The many faces of risk

first_imgThis article is the second in a special four-part series focused on various aspects of risk mitigation. Keep your eye out for the next article, which will discuss specific steps these experts take to mitigate risk in their institutions. 1SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Trace Ledbetter Trace Ledbetter is Executive Vice President at State National Companies, where he directs and oversees delivery of all services and products for Lender Services, including customer relationship management, underwriting, and claims. Web: Details Credit unions have a two-fold mission — providing for the needs of their members in terms of member experience and access to financial products and services, and also protecting the institution so that it can remain profitable, grow, and be there in the long-term for future members.The sources of risk in financial institutions are plentiful, but certain areas spring to mind readily when thinking about the risks any financial institution faces:Economic Risks:Consumer ConfidenceUnemployment RateYield-Curve PerformanceHousing Market PerformancePolitical Conditions:U.S. Trade RelationsTariffsPublic OpinionMedia InfluencesFinancial Assessments:Loan-to-Value RatiosCollateral Protection/Loan SecurityDeposit Balances/Share GrowthDelinquencies and Charge-OffsFluctuating Interest Rates on Both Deposit Accounts and LoansIn addition, there are some risks that may not be as obvious but can be just as impactful in their effects. We discussed a few of these myriad areas of risk that a credit union faces with a group of risk mitigation professionals.DATA INTEGRITY AND SECURITYDave BrydunVP of Consumer Lending, BCU, Vernon Hills, IL:“Over the past few years, we’ve increased the percentage of loans (auto loans, credit cards, unsecured loans) that are automatically decisioned, vs. manually decisioned by an underwriter, to roughly 60%. The next frontier for us in terms of growing this percentage entails the use of “on-us” data and incorporating it into our system decisioning. Having strong data quality within our organization enables this opportunity but also presents risk if the data isn’t managed properly.”Henry RobaszewskiDirector of Risk Management, Finance, BCU, Vernon Hills, IL:“This area of data quality also relates to CECL, the new loss allocation model for loan losses that FASBI has required to be implemented in a few years. Adoption hasn’t taken place yet, but eventually all financial institutions will have to comply with that, so it is causing us to take a look again at the data, all the past history, and what it could mean for the future.”Eric FuglisterVP Consumer Lending, Wings CU, Apple Valley, MN:“Data security is obviously a huge risk. Especially with the Equifax data breach a couple of years ago — I think that should have shocked every financial institution down to its core. Every financial institution has a lot of sensitive information and you sure wouldn’t want to have something like that happen. So, your investment in data security and keeping on top of that is a huge deal.”COMPLIANCE OMISSIONSDeborah McRaeVP Risk Management, Five Star CU, Dothan, AL:“Failure to give disclosures on new accounts can definitely be a source of risk, and in lending, if you fail to disclose certain things in advance of a real estate loan, you’ve got issues. Whether in account opening or consumer loans there are so many disclosures we deal with, and the failure to do any one of those could get you into trouble because we’re in such a litigious environment, where everybody wants to get together and have class action suits for everything.”TECHNOLOGICAL COMPETITIONEric FuglisterVP Consumer Lending, Wings CU, Apple Valley, MN:“One good reason to automate as many of your loan decisions as possible is the risk of competition. Each member, while they might be a member of your credit union, might also use a number of other institutions or have other financial relationships. So when a potential borrower is auto shopping, for example, when they apply you need to be able to get them their decisions as quickly as possible. Because if you don’t, you’re at a competitive disadvantage — gone are the days of, ‘hey, submit an application, we’ll get back to you in two business days.’ Now you need to get them a decision right away because otherwise they’re just going to walk across the street to someone else.”HIRING, STAFFING, AND TURNOVEREric FuglisterVP Consumer Lending, Wings CU, Apple Valley, MN:“Trying to hire, especially for entry-level positions, has become extremely tough and competitive, both on pay and what you have to offer in benefits. Getting people in the door has been tough. You schedule interviews and people don’t show up, or you make offers and they accept and then they don’t show up for the first day of work — this is not just at Wings, I think everyone has seen a lot more of that. And then when you’re not fully staffed, your other employees are having to pick up the workload and you have staff burnout.”Deborah McRaeVP Risk Management, Five Star CU, Dothan, AL:“Sometimes training can be a challenge, making sure staff is trained to watch for red flags of potential fraud. And if you’re having a lot of turnover, it can feel like you never really get anybody trained before they’re gone again, before they get past the basics of how to make a deposit or withdrawal and move up to the level of developing relationships with members so they can provide the proper products and  services based on each member’s needs. That not only lessens the member experience, it means passing up income opportunities, which is a profitability risk.”VEHICLE VALUES AND EXTENDED LOAN TERMSDave BrydunVP of Consumer Lending, BCU, Vernon Hills, IL:“Financial institutions are certainly taking on additional risk by originating auto loans with extended terms. Over the past few years, the percentage of auto loans with terms beyond 72 months has grown quite a bit. While we don’t originate much volume above 75 months, for the small portion that we do, we make sure additional rate premiums are in place to ensure that we are being compensated for the additional risk. So, yes, even though it’s a risk, in the end it’s how the financial institution or credit union prices for the risk that’s most important.”Eric FuglisterVP Consumer Lending, Wings CU, Apple Valley, MN:“Yes, I think the average price of new vehicles now is well into the mid-30s, and it’s not uncommon to  have new vehicles well over $50,000. People are leasing or extending the terms to keep the payment down. Some financial institutions have even started going to 96 months to keep the payment manageable for the member or the customer. God forbid something happens and they total that vehicle or have something happen — all of a sudden they could be staring at a lot of negative equity. GAP claims have continued to rise because if someone does total their vehicle that deficiency balance on their insurance is getting to be larger and larger. It’s not uncommon to have negative deficiency of $5,000, $10,000, even $15,000. And if someone doesn’t have GAP it’s a large enough number that they might have to structure a personal loan and maybe they can’t really afford it. It has definitely created some issues in the auto lending world.”A comment from one of our interviewees summed up just how many areas of exposure a financial institution faces each and every day. When asked which parts of her business face risk, Deborah McRae said, “I can’t think of one that doesn’t! I don’t know that there’s any area that doesn’t have risk.”last_img read more

