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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 17092 times to chessgames   [more...]
   May-25-15 twinlark chessforum
twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor> It's an extraordinarily beautiful piece in every incarnation. The Chinese choir was wonderful, not the least being that wonderful conductor. The Koreans seem to be the most committed, although I wonder why they omitted the descant while the flourish by ...
   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.
   Mar-23-15 Kenneth Rogoff (replies)
twinlark: <al wazir> The important fact was that no Western leader contradicted Yats' take on WWII. As for the rest of my post being tripe, put your money were you mouth is and point out where it's wrong, and stop being so damned precious.
   Mar-08-15 Evgeny Najer (replies)
twinlark: Congratulations to Najer winning (outright!) one of the toughest and most competitive events on the calendar. Extremely well done. Hope he fares better in the World Cup than the last time.
(replies) indicates a reply to the comment.

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 245 OF 245 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor>

It's extraordinarily beautiful. I notice the boys choir didn't include the descant featured in the other two arrangements.

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor>

the following is an article titled "neo-McCarthyism and the US media" by James Carden, a former State Department adviser who is a contributing editor at <The American Conservative>

It chronicles and analyses the supine nature of mainstream US (and by extension, I suppose, much Western journalism).

May-22-15  Boomie: <twinlark: Ukrainian demographics>

The Ukraine was not allowed to develop normally. The Russians slaughtered the Ukrainian elite and Tatars in the purges before WWII. The Tatars were forced out of the Crimea after WWII. During these atrocities, the Ukrainian and Tatar languages were suppressed in order to promote Russian. This Russification policy continued for a few years after the death of Stalin. Any argument concerning Russia's defense of Russian speakers in the Ukraine should take all this into consideration. Didn't Hitler claim the same thing before invading Czechoslovakia?

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <Boomie>

You make the rookie mistake of conflating Russians and Soviets. Just because Russia was the biggest republic in the Soviet Union doesn't mean they were necessarily running the show.

Check out just how many Soviet leaders were actually Russian...and for that matter how many of the Politburo over the same period were ethnic Russians, and then look at the purges throughout the Soviet Union, including Russia which suffered as much as any other republic.

It was the Soviet leadership that engaged in purges in all the republics, including (and probably most of all) Russia.

More history: it was Stalin that added Galicia from Poland to what is now Western Ukraine. It was Lenin and his Bolshevik mates who added the entire eastern and southern portion of Ukraine from Russia in the early 1920s (from Kharkov through to Odessa, providing a previously landlocked land with extensive coastline), to cut Russia down to size.

In fact, modern Ukraine is almost entirely a Soviet construction, something which has become supremely ironic in the last year or so since the "Leninfall" began, and since the communist party of Ukraine has been banned, and any positive comments about the Soviet Union and its legacy have become criminalised.

May-22-15  Boomie: <twinlark>

Even if the leaders of the party were not from Russia, how do you explain the Russification program? They were at odds with Russia and yet strove to promote Russian culture in the Ukraine? It doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

No republic suffered more than the Ukraine in the purges and in WWII. The Ukrainian purges began in the early 30's and then they were hit again during the Great Purges of the late 30's. The Tatars occupied the Crimea for almost 500 years before the genocide and expulsion.

Whether these atrocities were committed by the Soviets without help from Russia (a very specious assumption), today Russia represents that Soviet power. Today the Russians seem to support the Crimean land grab, continuing the Soviet history of atrocities toward the Tatars.

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <Boomie>

And yet Stalin was a Georgian.

Ukraine suffered a horrendous famine that affected all the other Soviet republics, Kazakistan and the central Asian soviet republics worst of all, proportionately speaking. You probably missed this earlier post by <visayanbraindoctor>: twinlark chessforum (kibitz #6303), especially the second part of the post.

The number of deaths attributed to Stalin is up to 60 million people, most of whom were in the Russian Federation, but half that if you exclude WWII casualties.

The reason the Tatars were deported was putatively for collaborating with the Nazis.

As for russification of Ukraine. Eastern and southern Ukraine (Kharkov through Donbass, Crimea all the way through to Odessa) was already and always Russian and is still predominantly Russian speaking, because it was <historically part of Russia> until the 20s when the Bolsheviks carved up Russia.

Galicia was carved from Poland and added to Ukraine to constitute the large western districts of Ukraine, with the local language still being the dominant language. The only part of Ukraine that is predominantly Russian speaking is in fact that part of Ukraine that was always Russian speaking.

