In my post dated November 28, 2014, I mistakenly wrote that Grant Oen is the, “owner of the Atlanta Kings.” I took this from the Southeast Chess website (http://www.southeastchess.com/atlanta-kings.html). Grant is the “Manager” of the Atlanta Kings. The impresario, L. Thad Rogers is the owner. My apologies to Thad. No slight was intended. I made a regretful mistake. Thad has tried for quite some time to bring a USCL team to Atlanta before succeeding.
For all of his foibles Thad has done much good for chess, not only in Georgia, but in the Southeast as well. In addition, I know Thad has helped many players throughout the years, and he has done it because he has a generous heart. One example will suffice to illustrate. Decades ago I was on a MARTA train heading to visit one of Thad’s tournaments when I encountered another chess player, called “Smokin’ Gun.” I nodded, Smokin’ Gun shot back a big grin and moved toward me. Upon mentioning I was headed to one of Thad’s tournaments and he asked, “You playing?”
“No, Smokin’ Gun, I said, I’m just going to visit. Why don’t you come with me?” He shook his head and said, “I can’t. I own Thad money.”
“What do you mean? Everyone has owed Thad money at one time or another. Come on by later if you can…Don’t dodge him…Tell him you haven’t forgotten about him, but circumstances are such that you can’t pay him back now, and he will be glad to see you..”
Hours later as I was about to leave, there was Smokin’ Gun, talking with Thad. On my way out the Gun grinned, saying, “It played out just like you said, man.”
Atlanta hosted the 1980 US Open because of Thad. When the Nashville Strangler hit it big at the World Open by winning the expert section, he made a point in the interview published in Chess Life to thank Thad for organizing all the tournaments in which he had played. FM Jerry Wheeler, along with LM Brian McCarthy, played so often some thought they lived in Atlanta. The same could be said for the “Little Hayseed,” Tom Waymouth, who took first in a “B” section of the World Open. Then there is Spencer Bledsoe, one of the Legendary Georgia Ironman’s students, who cut his teeth at the House of Pain before tying for first in an “A” section at the World Open. Spencer is best known for his part in the Survivor TV show. (http://survivor.wikia.com/wiki/Spencer_Bledsoe)
To top it off, FM Kazim Gulamali just played a match with IM Ron Burnett for the under 2500 money at the Millionaire Open. Ron, like the aforementioned Tennessee players, has played in as many of Thad’s tournaments as any Atlanta player. Kazim literally grew-up at the House. Together they brought $60,000 back South from Lost Wages!
Did I mentioned the time a former GCA President bankrupted the organization? Thad stepped in using his own money to keep the GCA solvent. I could go on and on, but why? Like everyone you know, or will ever know, Thad has entries on both the positive and negative side of the ledger, but he is one of the fortunate ones in which the positive outweighs the negative.
I know all of the above mentioned players, and the Legendary Ironman, will join me in saying, “Thank you, Thad, for all you have done for the Royal game.”
FM Daniel Gurevich continue to impress the chess world not only with his results, but also with his stellar play. He finished +1, with a score of 5-4, leaving him in a tie for 14th place. Daniel exited the tournament on a winning note by playing this spectacular game:
FM Daniel Gurevich vs IM Keaton F Kiewra
UT Dallas Fall Fide 2014
However you intend on reviewing this game, take a moment to cogitate on White’s next move. As a hint let me say that after teaching budding chess Spuds to ask and answer three questions (1 “Why did my opponent make that move?” 2 “What move do I want, or need, to make, and why?” & 3 “Am I leaving anything en prise?”), the next thing I teach is to, “Examine all checks!” The remaining moves are given at the end of the article.
IM Denis Kadric vs FM Daniel Gurevich
UT Dallas Fall Fide 2014
The fact that three of the four Georgia players faced off against women in round eight illustrates the rise in the number of women players. The total score of the men vs women battle in the penultimate round went to the men, 2-1.
Since there were nine rounds the tale of the tournament can be told by breaking down the results into thirds:
Grant Oen sent an email notice of the upcoming Southeast Chess December Open (12/5-12/7), which will be held at Emory University next weekend. Grant is an active, and strong, tournament player, who also happens to be owner of the Atlanta Kings. From all indications his tournaments are administered properly, unlike GCA tournaments, which are invariably replete with problems. All chess in Atlanta is not bad, though many may have that impression because of the ineptitude displayed by the incompetent people in power of the GCA.
I received an email from someone who attended the USCF business meetings at the US Open this year in which he wrote about looking around at those attending the meetings, who were almost all old(er), and wondering from where the next generation of leaders would come. Grant is one of those people who will lead chess in the right direction into the future. I urge you to support Mr. Oen. The GCA under the current administration has had a policy of holding events near tournaments held by independent promoters, raining on someone’s parade, in lieu of working with other promoters. As an example, only one of many, the ill-fated, and marred, 2014 GCA Class Championship, was held the weekend after the Southeast Chess November Open. Although I will not urge anyone to attend a GCA event, and I certainly would not advocate anyone consider participating in any event held by the GCA. I can, and fervently do, urge everyone to support Southeast Chess!