Paralympians, poor Rio kids teach each other about overcoming limits

first_imgShare on: WhatsApp Mutual admiration If the visitors were impressed by the obstacles Rocinha’s young face in their attempt to build lives, the admiration was mutual.Young judokas had their eyes blindfolded so that they could experience judo without being able to see. “I did it and it was really, really difficult,” said 15-year-old Julia.“They are incredible to be able to do judo without seeing,” she said.Renan, 11, was ecstatic after having been able to compete against Frenchman Cyril Jonard, who is deaf and has impaired vision.“They don’t have our advantages,” Renan said, “but I don’t feel sorry for them because they made us feel proud and they win even with handicaps.”It was a view mirrored by the French Paralympians when they looked at the young, hopeful residents of the favela.Martinent praised the blindfolded children for “going at it full tilt” and said she was touched how afterward “they came for a hug.”“This favela is very big, very crowded and all these children don’t have the same things as us in France. We need to show them that world of sport is interested in them,” said Paralympic swimmer Elodie Lorandi, who won bronze for France in the 100m and 400m freestyle, and has a paralyzed leg.Then she said: “We should do this more often in France because it’s important to explain early to children what being handicapped means.” Rio de Janeiro, Brazil | AFP | French Paralympians got a taste of Rio’s tough realities in a visit to a favela Friday but the impoverished children greeting the disabled athletes got an eye opener of their own.Foreign celebrities and sports stars often follow a well-beaten track from Rio’s glamorous tourist-friendly districts to make brief morale-boosting visits in the poor, sometimes deeply violent favela communities.But the trip by a dozen French judokas and other Paralympians to Rocinha, the biggest favela of all, had a difference. Rather than just coming to witness the locals’ difficulties, these visitors brought their own stories of overcoming terrible odds.After leaving the bubble of the athlete’s village in the posh Barra district, meeting about 30 young judo students in rough-edged Rocinha was a distinct reality check for the French.“We are very lucky to be with them. Not all the children here have what they deserve: access to schooling, health, a roof over their heads. It’s extremely important that we give them a little moment of happiness,” said Sandrine Martinet, who won gold in the under 52kg category and has had poor sight since birth.She and other French athletes were welcomed to the Instituto Reacao NGO by its founder, 2004 Olympic bronze medalist Flavio Canto.“It’s a great day because the champions are here,” announced Canto, whose institute promotes access to sport and education for Rio’s poor and has trained top judokas, including gold medalist at the Olympics this August, Rafaela Silva.For about an hour, judokas, athletics team members and swimmers took part in the training, talked with the children and gave demonstrations. Each had a separate story of being blind or deaf or partly paralyzed or amputated.They wanted to show that sport “doesn’t have limits,” Martinet said.last_img read more