Stalin was an equal opportunity tyrant, killing, deporting or imprisoning all nationalities with the USSR, depending upon who upset him or who he was paranoid about.

<today Russia represents that Soviet power.>

In whose mind?

<Today the Russians seem to support the Crimean land grab, continuing the Soviet history of atrocities toward the Tatars.>

What atrocities? It had nothing to do with the Tatars, as they've long been allowed to return, and the so-called "land grab" was bloodless. If anything it had more legitimacy than the US land grab of Kossovo, which didn't even feature a token plebiscite to justify its "secession", and the establishment of Camp Bondsteel, aka the European Guantanamo.

It has <everything> to do with geostrategic considerations that arose directly from the US-backed putsch in Kiev in February last year. The Russians thought, probably with good reason, that it would lose its fleet HQ in Crimea and pre-empted that outcome with a bloodless takeover.

Most of the Ukrainian military that were stationed there also jumped ship to Russia, btw.

The great majority of the Crimean population are quite happy to be part of Russia (and that's according to German researchers that went to Crimea to determine the extent of <dissatisfaction> within the peninsula) despite the sanctions which indiscriminately target every person resident in Crimea, not just the leadership.

May-23-15  Boomie: <twinlark>

<Eastern and southern Ukraine (Kharkov through Donbass, Crimea all the way through to Odessa) was already and always Russian and is still predominantly Russian speaking>

Here's a 2001 census of the Ukraine showing the general use of the language. Only a few states use Russian as the native language. Notice that the areas added from Poland speak Ukrainian. This isn't surprising since they were Ukrainians before being occupied by the Poles and Lithuanians. No matter how the Ukraine was cobbled together, this is where it is today.

<What atrocities?>

The Tatar genocide: "... between 1917 and 1933, half the Crimean Tatar population had been killed, deported or escaped to other countries." Aside from the usual racist reasons, this was probably just the appropriation of desirable land.

<The reason the Tatars were deported was putatively for collaborating with the Nazis.>

And so you think this action was warranted? It led to the death of about 50% of those deported. Frankly, I can't believe you would support such brutal actions.

Finally this last insult with yet another occupation. Apparently 500 years is not long enough to create a homeland.

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <Boomie>

<<What atrocities?>

The Tatar genocide: "... between 1917 and 1933, half the Crimean Tatar population had been killed, deported or escaped to other countries." Aside from the usual racist reasons, this was probably just the appropriation of desirable land. >

I wish you would stop being disingenuous. I was referring to last year's secession/annexation. No one was killed, least of all Tatars. And did I mention the Tatars were allowed to return? Was Ukraine going to give the Tatars Crimea?

<Frankly, I can't believe you would support such brutal actions.>

I don't. That you imply I support genocide is more than a little insulting.

That I'm living in a land which undertook one of the most blatant and horrendous genocides of peoples whose homeland this was for 70,000 years gives me no peace. I know many people feel the same about the settlement of the Americas. Nation building has always been a bloody, genocidal business and I wish the world would move past it to a global commonwealth of people, where language and culture are celebrated as part of human diversity, and not exterminated as inferior or as a threat.

As a believer in free speech I'll let it pass as I assume you know nothing of my frequently penned opinions on the subject. But unless you are intent on insulting me further, I'll ask you not to bring any more such implications to my forum. Save this sort of stuff for the rough and tumble of the Rogoff page. Reread what I <actually> posted.

<Finally this last insult with yet another occupation. Apparently 500 years is not long enough to create a homeland.>

A non-sequitur. Crimea has been a Russian possession since its annexation from the Ottoman Turk empire by Catherine the Great in 1783. Creating a homeland in Crimea has not been on the agenda for either Russia or Ukraine.

Why are you even talking about a Tatar homeland in Crimea? How does the 2014 secession/annexation affect this one way or the other? Had Russia not taken Crimea back, it would still be under Ukrainian ownership, and I sincerely doubt, in the light of events, that Kiev had been planning to confer Crimea on the Tatars as their "homeland". More likely the Russian fleet - along with most Russians - would have been evicted and the place turned into a NATO outpost.

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor>

Not sure which came first. The Russian decision to finally terminate the agreement between it and the US to allow the US to use Russian territory to transit men and materiel to Afghanistan, or the Ukrainian revocation of a number of military agreements with Russia which enabled access by the latter to Transnistria. Or indeed whether there is any direct connection between the two apart from timing.

