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Member since Apr-25-05 · Last seen Jun-12-21
I'm a Dane from Copenhagen. Born 1947, first name Sven. Have played since 1963, albeit not actively since 1974 when I had around 2100 in rating.

Follow the chess world closely, but I do have a particular passion for chess history. Lasker and Keres are the top players who have inspired me the most, but I find many of the historical giants fascinating.

Retired (2014) from my job as a publisher on art books.

Socrates (in my language: Sokrates) has been one of the most important guides in my life. Ever since I began reading Plato at 17, his thoughts and actions have had a deep impact on me. Full Member

   Sokrates has kibitzed 4528 times to chessgames   [more...]
   Jun-03-21 World Championship Candidates (2020/21) (replies)
Sokrates: <alexmagnus> Thanks for rectifying a relatively insignificant detail of my post about chessplayers educating themselves to other professions. In my flawed mind, the Carlsen generation has ruled in their 20s, and the recent Candidates has shown they still dominate pretty much,
   Jun-02-21 chessforum (replies)
Sokrates: Okay, K, thanks.
   May-16-21 Carlsen vs Vachier-Lagrave, 2021
Sokrates: <Everett: Lasker s free-thinking, Bronstein’s imagination, Karpov’s technique> Touché! Sharp!
   Apr-28-21 Sokrates chessforum
Sokrates: Dear <alexmagnus>, First: What a nice post of yours. On the lines and between the lines. Second: Don't be too hard on yourself. Even though I try to respond with caution, it happens now and then that I slip a small jet of poison, because, well, I also have a temper! :-) I ...
   Apr-19-21 beatgiant chessforum (replies)
Sokrates: <beatgiant> Thank you very much for taking time to explain this to me. I have noted your first remark with a smile on my face. :-) I am with you on this conclusion: <But if we do need to use ratings, I think consistency over a period of time is a better basis than a ...
   Apr-04-21 Magnus Carlsen Invitational (2021)
Sokrates: <macer75> I am blinded by the rays of your erudition.
   Mar-27-21 F Olafsson vs Keres, 1959
Sokrates: In a strategically lost position, Olafsson's tiny hope was to land a knight on f6. After that didn't work out there was nothing left.
   Mar-08-21 Opera Euro Rapid (2021) (replies)
Sokrates: Quote from ChessBase: "3/8/2021 – Wesley So has represented the United States since the end of 2014 and has collected a number of major successes since his transfer. A couple of weeks ago, the Filipino-born star officially became a United States citizen. So declared, “From the ...
(replies) indicates a reply to the comment.

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Premium Chessgames Member
  Sokrates: <tga> You are right, and I surely hope so too. Long time since I got a lifesign from him. Do any of our Norwegian friends have information?
Premium Chessgames Member
  moronovich: Good evening Dear <Sokrates> !

If it is <Count Wedgemore> you are wondering about,I can inform that he has had trouble with his heart and eyesight as well.It will take a while before he has recovered.

I have mailed him 2-3 times during the last 3 months,but he hasn´t mailed back.Except from informing me about the condition above mentioned.

He is dearly missed here at CG.And he is in my prayers every day.

See you around . With all the best wishes for the upcomming weekend. -moro-

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: < moronovich: Good evening Dear <Sokrates> !

If it is <Count Wedgemore> you are wondering about,I can inform that he has had trouble with his heart and eyesight as well.It will take a while before he has recovered.

I have mailed him 2-3 times during the last 3 months,but he hasn´t mailed back.Except from informing me about the condition above mentioned.>

That's hearbreaking news, <moronovich>. I will pray for his speedy recovery, and keep a kind thought for him.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: My best to <Count Wedgemore> . Always a gentleman. I hope we hear from him soon.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sokrates: Thanks, dear <moro>, sadly I expected something in that direction. He has mentioned his bad health in the past.

I am glad you're on direct mail with him - watch for a mail from me today.

I wholeheartedly join your healing thoughts, gentlemen, thanks.