Grant has written an excellent article on the Southeast Chess November Open, which includes pictures and a plethora of games! Grant writes, “Prize checks were issued immediately as round 5 games started to conclude.” Contrast this with the GCA’s heterodox “The check is in the mail” policy. Check out the article at, http://georgiachessnews.com/2014/11/20/southeast-chess-november-open-results/.
The Southeast Chess December Open (12/5-12/7) is next weekend in Atlanta!
$4,000 guaranteed in 4 sections: Open, U2000, U1700, and U1400. There are place and class prizes in every section.
USCF Masters (2200+) must register by midnight this Friday, 11/28 to get discounted entry. GMs and IMs free! Early pre-registration for everyone ends next Wednesday, 12/3.
For me to comment on this would only detract from what you are about to read, which is self-explanatory.
From: Fun Fong [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
> Sent: Monday, November 24, 2014 6:49 AM
> To: Laura Doman (Trinity)
> Cc: Greg Maness; J Parnell Watkins, Jr.; Elena Gratskaya
> Subject: Incident with Chattanooga friends
> This is a draft of what I propose to send to the USCF and to the DeCredicos:
> Dear …..
> This is our account of what occurred during out 2014 Georgia Class Championships. I have known the DeCredico family from several events and from my experience with the DeCredico family from Castle Chess Camp. The family is wonderful. Mr. DeCredico can be an emotional person, and the emotionality is usually expressed in terms of gratitude.
> We suspect that there have been some frustrations which have caused Mr. DeCredico to have had some conflict that have been building up over several tournaments. We later heard that Mr. DeCredico had had some words with Ben Johnson, a Chief TD during a Southeast Chess tournament.
> At our tournament, we inadvertently used the October published ratings to vet our tournament file. The correct information had been entered by Mr. DeCredico, evidenced by our import records, but somehow the October supplement was used to further vet the tournament file. This was certainly our mistake and we freely admit it. This had happened in another incident with a family from Alabama, and we were able to discover this issue and repair the round before the round began, making this family satisfied.
> The lower published rating caused Mr DeCredico’s daughter Zsofia, to have the lowest rating within the section and she ended up being the odd player with a unforced full-point bye. We found an extra rated game for Mr. DeCredico’s daughter with an opponent who was rated slightly higher that her current rating. She seemed to appreciate the pairing and was playing without issue. Mr. DeCredico discovered that an old October published rating was used for her during the round in progress and became agitated, demanding to speak to the person responsible. He quickly became more agitated, and by the time that he came to our Informatics area, he began verbally lashing out at our Informatics Officer, Elena Gratskaya, even before she could begin to address the issue. Our Floor TD, Parnell Watkins attempted to shield Elena physically, fearing that the situation would escalate.
> Mr. DeCredico became loud and abusive, accusing all of the staff of incompetence and intent on causing a scene in the Tournament Hall. He accused our Deputy Chief TD Greg Maness of incompetance. Mr. Maness was unaware of the previous events and responded back to him. Mr. DeCredico told his son Winston that he had to resign, that they were going to leave. He had also brought another Chattanooga player, Expert Zachery Perry, who was compelled to leave his game as well. I arrived on the scene and asked what we could do to help Mr DeCredico. Mr. DeCredico stated that he was intent on leaving, and said that he was too upset to explain to me what was troubling him. I assured him that we would refund his registration feed and wanted to know if we could help him in any other way.
> It took a small bit of time for Mr. DeCredico’s children to leave the hall. Mr. DeCredico became intent on retrieving them. He was extremely agitated and was intent on causing a scene in the Tournament hall where play had started in earnest, about 20-30 minutes into a G/120 round. Floor TD Parnell Watkins barred the door and asked our staffer, Laura Doman to please retrieve his children. Mr DeCredico accused us of keeping him from access to his children. I told Mr. Watkins that we could not keep him from access to his children, but by that time the children had left the hall and were in the corridor.
> The DeCredicos left. We later heard that players and spectators were in fear of their safety. At least one person feared that this man may have been armed. I knew Mr. DeCredico was not a physical threat, but our other staffers did not. Certainly our Informatics officer was put in fear for her safety such that our TD had to interpose physically. The rest of the day was marred with the pall of this incident.
> The DeCredicos abruptly left after the games were well in progress. Someone following one of the games on the internet wondered why one of the games ended abruptly after 21 moves. From a technical standpoint, these games must be scored as rated forfeits; however, we would do whatever the USCF recommended in this particular incident.
> The DeCredicos are a wonderful family. The kids, Zsofia and Winston, are wonderful. Mr. Zachary Perry is a amicable player and one whom we would like to continue to encourage to play. I do not know what other events may have preceded Mr. DeCredico’s agitation that day, but it was not the usual Richard DeCredico demeanor that I have experienced in the past. We will be happy to refund registration fees for these Chattanooga players. We would not necessarily want to ban Richard DeCredico from our tournaments (although some might), but we would want some reassurance from him that he will take definite steps not to threaten our personnel, or cause an explosive outburst with the intent to disrupt one of our tournaments again. Medication might well be necessary. This was a very distasteful incident for all involved that occurred this weekend, and in the interest of our other players who came from AL, NC, SC,TN, and FL to play, we hope not to experience ever again.
