an in-between move

Cool kids read The Bellman.


Don't read this blog!

I mean, thanks for dropping by my little corner of the blogospheric backwaters, but the blog you should be reading is The Bellman. The stuff I post there is much, much less likely to be imbued with dormitive powers.


[German, from zwischen, intermediate + zug, move

Literally an "in-between move". A move in a tactical sequence is called a zwischenzug* when it does not relate directly to the tactical motif in operation. |source|

image copyright TWIC

From this position, black played a zwischenzug: 19…d5
(Linares 2002, 1-0)


about your blogger

David Rowland studies philosophy at the University of Illinois - Urbana / Champaign, where he's an active member of the Graduate Employees Organization. He used to play a lot of chess, but wasn't all that good. He has a blog. And email.



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$zwichenzug$ sell-out zone





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some folks I know

Mark Dilley
a daily dose of architecture
Safety Neal
January Girl
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Hop, Skip, Jump
ambivalent imbroglio
Brooke & Lian


some blogs I read

strip mining for whimsy
It's Matt's World
School of Blog
Fall of the State
Dru Blood
Echidne of the Snakes
Colossal Waste of Bandwidth
Running from the Thought Police
Bionic Octopus


some philosoblogs

Fake Barn Country
Freiheit und Wissen


some labor blogs

Confined Space
Working Life
Dispatches From the Trenches
Labor Blog
Eric Lee


some A-list blogs

This Modern World
Matthew Yglesias
Andrew Sullivan
Political Animal
The Volokh Conspiracy


some other links

Rule 33
This Week in Chess
War Nerd
National Priorities Project
Bible Gateway
Internet Archive
A Weekly Dose of Architecture
Orsinal: Morning Sunshine
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Safety Sign Builder
Get Your War On


some philosoblogging

Six views about reasons
Seidman on reflection and rationality
And another thing
Tiffany's argument for strong internalism
Internalism v. Externalism
What do internalists believe anyway?
Rationalism and internalism
The experimental method in philosophy
Advertising to children
On moral skepticism
A linguistic argument
More on Williams
Williams on reasons
General and particular
Normativity and morality
Political intuitions
What it is, what it was, and what it shall be
Objectivity and morality
Thinking revolution
Abortion and coercion
Moore on torture
On the phenomenology of deliberation
Even more Deliberation Day
more Deliberation Day
Deliberation Day run-down
He made a porch for the throne where he might judge, cont.
He made a porch for the throne where he might judge
Every shepherd is an abomination
Droppin' H-bombs
ad hominem

Tuesday, July 06, 2004


Practical intersubjectivity for the sophisticated gentleman

I don't usually kill spiders. Big hairy ones, yes. Conspicuous web weavers, yes. Killer Brown Recluses, yes. But I give most spiders a pass.

I figure spiders play an important role in the ecosystem of my house. They eat bugs. Some people prefer cats or exterminators, but spiders are free and they don't sit on your keyboard when you're trying to type.

Spiders offer you very clear terms of cooperation.

"Let me live," the spider says, "and I'll kill bugs."

Thinking about spiders and nukes has got me thinking about Robert McNamara and strategic bargaining.

Strategic bargaining, you'll recall, was the centerpiece of the McNamara Doctrine -- the American nuclear doctrine that replaced Massive Retaliation and preceded Mutually Assured Destruction. The idea of strategic bargaining is that you would have a series of limited nuclear exchanges with a cooling off period between each during which belligerents could negotiate an end to hostilities. So, if the Russians nuked New York we'd take out Moscow, but if they only took out Dallas then we'd only vaporize Vladivostok.

It always seemed to me that the problem with strategic bargaining as a nuclear doctrine is that it makes it look like limited nuclear war is possible and might sometimes be a viable option. But, as W.O.P.R. taught a generation of school children, when it comes to nuclear war, "The only winning move is not to play."

Those pesky spiders have made me reconsider. I had always thought of military doctrines as kind of a crib sheet for generals and Presidents. You know, something they could use as a guide to action in case they got flustered during wartime.

This is dead wrong.

The point of a military doctrine is to communicate to potential enemies the terms on which you're willing to co-exist. Or not.

So the McNamara Doctrine said to the Soviets that we were willing to fight a limited nuclear war. We were willing, for example, to absorb a nuclear hit or two in Florida as the cost of doing business if we felt the need to flatten Havana.

The Soviets took a look at this, said "I don't think so, buddy" and Mutual Assured Destruction was born.

All of which reminds me of a joke a friend of mine told. He called the Iraqi insurgents the 'coalition of the willing.' Pretty funny, huh?

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