Nov-06-20  morfishine: Hello <Sokrates> I enjoyed reading your profile, especially your mentioning the great original philosophers. While I don't have the depth of knowledge in this field that you have, I have read an interesting book called "Eureka! 81 Key ideas Explained" by Michael Macone. He breaks down some of the most common yet complicated historical ideas and explains them for people like me. He touches on the great philosophers as well as more modern ideas like relativity. His funny wit makes the book a very enjoyable read; its perfect to keep beside the bedside table for late night reading
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sokrates: Hi, <morfishine>,

Many thanks for your kind post, and, of course your great recommendation. I shall most certainly make efforts to acquiere that book, as it sounds fun and interesting.

I like reading books that wants to convey deep knowledge in an understandable concentrated form. I have read Bill Bryson's fine books, and others in the same genre.

Otherwise, how are you doing these times, dear <morfishine>?

Nov-24-20  Clemens Scheitz: May I recommend a book I enjoyed that fit that criteria dear <Sokrates> and <morfishine>, it's "What philosophers think" edited by Julian Baggini and Jeremy Stangroom
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sokrates: You may indeed, dear <Clemens>, thanks. Fortunately, there are many books that make efforts to draw the essence of philosophy.

Admittedly, I read most philosophy when I was in the 20s and 30s. I still have a decent collection of the classics on my book shelves, but my concentration and ambition to read Kant and Heidegger isn't what it used to be.

The essence I have drawn from all of it, however, is clear: I became an existentialist after reading Sartre, Camus and the Danish poet Inger Christensen, and it has been my humble conviction ever since.

Premium Chessgames Member

My good <Sokrates>


Thank you for your wonderful post about slacks, I am grinning ear to ear as I type here. lolol

I decided to thank you for your response here, because <Susan Freeman> has just arrived at the page and it appears "srs business" may be afoot...

Premium Chessgames Member
  Diademas: Gledelig nyttår i Kongens by!
Med litt flaks vil <CG> og resten av oss gjøre et sterkt comeback i 2021.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sokrates: This is strange. I checked in to see if my post yesterday (2 Jan) had got some reaction and ... it is gone! Ok then - repetition, sort of.

First my apologies for not responding the two following posters. I don't check my own forum often, since I don't expect many posts there, but I am glad that I was wrong.

<jessicafischerqueen> It makes glad that you found my post worthy of a good laugh. That's the best I can hope for! I also have to say that I treasure your posts highly in general. You often cut through to the point and wake up those who sleep in their service of CG. My thanks for that.

<Diademas> Også et rigtigt godt Nytår til dig, did oppe i Holbergs gamle stad. Jeg håber, du er ved god helse, trods det pensum af mad, norske skikke byder på i julen! :-) Ja, lad os håbe på, at vaccinen snart vil bringe os alle frelste igennem de dunkle dage. Pas godt på dig selv indtil da!


Premium Chessgames Member
  Sokrates: Welcome,

CG says I have to divide my response in two posts. So, first ...

<perfidious: <Sokrates>, I respectfully suggest only one slight amendment to your plan: to wit, 90 minutes each per game rather than 60, with days off after every four games.>

Hi, <perfidious>, thanks for your suggestion. I am only reluctant to your “slight amendment” for the reasons <moronovich> explains. It boils down to: one or two games a day.

The two game a day format is based on the assumption that a 24 games match would be far too long for the players, the organisers and above all: the sponsors. Perhaps also for us spectators.

Perhaps we could offer some restricted increments to the 60 minutes – or raise them to 75 minutes. I just think that the time limit for a game should be restricted to 2½ hours, ideally only 2 hours. 5 hours total playing time a day is to the limit, right?

I have too little knowledge og increments to assess whether you could have increments that could keep a keep within these frames.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sokrates: And now ...

Greetings, <alexmagnus>,

Honestly, I am reluctant to answering you. You have a way of annoying me immensely, but I admit that I might be oversensitive to your style. You have written some sensible contradictions, and I shall try to answer objectively.