> Respectfully submitted,
> Fun Fong, MD
> Chief TD
> 2014 Georgia Class Championships
> 770 / 316-8483 (c)
> On Monday, November 24, 2014 2:27 PM, Laura wrote:
> Very nice, Fun. By the way, I’d like to write an article for the Jan. 1 publication of GeorgiaChessNews.com about the DGT boards. Charles Troutman, Jr. sent me a terrific story about how he was able to watch his son Charles Troutman III’s games live while he was on business in India. (His son went on to become the 6th grade state champion.) I’d like to get more info from you and ChaCha and anyone else who can talk more about the technology and make it a truly informative article.
> Have a Happy Thanksgiving, all!
On Mon, Nov 24, 2014 at 4:10 PM, Greg Maness wrote:
> To All … …
> [note … I added Frank Johnson to my reply here as he was involved in the incident due to his intervention and I added Ben Johnson as his name was mentioned in reference to a prior incident involving this same person]
> I had dinner with a lawyer friend (a criminal defense attorney) last night after the tournament and had lunch with same lawyer friend today (he’s also a former tournament chess player from Pennsylvania). Yes, we did discuss the incidents of Saturday … and, no, I did not mention anyone by name. He was also very surprised and distressed that an organization as the Georgia Chess Association does not retain legal counsel nor does not have an attorney who serves as a “friend of the organization” who is either an elected board member or serves as a staff member for the board. He especially stressed this with the fact the G.C.A. sanctions so many activities that involve minor children.
> Based on the conversations with the lawyer, I do want to comment on a couple of issues. First and most importantly … Parnell Watkins and I physically barring Mr. DeCredico from the tournament hall … not only were we “well within our rights,” we were also “well within our OBLIGATION” to not allow him entrance to the tournament hall (and especially in the absence of law enforcement personal) as our concern was the ASSURANCE OF THE SAFETY of the 50-odd people who were in the tournament hall. The fact his own children (or so he thought) were in the tournament hall is irrelevant as the safety of all parties concerned supersedes that … and especially since the perceived danger to anyone in the tournament hall came from Mr. DeCredico himself. I was given the example of a Principle-imposed school lockdown where no parent would ever be given access to the building and thus their children. I was also advised that had we PERMITTED his entrance to the tournament hall (due to the obvious circumstances) … and had there been an incident that compromised the safety of anyone therein … that WE (the G.C.A., the tournament personal, the hotel, etc.) could be held responsible and liable.
> I do wish to add THREE participants in the tournament came to me (separately and hours apart) and each told me they were “afraid he was going to get a gun out of that big bag he was carrying and start shooting!” I also overheard a fourth player telling another player the same thing.
> Dr. Fong’s statements here are very well-written and very accurate! But … also many of Dr. Fong’s statements are irrelevant as they pertain directly to Mr. DeCredico’s actions. Mr. DeCredico’s actions were completely unjustifiable. Using wrong rating supplements … making erroneous pairings … etc … none of that gives justification or warrant to the actions (verbal and near-physical) taken by Mr. DeCredico. I do, however (with one exception to which I am coming), stand with what Dr. Fong has written.
> My exception: Dr. Fong’s statement “We would not necessarily want to ban Richard DeCredico from our tournaments.” SERIOUSLY?? In any other sport (and we all want chess … especially organized chess … to be given the respect it deserves on par with other sports) this type of outburst and action would not be tolerated and severe justice involving a suspension would be handed out. Imagine had this been a golf tournament or bowling tournament (both where I have experience) or a tennis tournament where this outburst had occurred … he would immediately be expelled from the tournament (do note: during his outburst I forfeited his game [the USCF Rulebook supports my action]; he didn’t need to resign) and he would be given a suspension (and probably a fine, too, if it was a professional organization such as the PGA) … and, also, we would not be implying justification of his actions or implying the sanctioning organization somehow shares the blame!. The same with any team sport … … …
> I would also strike the “Medication might well be necessary” statement from any correspondence with the USCF. That could give grounds for libel suit by Mr. DeCredico!
> Since Mr. DeCredico repeatedly, loudly, and in front of many witnesses (including the few hundred who were in the hallway for the other of the hotel’s scheduled event) was calling me a “pedophile” and saying I “should be arrested,” my lawyer friend also said I had a case to sue him for civil slander (I believe Mr. DeCredico made similar references towards Mr. Watkins). I just laughed and said we were very far from even considering, much less undertaking such action! Read that as I would just rather it be forgotten.
> That is all I have to state at this time.
> — Greg Maness
> On Monday, November 24, 2014 5:16 PM, Fun Fong wrote:
> Why don’t you write up your version of events? I think I have not heard your experience.