#SafeHandsChallenge: Minister Kiren Rijiju, PV Sindhu and others show India how to wash hands…

first_imgImage Courtesy: TwitterAdvertisement sbz8NBA Finals | Brooklyn Vsab7tWingsuit rodeo📽Sindre E1zci( IG: @_aubreyfisher @imraino ) ndzm1Would you ever consider trying this?😱a4xzCan your students do this? 🌚1n9dRoller skating! Powered by Firework As the novel Coronavirus COVID-19 has found its way all across the globe, the World Health Organisation (WHO) termed the outbreak as pandemic, along with several guidelines and restrictions on how to prevent further contamination of the virus into the population. Recently, WHO has started a social media campaign termed ‘#SafeHandsChallenge’ challenge, in an attempt to spread awareness against the Coronavirus woe. Several and iconic figures have come forward with a video of themselves washing their hands and nominating others.Advertisement Image Courtesy: TwitterThe online challenge was started with Indian badminton Ace PV Sindhu, who was nominated by former US consul general of Hyderabad Katherine Hadda. Along with uploading a clip of herself washing hands, Sindhu further nominated Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju, Team India skipper Virat Kohli and Indian Tennis veteran Sania Mirza.Advertisement Superstar Indian sprinter Hima Das shared her clip, and nominated Kiren Rijiju, bollywood icon Akshay Kumar and Tiger Shroff, legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, Sania Mirza, iconic boxer MC Mary Kom and Indian Women’s Hockey Team captain Rani Rampal.Kiren Rijiju was soon to follow up on his nomination, as he shared a clip doing the challenge, along with some advises to the citizens. he further nominated Women and Child Development minister Smriti Irani, Indian Table Tennis icon Manika Batra and singer Adnan Sami.I accept your challenge @Pvsindhu1 @HimaDas8We all can definitely stop the spread of #COVID2019 , I now challenge @smritiirani ji, @manikabatra_TT @AdnanSamiLive to make sure everyone washes hands properly. #SafeHandsChallenge @WHO— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) March 17, 2020Sachin Tendulkar talked about washing your hands for at least 20 seconds, as he uploaded his clip.Indian hockey skipper Rani Rampal shared her video of washing hands, and mentioned her team’s coach Sjoerd Marijne, lead scientific advisor Wayne Lombard, Indian pugilist Vijender Singh, tennis star Karman Kaur Thandi, wrestler sisters Geeta and Babita Phogat and wrestler Sangram Singh.Former tennis icon Maria Sharapova also joined in for the challenge.Hollywood icon Arnold Schwarzenegger advised his fans all over the world to pay heed to the experts about the virus, as he was seen in a wholesome video of washing hands along with his dog Cherry.Fellow Hollywood actor Hugh Jackman also added in the practice of conserving water while washing hands as he uploaded his clip.Take #2. You’re all absolutely right. Turn off the tap whilst washing your hands. Smart, healthy practices for you … and the planet.🧼 🖐 🤚 🗺 #WashYourHands #SaveWater #world #HealthyLife— Hugh Jackman (@RealHughJackman) March 15, 2020Bollywood actor Deepika Padukone also joined in the trend, and she nominated Roger Federer, Cristiano Ronaldo and Kohli.Actor Vatsal Sheth shared his clip, along with his witty trick of singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to account for the 20 seconds time frame, recommended for washing hands.This is my Safe Hands Challenge 👏🏼I further nominate @ishidutta @Shaheer_S @itsKajolD @Varun_dvn @Riteishd #safehandschallenge #Safehands #coronavirus @WHO @DrTedros— Vatsal Sheth (@shethvatsal) March 17, 2020International Sand Artist & Padma Shri Sudarsan Pattnaik also took up the challenge.Chandan Ray, captain of the Indian leg cricket team posted his clip, and mentioned Indian boxers Simranjit Kaur and Lovlina Borgohain, and weightlifter Jeremy Lalrinnunga.Indian Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan shared his clip, and nominated all Members of Parliament to take up the challenge.Anuradha Acharya, the founder and CEO of Ocimum Bio Solutions and Mapmygenome jpined in with her video.Let’s continue the #SafeHandsChallenge by @DrTedros @WHO. Please continue the #SafeHands @madversity @mapmygenome @ShafiAhmed5 @SoulaimaGourani @TVMohandasPai @kiranshaw @narendramodi @ShashiTharoor @able_indiabio @ArvinderSoin @Jo4dev @j_bindra @BDUTT #COVID2019 #COVID19india— Anu Acharya (@anuacharya) March 17, 2020Also read-All the sports, leagues and promotions that have been suspended due to ConoravirusDespite Coronavirus, here are the sports leagues still going on! Advertisementlast_img read more

