LA Kings

In Staples CenterLos Angelesdowntown. The surrounding area is very welcoming. Kings won 2:0 over Buffalo Sabres.



Leave a Comment

NPR: Chinese Fans Are Slow To Warm Up To Ice Hockey

January 24, 2017

As the Beijing Kunlun Red Stars hit the ice to face off against a team from Moscow, tension is high. A win tonight is crucial to make it to the playoffs in the Kontinental Hockey League, or KHL, Russia’s top professional hockey league, second only to the U.S. National Hockey League in talent.

But hardly anyone in the 15,000-seat Beijing arena understands the stakes. In fact, there’s hardly anyone here; a vast majority of the seats are empty.

“I tried to get my son’s family to come with me, but they weren’t interested. I haven’t seen a hockey game in 20 years — I forget the rules. I can’t figure it out. One team is Russian, but who’s the other team?” she asks me.

That’s your Beijing team, I tell her. She looks up from her knitting and squints through oversized spectacles.

“Oh. But they’re all foreigners! China’s no good at hockey,” she concludes, returning to her knitting.

After China won its bid to host the 2022 Olympics, President Xi Jinping vowed to get 300 million of his people “on the ice,” an initiative to encourage winter sports. Energy tycoons in China and Russia quickly made a deal to create Beijing’s first professional hockey club, and Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Beijing for the signing ceremony with Xi last June. Kunlun Red Star was born — the first Chinese club to join Russia’s premier KHL league.

China’s team has 18 players from Russia, Finland, Canada and the United States. There are a few Chinese nationals, but none of them can compete at this level and they rarely see ice time.

Team CEO Emma Liao says sponsors, many with close connections to China’s government, have already covered the $30 million cost needed to run the Red Stars. Now comes the hard part: educating the public about the team — and about hockey, for that matter.

“Nobody really knows what is hockey,” Liao says with a sigh. “So our job is to educate the audience [about] what is hockey, why it’s so attractive and why they should come to watch the hockey game.”

Few people have done this more than Mark Simon, a Canadian hockey coach who’s worked for years to raise awareness about the sport in China and now volunteers as an assistant for the Red Stars. On this particular day, he’s juggling an order for new jerseys with a hospital visit to the team’s goalie, who’s out with an injury.

Mark Simon, a Canadian hockey coach, now volunteers as an assistant for the Red Stars.
Rob Schmitz/NPR
Simon says he wasn’t sure what to think when he first heard about the team. “Great idea — KHL. China, Russia, you know, the Communist brothers and all the stuff. I mean, I get it,” he says. “But I still thought, you know, it’s early. To expect that you’re going to fill an NHL-sized rink is insane.”

Simon says the Red Stars have already broken a KHL record for lowest attendance at a single game — 550 people.

The sparse crowds can make for an awkward game-day experience, when the team’s 12-member cheerleading squad’s cheers are swallowed by the void of a near-empty arena. Or when the announcer – who Simon complains doesn’t know a thing about hockey – begins an exuberant cheer for the Red Stars two seconds after the opposing team scores.

A group of spectators from Finland is amused, and a little confused.

They say the game would be better if they were drunk. But tight security rules prohibit alcohol inside the arena. They’re the only audience members I meet who’ve actually bought tickets. Peter Solonen, one of the Finns, says he’s never seen a hockey game with such good talent attract so few fans.

“They’ve still got something to learn,” he says with a laugh. “You don’t see hockey anywhere else but inside the stadium. Nowhere else. That is weird.”

It may be weird, but for Red Stars player Zach Yuen, it’s a dream come true. He was the first Chinese-Canadian defenseman drafted by the NHL, and he’s chosen to come here now, to play in his homeland.

“When I was growing up, I never had a role model,” says Yuen. “It would’ve been cool to have a role model to look up to. Just to know that it’s possible. Because the entry to hockey is tough for sure, culturally. In China, there are kids that watch our games and hopefully, I can live up to that and be a role model for them.”

Kids like Yuan Zhongfan, who’s practicing with his team in Shanghai, could use a role model. The eight-year-old loves hockey, but he’s not sure how supportive his parents will be when he gets older.

“My mom wanted me to learn swimming, but I wasn’t tall enough. There was a hockey rink nearby, so we picked that,” he says.

Yuan says his dream is to play for the Chicago Blackhawks. I ask him what his parents think about this. “They don’t think it’s possible,” he says, “because no Chinese player has made it to the NHL.”

Yuan’s parents have never heard of Zach Yuen, and they don’t know much about the Red Stars — who, as it happens, lost their big game and have likely lost their chance to make it to the playoffs. But China’s government is dreaming big about hockey. And no matter how obscure the sport is today, if he works hard, this eight-year-old from Shanghai may someday get a shot at his dream, too.

Leave a Comment

Venus vs Serena at Aussie open 2017

Wow … What a treat!

