Newsletter – January, 2013

On My Mind

If you are interested in strategy and have some spare time in January, then you should follow the 75th Tata Steel Chess Tournament held January 11-27, 2013 in Wijk aan Zee, the Netherlands. Group A consists of fourteen grandmasters including several “Top Ten” world-ranked players: Magnus Carlsen (Norway, #1); Levon Aronian (Armenia, #3); Fabiano Caruana (Italy, #5); Sergey Karjakin (Russia, #6); Viswanathan Anand (India, #7); and Hikaru Nakamura (USA, #9). Levon Aronian won the tournament last year. Each player in Group A plays every other player during the tournament. The winner of each match earns 1 point whereas the loser receives 0 points. Each player earns ½ point for a draw. The ideal tournament score for a player is 13, but that outcome is unlikely considering the strength of the field. It is easy to follow the tournament at You can replay past games by selecting the “History” tab on the website home page and then selecting “Recent Tournaments.” May the brightest mind win!

Interesting Stories

Once upon a time there were syringes filled with performance enhancing drugs . . . The new inductees into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame will be announced January 9, 2013. Several players on the ballot allegedly used steroids during their career making it difficult to evaluate their performance. What we have here is a situation with many unknowns—we don’t know who took what drug when or how it affected their performance. I’m not sure what I would do if I were a voter. I just hope PED use is minimal now for the sake of the integrity of the game.

Company News

I will be conducting a half day workshop on Implementing Hoshin Kanri for Competitive Advantage at the Minnesota ASQ Professional Development Summit on February 27, 2013. I plan to offer four one-day public seminars in 2013 starting in April-May: Strategy Tools for Continuous Improvement; Creating Standard Work Using SDCA; Statistical Methods for Continuous Improvement; and Leading Design Projects. The public seminar schedule will be finalized by mid-January.

Intriguing Reads

The ancient Chinese game Go, like chess, is considered one of the best strategy games in the world. It is Asia’s most popular game of strategy. I purchased the book Go Fundamentals by Shigemi Kishikawa while in Hong Kong last year and recently took the time to read it. Go is a game played by two players using black and white stones positioned on a wood board with 324 (18 x 18) squares. The stronger player customarily uses the white stones and the weaker player uses the black stones. The objective of the game is to gain and occupy as much “territory” as possible. This book by Kishikawa teaches the basics of the game and how to get started. I especially liked the board illustrations and the “Problems” section. You can learn more about Go at I can’t wait to play my first game.