<I find it weird that while rejecting rapid/blitz tiebreakers you are OK with every game essentially becoming a blitz game in the endgame (due to the "no increments" part).>

I think you’ll acknowledge that Zeitnot always has been an issue in time-limited games, no matter how much time has been given. In old classical games with plenty of time, some end games ended in blitz games, if one player or both had not managed their time. In the present tournament we have seen Grischuk in time trouble in almost every game while his opponents had plenty of time.

Please read my response to <perfidious>. I am open for an increment, as long as it doesn’t prolong a total game over 2½ hours. Perhaps you (or someone else) have the knowledge how to construct such an increment rule – in that case, I am in.

<As for 24 games, I've never understood, what exactly, other than "tradition", is so special about this particular number? Why 24? Why not 20, 30, 22, 26 - just random even numbers from of a similar magnitude...>

You are right that there is an element of “tradition” in the 24 games. Also, admittedly, an aesthetic preference for the number. But objectively it might as well be 20 or 22 – not more than 24, though. Why? Because of the total time of the match. With two games a day, a 24 games match would not take much more time than a 12 games match as we know it. Two games a day might require a resting day every 3 days. That is open for suggestions. So my suggestion of 24 games is not random, but in the end a fixed number should be given, so why NOT 24 games? 😊

<Champion keeping the title I <can> accept but still feel it unfair, as it just gives the advantage of chronology, something neither the champion nor the challenger is in control of. Rapids, are under the control of both. As is "unlimited classical till the first win" tiebreak, although this one would be hard to schedule.>

I know very well that it’s an issue of controversy. Some don’t think the reighning champ should have any advantages (as it is now, actually), some, like myself think the evidence should be demanded from the challenger – he should prove that he is BETTER, not EQUAL to the champ. I don’t know what you mean by <as it just gives the advantage of chronology>, but in case of Carlsen (and his predecessors) they have the title because they actually BEAT the reigning champion, thus proving once they were better. Opponents to that want to play down that fact and say it was so long ago, but I say: if it’s a played-down (meaning: no longer valid) fact, it should be easy to ignore and remove by the challenger.

Moreover, I think that in my suggestion 24 games should be more than enough for a challenger to prove he is better. With “my” time format and in so many games, a reigning champ should be inhuman not to err and lose, particularly if he is lesser than the challenger.

<Same, by the way, with the statement "12/14 games are too short". It only appears too short in comparison with 24 games.>

Hm. Again – I am not completely certain of what you mean. I think that both 12 and 14 games in a classical format are too few. At least 16 games should be played in that time format. But, evidently, 14 is better than 12 and so forth. However, my suggestion wants to abandon the classical format, so …

Well, that is what I am able to give as an answer. Feel free to disagree. Much in my suggestion is subjective and based of having followed championships during my lifetime, but I know painfully well, that FIDE would never go anywhere near quicker formats, at least not in foreseeable time.

/ Sven

Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: <Honestly, I am reluctant to answering you. You have a way of annoying me immensely, but I admit that I might be oversensitive to your style.>

Why though? I never intend to annoy anyone, just to have a civilized debate. That's what any <forum> is for by definition after all - debating.

<I think you’ll acknowledge that Zeitnot always has been an issue in time-limited games, no matter how much time has been given. >

Zeitnot, sure. The "no increment" rule basically limits the number of moves in the game though, as beyond some point it is <physically> impossible to move in time. Even Blitz championships are played with increments, for a reason. So if you are to eliminate increments, a better way that a "time control till the end" would be to add some time (be it even something short like 15 minutes, to make the game finished within a reasonable time) every 20-30 moves.