Leave a Comment

Federal v Nadal 2008 Wimbledon final

26:04 min of great tennis: roger federal vs nadal

Leave a Comment

Lost 4 0 3

After the fall in Macau, I’ve not played tennis for 8 weeks. I still can’t serve since my left upper arm is sore…

img_2799 img_2808 img_2807img_2806img_2805 img_2804 img_2802


Leave a Comment

American football in China

I’ve long heard that China has a football league and see it today, on tv. (Wiki: Chinese Super League 中超联赛 or CSL) The arena looks like a kid’s playpen -:), no insult intended. The players are mixed bag of people.

img_2741 img_2743 img_2744

Leave a Comment

Ops, she did it again

The same woman opened my shower door again at Equinox. I’ve been hanging a towel or cloth on the door since it’s happened the first time. Today I’ve a black legging and the gym is empty.

Leave a Comment

FIDE World Chess Championship 2016

It’s going to be held at Fulton Market Building in South Street Seaport, downtown New York City, starting tomorrow Nov 11-30.

Magnus Carlsen is the current champ from Norway. The Russian challenger Sergey Karjakin (Jan 12, 1990) becomes an International Master at age 11 and the GM Grandmaster at age 12 – the youngest – surpassing Bu Xiangzhi 卜祥志 who’s 13 in 1999, my idol Bobby Fischer was 15 in 1958.

img_2610 img_2611 img_2612

Robert James Fischer (1943 – 2008)’s the Match of the Century beating the then title holder Boris Spassky to win world championship in 1972 was epic. A lonesome American defeating a team of Russians and its strong hold on the championship – 24 years uninterrupted. Aside from the cold war background, the championship itself was full of dramas. From disagreement on locations for the championship – they finally settled on Reykjavík, Iceland, to lack of prize money (which then doubled to US$250,000), to refusal to continue the second game due to the playing condition, (a championship match usually contains 20+ games) which could have forfeited the entire match to Spassky. Out of sportsmanship, Spassky gave in to Fischer’s demand because he didn’t want to win by default. After 21 games in 2 months (1st on July 11 and the last on Aug 31), Fischer won 12½–8½ becoming the 11th World Champion.

Funny as history would have, Fischer refused to defend his title in 1975 due to some of his demands not being met, forfeiting his title to the Russian rising star Anatoly Karpov.

The significance of this match, in the eyes of the world, wasn’t about Fischer but world power. It’s all about USA and USSR. The former champ who succeeded Karpov and a fellow New Yorker Garry Kasparov sums it up the best:

I think the reason you look at these matches probably was not so much the chess factor but to the political element, which was inevitable because in the Soviet Union, chess was treated by the Soviet authorities as a very important and useful ideological tool to demonstrate the intellectual superiority of the Soviet communist regime over the decadent West. That’s why the Spassky defeat […] was treated by people on both sides of the Atlantic as a crushing moment in the midst of the Cold War.

Fischer played against computer program developed by Richard Greenblatt @ MIT in 1977 and won all three games.

Strong evidence supported that he’s an illegitimate child, and from an impoverished childhood. When the riches found him after the 1972 championship, he declined. Unfortunately better part of his life was a mess – perhaps he felt nothing else to prove – but no one would forget his epic battle when he’s 29. The adaga that truth is indeed stranger than fiction, couldn’t have written better.

Highly recommend this book Searching for Bobby Fischer, warmly and smartly written by the prodigy Joshua Waitzkin’s dad intelligently; although Josh would only rose to an International Master. There’s a movie of the same title out in 1993.

Fischer played/developed his skills at two NYC premier chess clubs, Manhattan Chess Club (1877-2002) which had closed and the prestigious Marshall chess club. I’ve been to both. The interior of the Marshall is just magnificent in an elegant brownstone on 10th Street.

Chess appeals to Wall Street, at least when I subscribed to chess magazines a while ago, there were plenty ads seeking/recruiting chess players, as they drool over West Points grads. Bankers Athletic League chess tournament is a pretty serious thing where my husband had played.

The Classical World Chess Championship 1995 was played on the 107th floor of the World Trade Center in New York City. Garry Kasparov, the defending champion defeated the challenger Viswanathan Anand, who’d won the title in 2000. Kasparov played many computer matches, from multiple computers (32! simultaneously and won all) in Hamburg in 1985, to Deep Thought (won, 1989) to IMB’s Deep Blue (won 1996, lost 1997 – documentary) to Deep Junior (draw, 2003) and X3D Fritz (draw, 2003). NPR on it in 2014

Chinese women have been dominated the chess world since 1991: Xie Jun 谢军 (1991–1996 and 1999–2001); Zhu Chen 诸宸(2001–04); Xu Yuhua 许昱华 (2006-8); Hou Yifan 侯逸凡 (2010–2012, 2013–2015 and 2016-). Chess has two world championships, Open and Women’s – women are allowed to play in both. The youngest Polgár sisters Judit is the best female player for the past two decades but she never competes in Women’s. I saw her play in Vienna in 1990 – yes she’s the only girl.

IMHO, two other epic battles are Miracle on Ice 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid, New York, between United States, and the defending gold medalists, USSR, and Van Cliburn winning the first International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1958, in Moscow.