Transnistria is therefore now under siege, as far as it and Russia are concerned, due to suddenly constrained communication and transportation between it and Russia.

An attack on, or attempted takeover of, Transnistria by either Ukraine or Romania will up the ante considerably in the region, and could provoke an overt Russian response.

I can't help feeling that the region is slouching toward another major European war. Expect frantic diplomatic negotiations between Germany and Russia with Romania and Ukraine as junior participants in the near future.

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: Australia's 60 Minutes recently ran a piece on MH17 in which they claim to have found the smoking gun to prove Russia was responsible for the downing of MH17. See it here:

Robert Parry from Consortiumnews wrote a scathing rebuttal of the 60 Minutes piece, accusing them of falsifying evidence:

Australian Greg Maybury has weighed in with his own thoughts on the subject, including the significance of the timing of resurrecting a story that has been quiescent for some months:

I'll add that dealt with the "incriminating" video evidence of the Buk transporter a couple of weeks after the aircraft was downed: http://humanrightsinvestigations.or...

And for good measure, here is a link to a short documentary by a Dutch blooger/journalist about the MH17 downing and some political background:

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <Boomie> If you are going to discuss Crimea using the loaded term 'land grab', I would suggest that you read all the previous posts above on it by myself and <twinlark>.

Regarding Crimea:

Russians claim that the Christian Orthodox religion came into Russia from Byzantine via Crimea, before the Turkish invasions. Tatars are Turkish, and became part of the Ottoman Empire.

Regarding the Turkic Tatar's claim to Crimea, you might also wish to ask who lived in Crimea before it was conquered by Turkic peoples. The answer is that it was part of Kievan Rus, which was the mother state of both present-day Ukraine and Russia.

Using your own logic of prioritizing who came first, the Tatars themselves were originally foreigners in Crimea, who rose to power when the Golden Horde took it. When the Russians retook Crimea in Catherine the Great's era, you have to consider the following:

1. The Russians of the 18th century most probably saw the conquest of Crimea (and Ukraine) from the Turks as part of their 'gathering of Russian lands'. That is they were retaking what was once their own from Turkish colonizers.

2. Turkish (Tatar) Crimea for a long time was the center of a slave trade. For hundreds of years, Orthodox Christian Slavic tribes in present day Ukraine and south Russia were raided by Turkish slave traders. There are indications that many of the Janissary of the Ottoman Empire were boys taken from present-day Ukraine (and also the Balkans) via Crimea, forcibly converted to Islam, and used as the elite military force of the Ottoman Empire. The girls went to the harems of the Turkish aristocracy. You can just imagine how that rankled the Russian Psyche for hundreds of years.

For the Russians of the 18th century (keep in mind that there were still no Ukrainians then), from their perspective it was probably payback time. They completely drove out the Turks from what is now present-day Ukraine, but not completely in Crimea.

The modern day Ukrainians probably see it that way too. The Russians that drove out the Turks in Ukraine were their ancestors too. At that time, there was no distinction between Russians and Ukrainians; they were one ethno-linguistic people.

If Crimea had remained attached to Kiev, no way would they allow Tatars to gain power once again in Crimea. MSM would be completely silent on the Crimean Tatar issue in that case. IMO the real reason why MSM is stirring up the Crimean Tatar pot is because it's regarded as a bullet in the propaganda campaign against Russia.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <twinlark> Transnistria is another flashpoint. It's totally isolated from Russia. It looks ripe enough for an outright invasion.

What would Russia do if Transnistria got invaded? Would the Russian troops there just withdraw? Or would there be a hot war?

Both Moldova and Ukraine are not members of NATO. So perhaps they would think twice about invading Transnistria by their own. However, they could be made to believe that NATO would support such a move (IMO something like this happened in the Ossetian war; US promised military support to Georgia.)

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor>

<What would Russia do if Transnistria got invaded? Would the Russian troops there just withdraw? Or would there be a hot war?>

That is the question. (btw I mistakenly mentioned Romania instead of Moldova in my previous post on the subject of Transdinistra - my bad).

I'm not sure that Russia would stand by and simply allow Moldova's breakaway region to be invaded, and this could indeed cause a hot war. It's not quite the same as Ossetia as it is not contiguous with Russia and therefore accessible by land, but is sandwiched between one very hostile and one semi-hostile country.

