March 16, 2005

To all the people underground listening to the sound



* Kaskarov on his retirement. excerpt:

"It's not common, in our age, for someone to retire while still at the top; but I'm a man who needs a goal, and who wants to make a difference. My accomplishments and contributions are for others to judge, but I feel that I am no longer playing an essential role in chess. With reclaiming the unified world championship out of reach due to political chaos in the chess world, I am reduced to unfulfilling repetition."
...
The more time I spend exploring the limitless realm of human thought, the harder it becomes to contain my energy within 64 black and white squares. The huge amount of work required to stay at the top has led to diminishing returns both for me and for the chess world. Every year it takes more study time to keep up with my young competitors, who have all followed my methods of working ceaselessly with computers to prepare. Opening variations must be analyzed to depths of dozens of moves and you carry around a 'mental database' of tens of thousands of moves that is constantly updated."
...
"But ultimately, it is my interest in politics that has played the principal role in my decision to reallocate my resources away from chess. For many years, I have been an ardent supporter of democracy in Russia, and at certain times I have participated in political activities. Now I will be able to do this with the same determination and passion I brought to the chessboard."
...
"My retirement from chess is not about running for president or any other higher office, although I am not prepared to rule anything out. It is about opposing our authoritarian regime and bringing positive change. There are millions like me in Russia who want a free press, rule of law and fair elections. My new job is to fight for those people and to fight for those things."

* From a short interview of M. Ward. [via]

Q: Conor Oberst yelled 'M. Ward for president' when you played with Bright Eyes on "The Late Show." Any idea why?

M. Ward: Nope, no idea. That was a pretty spur-of-the-moment thing, and I accepted it as such.

Q: Had you been elected, would you also be pushing for the privatization of Social Security?

M. Ward: I'm not sure about Social Security. I'd probably be pushing to get radio out of the hands of the corporations. I think that'll happen with its own volition, though I don't think it'll be AM or FM radio. It'll probably be satellite or Internet radio.

* K. Silem Mohammad author of Hovercraft, Deer Head Nation and, most recently, A Thousand Devils, will be reading at DCAC (18th Street, Adams Morgan) on Sunday March 20 at 3pm. His work has been published in numerous journals and is featured in 'The Best American Poetry 2004' anthology. He is member of a writers’ collective, Flarf, which has been featured by the BBC World News, the Village Voice and The Nation. Mohammad is assistant professor of English and writing at Southern Oregon University.

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