On Mon, Nov 24, 2014 at 7:11 PM, Greg Maness wrote:
> Fun … … my version of the events is not that different from what you have already written … actually, not any different. You just had more details (spec. the incident in the Informatics room). All I could add is the number of participants expressing concerns over their personal safety. I don’t know if the USCF needs to be made aware of the legal aspects concerning our securing the tournament hall or not. If you would like to edit your draft to include notes from my comment e-mail (i.e. # players voicing safety concerns), that is fine with me.
> — Greg
From: Fun Fong
> Date: Mon, Nov 24, 2014 at 7:30 PM
> Subject: Re: Incident with Chattanooga friends
> To: Greg Maness , gcaboard Board
> Cc: Laura , Frank Johnson , Ben Johnson , “J Parnell Watkins, Jr.” , Elena Gratskaya
> The way I see it, while some may feel justified in saying they were protecting the players, Mr. DeCredico has a credible assault and battery threat because he was touched. If this goes to court, then we all lose, no matter what. The best thing to do in legal matters is usually “not to play.” In this case, we need to learn how to de-escalate people as people begin to get agitated. One should always try de-escalation first. That way, something so small an item never comes to this. I am not sure this incident could have been avoided, but I would sure try my darndest to make sure that it didn’t get so far out of control.
> Mr. DeCredico has emailed me, demanding that our personnel be more people friendly and customer-oriented. I have told him that I will take steps to do so. He has apologized to me and has sent two emails, which I will first send to the Board for comments and then to the people involved. I think his perceptions in his second email may have some degree of validity.
> I think this incident has uncovered some significant vulnerabilities of the organization. For one, we currently have no liability insurance. A lawsuit would likely be the death of GCA. As much as I would like to put this event to bed, I think a “lessons learned” after-action report would be appropriate with all involved contributing.
> I don’t think we will have any further action from Mr. DeCredico. Let’s learn from this and see if we can prevent another incident like this again.
On Tue, Nov 25, 2014 at 11:33 AM, Greg Maness wrote:
>> To All … …
>> I was not a witness to anything that occurred in the Informatics Room, so I can not address that. Apparently, Mr. DeCredico claims someone touched him. If that happened in Informatics, I was not there to witness … and perhaps it is better I do NOT know! If that happened outside the tournament hall, I did not witness it. Also, when Mr. Watkins and I were denying his entrance into the tournament hall I made special effort to NOT touch him … as did Mr. Watkins. Now, as far as the action of denying his re-entrance to the tournament hall … I stand by what I previously stated — which is what I was advised by a criminal defense attorney … “we were ‘well within our rights,’ we were also ‘well within our OBLIGATION’ to not allow him entrance to the tournament hall as our concern was the ASSURANCE OF THE SAFETY of the 50-odd people who were in the tournament hall … (and) had we PERMITTED his entrance to the tournament hall … and had there been an incident that compromised the safety of anyone therein … that WE (the G.C.A., the tournament personal, the hotel, etc.) could be held responsible and liable.” Note he (the lawyer) included the HOTEL as being liable as well!
>> I agree with Dr. Fong on several points. Yes, if this were to ever to go to court, “we would all lose.” Even if we (the G.C.A.) were to “win” … and I am sure we WOULD win in court in this situation … we still “lose.” No argument from me. As far as trying to de-escalate a situation … I was under the impression that was attempted; it just did no good in this case — also as Dr. Fong has alluded.
>> Mr. DeCredico has apparently “demanded our personnel be more friendly and customer-oriented.” Being “more friendly” is a perception, but I will give him that one. I am not sure what he means by “being more customer-oriented.” Apparently pairing errors were made … okay, those were just honest mistakes. Remedying that is an “in-house” issue. As far as “customer-orientation,” what is perceived as a problem(s), I would need more information before I gave my opinion there. Also, any past issues involving Mr. DeCredico and Southeast Chess, et al, is not relevant here (unless deemed so by the USCF in establishing a pattern of behaviour).
>> Dr. Fong is dead on with this has uncovered some significant vulnerabilities! Remember, I stated my lawyer friend was “very surprised and distressed that an organization as the Georgia Chess Association does not retain legal counsel nor does not have an attorney who serves as a “friend of the organization” who is either an elected board member or serves as a staff member for the board. He especially stressed this with the fact the G.C.A. sanctions so many activities that involve minor children.” Add to that, as Dr. Fong has mentioned, the lack of liability insurance never entered my mind! [Perhaps another phone call to Kelly Hillyer is in order.]
>> Should further action be taken by the G.C.A. (and the USCF) against Mr. DeCredico? That is not for me to say for the record. But … three tournament (adult) participants (and a fourth who did not address me directly) clearly stated to me they were in fear for their own personal safety! I can only imagine what was going through the minds of the many children who were witnesses to this situation. If the G.C.A. does not take action, I am afraid the perception of the G.C.A. in the eyes of many members and players will not be very favourable.
