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About Plessiez

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  • Birthday 10/26/1984

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  1. Plessiez

    First Quarter 2019 Reading

    I didn't read much fiction in 2018 (or at least I didn't finish much) but I''m going to make a bit more of an effort to do so this year. To start the year I'm hoping to complete the following this month: Hunger (Elise Blackwell) The Last Days of New Paris (China Mieville) New York 2140 (Kim Stanley Robinson) The Sea Watch (Adrian Tchaikovsky) Jerusalem Poker (Edward Whittemore) Alif the Unseen (G. Willow Wilson) Like everyone else, it seems, I'm reading something by Tchaikovsky. I think I read the first five Shadows of the Apt books over the first half of 2017 then took a bit of a deliberate break; I'm going to try to finish this series this year if I can. I'd guess lots of Shadows of the Apt was written (in some form) before Empire in Black and Gold was published, so perhaps the speed at which those books came out doesn't reflect the speed at which they were written.. But even if so, I'm also pretty surprised to learn that Tchaikovsky has a day job to quit.
  2. Plessiez

    Chess - the world in black and white

    Carlsen is obviously an incredibly strong player, but (given that) he's a pretty underwhelming world champion and really not that good a match player. Today's game (and Saturday's) are fully in keeping with that. I certainly expect him to win the tiebreaks (on rating alone he's a huge favourite) but I really hope he doesn't.
  3. Plessiez

    What’s your all time favorite book series?

    Iain M. Banks' Culture series is probably my favourite 'pure' science fiction series, though the books vary in quality a lot (I think The Player Of Games, Use of Weapons and Look to Windward are the best, and that Matter and Excession are -- by some distance -- the worst, for what it's worth). Much more of a single shared setting than a series with recurring characters and plots though. The same caveat applies to my second favourite science fiction series, C. J. Cherryh's Alliance-Union setting. This includes not only the relatively near-future space opera of Cyteen and Downbelow Station but also the Morgaine books (starting with Gate of Ivrel) which I guess are more in the science fantasy genre. In the same science fantasy vein I really like Gene Wolfe's Solar Cycle. My favourite sub-cycle is The Book of the Long Sun but I think the general critical consensus is that this is the weakest bit. Among (completed) fantasy series, my favourites include China Miéville's Bas-Lag / New Crobuzon books, Kate Elliott's Crown of Stars, and Terry Pratchett's Discworld books, particularly the run between Moving Pictures and Jingo. Outside speculative fiction, I like Dorothy L. Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey books (particularly the short run from Have His Carcase up to Gaudy Night) and Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time (though I think the last book, Hearing Secret Harmonies, is not so good).
  4. Plessiez

    Chess - the world in black and white

    Karjakin takes the lead! I missed today's games, but the results are ... not what I was expecting. I'm sort of rooting for Ding now, actually.
  5. Plessiez

    Chess - the world in black and white

    Seems hard to remember that, during round 4, Kramnik was on 2.5/3 and had (at several points) a winning position against Caruana. What odds would you have got on Kramnik only having 3.5 by the end of round 9?
  6. Plessiez

    Chess - the world in black and white

    Caruana beats Aronian to take the sole lead. Don't think there's a way back into contention for Aronian now (or for So, if he loses to Karjakin as it seems he will).
  7. Plessiez

    Chess - the world in black and white

    Well, yesterday was disappointing for Aronian and today was no improvement. A shame that So chose today to start playing well. Kramnik's play today was also very strange. I'm not sure I can see either of them recovering. Caruana and Mamedyarov are now tied for first. I don't really think either of them would challenge Carlsen all that much, honestly (Mamedyarov's head-to-head score in particular is not encouraging). Then again, I'd have said the same about Karjakin in 2016 (and probably did). It does look like one of those two will win this though.
  8. Plessiez

    Chess - the world in black and white

    I'm following the Candidates too. Bit surprised (but not displeased) to see So and Karjakin at the bottom of the table, even if only after two rounds. Though So hasn't been quite in the same form he was a year or so ago. Even though I wasn't happy about how Kramnik qualified, a part of me would be very amused to see him beat Carlsen in a match (not that I'm that confident he would).
  9. Plessiez

    Chess - the world in black and white

    So, final candidates confirmed now. Aronian (#2 on the live rating list at the moment) Mamedyarov (#3) Caruana (#4) So (#6) Kramnik (#7) Ding (#10) Grischuk (#11) Karjakin (#13) A pretty strong line up, I guess: MVL the only person in the top ten who stands out to me as missing. Thinking about the wildcard announcement a bit more, I'm slightly annoyed on MVL's behalf. Think he'd have been a much fairer wildcard pick (if 'fair' and 'wildcard' make sense together) and pre-announcing Kramnik just makes it explicit that MVL never had even a chance of getting this despite outperforming Kramnik in pretty much every measure this year.
  10. Plessiez

    Chess - the world in black and white

    Confirmed now, apparently. Good call.
  11. Plessiez

    Chess - the world in black and white

    I agree that MVL would probably have been a more deserving winner, but I'm very happy that Aronian won. Hope MVL can get to the Candidates too, though I'm not sure what his chances are. (Pretty pleased with the result of the other semi-final too, actually.)
  12. Plessiez

    Chess - the world in black and white

    Azmaiparashvili's ongoing involvement in chess, at any level, is pretty depressing. Hmm. Let's go with: Bu - Svidler MVL - Grischuk QF1: MVL - Bu Ivanchuk - Giri Aronian - Dubov QF2: Aronian - Giri Jobava - So Fedoseev - Rodshtein QF3: So - Fedoseev Najer - Rapport Ding Liren - Wang Hao QF4: Wang Hao - Rapport
  13. Plessiez

    Chess - the world in black and white

    Yeah, Kasparov did slightly better overall than I was expecting, especially on the last day of the blitz. A shame he had such bad time management in the earlier rounds. Focusing on more recent events: It seems slightly odd to me that the World Cup (whose main purpose for existing at this point, surely, is as a qualifier for the Candidates) is open to both Carlsen -- who can't qualify for the Candidates unless somebody left a very big loophole in the regulations -- and Karjakin, who already has qualified. I think FIDE should either have the World Cup be a stand-alone event, unconnected to the World Championship cycle entirely (which would be my preference), or change the rules to stop people who have already qualified from being able to interfere with the qualification process. Though I guess a counter-argument is that, as long as players can qualify by rating, it's going to be impossible to prevent already-qualified players from having an impact on the qualification process at some level. Bring back Zonals and Interzonals!.
  14. Plessiez

    Chess - the world in black and white

    I think Kasparov's going to do really badly in the St Louis Rapid & Blitz part of the Grand Chess Tour. (And I guess that's not a controversial opinion.) Although given the form So and Nakamura seem to be in right now, maybe he'll not do quite as badly as I've have guessed when it was first announced that he'd be taking part... In hindsight, I wonder if Kasparov regrets resigning at the age he did. Could he have lasted long enough to win back a re-unified world title, or was his retirement one of the factors that made the reunification effort successful? I've not had time to follow chess much recently, but it's been nice to see Aronian playing well again over the last few months (he's even back up number two in the live rating list as I write this, I see). I'd like to see him get one last chance to qualify for a World Championship match -- is that still possible this cycle?
  15. Plessiez

    BBC Line of Duty [SPOILERS] s1 to present

    I was a big fan of the first two series of this (particularly the second), but I missed series three last year and only just caught up on it this week. It's really good, and I'm glad I'm not going to miss series 4.