West Indies show more fight but Aussies triumph

first_imgMELBOURNE, Australia (AP): Allrounder Mitchell Marsh claimed four wickets as Australia broke up a defiant West Indies second innings to claim a 177-run win yesterday in the second Test to retain the Frank Worrell Trophy. Captain Jason Holder and Denesh Ramdin both scored half centuries and shared an aggressive 100-run partnership to highlight a gritty batting performance for the West Indies after Australia declared on their overnight score of 179-3. Chasing the unlikely target of 460, the West Indies batted patiently in the early stages and went to tea on 146-4. The Test seemed destined for a fifth day, but Marsh (4-61) sparked a collapse midway through the evening session when he had Ramdin caught behind for 59. “I was really happy with the way Mitchell Marsh bowled. He was pretty impressive today, bowling consistently over 140 kilometres per hour (87 mph) and guess really helped out the team in the end,” Australia captain Steven Smith said. Offspinner Nathan Lyon took a wicket in each session to finish with figures of 3-85 as the West Indies were bowled out for 282. “I was glad with the way we finished off,” Smith said. “(Lyons) did what he’s done so well this summer. He got crucial wickets for us at crucial times and he’s bowled beautifully.” After Kraigg Brathwaite (31) provided the only wicket of the morning session, the Australian bowlers took three hard-fought wickets in the afternoon session against a West Indies top order that showed far greater determination than in the first innings, when the visitors collapsed to 91-6. “I was proud of the way the guys showed some fight and skill,” captain Jason Holder said. “I’m disappointed we didn’t put up a better fight. But still credit to the way the guys played.” West Indies 2nd innings K. Brathwaite c Smith b Lyon 31 R. Chandrika lbw b Pattinson 37 D.M. Bravo c Nevill b Siddle 21 M. Samuels c Nevill b Marsh 19 J. Blackwood lbw b Lyon 20 D. Ramdin c Nevill b Marsh 59 J. Holder c Hazlewood b Marsh 68 C. Brathwaite b Lyon 2 K. Roach c Warner b Pattinson 11 J. Taylor c Pattinson b Marsh 0 J. Warrican not out 4 Extras (lb7, w1, nb2) 10 Total (all out, 88.3 overs) 282 Fall of wickets:1-35 (Brathwaite) ,2-83 (Bravo), 3-91( Chandrika), 4-118 (Samuels), 5-150 (Blackwood), 6-250 (Ramdin),7-253(C Brathwaite), 8-274 (Holder), 9-278 (Roach), 10-282 (Taylor). Bowling: Hazlewood 20-6-40-0 (1nb,1w),Pattinson 17-4-49-2,Lyon 23-7-85-3,Siddle 9-2-35-1,March 17.3-2-61-4 (1nb), Smith 2-1-5-0. Position: Australia won by 177 runs. Toss: West Indies. Umpires: M Erasmus, C Gaffaney; TV – I Gould. Dismissal Peter Siddle had Darren Bravo caught behind for 21 with a fullish outswinging delivery and Rajendra Chandrika opened up and played his shots before falling leg before wicket to James Pattinson for a Test career-best 37. Marlon Samuels, who took 16 balls to get off the mark, was caught behind for 19 off Marsh. Lyon claimed his second dismissal in the second over after tea when he trapped Jermaine Blackwood lbw for 20, before Ramdin and Holder combined to frustrate the Australian attack. Marsh finally broke through with the wicket of Ramdin (59) who smashed nine boundaries from his 90 balls. Lyon struck again to dismiss Carlos Brathwaite for two when his in-swinging delivery brushed the top of off-stump to dislodge the bail and Holder ended his gutsy innings at 68 when he spooned a Marsh ball to Josh Hazlewood at mid-off. Kemar Roach was out three balls later for 11, caught at third slip by David Warner off Pattinson. Holder encapsulated the West Indies’ defiance and even raised hopes of an unlikely victory push, hitting seven boundaries and punishing two loose Lyon deliveries for six, the first hoisted over mid-wicket deep into the stands. “Our guys need to cherish these moments and come up trumps in these kinds of games,” Holder said. “These are obviously big games and big occasions, and these are things our players can really strive to do.” Australia won the opening Test in Hobart by an innings and 212 runs. The third and final Test begins Sunday in Sydney. “The West Indies were up for the fight this game,” Smith said. “They improved quite a lot from the last match and hopefully they can continue to show that fight in Sydney.” Australia’s hopes of a quick victory were hit by another instance of sloppy bowling when Bravo edged a ball to slip just before lunch only for replays to show Hazelwood overstepped. It was the third time in the match the West Indies had benefited from a similar no ball. James Pattinson squandered two dismissals of Carlos Brathwaite due to no balls Monday to significantly prolong the West Indies innings and deny Australia a possible three-day victory. SCOREBOARDlast_img read more

