She’s Come Undone

She’s Come Undone (on Purpose)

The jeans of the young and stylish are unzipped, unbuttoned and unbothered. Why?

By Shane O’Neill

Published Sept. 16, 2022Updated Sept. 21, 2022

Prisha Jain, a student at New York University. Credit…Gabby Jones for The New York Times

If you see a young person strolling down the street, pants undone, it’s probably not an “examine your zipper” situation.

Once the province of your uncle after Thanksgiving dinner or a practical adaptation to a pregnant belly, sporting unbuttoned jeans has become a fashion statement.

“The zipper did fall a little bit, but my pants didn’t fall off,” Katie Pettit said of a pair of Levi’s that a stylist recommended she wear unbuttoned and folded down.Credit…Gabby Jones for The New York Times


https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/16/style/shes-come-undone-on-purpose.html

Dedicated to Kevin Spraggett

Magnus Carlsen is a Disgrace to His Championship

What follows is the second comment, by Brian Lafferty, made by readers in reply to the article at Chessbase, Carlsen’s public statement: “I believe that Niemann has cheated more” (https://en.chessbase.com/post/carlsen-statement-on-niemann/1#discuss)

ChessSpawnVermont
No substance whatsoever to Carlsen’s accusation. His belief is meaningless absent concrete factual proof that Niemann cheated otb in St. Louis.

NOTE to Carlsen: You do not need Niemann’s permission to set forth factual proof that Niemann cheated otb against you, if you have relevant facts as opposed to subjective feeling about Niemann’s demeanor during the otb game in St. Louis. Perhaps Niemann was just acting to psych you out. If so, it clearly worked.

All Carlsen has presented is supposition and suspicion regarding otb cheating by Niemann in St. Louis. Carsen (sic) is a disgrace to his championship.
https://en.chessbase.com/post/carlsen-statement-on-niemann#discuss

Mad Vlad Has Gone “All In”

In an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö, who has a longstanding relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin,

https://euromaidanpress.com/2015/09/17/kremlin-a-psychopathic-power-with-dangerous-illusions-vike-freiberga-says/

discussed what he has learned about Putin over the years, and what is next for his war in Ukraine. President Niinistö said, “How I see it is in poker terms. He has pushed all in.”

President Niinistö has called it “…a cruel and unprovoked war,” and a blatant violation of the Charter of the United Nations.” In addition, Zakaria said he “called on members not to accept, condone, or normalize such aggression, and this was all before Putin’s nuclear comments.” (https://www.cnn.com/videos/world/2022/09/25/finnish-president-sauli-niinisto-on-putin-gps-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/around-the-world/)

Fareed Zakaria and Finland President Sauli Niinistö

The Georgia Chess Association is in Trouble

My friend Michael Mulford is one of the good guys involved with the Royal Game of Chess. “Mulfish”, as he is known at the USCF Forum, has devoted much time to Chess over the decades, and is currently very much involved with Senior Chess. After seeing this post on the USCF Forum it seemed to differ from the first one posted:

Postby Mulfish on Sat Sep 17, 2022 8:36 am #354807
https://www.minnesotachess.com/ is the Minnesota Chess website. It now shows tournament details and a link to the registration page, though i still don’t see it on the US Chess website.

I would also caution anyone interested in playing in the Georgia Senior. The round schedule is absurdly tight, with only 4 hours between the morning and afternoon rounds and a time control of G90/ inc 30. The organizer has told me they have to finish and be out of the building by a specific time. The ad does say they provide “light food”. If I were playing, I think I’d bring my own to be sure that I could keep my blood sugar where it should be. I’d probably have used a slightly shorter time control like G/75 inc 30, but it’s hard to criticize them for wanting to use the same time control as the Irwin uses.
No amount of evidence will ever persuade an idiot – Mark Twain
http://www.uschess.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=26094

Because it differed I reached out to the Mulfish asking if it were, in fact, a different post. This was the reply:

Michael Mulford

Sat, Sep 17, 9:10 PM

This is the original; I had it only because Parnell included it in his email to me. If you wish to point out I made this original post and then edited it, that’s fine, but if you do please portray it as a revision to incorporate his explanations. He didn’t ask me to do so. I think he would have made a post of his own once he figured out how to join the forums and do so.

“I also caution anyone interested in playing in the Georgia Senior. The round schedule is absurdly tight, with only 4 hours between the morning and afternoon rounds and a time control of G90/ inc 30. I don’t know what they were thinking on this one. Perhaps they lose the site at 5 or 6 pm. If you’re going to play, I’d consider asking the organizer about that. It might be possible to persuade them to build a little more time into the schedule.”

