republic. To disrespect that great achievement shows an unbelievable ignorance of history.

In no way do I support the new government in Kiev or any government in general. They are all corrupt in one way or another. I spent much of my youth in the counter culture. I voted occasionally to support somebody I admired like Carter or against some ogre like Reagan. But usually I just opted out of politics. I joined protests against the Vietnam war and against nuclear power. Generally I stayed out of it all.

I was content in my job at a food coop and socializing at the local center of chess, go, and whatever the game du jour was. Sometimes I wish I had stayed with that life instead of moving up the food chain in computers.

The point is that historically, I haven't given much thought to politics and my frequent gaffes here make that painfully obvious. I've enjoyed reading you guys and thought that a contrary voice might help sharpen the dialogue. I hope I've contributed something of value here. I'll be taking a break from posting as I seem to be more of an annoyance to you two than a benefit.

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <Boomie>

<I hope I've contributed something of value here. I'll be taking a break from posting as I seem to be more of an annoyance to you two than a benefit.>

You're not an annoyance. A contrary and thoughtful viewpoint is always welcome, especially absent from the Rogoff cauldron of people personally attacking each other.

It's been a civilised and enjoyable discussion, one that I've learned from, and challenging on occasions. I know it's been difficult for you at times because of our different takes on events, but I'm sure that won't set you back, especially as we've all learned to play the ball not the man.

I'm still working on that Khodorkovsky item, too, as there's much to learn from that. So thank you for that.

btw? You're always welcome here.

And I still disagree on your take on Texas!

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <Boomie>

I'm not really happy with my last post to you, so I'd like to add a few observations.

<I spent much of my youth in the counter culture. I voted occasionally to support somebody I admired like Carter or against some ogre like Reagan. But usually I just opted out of politics. I joined protests against the Vietnam war and against nuclear power. Generally I stayed out of it all.>

To some extent, my story is similar. I also subscribed to the counter-culture in the early 70s, including volunteering in the local food coop. The equivalent in Australia of voting Carter back in the day was voting for the Gough Whitlam's Labor Party after it had spent the entirety of the 50s and 60s in opposition to the conservative coalition.

The new Labor administration of the day was wonderful if chaotic. Conscription was abolished, a half way decent welfare system established, universal health care established, free university education (unfortunately no longer), recognising China, creating a women's portfolio, no fault divorce laws...basically creating modern Australia. They attempted to steer Australia to an independent course, an objective sadly never achieved because of the constitutional coup in 1975, which was followed by our "ogre", 7 years of conservative government.

I remember the same attitudes towards Carter and Reagan, and like you I hated what we were doing in Vietnam (my brother served there), but was reluctant to participate in the moratorium demonstrations...politics did not concern me overly until I made the decision that I needed to understand the world more systematically through political science and development studies.

Where you went into computers, I went into social sciences and civil service. Like you I'm not sure my choice of day job was the best, but what the heck, we live with our choices.

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: A key variation from an actual game:

click for larger view

White to play and win.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: One of those aha puzzles where the key is evident, but how to pull it off is tougher. Amazing how the Bishop dominates the Knight.
Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <Ohio>

Yes indeed. A short puzzle, but sweet, elegant and a little surprising.

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor>

Looks like another flashpoint developing over a major oil and gas field lying in a contested border region between Venezuela and Guyana, with the Exxon and the US naturally backing the latter:

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: US continues its good old tradition of intervention in Latin America. Even Guyana knows what's going on but sees it as beneficial to them, which is why they are cooperating.

Latin American history is full of US interventions since the 19th century. It's almost like a fact of life; I would guess that even educated Latin Americans are inured to it and expect it. I believe that it has come to the point where various groups try to manipulate the US intervention policy to their perceived benefit, already expecting that US will intervene.

Let's see how this one plays out.

The same blog says that Putin has a whopping 89% approval rate from his Russian constituents.

Are there other sources for such a high rating? I would expect something like 70 to 80%.

In any case, Putin is wildly more popular in Russia than Obama is in the USA. Ditto for Cameron, Hollande, Merkel in their respective countires.

As the article says the significant dissenters to Putin are even more anti EU- the Russian Communist Party and the ultra Nationalists.