>> — Greg Maness
From: Fun Fong
>> Date: November 25, 2014 at 12:11:01 PM EST
>> To: Greg Maness
>> Cc: gcaboard Board , Laura , Frank Johnson , Ben Johnson , “J Parnell Watkins, Jr.” , Elena Gratskaya
>> Subject: Re: Incident with Chattanooga friends
>> I am also seeking legal advice.
>> GCA cannot sustain legal action (costs). As I said, if this were to progress to a lawsuit, we might win on the merits, but we would lose, likely losing the organization.
>> This is a conundrum. My thought is that we must avoid a legal action at all costs. I now think that Mr. DeCredico will complain to USCF and we need to have possible responses lined up. I will be using the legal advice to consider these factors.
>> Mr. DeCredico states that both he and his children were touched. This is becoming a “he said, he said” story. I think we should look for witnesses.
>> I think that we should discuss this issue at the Board in closed session, after the official Board meeting is over on 2 December. Discussion is available to non-board members now.
It is obvious that with the three recent resignations by GCA board members, Frank Johnson, Tim Payne, and Treasurer Pam Little, the GCA has been rocked, and is reeling with the feeling. Rumors are rampant and abundant emails are rife with accusations of malfeasance. There are reports that although the GCA spent lavishly for the recent 2014 Grade Level Championships, some, or maybe all, of the workers have not been paid, or are being asked to accept delayed payment because the GCA has no money to pay.
Exact information is difficult to come by because all of the players have “nutted-up.” There has still been no word from the GCA concerning why the three GCA board members resigned. This is especially troubling since one of those who resigned was the Treasurer. What does Pam Little know, and when did she know it? Taking a page out of the Woodward and Bernstein book about Watergate someone needs to “Follow the money.” This is extremely difficult when the books remain closed, but occasionally something surfaces, like furniture on the ill-fated Titanic.
The Legendary Georgia Ironman went by the 2014 GCA Grade Levels. All he could talk about was the “Big urns of coffee, and sandwiches piled high, along with a mountain of salad and huge vat of pickles.” Tim continued, excitedly saying, “It must have cost $500…maybe $1000!” I thought the Ironman was exaggerating. The following expense report shows Tim was right on the mark.
GCA Grade Levels 2014 DRAFT (Nov 9, 2014)
Section # Players Entry Sub Total
Entry Fee 294 $25 $7,350
Volunteer Entry 25 $0 $0
Vendor sales (12%) ? $0
Lead volunteer & TD honorariums $0
Venue – Marriott Perimeter Center $3,252.38
Prize – Stipend awards* $1400.00
Trophies (Crown) $1,031.44
Paypal Fee (294x$.85) $249.90
Volunteer Food & Supplies** (setup/b’fast/lunch/snacks/food for HS section in lieu of trophies) $829.77
Copies (signage, result slips) $54.33
Bulb rental $50.00
USCF Rating Fee $189.50
*hotel coffee was $195 (included in venue bill)
*Final count for stipends used will come later – max amt included in draft
Income – Expenses = ¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬$7,350.00 – $7,057.32 = $292.68
The total coast of food and coffee is $1024.77. Keep in mind this was the tournament in which 170 children were, at one time, on a “waiting-list,” with many more not on the list because word got around the community there was no reason to add little Spud to the list. Also, the high school players did not turnout because they do not care for the quick time limit, so one room was mostly empty. Another 80 players could have filled that room. It boggles the mind that any organization would pay over 3 grand for an inadequate venue.
What jumps out at you is that the GCA had no security and no insurance. One would think that with no insurance the GCA would NEED security. There are those in our society who would point this out as a reason to come to the tournament well-armed.
FM Gurevich Daniel, NM Damir Studen, NM Michael Corallo, and NM Sanjay Ghatti travelled to Dallas, Texas, to participate in the UT Dallas Fall Fide 2014 chess tournament during the 51st anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, with the Coups d’état taking place in the heart of the city at Dealey Plaza, on Friday, November 22, 1963, a day that will live in infamy.
Georgia players made their presence felt in the first round:
NM Michael P Corallo vs GM Kayden W Troff
UT Dallas Fall Fide 2014
Dennis is obviously unaware of the expression, “There is no such thing as bad publicity.” (“The proverbial expression began to be used in the early 20th century. The earliest version that I have found in print is from the US newspaper The Atlanta Constitution, January, 1915:
All publicity is good if it is intelligent.
The thought behind the proverb had been expressed earlier by Oscar Wilde:
It is good for the Royal game when those outside of chess write about the game, and it is even better for those involved with the chess to listen to those on the outside looking in because perception is reality.
Spike Friedman, author of the aforementioned article, wrote this, “I didn’t see the blunder. I mean, I saw it. I was watching the match at about five in the morning, but I didn’t see what happened as it happened. The Houdini computer I was watching along with immediately registered the swing in win expectancy, but it frequently shows wild results in the first few seconds after a move. I’ve grown numb to the initial burst that suggests a move may have been a crucial blunder, as the computer often needs to push a little deeper before seeing that the status quo has not shifted. Additionally, the broadcast had gone to a break, so there was no live commentary on the moves. You can hear a snippet of the ad in the YouTube capture of the moment. Anand had already played before the commentators were back on air.”