Any defence of that territory would be by air, probably paratroop divisions dropped into the territory to boost the existing Russian peacekeeper presence there as the area is clearly inaccessible to naval and ground forces. Attacks against Russian aircraft and airborne divisions would instantly escalate into hot war that could have incalculable consequences for everyone.

Well, almost everyone.

But if some superpower (unnamed) wanted to start a hot war in Europe, Transdinistra serves as the ideal flash point since US/NATO plans in Ukraine have bogged down in a political, economic, and military quagmire and has showed little sign of igniting a regional hot war beyond Donbass.

The Macedonian situation only serves to prevent the passage of the yet unbuilt Turkish Stream into the rest of Europe, probably also punishing the regime there for not supporting sanctions against Russia. Once the western pipeline from the Caspian via Azerbaijan and Turkey, Turkstream may well become redundant, at least until supplies are depleted.

I notice that Norway is now the main gas supplier to Europe, overtaking Gazprom's supplies. I'm unsure to what extent Gazprom's supplies remain crucial to Europe, or will remain crucial to Europe. If the Norway and Azerbaijan pipelines, combine with a pipeline through a subjugated Syria and topped up with US shale oil all come on stream and remain so, then Russian gas may well become irrelevant to Europe in the next decade or so.

This calculus can't have escaped the Russian leadership (or the Chinese!) and is maybe part of Russia seeking markets in the east. It will continue energy and other commerce with Europe as it gradually uncouples its economy from being reliant on the West and as long as the cash keeps rolling in, but sooner or later it will cut this umbilical and focus entirely on the East and the rest of the non-West for its future economic ties.

Still, Russia is likely to be and to remain a junior partner to China and its ambitions for a New Silk Road which is becoming global in scope. So I guess, Russia's future is largely contingent upon the success of China in expanding its sphere of economic and therefore political and military influence.

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor>

I asked a friend in Kharkiv to send me a few media links that might provide some more insight into what is happening in Transnistria. It appears that this situation has been developing for some time, and is clearly a pressure play on Russia with Moldova and Ukraine acting instrumentally.

Here is an informative link (in Russian):

Ukraine has already pulled weaponry into western Odessa near the border.

Russia's only hope of resolving this situation without it becoming a goddawful mess is by diplomacy and pressure on <other> European powers, namely Germany and France, and possibly Romania.

Whether or not the US will allow the EU/Germany to intercede will be worth watching. Or whether the EU will defy the US to pressure Moldova and Ukraine to relieve the blockade. Ukraine may well use this as a bargaining chip for its own objectives like more money and debt forgiveness, and maybe more weapons.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: Some interesting articles on Transnistria

<Transnistria would love to join Russia, but Russia doesn’t welcome that. It wants the not-quite independent territory to stay as it is, causing trouble for Moldova and keeping it out of the EU and NATO.>

<A year ago, the Transnistrian authorities appealed to Russia to include the Transnistrian Moldovan Republic (TMR) in the Russian Federation, “following Crimea’s example,” but the request was turned down by the Kremlin. Now the consequences of Russia's annextion of Crimea are rebounding on Tiraspol.>

<Moldova can't find peace. Forces in the separatist Transnistria region are trying to weaken the already shaky stability in the region. Their main targets: members of pro-democratic NGOs.>

The first article is sympathetic to pro-Russian Transnistrians, trying to figure out the situation they're in. The latter two are quite hostile to Russia, and pro-Russian Transnistrians.

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor>

The first one is the most interesting. To leave a sliver of land the size of Ossetia (or slightly smaller than Bohol) semi-adrift for local geo-political leverage and advantage is extremely manipulative, bordering on cynical.

However, I can see their point even if I don't agree with it. I'm not sure if I was a loyal Transnistrian Russian that I would appreciate being used as a pawn like this. Not without adequate protections in any case, assuming I was a true Russian patriot.

The onus is therefore very much on Russia to protect its political and national investment in that sliver.

Given that the only access is by air, and that there are no major airfields for heavy aircraft to land, this could be a problem unless they can come up with creative solutions.

The problem is that as Russian peacekeepers terms are up, they are returned to Russia without replacements being permitted by Ukraine or Moldova. I suspect Russia is probably mulling over supporting Romania's efforts to reabsorb Moldova with Transnistria as a quid pro quo.