I had questioned the new President of the Georgia Chess Association about the format, which allowed not time for rest or food between rounds a year ago when the format of the Georgia Senior was advertised. For that reason I, and several other Senior players, did not participate in the 2021 Georgia Senior. In response Mr. Watkins defended the format by informing me there would be a “charcuterie” board provided for the players. The definition of a charcuterie board is: “Sausages, ham, pâtés, and other cooked or processed meat foods.” Just what a Senior needs, right? There is nothing like processed meat served on a board that has been sitting out for hours to whet your appetite. Unfortunately, it did not whet my appetite as I do not, and have not eaten pork products for decades, and try to avoid processed food as much as possible, as do most Seniors. I met the new POTGCA at the 2022 Georgia State Chess Championships and the man is HUGE. He looked like the kind of guy who should, by all means, stay away from processed food, and immediately go on a diet to lose at least fifty, if not one hundred pounds.

POTGCA Parnell Watkins in foreground on right nest to large soda cup

In an email exchange Parnell closed with this:

“A monkey in my plans is that I have been diagnosed with a heart condition, a leaky valve. I will have to have surgery this year, and it explains finally why I hit a wall in chess (tournaments and can’t seem to get past the first couple of hours of a tournament. I always contributed to my nervous disorder causing me to become exhausted. No, my heart gives out.”

Regards,
Parnell

Mr. Watkins became POTGCA when no one ran against him. The VP of the GCA is Thad Rogers, who has his own health problems.

Magnus vs Hans: The Loser Is Chess!

One of the best things about the Atlanta Chess and Game Center was the multifarious people, who came from every walk of life while having one thing in common: Chess. I thought of this while reading an article in the New York Times, How to Change Minds? A Study Makes the Case for Talking It Out. Below the title one finds the main point of the article: Researchers found that meaty conversations among several people can align beliefs and brain patterns — so long as the group is free of blowhards. (https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/16/science/group-consensus-persuasion-brain-alignment.html)

There were the habitués who would pontificate loudly, but usually anyone could get a chance to put in their two cents worth. There were a few blowhards and occasionally the Forhorn would blow. During the time spent working there it became obvious the blowhards were all far right of the political spectrum. One extremely strident wrong-winger lost it once, balling up his fist before slamming it into the glass counter top, shattering the glass. He was never seen again, thankfully.

From the article:

“Conversation is our greatest tool to align minds,” said Thalia Wheatley, a social neuroscientist at Dartmouth College who advises Dr. Sievers. “We don’t think in a vacuum, but with other people.” The new study “suggests that the degree of similarity in brain responses depends not only on people’s inherent predispositions, but also the common ground created by having a conversation,” Dr. Leong said.

The experiment also underscored a dynamic familiar to anyone who has been steamrollered in a work meeting: An individual’s behavior can drastically influence a group decision. Some of the volunteers tried to persuade their groupmates of a cinematic interpretation with bluster, by barking orders and talking over their peers. But others — particularly those who were central players in the students’ real-life social networks — acted as mediators, reading the room and trying to find common ground. (https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/16/science/group-consensus-persuasion-brain-alignment.html)

There were myriad “meaty conversations” at the House of Pain. The President of the Georgia Chess Association, Scott Parker, was also the Tournament Director at many events. Scott was called, “The Sheriff” behind his back because he did not care to be called “Sheriff,” but with his ramrod straight deportment it fit. When The Sheriff was in the House the conversations may have been “meaty” but they were “conversations,” not shouting matches. Scott was, whether he likes it or not, The Sheriff because of the respect everyone at the House had for him.

Writing these words caused me to reflect upon those days and nights at the House and how little conversation has been engaged during the pandemic. A phone call is not the same as actually watching someone engaged in conversation; nor is an email. With that in mind I have recently been reading comments left at various websites concerning the Magnus Freak Out affair. I spent time reading the comments left by Chess fans at various websites and after copying one, wondered why I did not copy an earlier comment, so I scrolled backward and did just that. What follows could be considered modern day conversation:

Chumlychess
@DohnalSteven
Replying to
@ChampChessTour
Always admired the World Champion but unless he speaks out to his proof this seems like a wussy move

B
@damnthecatt
emotional damage for niemann his chess career is done

kiran.sol 🔮🦉
@kiranjaimon
He has an impeccable record with no controversy. If he believes something is wrong, I am inclined to agree

David Gil de Gómez
@ITStudiosi
Why anyone would defend Magnus here is beyond me.

Khan Explorer
@khan_explore
Unfortunately Magnus has too many dick riders who will keep defending him.

dd df
@dddf08021173
Disqualify Magnus for this behaviour.

Steve Holloway
@JSteveHolloway
A good lawyer sees a defamation suit against Magnus

Indian Sports Fans
@IndianSportFan
King 👑 Magnus does it again.
Magnus Carlsen vs. Hans Niemann game today, a recap:

Magnus Quits.. Why. Can anyone explain. Pls. #chessdrama #chess

CryptoSala🔁
@CryptoSala
Magnus should not participate in events with Hans in that case. Or provide evidence for Hans cheating.