Be Above Reproach

first_imgThe Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has advised the newly inducted Resident Judge of Criminal Court ‘A’, Roosevelt Z. Willie, to be transparent and fair in administering justice in the country.“You have to be guided by integrity, fairness and transparency.  Be impartial, prudent, tolerant and above reproach,” Chief Justice Korkpor added.The Chief Justice proffered these words of admonition last Friday, when he deputized for President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, at the induction ceremony held at the Temple of Justice. Judge Willie replaces the Late Judge James W. Zotaa.Chief Justice Korkpor described Judge Willie as one of the “finest in the judiciary,” disclosing that he had been following Judge Willie’s activities and recognized that he is the best person for the job.“You will now be making decisions that will affect your fellow men. You will be sending people to jail for life,” said the Chief Justice, adding, “You have to take your work very seriously; to do otherwise would reflect poorly on the judiciary.” “Don’t let any one of us Justices tell you what to do. We are only here to review your actions,” were Chief Justice Korkpor’s concluding advice to the newly instated Resident Judge Willie.In his remarks, Judge Willie thanked President Sirleaf for his preferment and promised that “as a true human rights defender he would administrate justice without fear or favor.”Judge Willie further pledged to be indifferent to private, political or partisan influence and administer justice according to the law.   Judge Willie gave the assurance that he will handle his appointment as a public trust.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