Yes, I think I’m impartial!

wenxue city

2016年 FIDE 世界国际象棋锦标赛将在纽约市南街海港举行,明天开始,十一月11日至30日。

Magnus Carlsen 是来自挪威的现任冠军。 俄罗斯挑战者谢尔盖·卡里亚金(Sergey Karjakin; 1990年1月12日)11岁成为国际手 (international master), 12岁成为棋圣 (GM – grandmaster) – 历来最小的. 在他之前是 Bu Xiangzhi卜祥志 (1999年/13岁),我的偶像鲍比菲舍尔 1958年/15岁。

罗伯特·詹姆斯·费舍尔(1943 – 2008)的‘世纪比赛’,打败当时的冠军鲍里斯·斯帕斯基赢得1972年的世界冠军,实在是史诗。 一个孤独的美国人打败一整个俄罗斯队,尤其是他们保持24年不间断的冠军。 除了冷战背景,这个1972的冠军赛本身充满了戏剧。 从在哪里比赛的地点分歧 – 他们最终定在冰岛雷克雅未克,到缺乏奖金(最后翻倍到250,000美元),到由于比赛条件拒绝继续第三场比赛,(一个锦标赛通常包含20+场),这样可能会输… 出于运动精神,斯帕斯基同意菲舍尔的要求,因为他不想默认赢。 在两个月21场比赛后(7月11日第一场到 8月31日的最后一场),费舍尔赢得了12½-8½ 成为第11届世界冠军。


1972 这场比赛的意义,在世界的眼睛,不是关于费舍尔,而是世界争强,是关于美国和苏联。 接替卡尔波夫的前冠军和一个纽约人加里·卡斯帕罗夫总结的最好:

我认为你看这些比赛的原因可能不是象棋因素,而是政治因素,这是不可避免的,因为在苏联,国际象棋被苏联当局作为一个非常重要和有用的意识形态工具,以证明 苏联共产主义政权对腐败的西方的智力优势。 这就是为什么斯帕斯基的失败[…]被大西洋两岸的人们视为冷战时期的一个破碎的时刻。

费舍尔在1977年 赢了 MIT 麻省理工 Richard Greenblatt 开发的计算机程序,所有三场比赛。 有力的证据支持他是一个私生子,他的童年也贫穷。 当财富在1972年冠军后找到他时,他拒绝了。 不幸的是,他大部分生活是个混乱 疑神疑鬼。 也许他没有什么别的证明。 但没有人会忘记他29岁赢得史诗般的冠军。事实永远比小说精彩。

强烈推荐这本旧书寻找费舍尔 Searching for Bobby Fischer,作者是 Joshua Waitzkin的爸爸 (Josh 只升到国际手 – International Master)。 1993年有一部同名电影。

菲舍尔在两个纽约二个象棋俱乐部,曼哈顿国际象棋俱乐部(1877-2002),已经关闭和着名的马歇尔国际象棋俱乐部练习/发展了他的技能。 我两个都去过。 比较喜欢在10街的上的马歇尔, 内部装潢典雅。

国际象棋手对华尔街一直有很大的吸引,至少当我订阅国际象棋杂志一段时间,有大量的广告寻求/招聘象棋手,就好象他们在争取西点军校的毕业生。 银行家竞技联盟国际象棋锦标赛是一个相当有规模的赛事,俺家属参赛了好几年。

1995年的古典世界象棋锦标赛在纽约世贸中心的107楼举行。 Garasp Kasparov 卡斯帕罗夫,卫冕冠军击败挑战者 Viswanathan – 他等多了三年,在2000年首次赢得了冠军。卡斯帕罗夫自 1985年开始和电脑计算机比赛,从汉堡的多台电脑(32台!同时赢得所有),到深思想 Deep Thought 到IMB的 深蓝 Deep Blue 。。。有赢有输。

自1991年以来,中国娃娃们一直主导国际象棋:谢军(1991-1996和1999-2001); 诸宸(2001-04); 许宇华(2006-8); 侯逸凡(2010-2012,2013-2015和2016-)。 国际象棋有两个世界冠军赛,开放赛 Open 和妇女赛。妞子们二个都可以参加。 最年轻的Polgár姐妹Judit是目前(近20年来)最好的女性球员,但她从来不参加女性赛事。 1990年我在维也纳看过她比赛 – 是,她是唯一的女孩。



Leave a Comment

Weekend in Vermont

This place is highly ranked:


Leave a Comment

WTA in Zhuhai

Seeing familiar faces in Zhuhai, Guangdong, China. WTA Elite Trophy Nov 01 – 06. Petra Kvitova won (Venus Williams won in 2015).

img_2730 img_2729 img_2728

Stefanie Graf serves as the ambassador (not sure for WTA or the sponsor Huajin Securities), and plays on the Hong Kong Macau Zhuhai Bridge. 中文报道.

img_2731 img_2734 img_2737

Leave a Comment

« Newer Posts · Older Posts »