Origin of the Name onezero.org

People sometimes wonder about the origin of my domain name onezero.org. Here’s how I chose it.

Some time around when I left grad school, I realized that it was good to have one’s own domain instead of relying on a school or company or something else to store it.

I spent the better part of a day trying to think up a domain name that I’d be happy with for years or decades. At some point during that day it occurred to me that since I spend so much time in the computing field, it might be good to have a domain name that has something to do with ones and zeroes. I also liked the fact that mathematically, 0 and 1 are essentially the two simplest objects possible. I found that the domain onezero.org was available, and that’s what I ended up with.

Only much later did I realize that 1 0 is the standard term for describing one minute chess games. In these games each side has one minute to make all their moves. That is, the entire game ends in 2 minutes or less. Upon hearing this, many people cannot get it into their heads that the entire game takes 2 minutes or less – they fix on some other idea, such as each move taking 2 minutes or less. Well. As one player put it, 1 0 isn’t your grandfather’s chess. Experts have been checkmated in real 1 0 games in less than 2 seconds. Sometimes an opponent’s queen can be won by simply attacking it and hoping that the opponent, in his hurrying, moves without noticing that his queen is attacked. It can be reasonable, or even best play, to attack your opponent’s queen with your own unguarded queen. There are many, many such tactics, especially near the end of the game when each side has 3 seconds or less. It’s common to be down a queen or two and still win. The 1 0 world is a world apart from slower chess. I have played a whole lot of 1 0, so onezero.org fits well with that too.

When I was a kid, people used to call me “ten” because I wore a football jersey that had the number 10, after Fran Tarkenton.

These other associations of 1 0 are just coincidences though. The main association of the name onezero.org is with the ones and zeros from computing and with the simplest possible mathematical objects.