National team unity intact: SMC stars show up for Gilas Pilipinas training

first_imgJune Mar Fajardo. Photo from Fiba.comA major fissure that split the PBA board into two groups did not rip the unity of the national program as the San Miguel group made good on its vow to continue supporting Gilas Pilipinas, sending its key players to the first practice in preparation for the Fiba World Cup.Reigning four-time MVP June Mar Fajardo of San Miguel Beer and athletic Barangay Ginebra big Japeth Aguilar showed up for training at Meralco gym Friday night with the other members of Gilas Pilipinas, the national squad bankrolled principally by tycoon Manny V. Pangilinan.ADVERTISEMENT CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA MOST READ LATEST STORIES Read Next Foton turns back Generika but fails to satisfy coach Pangilinan owns three PBA teams and those squads—TNT KaTropa, Meralco and NLEX—are part of a seven-team bloc that is seeking the ouster of commissioner Chito Narvasa.The San Miguel squads—San Miguel Beer, Barangay Ginebra and Star—lead a five-team faction that back Narvasa and there were initial fears that the split would be detrimental to the national program, which is going to play crucial home-and-away matches to try qualify for the Fiba World Cup.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutBut the San Miguel group had moved to build a truce within the board and also vowed to continue supporting the national team.Even Star’s Jio Jalalon, who is sidelined with a lateral collateral ligament damage, showed up Friday night. QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Among those who did not show up were Terrence Romeo and Kiefer Ravena, who are still both out of town, and naturalized center Andray Blatche who promised to arrive on Nov. 12.Fajardo, Aguilar, Romeo, Ravena, Blatche, and TNT KaTropa guards Jason Castro and RR Pogoy, who were also present Friday night, to lead the 23-man pool for Gilas Pilipinas.The rest of the pool includes: mainstays Calvin Abueva and Gabe Norwood, returnees Raymond Almazan, Allein Maliksi, Troy Rosario, Kevin Alas, Baser Amer, and LA Revilla, cadets Matthew Wright, Jalalon, Mac Belo, Carl Bryan Cruz, Kevin Ferrer, Mike Tolomia, Von Pessumal, and Russel Escoto.Team Philippines will play Japan in Tokyo on Nov. 24 and the Filipinos, with Blatche on board, should be the favored side.Gilas will then travel a few days after to Chinese Taipei to play the Taiwanese and Quincy Davis. The Filipinos are also slated to clash with world power Australia in the home-and-away series of games.ADVERTISEMENT John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding This will mark Blatche’s return to active Philippine duty after sitting out the Fiba Asia Cup in Lebanon a couple of months back for security reasons.That paved the way for Christian Standhardinger to play a third international tournament for Gilas after seeing action in the Jones Cup, where the Filipinos finished fourth, and in the Southeast Asian Games which Team Philippines easily won.Standhardinger was picked first overall in the last Draft but is not included in the pool with Blatche filling in the naturalized player’s slot. Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion View commentslast_img read more

The World Chess Championship Comes To New York City

6Levon Aronian2786 PLAYERELO RATING 1Magnus Carlsen2853 Source: 3Vladimir Kramnik2811 7Viswanathan Anand2779 5Wesley So2794 10Pentala Harikrishna2770 4Maxime Vachier-Lagrave2807 One chess grandmaster represents the most democratic country in the world. The other supports, and is supported by, Vladimir Putin. Last night, inside the Plaza Hotel in midtown Manhattan — that urban palace and President-elect Donald Trump’s captured rook — the two prepared to do battle.The World Chess Championship has come to New York City. The tournament captured this city’s imagination once before, in 1972, when its favorite Brooklyn son, Bobby Fischer, clashed with the Soviets in Reykjavik. But this year New Yorkers can only watch, as the Norwegian defending champion Magnus Carlsen and his Russian challenger Sergey Karjakin vie for the game’s highest title. They’re both kids: Carlsen is 25 and Karjakin is 26, yet they’ve lived half their lives as grandmasters. The match is being billed as the youngest championship ever.Here in New York, the faces of chess are diverse, from the outdoor hustlers lining park tables in Washington Square or Union Square to the excellent middle school chess program of I.S. 318 in Brooklyn. But last night, at the pre-tournament Black & White Gala at The Plaza, the guests were nearly all white. Under potted palm trees and crystal chandeliers, the steak was carved and the champagne and martinis flowed, and the scene recalled a VIP cocktail hour in a Vegas penthouse suite before a heavyweight prizefight. (At least the ones I’ve seen in the movies.) 2Fabiano Caruana2823 9Sergey Karjakin2772 8Hikaru Nakamura2779 As both baby-faced competitors faced the camera flashes and microphones, Carlsen looked calm. He has reached the championship before, after all. Karjakin looked a bit lost — nervous, maybe — his voice barely audible above the reporters’ din. And indeed, despite Karjakin’s slightly earlier prodigious bloom, the consensus heavy favorite is Carlsen. He’s rated No. 1 in the world, while Karjakin is No. 9.The best-of-12 match could stretch past Thanksgiving. Game 1 begins Friday afternoon, in downtown Manhattan. My own Elo-based simulations1I simulated 10,000 matches using the players’ current Elo ratings, and assumed that they draw half of their games, which is historically what grandmasters tend to do. The methodology is similar to what I used to simulate the 2014 world chess championships. give Carlsen an 88 percent chance of defending his title. Bookmakers put his chances somewhere between 80 and 85 percent. I’ll be reporting from the match, here and on Twitter. read more

