Monday, April 5, 2010


Today Chessbase let the cat out of the bag concerning which of the three "news" stories were a fake on April 1. I am happy to say that the two answers I received + my own, were correct. The Matt Damon and Magnus Carlsen story was the fake.

My bloggers are apparently more reserved, or afraid of looking like an idiot (that didn't stop many readers of the CB website). It was a fun piece, but as usual, I learned some things about marketing from it:

1. Background knowledge, the ability to read between the lines, and then to make a decision are just as important when it comes to playing chess well. In the ChessBase case a LOT of people got it wrong! There were many guesses for the hadron collider and the Fischer exhumation, but the last one (i.e., Fischer) was deemed in poor taste by some. Hadron and Fischer had been mentioned earlier on CB posts.

2. Some people will criticize you no matter what you do. These are people the world doesn't trust because they "gloss over" what is actually in the story. They see everything as a conspiracy, bad taste, not politically correct and/or often think they could do better! (Have you seen any of THEIR work? No, and you aren't likely too.) They don't have necessarily a low IQ, but when you see them play (chess or other things), be on the look out for really strange, unprovable plans and ideas and try to figure out how you can take advantage of them.

3. Hopefully the greater majority had fun and were entertained. But, again, there are those who claim your (or ChessBase's) earlier efforts were better and that you are slipping. Maybe they were wrong last year and right this year and now feel they are expert. Once you know it all, the big fall is just around the corner. Sometimes it is hard to keep things (e.g., details) in perspective.

4. There were a LOT of answers and personal opinions, not facts, or logic, present in these answers. To be able to reason is something we take for granted; now I can see why. You can also see the reasons for wars, revenge, and incompetence from some of these answers--it's emotion overtaking reason. It's personal with some to the extent that I have no doubt there are those who have written back to CB to tell them they are wrong about their own hoax!

While I didn't expend a lot of time on this conundrum (in the morning many other projects are in the mix) I found it entertaining enough. I thought the CB staff did a good job all in all. Apparently some people didn't even know it was April 1. Foreigners may have been at a disadvantage if they don't celebrate this crazy day in their country but by now many of CB's readers know of this feature, quite a few in fact, and look forward to it.

But the ONE thing which probably surprised me the most was the ADAMANT notion by some that they were 100% correct when they were 100% wrong! I was pretty sure of the Damon/Carlsen hoax answer but in the amount of time I spent looking at all three I wouldn't have bet the farm... some would have.

Keep these traits in mind when studying, reading, and concluding as they are applicable to chess and other disciplines. Some contestants (?) may be bad at math, some can't draw, but when it comes to opinions, this is the most important trait to them. You CAN learn how to defeat chessplayers (and their cousins) by taking advantage of their opinions.

Congrats to the two fearless people who wrote in-- (J. Wan and Kevin).

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