<I don’t know what you mean by <as it just gives the advantage of chronology>>

I mean the champion being there first. Either purely biologically (most title losses were to younger players. If we don't count automatic rematches, only Kramnik lost his title to an older player) or just by arriving at top first (the current Carlsen-Nepomniachtchi constellation). Why should being "born" (and often, literally <born> earlier) give any rights to privilege or any demands to the challenger to prove he is <better and not just equal>? Why shouldn't being <equal> not give at least a chance to get the title by being better in a closely related discipline (that is rapid)? Draw odds for the champion make the champion sit on the throne way past his prime.

Also, there is another argument. From the challenger's perspective: why should "my" match against the champion be somehow influenced by a match he played two years ago against some other guy? Or even more than two years, if that match against the other guy was drawn.

Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: Note, in my last argument, it is not just the "long ago" fact, but also the "other guy" and "influence". I don't see how it is fair for Carlsen's win <against Anand> to <influence> the way <Nepo> has to approach MC in his match.

Draw odds in a match have the same problem as Armageddon has (which is why I, while generally pro-tiebreaks, reject Armageddon): they change the rules of the game. They equate a draw with a decisive game/match.

Apr-27-21  Shelter417: <Draw odds for the champion make the champion sit on the throne way past his prime.>

I can't think of any champions who kept the title past their prime due to draw odds. Perhaps a case can be made for Botvinnik (Bronstein, Smyslov I), but there the real problem was the automatic rematch clause.

Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: <Shelter417> Botvinnik is the one I had in mind - but not his later matches, his earlier ones. He drew against Bronstein and the first match against Smyslov - and I think, by that point a change of generations was more than overdue. Botvinnik was 42 when he played the first Smyslov match.

Compare this to Anand. He also drew a WC match in his 40s, and nearly drew against Topalov two years prior (but Topalov feared rapids more than losing in classical :D). But: Topalov, if he played reasonably (he admitted himself he was scared of rapids), could have dethroned the ageing Anand. And against his peer Gelfand Anand could prove himself in the rapids.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sokrates: <alexmagnus>

I strongly disagree with your notion that being equal with the champ after a challenge should be enough to gain the title. Who should judge whether a champion is <way past his prime>? There can only be one answer: his opponents. If he really is way past his prime why can't the challenger beat him?

Your argumentation about having privileges because you are born before the challenger is really ... very odd to me. What on earth has age anything to do with the title of being world champion? The core quality of chess is the fact that the strength of a player is decided on the board, not by his birth certificate.

Just because a player is old doesn't mean that he can't be inventive and ingenious. In its consequence it's a kind of discrimination towards age. I am sure you know there are many young people without imagination and inventiveness - like there are many old people with lots of it.

But we move away from my subject now, and I suggest we leave it here, since we both have clarified our viewpoints.

Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: In other words, what I disagree with draw odds proponents on, is who the burden of proof is on.

They think it's on the challenger - to prove that he is better that the champion.

I think it's on the champion - to prove that he is still worthy of his title - after all, it's he who is <defending> something.

Tiebreaks are a compromise between the two philosophies, as they give treatment to both players.

Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: <Sokrates> Would you answer my other question though? Why you find me so annoying? As I said, I never meant any harm :D
Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: <as they give treatment to both players.>

As the give <equal> treatment to both players I mean.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sokrates: <alexmagnus: <Sokrates> Would you answer my other question though? Why you find me so annoying? As I said, I never meant any harm :D>

I believe you when you say that. I hope you regard me answering your post so comprehensively as a sign of good will towards you. In other words: I want to be on friendly terms with you. Meaning: we can safely contradict each other knowing it's always on the arguments, never on the person.

I consider you to be an erudite, serious poster, who always, or as good as always, makes viewpoints based on a thorough research or serious thoughts. These are great virtues which I appreciate very much.

What I don't appreciate in general is nitpicking, triumphantly pinpointing small errors which we all make by spontaneous responses or statements. Or twisting seriously meant statements into something which is obviously ridiculous.

You don't do that, at least not intentionally. But you sometimes appear a bit self-righteous, as if you can't see that there could be nuances. That your "opponent" might not be totally wrong and you not totally right. Which often is the case.