I checked the USCF website but could not find a rating for Spike, so he must be one of the “many” who play and/or follow chess but cannot find a reason to join USCF.
The article contains a video of the missing moments during the now infamous double blunders.
This is incredible! Vishy did not, as I wrote earlier, make an instantaneous move. How could Vishy have sat there a full minute and not have seen Knight takes pawn? Only one who has been there and done that can understand the chess mind.
Spike writes, “…chess is a game of two people trying to be the better human.”
Actually, Spike, the reason they are playing the match is because, like the Highlander, “there can be only one.” Spike goes on, getting carried away with, “A generous interpretation of a world championship in chess, then, would be to say that it’s the crowning of the ultimate human.”
All I know is that both of the humans have held title of World Chess Champion. I suppose one could think of them as the “ultimate” chess champion, but “ultimate human?” I will leave that for others to decide.
Spike has also determined, “…it also means that the world championship is being contested at a lower level than usual.”
Spike does not mention what his buddy Houdini has to say, but it could also mean this is a much better match “than usual.” I read a quote contained in one of the excellent blog posts by GM Vlad Tkachiev translated and printed on the Chess24 website (https://chess24.com/). “The level of the match will be determined by the level of Anand’s play.” Vishy has played much better chess and, unlike the first match, this one is not a “walk-over.” A close match produces much more stress and strain. The only explanation is that both players “cracked” and happened to do it in back to back moves.
What damages the credibility of the Royal game is a headline like this one: “Fide yet to get World Chess Championship prize fund”
The article begins, ” It is inconceivable that the Russian organizers of the ongoing world chess championship won’t pay Magnus Carlsen and Viswanathan Anand their match fees, but a top official on Friday revealed that the world chess federation hadn’t yet received in its bank account the event’s prize fund of €1 million. Coming at the halfway stage, barely two weeks before the match is to conclude, it points to the state of affairs at the world chess federation better known by its French acronym Fide (derived from Federation Internationale des Eches).” (http://www.livemint.com/Consumer/T6963pMV10OYMUy1K7e9SK/World-chess-federation-yet-to-receive-prize-fund.html?utm_source=copy)
The insular chess world needs to take note of how the game is portrayed in the media, especially social media.
Is there luck in chess? After receiving a “gift” from former World Champion Viswanathan Anand in sixth game of the current match for the championship of the world, World Champion Magnus Carlsen admitted he was “lucky.” When playing backgammon professionally decades ago some of my vanquished opponents would say, “You were lucky.” My response was invariably the same, “I had rather be lucky than good, because when I am good and lucky, I cannot be beat!”
I found this on the “Sabermetric Research” blog by Phil Birnbaum: Monday, January 14, 2013
Chess and luck
“In previous posts, I argued about how there’s luck in golf, and how there’s luck in foul shooting in basketball. But what about games of pure mental performance, like chess? Is there luck involved in chess? Can you win a chess game because you were lucky?
In #27 James writes, “I think it comes down to what is the relative difference in skill between players and the role of skill vs luck in a game.
If a game is 100% skill (say chess) and say for the sake of argument that the two players are perfectly equally skilled then who wins a single game is purely luck. Regardless of whether they are two unskilled beginners or the two best players in the world.
How do you differentiate between that and the two of them tossing a coin.”
Anatoly Karpov and Garry Kasparov were “the two players perfectly equally skilled.” Garry was obviously not the equal of Anatoly when they first met in the ill-fated match that went on for many months, with one short draw after another after Kasparov was down 0-5, until the slight Karpov neared collapse, when Kasparov won 3 games before FIDE President Florencio Campomanes ended the match, fearing one of the players may “drop dead at the board.” From the second match on, Kasparov was ever so slightly better than the much older Karpov. We know this because they played hundreds of games in many matches for the title. Games are played to determine who is the better player, and by what margin.
Because my friend the Discman played, and has followed, baseball, and because Sabermetrics emanates from the field of dreams, I asked him to read the post and let me know what he thought of luck in chess. This is his response:
“I have a much less esoteric and simplistic example of luck in chess. This happens frequently in over-the-board tournament games where neither player is being assisted by a computer. The frequency is directly correlated to the strength of the players, occurring less frequently the stronger the players are. At my level of play when facing competition of similar strength it occurred maybe once every 20-25 games. Here goes:
I’m sure you have heard it said that chess is 98% tactics and I generally agree with that. How many times have you gone back over your games and realized that you had made a significant oversight that your opponent could have taken advantage of, but also missed?
In many cases, seeing the correct combination to punish you was well within the skill level of your opponent, but for any number of reasons (he was having a bad day, he was distracted at that moment, his biorhythm’s were off, etc.) he just missed it.
If he had been put in that same situation next Tuesday instead of today he may very well have seen it. You were lucky that he missed it – he didn’t miss it because you were a stronger player than he was.
