Saturday, December 20, 2014

Disclaimers of Liability

Interesting case announced by the Oregon Supreme Court this week. A snowboarder who was paralyzed as a result of an accident at an Oregon ski resort was allowed to proceed with his lawsuit, despite a statement by the ski resort that it would not be responsible for any injuries "even if caused by negligence".

I have long believed that such disclaimers of liability have no legal effect whatsoever. The law of torts will decide if you are liable; you cannot avoid liability for your negligence by putting a statement to this effect out to your customers. I first became aware of this phenomenon when parking lot owners would provide you a ticket containing language that they are not responsible for any damage done to your car while it is on your lot.

The idea that this kind of disclaimer of liability would have any legal significance at all is ludicrous. I could put a sign on my car saying that "I am not responsible for any harm I do to you by my bad driving". Would anybody in their right mind believe that that kind of statement would have any legal effect? Of course not.

The fact is that we all owe a duty of care to others whom we encounter in our daily life. If our negligence causes them harm, then we are liable.

Monday, December 15, 2014

12 Bd4 in the Sicilian Dragon

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cd 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 g6 6 Be3 Bg7 7 f3 0-0 8 Qd2 Nc6 9 0-0-0

This could be called the new main line, in contrast to the old main line of 9 Bc4. Now if black attempts the maneuver Nc6-e5-c4, white is two tempos ahead of the old main line.


In light of the above comment, Black has to get creative. He is willing to sacrifice a pawn for active play.

10 ed Nxd5 11 Nxc6 bc 12 Bd4

Experience has shown that black gets good play if white accepts the pawn sacrifice. Hence, 12 Bd4 is now preferred by better than 2-1 to 12 Nxd5, and in fact scores 60% for white.

12...e5 13 Bc5 Be6!

Black need not fear giving up the exchange, as he gets the vastly superior position if white plays 14 Bxf8. Black would respond with 14...Qxf8, leaving him with good Queen-side attacking chances.

14 Ne4 Re8 15 h4

15 Nd6 Re7 is toothless for white.

15...h6 16 g4 Qc7 17 g5 h5 18 Bc4 Red8 19 Qf2

Here we come to a fork in the road. Black plays three moves here with about equal frequency, with white scoring in the neighborhood of 60% against each. This is a nice achievement for white, but note that he has had to avoid a series of tempting but innocuous alternatives at various points along the way.