Watching People Argue in a Chess Chat

Chess Chat

Chess Chat is as filled with acrimonious debate as any political forum and, while watching the first round of the Norway Chess Tournament an instructive moment occurred which I will wax on about today. Don’t be too distressed, the topic isn’t primarily chess, or chess chat, it’s how to have a productive debate.

In this case the chess chat included a hearty exchange, including nasty insults as per usual, between two interlocuters debating as to which chess format, blitz or classical was more interesting, or more to the point whether or not classical chess is boring. Of some note but not important to the point is that one of the debaters is essentially the chief sponsor of chess in the United States. He took the side that classical chess was more interesting while an unknown but equally belligerent opponent took the opposite view.

Don’t worry, the chess talk is finished. What is important to understand is the nature of the question being debated and how to arrive at an objective answer. One side of the debate posited that a particular thing was more boring than another thing of largely the same nature.

What is the first thing to understand in order to arrive at a conclusion to this debate? What is boring, how do we define boring in this context, it must be determined. We cannot have any meaningful answer until we do so. Now, there are a number of ways to do this, but what is vitally important to understand is that neither of the two challengers made any attempt to do so.

They simply wrote facts back and forth at one another. This many people watched that tournament, so many people watched the other tournament. The quality of play in this style is better than the other style. It was endless, pointless, and much to the dismay of most of the people in chat, hideously boring. No one got anywhere except to clog up the chess chat with their ranting and most certainly, no one’s opinions were changed. Meanwhile, there was some quite interesting chess being played that the two debaters completely ignored.

The lesson is simple enough, you can’t arrive at an objective answer without defining what it is you are debating. A lesson neither of the two debaters understood or, frankly, are ever likely to understand.

Thus ends the lesson, young Ionians. Go outside to practice your Phalanx maneuvers and we shall return to the problem on the morrow.

Tom Liberman

Where is Gary Johnson?

Gary JohnsonThe second Presidential Debate is going on about now, or so I’d guess. I’m not watching. My guy wasn’t invited … again.

Gary Johnson.

Live Free. Live free, my friends. Live free.

As of this moment Gary Johnson will not become President of the United States. Libertarian candidates in general will not win many elections for Senator, Governor, Congressman, or much of anything else at a national or state level.

The world is approaching a crisis and a great man once told a nation that the only thing they had to fear was fear itself. The closer we get to this crisis the more fear paralyzes us into inaction.

Are you afraid of Obama? Are you afraid of Romney? Are you afraid of Iran getting nuclear weapons? Are you afraid for Social Security? Is your fear driving your vote?

Are you willing to sacrifice your freedom for the illusion of safety?

Are you afraid of “throwing your vote away”?

Are you absolutely certain you’re right? Are you sure the other guy is wrong? Do you skip listening and reading other points of view?

If so, then we don’t want you now, but we hope you’ll give up on fear and join us.

We want people who know that a vote a Gary Johnson is a vote for Gary Johnson. We want people who understand that hardship is part of life. We want people who think it’s not wrong to help those who are suffering. We want people who are willing to work with those who don’t agree with them. We want people who listen to the other side of an argument. We want people who know it’s easy to make a mistake, who are willing to admit a mistake, who are willing to forgive someone else for making a mistake. We want people who know there are no easy answers and anyone trying to sell them is a charlatan.

If you are afraid; then you should feel right at home in the United States of America, the land where fear mongering wins elections and reasonable compromise is forgotten.

We can change everything. Every election we get that opportunity. We might not make change this time, or next time, but we’re here, and we’re not giving up.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Twist
Current Release: The Hammer of Fire
Upcoming Release: The Sword of Water