Womens swimming Ohio State set to travel to Indiana for Big Ten

The Ohio State women’s swimming team practice at the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion in preparation for the Big Ten Championships. Credit: Fallon Perl | Lantern reporterAfter completing its regular season just one meet shy of undefeated, the No. 22 Ohio State women’s swimming team is looking forward to taking its talents to West Lafayette, Indiana, for the Big Ten Championships beginning Wednesday.Last year, the Buckeyes finished in fourth place with a total of 859 points, claiming four individual Big Ten titles as well as one relay title for five championships overall. This was the sixth time since 2010 that OSU earned a top-five finish, and the Buckeyes’ four individual titles and one relay title made the year the most successful one since 1991.With four Big Ten teams ranked ahead of it, OSU will need strong performances by all swimmers to make a run. However, the main focus is on the factors that it’s able to control.“When you’re at Ohio State, the expectation is to put together championship teams. So, we want to compete for Big Ten titles and be one of the ten best teams in the country, but the truth is we can’t control that,” OSU coach Bill Dorenkott said. “What we can control is putting the strongest, fittest, most prepared kids in the pool at Big Tens, and who we compete against is irrelevant.”To ensure they do so, the team will be taking 25 swimmers to compete in Indiana, several of whom are returning Big Ten contenders, including senior Taylor Vargo. During last year’s Big Ten Championships, Vargo finished fifth in the 100-yard breaststroke and eighth in the 200-yard breaststroke. She will be competing in both races again this year, as well as the 100-yard individual medley and possibly a relay. This year, her personal goals are to enjoy her senior year, move up a couple of spots from last year and improve her times, Vargo said. However, her focus remains on the team rather than herself.“I’d say we’re focusing more on preparing to go to Purdue and swim as a team, not as an individual,” Vargo said. “We always go through the mantra, ‘The goal is not to win, the goal is to improve.’ Whether it’s your technique, or half a fraction of a second, or moving up two spots — go in and swim your best. Focus on the little things.”Vargo’s teammate, senior Lindsey Clary is another returning Big Ten contender who will be competing in the 400-yard individual medley, 500-yard freestyle and the 1,650-yard freestyle — all for the fourth consecutive year — at the Big Ten Championships.Last year Clary set new OSU records in all three events and took home Big Ten titles in both the 400-yard individual medley and the 1,650-yard freestyle with times of 4:03.64 and 15:49.98 respectively. She will also be competing in the 800-yard freestyle relay.Clary said she is looking forward to improving at the Big Ten Championships this year, and is hoping to inspire her teammates as well. “Each year you want to get better. I was extremely happy with how I swam last year, so I want to repeat that and hopefully swim even faster,” Clary said. “Especially to put points up for my team because I know that if someone has a good swim it inspires everyone else, so I’m hoping to be that person for the team.”In addition to Clary and Vargo, OSU has five other athletes who have posted top-10 times in the Big Ten this season including junior Meg Bailey, freshman Kathrin Demler, freshman Molly Kowal, junior Liz Li and senior Zulal Zeren.“This is a good group. They’ve done the work, they’re well prepared, and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do,” Dorenkott said. “We’re looking toward being our best for seven sessions, three and a half days in February. That’s what we want to do.”The Big Ten Championships are set to begin Wednesday evening at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center in West Lafayette, Indiana. The competition runs through Saturday evening with preliminaries beginning Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 11 a.m. Finals begin each night at 6:30 p.m. read more