Sometimes the oversight is so simple a 1200 player could see it, like the time Leonard Dickerson missed a mate in 1 and got checkmated by a 1500 player. There was a simple defense to the checkmate – in fact the move Leonard made allowed the mate so it was truly a Helpmate. You could put Leonard in similar situations 10,000 times and he would make a similar mistake 1 time.
Did his opponent get lucky? Hell yes he did. You might argue that the 1500 player was better than the master at that one point in time but I don’t think so – he got extremely lucky that Leonard had a brain-fart that allowed a mate in 1.”
Luck in Chess?
‘Chess,’ said the Dutch grandmaster, Jan Hein Donner, ‘is as much a game of chance as blackjack; or tossing cards into a top hat.’ There was a pained silence, then a polite babel of disagreement: it was a game of the utmost skill; a conflict between disciplined minds in which victory would inexorably go to the more perceptive, the more analytical player; a duel of the intellect in which luck played no part. Donner shrugged, lit another cigarette and said: ‘Believe that if you like.’ Bent Larsen smiled the smile of a man who had heard his friend air such iconoclastic arguments in the past but was quite happy to contest them again, when the score of the fifth game of the World Championship match between Karpov and Korchnoi was brought in. Both men pulled out of their inside pockets the wallet sets all grandmasters seem to carry at all times and began to skim through the moves.
It happened that the teleprinter tape had been torn off after Karpov’s 54th move as Black […]. They studied the position for a few moments, mated Karpov in four moves and were surprised when another whole sheet of moves was brought from the teleprinter.
When they saw Korchnoi’s 55th move – Be4+ – Larsen’s eyebrows went up.
‘There you are,’ Donner said, quietly and without triumph as though some self-evident truth had been revealed, ‘pure luck’.
KORTSCHNOJ,V (2665) – KARPOV,AN (2725) (05) [E42]
WCH29-BAGUIO CITY, 1978
On this date in 1863, Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. (http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/)
My cousin Linda taught high school English. During a discussion years ago she said, “The Gettysburg Address is the greatest speech ever delivered.” I scoffed, and ridiculed the thing, which shocked her. “You have been taught to say that, Linda,” I said. “Have you ever thought about what it says.”
In his “Note on the Gettysburg Address” H.L. Mencken wrote, “The Gettysburg speech was at once the shortest and the most famous oration in American history…the highest emotion reduced to a few poetical phrases. Lincoln himself never even remotely approached it. It is genuinely stupendous. But let us not forget that it is poetry, not logic; beauty, not sense. Think of the argument in it. Put it into the cold words of everyday. The doctrine is simply this: that the Union soldiers who died at Gettysburg sacrificed their lives to the cause of self-determination – that government of the people, by the people, for the people, should not perish from the earth. It is difficult to imagine anything more untrue. The Union soldiers in the battle actually fought against self-determination; it was the Confederates who fought for the right of their people to govern themselves.”
The Legendary Georgia Ironman recently mentioned some of the parents of the Indian children he teaches have asked him why Southern people still harbor ill feelings about a war fought 150 years ago. LM Brian McCarthy moved to south Georgia to teach high school and mentioned something about all the monuments in the small town, something one does not see in yankee land. Some years ago I was at the Highland coffee shop on Bardstown road in Lousiville, Kentucky. During a discussion of the War of Northern Aggression one fellow used the term “we” and it dawned on me that the “we” he meant were the perpetrators of the War Between the States. I mentioned that, being from Georgia, this was the first time I had heard “we” meaning yankees. “You lost. We won. Get over it,” he said. I said, “It is somewhat more difficult to “get over it, sir, when you lose.” He fired back with, “Tough shit!”
A few weeks ago I attended a lecture given by the eminent historian James M. McPherson pertaining to his new book, “Embattled Rebel: Jefferson Davis as Commander in Chief.” (http://www.booktv.org/Program/16323/After+Words+James+McPherson+quotEmbattled+Rebel+Jefferson+Davis+as+Commander+in+Chiefquot+hosted+by+James+Swanson.aspx) At the end the author, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his book, “Battle Cry of Freedom,” took questions from the audience. I was standing on the balcony, where I had been conversing with one of the owners of the Eagle Eye bookstore (http://www.eagleeyebooks.com/), so there was little, if any, chance Mr. McPherson could see my raised hand if I had been inclined to ask a question. When he said, “No state has ever had the right to secede,” I was unable to contain myself and blurted, “How can you say such a thing when the right of secession was taught at West Point until the War of Northern Aggression?!” In response to my question the audience roared with approval. The author answered by saying, “I am not aware of that. I have never read that. Can you tell me where you come by your information?” I responded, “It is historical fact, sir. I have read it in many books, including ‘The Real Lincoln,’ by Thomas J. DiLorenzo.” He said only, “That is a discredited book.” I was the first in line to have my book signed and said, “One can learn much by reading everything about a subject in lieu of only reading one version of events.” He looked at me quizzically before signing my book. I added, “You know, Mr. McPherson, I was raised near an Army base named after the yankee General James Birdseye McPherson.” He smiled while handing the signed book to me, but the smile left his face when I said, “Everyone hated the place because it was named after a yankee General, even relatives who worked there. He was killed at the Battle of Atlanta you know. He was the second highest ranking yankee officer killed in the War of Northern Aggression.” He frowned and I smiled when turning to leave. Many of the older men in line stopped me to shake my hand, wanting to talk, but Brian McCarthy was waiting to take me to the Fortress so I made apologies and headed toward the door.
