Chess as a bellweather

It’s been 5 years since my last rated game. I only play lightning or blitz occasionally on chess.com and lichess.org nowadays.

(And I STILL cannot consistently spell “occasionally” correctly the first time).

On days that I feel particularly sharp or dull, my chess performance seems to reflect it. So on days when I’m just not sure about how well the brain will function that day, I play a few games to figure it out.

Of course, this method does have some problems:

1. Do I selectively remember those days which support this hypothesis?
2. Did I control for the strength of my opponents?
3. Is my sample size even big enough?
4. [Other stuff I’m not thinking of]

Naturally, the answers for 1-3 are probably “yes”, “no” and “no”, but the hypothesis sounds good enough to me.

The third stage

So for my job, there are three mental stages I go through when new software needs to be demoed:

1. Despair: Impending sense of doom. There is no way we’ll be ready for production. The scope’s too big, we barely have the resources for an alpha build, never mind sufficient time for testing.

2. Resignation: Realization that whatever happens, happens. No one has killed me yet.

3. Unfounded optimism: Some of the most critical tasks/bugs get resolved just before software has to be demoed. It’s an incredible feeling of relief that temporarily overshadows the knowledge that there’s still way too many features with scant review and testing. And that there are some lingering requirements unfulfilled.

4. Tragedy: Product promptly fails in presentation to client.

Rinse and repeat.

Right now, two hours before the meeting, I’m at stage 3.

The desperation is real

So I’m in Miami on business. I get this ad:

A vote for Kasich or Cruz = A vote for Trump (Rubio's in there somewhere, right?)

You get a quick glance at it as you’re browsing the internet. Who does it want you to vote for?

1. Trump is smiling, in full color. His picture gets the most retail space. The others are in grey-scale. Smells like a Trump ad!

2. “Kasich” and “Cruz” are the first names you see. But Trump’s name is the biggest. Surely, it’s a Trump ad.

3. In fact, “A VOTE FOR TRUMP” is the most prominent text. Must be a Trump ad!

4. Your eye is drawn to Trump’s color photo with the bright red “SEE WHY” just below him. They want you to “see why” you should vote for Trump!

This feels like a Trump ad that didn’t even deign to mention the increasingly irrelevant Rubio.

Of course, if you bother to read it, you might figure out it IS a friggin’ Marco Rubio ad. Naturally, Rubio’s face is nowhere to be seen, even though his relative attractiveness would be an advantage. And his name is in a smaller, harder-to-read font. Even the little lens flare interrupts the flow of “Marco Rubio for president”.

I’d bet $20 this ad was the brain-child of a couple middle-aged men, one of whom happened to have a teenage son who can dabble with Photoshop a bit.

Coming soon: an Election 2016 roundtable with the Eggs!