Ohio States defense might be hitting its stride as season ending

The conversation about Ohio State’s defense is changing inside and outside the huddle. The Buckeyes, which limited a hapless, anemic Illinois offense to 170 yards in a 52-22 shellacking on Saturday, moved to 10-0 and one step closer to the program’s first undefeated season since 2002. And while the Illini’s own incompetence and 118th national ranking in total offense might have helped OSU’s Silver Bullets, sophomore linebacker Ryan Shazier said the talk in the huddle among members of the once much-maligned defense is different than what it was before. “It just got a lot easier to talk to each other, everybody’s gonna have each other accountable for everything,” said Shazier, who was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after a 14-tackle outing Saturday. “Now when we go in the huddle, we don’t talk about ‘Don’t let the big play happen, don’t let this, don’t let that’ – we just go in there talking about ‘We need a turnover, three-and-out, get the offense the ball.’” This just might be reflective of a defense coming of age, particularly after surrendering 49 points on the road against a now 4-5 Indiana squad. Though the Buckeyes left Bloomington, Ind., with a shaky 52-49 win, first-year coach Urban Meyer approached the contest’s postgame press conference arguably as disgusted as he’d been all season. Meyer even hinted at taking a more active role in a defense that had given up 87 points in back-to-back weeks. But now? After allowing 22 and 23 points in wins against Purdue and at Penn State, respectively, Meyer said improvement on the defense’s part has been evident. “Ever since the Indiana debacle in the second half, I’ve seen pretty much four-to-six seconds,” Meyer said regarding the level of effort he’s come to expect out of the Buckeyes. “And I see a lot of hard coaching going on. And that’s what I expect out of our staff.” It’s a line Meyer’s used since he came to Columbus in Nov. 2011-4-6 seconds, he said, of relentless effort, relentless pursuit on every play of every game. By the former Florida coach’s calculations, it’s enough to win football games. OSU cornerback redshirt sophomore Bradley Roby said the defense is getting back to that pillar of Meyer’s coaching philosophy. “Since the Indiana game we had a lot of serious meetings and we had to get it done on defense, and that’s what we’ve been doing lately,” he said. Like Meyer, Roby said the game against the Hoosiers was a “wake up call.” “We were like, ‘Man, we’re way better than this.’ Ever since then we been practicing harder and playing harder and it’s been showing,” Roby said. Arguably, such progression had never been so apparent before Saturday in a game which saw OSU secure more first downs (32) than the Illini had points. In reality, OSU’s defense gave up just 14 points, considering eight of Illinois’ points came off a 77-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown late in the game’s fourth quarter. Illini junior quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase mustered just 96 yards and an interception against an OSU front-seven that harassed him from start to finish. “From what I saw he was just running around all day,” Roby said. While Scheelhaase was sacked twice, the Buckeyes’ defensive line appeared to be getting enough of a push to allow its linebackers, Shazier included, to slam the door shut on runs to the outside and entrench themselves against short, dump-off passes over the middle. “It’s pretty fun when the coaches let the team loose and let us go after the ball,” Shazier said. “I’ve been playing like this mentality for all my life, see ball, get ball.” That aggressiveness, however, might only be made possible because of a more aware defense. OSU assistant head coach and co-defensive coordinator Everett Withers said players are comprehending, perhaps now more than ever, what’s happening on any given play. “The biggest deal is I think our kids in the back seven are starting to understand when we get this formation, these are the two or three things that will happen,” Withers said. “Everybody’s recognizing exactly what they need to see in that formation.” And if Illinois is any indication, it might be working. “We knew exactly what was coming before they even ran it sometimes,” Shazier said. With a bye this weekend, OSU travels to Wisconsin on Nov. 17 for its second-to-last game of the 2012 season. read more

Report Ohio State football player Jamel Dean to leave the program

Ohio State football early-enrollee Jamel Dean is leaving the program after not being cleared to practice by the medical staff, according to reports.Dean, a defensive back from Cocoa, Fla., was “presented an opportunity for a medical hardship so he could remain on academic scholarship at Ohio State, but he opted for a release from his scholarship in an attempt to get cleared medically elsewhere,” according to Eleven Warriors, who first reported Dean’s departure.Dean’s high school coach John Wilkinson told Northeast Ohio Media Group that he is not pleased with how his former player is being treated at OSU.“It’s ridiculous,” Wilkinson told Northeast Ohio Media Group on Wednesday. “It’s totally wrong to do this to an 18-year-old kid who should be in high school, who you talked into coming up there early.”The freshman defensive back enrolled early at OSU in January and is listed at 6-foot-2, 200 pounds on the Buckeyes’ spring roster.Dean was rated as the No. 128 high school prospect in the class of 2015 by and was a four-star recruit. read more