Having been lied to about the causes of the war has not helped Southerner’s “get over it.” The yankee version of history is that they had the “moral” right because slavery, brought to America by these same yankees, was morally wrong. They are correct in this, because slavery is wrong, but it was the law. Should a war which devastated the country have been fought to end slavery, or was there much more to the war than the simplistic reason given?
“Growing up in the US, I too was “educated” (through government-purchased school-books and popular media) to revere Mr. Lincoln as a wise and marvelous president. Later, I ran across quotations of his that seemed to cast suspicion on his real views regarding the institution of slavery. I dismissed these as simply a reflection of the times. Lincoln, I reasoned, as a politician needed to keep peace with constituents in order to pursue a praiseworthy agenda. I was wrong about the agenda.”
“Reading below you will understand that the US Civil War finally resolved a century-old debate between Federalists and Anti-Federalists. It was resolved violently by Lincoln and accompanied by the death of more than 600,000 countrymen.”
“Slavery was ended in 1866 with the Thirteenth Amendment, but at the cost of 620,000 lives; hundreds of thousands more that were crippled for life; and the near destruction of almost half the nation’s economy. By contrast, dozens of other countries (including Argentina, Colombia, Chile, all of Central America, Mexico, Bolivia, Uruguay, the French and Danish colonies, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela) ended slavery peacefully during the first 60 years of the nineteenth century. Why not the U.S.?” *
* Thomas J. DiLorenzo
In “honor” of the date I would like to present a Southern response to the address Dishonest Abe gave 150 years ago today:
Ode to the Confederate Dead
Allen Tate, 1899 – 1979
Row after row with strict impunity
The headstones yield their names to the element,
The wind whirrs without recollection;
In the riven troughs the splayed leaves
Pile up, of nature the casual sacrament
To the seasonal eternity of death;
Then driven by the fierce scrutiny
Of heaven to their election in the vast breath,
They sough the rumour of mortality.
Autumn is desolation in the plot
Of a thousand acres where these memories grow
From the inexhaustible bodies that are not
Dead, but feed the grass row after rich row.
Think of the autumns that have come and gone!–
Ambitious November with the humors of the year,
With a particular zeal for every slab,
Staining the uncomfortable angels that rot
On the slabs, a wing chipped here, an arm there:
The brute curiosity of an angel’s stare
Turns you, like them, to stone,
Transforms the heaving air
Till plunged to a heavier world below
You shift your sea-space blindly
Heaving, turning like the blind crab.
Dazed by the wind, only the wind
The leaves flying, plunge
You know who have waited by the wall
The twilight certainty of an animal,
Those midnight restitutions of the blood
You know–the immitigable pines, the smoky frieze
Of the sky, the sudden call: you know the rage,
The cold pool left by the mounting flood,
Of muted Zeno and Parmenides.
You who have waited for the angry resolution
Of those desires that should be yours tomorrow,
You know the unimportant shrift of death
And praise the vision
And praise the arrogant circumstance
Of those who fall
Rank upon rank, hurried beyond decision–
Here by the sagging gate, stopped by the wall.
Seeing, seeing only the leaves
Flying, plunge and expire
Turn your eyes to the immoderate past,
Turn to the inscrutable infantry rising
Demons out of the earth they will not last.
Stonewall, Stonewall, and the sunken fields of hemp,
Shiloh, Antietam, Malvern Hill, Bull Run.
Lost in that orient of the thick and fast
You will curse the setting sun.
Cursing only the leaves crying
Like an old man in a storm
You hear the shout, the crazy hemlocks point
With troubled fingers to the silence which
Smothers you, a mummy, in time.
The hound bitch
Toothless and dying, in a musty cellar
Hears the wind only.
Now that the salt of their blood
Stiffens the saltier oblivion of the sea,
Seals the malignant purity of the flood,
What shall we who count our days and bow
Our heads with a commemorial woe
In the ribboned coats of grim felicity,
What shall we say of the bones, unclean,
Whose verdurous anonymity will grow?
The ragged arms, the ragged heads and eyes
Lost in these acres of the insane green?
The gray lean spiders come, they come and go;
In a tangle of willows without light
The singular screech-owl’s tight
Invisible lyric seeds the mind
With the furious murmur of their chivalry.
We shall say only the leaves
Flying, plunge and expire
We shall say only the leaves whispering
In the improbable mist of nightfall
That flies on multiple wing:
Night is the beginning and the end
And in between the ends of distraction
Waits mute speculation, the patient curse
That stones the eyes, or like the jaguar leaps
For his own image in a jungle pool, his victim.
What shall we say who have knowledge
Carried to the heart? Shall we take the act
To the grave? Shall we, more hopeful, set up the grave
In the house? The ravenous grave?