Interesting to speculate - from afar - and to see what will transpire.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <The onus is therefore very much on Russia to protect its political and national investment in that sliver.>

Interesting point. I suspect practical and cynical considerations would win out though.

When I read Mein Kampf several years ago, I was surprised to read Hitler being quite unsympathetic to Germans in Italy. He never said so but I suspect it was simply because he was allied with Mussolini at that time.

Going back to Russification policies, it seems to me that the Soviet union did not have a purposeful policy to kill off non-Russian ethnic identities. Centralized policies affected every one, and every ethnic people, including Russians. It's interesting but the outwardly federal system that Lenin insisted on may even seem to have exerted protective effects on the identities of many of the former Russian Empire's oppressed minorities. (I have read of some opinions accusing Lenin of being a closet Anarchist because of his decision to set up an outwardly Federal system in the USSR.)

I believe it was quite different in the Russian Empire beginning in the later 1800s. The Czarist government embarked on an aggressive Russification policy, that was ultimately aimed at eliminating the identities of non-Russians. It was like: to be a good citizen of the Empire, one has to be a good Russian speaker.

I believe that until today, echoes of this policy is remembered in the cultural memories of many of the minority peoples of the former Russian Empire. It may be a reason to some degree why there is much anti-Russian sentiment among many of the former minorities, in particular in the present-day Baltic states, Poland, and Western Ukraine.

Russian has changed, but the cultural baggage of its 19th century Empire IMO still remains. Perhaps present day and future generations of Russians should do something to help assuage the 'karma' of its Imperial past.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: Glad you liked Rosas Pandan. I surfed through you tube videos and it now seems to me that this song is a big hit among foreign choirs. Perhaps the biggest from the Philippines. There are choirs from USA, Canada, China, Korea, Indonesia, Spain, France, Romania, (Sweden?), (Norway?), Russia singing it.

It seems popular with some American college and high school choirs; lots of them in you tube (if you type Rosas Pandan), example,

I found this version particularly fascinating; I think it's a Norwegian group singing in Austria.

It's sounds unbelievable, but most people from Luzon have never heard this (and other Visayan) songs. The reason is straightforward. The Metro Manila national mass media generally refrains from broadcasting non-Tagalog Philippine songs. And the Department of Education does not teach non-Tagalog songs in Philippine schools.,,,,,,

I just discovered the above Zarzuela style Ilonggo Visayan songs in you tube. I never even knew the existence of most of them just a week ago.

Minority peoples of the world often live in an Orwellian 1984 applied to their cultural heritage.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: Below is a link to two songs. The first is an example of a duet conversation type (Ilonggo/hiligaynon) Visayan song. Typically, a man and his lady love talk to each other in song.

Below is a version of the second song in the link above. I am shocked to read the name of the girl singing it. Same family name as my mother's. Must be a cousin or niece of mine. I remember visiting the house of an uncle in that town.,

I am embarrassed that this is the first time I have even heard of these songs. (Well at least my cousin obviously knows it she since sang it.)

Below is a more famous example of the conversational duet song in Sugbuanon Visayan.

Naturally, none of these songs are known outside the regions of their native speakers. The Manila based national mass media and Department of Education do not broadcast or teach them at the national level.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <twinlark: Given that the only access is by air>

'Russia 'to double' size of airborne forces'

'The airborne troops will receive more than 1,500 BMD-4M armoured assault vehicles by 2025 as well as around 2,500 Rakushka armoured transporters. The numerical strength of the unit will increase by a third.'

The Russian leadership probably realizes it may have to keep such options as a military airborne support to such territories as Kaliningrad and frozen conflict zones such as Transnistria and South Ossetia.

Russian airborne troops are being accused by Western sources of infiltrating into Donbass.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Annie K.: <twinlark> hi - are you still using the netspace email address I have for you?
Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: Hi Annie. Yes I am.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Annie K.: k, sent you a note there. :)
Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: Ta. I've responded.
Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor>

It's an extraordinarily beautiful piece in every incarnation.

The Chinese choir was wonderful, not the least being that wonderful conductor. The Koreans seem to be the most committed, although I wonder why they omitted the descant while the flourish by the Indonesians at the end was an interesting little innovation.

The best descant soprano had to be the Spanish choir. Her voice was ethereal and powerful. Wish the audiovisual quality of that one was clearer though.

It's somewhat ironic the number of Filipinos commenting how wonderful it is to hear that Filipino song being played outside the country...

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