I think I once saw a video hyped up by MSM as an anti-Putin rally, that showed how much Russians hated Putin. MSM blithely ignores the banners in the same rally indicating that most of the participants are Communist Party members. MSM lies again and again when it comes to politically loaded news.

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor>

Speaking of journalism, I'm fairly sure you will have read this guest article on the Saker's Vineyard about the writer's attempts to engage Western journalists and media to report on Donbass:

The writer was born in Gorlovka.

His efforts were essentially entirely fruitless, being ignored at every turn:

<I have reached out many times to human rights organizations and mainstream American and British newspapers and magazines about Western media bias, under-reporting of civilian casualties and suffering, and consistent distortion of what’s going on in Eastern Ukraine. I have never (sic.) received a response other than a number of out-of-office replies and two automated and impersonal messages in the form of “Thank you. Your message will reach the appropriate person.” (Apparently, that appropriate person didn’t care – or was not allowed – to respond, because I never got a reply even on my follow-up attempts.)>

There's lots more including:

<I’ve contacted many more media sources and received no response. I’m still yet to meet a professional journalist in this country who will openly admit to me that they are being censored or are engaged in self-censorship.>

Premium Chessgames Member

Assuming RT announces official Russian government views, this is a worrisome article. It indicates that Putin seems to have accepted that a new Cold War has begun.

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor>

I'm not sure the Cold War ever went away. The ring of NATO steel surrounding Russia did not appear overnight, nor did the eastward creep of that organisation. The only thing that did happen quickly was Russia's application for NATO membership being turned down.

Premium Chessgames Member

Another case of an international court in action. China already knows this court will be used against it and refuses to take part. Expected. MSM and our own local media will then bash this Chinese decision. Also expected.

Regarding the Cold War that never left and Putin's statement, for the first time, I have noticed he used the word 'opponents' for US NATO EU alliance. Before he used such terms as 'partners'. The Russian Federation for a long time thought they had left the Cold War behind along with the Soviet Union.

The shift from 'partner' to 'opponent' is a message. All the time US controlled media has been bashing Putin and hyping up the sanctions against Russia, Putin has referred to the US very diplomatically. Yet now for the first time, he is using a loaded term that redefines US Russia relations.

IMO this shows a kind of crossing the line shift in the thinking of the Russian leadership. Whereas before, they were still willing and seeking to mend fences with 'partners", most of them have now begun thinking that this is impossible.

I find this propaganda game that MSM is playing at times alarming. They are not demonizing some kind of third world country, but two of the major nuclear powers on Earth, Russia and China. The propaganda seems to be designed to program into their readership's minds the notion that a war with these two expansionist demons is on the table. If not, then the demons will swallow you up.

The links to Russia's military weapons in my previous posts indicate that it has the nuclear capability to turn all the major cities of the world into radioactive glass. Most of this nuclear capability is based on mobile ICBMs scattered all over the vast Siberian forests, impossible to detect. A nuclear strike against Russia will destroy it but a counter strike from these mobile ICBMs will be inevitable.

I haven't yet looked up on China's nuclear capability but from the little that I know, I am certain a Chinese counter strike to a US instigated war could wipe the Philippines off the map. Yet here we have our media demonizing against China as though we could actually go to war and remain unscathed.

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor>

Does the caption to the photo on the top of the article actually refer to the National Socialist Confederation of Labor? I assume this naming is an unfortunate coincidence in bearing a resemblance to the National Socialist German Workers Party.

On the other hand, if these are left wing trade unionists, why are they shilling for the US/Philippines interests? Or are they simply straight nationalists that take common ground with the government on this issue?

<I have noticed he used the word 'opponents' for US NATO EU alliance. Before he used such terms as 'partners'.>

I didn't notice this. It is indeed a significant change of word use, representing a strong policy shift on the part of the Russian leadership. This may or may not be a coincidence, but Gazprom is closing a deal with a consortium to build a second Nord Stream, and double the amount of gas to be supplied to Germany.

The implications of this are scrutinised by Mike Whitney in Counterpunch at I think Whitney is a bit enthusiastic about the whole thing, as this is just a preliminary deal and it will take years for this project to be finalised, but it is interesting that Germany has signed such a deal in the midst of escalating sanctions against Russia.

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