I don't mind being corrected, rectified, on the contrary. Only that way I can improve my knowledge and understanding. But I do mind if I sense that the contradictor only looks for the negatives, the attacking points and doesn't consider - less mentions - the positives.

I am sure you know the German expression, "Der Ton macht die Musik". If I sense a tone which only wants to make me appear as an incompetent fool, I get annoyed and withdraw. If I sense a tone of kindness, being forthcoming, I always engage, since I know that person wants a civilised debate on the subject and not a fierce battle deciding who is right.

I humbly try to live by the code, the person behind my avatar name propagated: I'd rather be wrong than right, since I grow from being wrong.

<alexmagnus>, please read the positives in what I say here. I urge you to tell me when I am wrong, but I also urge you to phrase it in a way that appeals to the better in me.

Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: <<alexmagnus>, please read the positives in what I say here.>

I do, just, what should I respond to things I agree with other than that I agree with them? I might add some information if I know more, but that is it. Just saying "ditto" is of not much value to me.

So that mostly I end up writing on points I either disagree with or points that are factually incorrect. And just as you, I'm OK with being wrong. What I'm not OK with, is when it gets personal or if someone accuses me of making things up, like that recent encounter with AylerKupp (he apologized for what happened - after I proved my claims - and I carry no anger now, but that's just the most recent unpleasant encounter of this kind I've had)

Yes, most of my messages are objections. And I agree, I may come off as nitpickish. But it's not really nitpicking. The purpose of nitpicking is to annoy someone, to make them angry. The purpose of my corrections and debates is either to improve the quality of information presented or to present a diferent perspective. And, often, to learn something myself from those debates.

I know I <am> bad at communication and estimating the emotions it might evoke (it improved over the last decade or so, but I know I'm still below average in this field) - so I know I may sometimes say something inappropriate or even insulting without intending it. Whence the "if you feel misunderstood..." clause in my profile - if you feel I said something outrageous, approach me, let me clarify it.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sokrates: Dear <alexmagnus>,

First: What a nice post of yours. On the lines and between the lines.

Second: Don't be too hard on yourself. Even though I try to respond with caution, it happens now and then that I slip a small jet of poison, because, well, I also have a temper! :-)

I have said numerous times on CG that dialogues and communication often go wrong because it manifests itself in writing. I have a huge and occasionally painful experience with email correspondance, primarily during my professional years. As a publisher and editor I had to deal with creative people, most of whom are extremely sensitive to criticism of any kind.

When I met with them physically, though, there were many more strings to play on: body language, mimics, tone of speech, and such plain and elementary gestures as "cheers" and a laughter.

On an international internet forum with a high diversity of nations and cultures represented by individuals, it is almost inevitable that something can go wrong. For instance: Danes take pride of their irony, which they consider harmless, but in many contries it is mistaken for ridiculing and arrogancy.

Back to you: it is perfectly okay to focus on the mistakes and errors in a post. But once in a while it doesn't hurt to make the other poster feel that you acknowledge his efforts and good intentions (since you want him to do the same). Therefore, in responding to an evolved post - like the one I gave on the WC formats - I would start by starting with something like: "An interesting suggestion with some good elements. However, I have some contradictions to some of these elements". You get what I mean. You don't have to praise something you disagree with, but it would easen the dialogue - and make your "opponent" more comfortable - if a kind gesture was adjourning the criticism.

I am sure you know from your private life that there are people from whom you gladly take criticism - and others you wouldn't because you don't feel the criticism is born by good intentions.

I have learned a lot from my dear wife. She is 45, a warden at the state hospital with 12 nurses "under" her. She is the best person I have met in my life to give criticism, because the person receiving it always feels, it is given in respect and with the ambition to improve the person's acting for hers or his own benefit.

She has always given the same critics to me, and she has done it frequently! :-) That has made me a better person.

Phew, this got long - forgive! - but now breakfast is waiting. Cheers!

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