[ExI] sturgis - washington post

Dan TheBookMan danust2012 at gmail.com
Fri Oct 23 04:16:02 UTC 2020

On Fri, Oct 23, 2020 at 3:36 AM spike jones via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> -----Original Message-----
> ...> On Behalf Of Dan TheBookMan via extropy-chat
> >.... I never use the term around them and I don't recall any of them
> calling me a 'Yank.' (Not that I'd take offense.)
> Teams need nicknames.  Open to suggestion.

Let them each present their own rather than have someone (you) foist them
on them. That's just my suggestion.

> >>… Aside not having to do with food: at the Chess Olympics, the strongest
> > two teams, or rather among the strongest teams in the world (nearly
> > always in the world top 5) are from Armenia and Azerbaijan.
> > Considering current events, naturally this leads to tension.
>  >...Are chess participants more nationalistic than average? It'd be nice
> to think that many of them don't simply hate other people because they're
> from another nation. Maybe hate is too strong a term.
> I suppose they are as nationalistic as any other sport.

I see this as a problem with sport. But I offer no solution.

Azerbaijan/Armenia is a very special case: that is one where two small
> adjacent nations somehow continue to present the world with the strongest
> teams.  I don't know how they do it, but it has been that way for a long
> time: at the internationals, we understand Russia, USA, China being up
> there, but right up at the top five we find Armenia.  If you look at the
> concentration of chess talent in  Armenia, it is a hundred times higher
> than USA: they compete head to head with 1% of the population.  Open to
> suggestion on how they do that.  It creates a lot of tension when Armenia
> and Azerbaijan play each other.
Since Armenia has less than 1% of the population of the US, it's easier for
it to deviate in some rankings because of the outlier effect. Think of the
old statistics example of two hospitals with maternity wards in the same
major US city, one that has a 1-to-1 male to female birth ratio last year
and one that has a 2-to-1 male to female birth ratio last year. You aren't
told which one has which ratio or anything else about the hospitals, but
one hospital had 10 total births last year and the other 1,000. Which birth
ratio do you think matches up with the total number of births? I'd expect
the hospital with 10 births to have the 2-to-1 birth ratio without knowing
anything else. Wouldn't you?

Of course, that might not be the explanation at all -- or not the whole of
it. After all, if a nation doesn't have a strong tradition of chess playing
or any grandmasters, it's unlikely anyone from there is going to be winning
chess championships in the first place. And looking over something like


We can see that there are nations with few or no GMs or FIDE members. The
US and Armenia have lots. My guess would be Armenia probably has a strong
tradition of chess playing. I'm not sure if it predates the Soviet Era, but
their national championship starting in the 1930s. My guess would also be
that since chess as an international game got its start in Europe that it's
not shocking that many European nations and nations closely linked to them
have strong strong chess playing traditions. This is merely my first take
on this. So YMMV.

> If you go back to 1924, these are the team rankings:
> This is 43 international competitions.
> This year’s Olympics were cancelled, but there is a hell of a battle
> brewing between the US and China teams.


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