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Sunday Chess Problem

The big Go match came to an exciting conclusion. The computer won the first three (out of five) games, thereby winning the match, against Go world champion Lee Sedol. In the press conference after the third game the tenor was that it was impressive that Sedol was able to compete as strongly as he had,…

POTW 6 Posted

Spring break has ended. It is a great sadness. But that means that POTW can now return! Life is full of tradeoffs.

For the chess fans, the big candidates tournament begins in Moscow tomorrow. Eight of the top players in the world will be competing for the chance to face Magnus Carlsen in a match for the title. As it happens, the US has two representatives: Fabiano Caruana and Hikaru Nakamura. Going strictly by ratings, they are…

On Teaching Math

Periodically some social scientist notices that math is abstract and difficult. Thinking that math educators have overlooked this fact, he breathlessly reports his findings as a great discovery he has made. The latest example is Andrew Hacker, a political scientist at Queen’s College. In a new book, The Math Myth and Other STEM Delusions, he…

Sunday Chess Problem

One of the pleasures of playing in the US Amateur Team East is getting to browse the offerings from Fred Wilson’s chess store. I’ve acquired a number of choice books from him over the years, especially in the area of chess composition. This year I was able to snatch up a copy of The Two-Move…

Toobin on Scalia

Writing at The New Yorker, Jeffrey Toobin provides some helpful pushback against the nauseating wave of Scalia hagiography: Antonin Scalia, who died this month, after nearly three decades on the Supreme Court, devoted his professional life to making the United States a less fair, less tolerant, and less admirable democracy. Fortunately, he mostly failed. Belligerent…

The Epic USATE Post! 2016 Edition!

It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since the last one of these epic posts. But it’s time once more to report on the goings-on at the US Amateur Team East chess tournament. I don’t play a lot of tournament chess anymore, but I always like to come out of retirement for this one.…

Second Law Watch

Over at Uncommon Descent, Granville Sewell has popped up one more time to write the same post he always writes. It’s the one about how the second law of thermodynamics totally refutes evolution. It’s a worth a look, since he is even more explicit than usual that there is nothing more to his argument than:…

Scalia

I spent this weekend playing in the annual chess extravaganza known as the US Amateur Team East (epic blog post to follow). On Saturday night, I was having dinner at an excellent Japanese restaurant with some of my teammates. One of them, who happens to be a lawyer, had his phone out and said, “Hey,…

POTW 4!

It went up a little late this week, because of my recent travels, but we do have a new Problem of the Week. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.

Happy Darwin Day!

I’m about to leave town for the weekend, but I did want to poke my head up just long enough to wish everyone a Happy Darwin Day! And just in time for this most wonderful of holidays, my paper on anti-evolutionary mathematics has now been published. In the journal Science and Education, to be precise.…

POTW 2!

The second Problem Of The Week has now been posted, along with an official solution to the first problem. Enjoy!

Sunday Chess Problem

Helpmates occupy a curious position in the world of chess problems. On the one hand, they seem to be the most popular form nowadays for composers. There are just so many possibilities for original content, especially when fairy pieces or conditions are added to the mix. On the other hand, they are sometimes sneered at…

For about a year in graduate school, I was a serious Go player. I read a few books and even played in a tournament. It’s a beautiful game, no question about it, but after wasting so much time just to become a mediocre chess player, I eventually decided not to repeat the process with Go.…

POTW Returns!

Snow? Bah! Problem Of the Week doesn’t care about snow. That’s right, it’s time for another semester of teasers, enigmas, and conundrums. Our theme this term is: NUMBER THEORY, WITH MATH JOKES As always, we start with a fairly easy problem. Overall, though, I think the problems this term are a little more challenging than…