Neil Merryll 👌🥀
@Neilmerryll
True its unsportsmanlike and he has no integrity

Praava 🇮🇳
@Praava97
Magnus losing all his fans really quickly. Going down the Fischer lane..

Praava 🇮🇳
@Praava97
I’m a huge fan of Magnus but this sort of behaviour is just bullish to say the least. It’s high time now that Magnus should come forward and SPEAK on the matter.

Gerry Last
@PatzerGod
I feel this is some kind of massive troll, or publicity stunt. Most likely wrong but this just doesn’t make any sense.

https://www.chessdom.com/the-carlsen-niemann-conflict-is-more-recent-than-everyone-thinks/

Vishesh Kabra
@visheshkabra
This is the new Queen’s Gambit Declined

DK
@DaleKerr
Magnus should have been sanctioned after the Sinquefield Cup, either he makes a full statement and provides some evidence, or he is banned from future tournaments. His actions are disrupting tournaments and every player, not just himself and Hans.

Martin Hansen
@bondegnasker
If he isn’t sanctioned, that raises another point about a wealthy and influential player owning his own chess server and how that affects fair play.

Kela Siame
@TheRealKela
You’re in fantasy world sir.

dot
@dot16060982
Magnus should be banned from chess tournaments

Big Alex
@Big__Alex
this summed to the fact that he will not defend his title is really a shame. He should have been punished!

Mark J. Moser
@mjmoser
I lost all respect for Magnus. Whatever Niemann did or not. Magnus should communicate and not just fan the flames of gossip and ruin the reputation of Niemann. The loser is chess!

Hic.
@TheHigherSpace
Everybody turning against Magnus .. This is weird ..

Saltybird
@saltcod1
Naa.. Hugely impressive move by Magnus in my opinion. Brutal forcing strategy.. no sweeping it under the carpet now and it will ALL come out.

The Memphis Legend B.B.Cunningham sings his 1967 #12 hit by The Hombres “Let It Out (Let It All Hang Out)” with Jeffrey and The Pacemakers at Nocturnal in Memphis on August 22, 2009.

Chess’s Cheating Crisis: Paranoia Strikes Deep

After posting the article Georgia Went First. And It Screwed Up, on Apr 30, 2020 I did not post again until almost a year later, posting, Bacon’s Back! (And there’s gonna be trouble) on Apr 22, 2021. During that year my involvement with the Royal Game came from reading the magazines New In Chess (https://www.newinchess.com/) and Chess (https://chess.co.uk/collections/chess-magazine). In an attempt to learn how extensive is the cheating problem in Chess this writer recently began digging into the subject of cheating, specifically the number of those caught cheating at Chess.com. There is a dearth of information concerning the subject online, but I did locate one excellent article which gives an idea of how extensive cheating has been at Chess.com. The title of the article is: Chess’s cheating crisis: ‘paranoia has become the culture’ and it was published Fri 16 Oct 2020 05.48 EDT in The Guardian (https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2020/oct/16/chesss-cheating-crisis-paranoia-has-become-the-culture). The article, written by Archie Bland, is excellent. I decided to publish the article in full because unless you know where you have been you have no clue where you are going. The numbers in the chart are two years old. Without knowing the actual number of players it is difficult to get a handle on what percentage of players cheat at Chess.com. These are the latest numbers obtained at Chess.com a few moments ago: 64,333 Joined in the past 24 hours! 92,609,626 Members (https://www.chess.com/members)

Please do not fail to read the last part concerning the children, even if it makes you cry.

Chess’s cheating crisis: ‘paranoia has become the culture’

As the game enjoys a boom online, players ranging from grandmasters to preteens are getting caught ‘computer doping’

Tigran Petrosian, bottom right, during his match against the world No 2, Fabiano Caruana. Photograph: YouTube

In one chess tournament, five of the top six were disqualified for cheating. In another, the doting parents of 10-year-old competitors furiously rejected evidence that their darlings were playing at the level of the world No 1. And in a third, an Armenian grandmaster booted out for suspicious play accused his opponent of “doing pipi in his Pampers”.

These incidents may sound extreme but they are not isolated – and they have all taken place online since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Chess has enjoyed a huge boom in internet play this year as in-person events have moved online and people stuck at home have sought new hobbies. But with that has come a significant new problem: a rise in the use of powerful chess calculators to cheat on a scale reminiscent of the scandals that have dogged cycling and athletics. One leading ‘chess detective’ said that the pandemic was “without doubt creating a crisis”.

The problems are not confined to chess, with similar issues reported in poker, bridge and even backgammon, but they are perhaps most disruptive for a game with a reputation for gravitas and class.

“The pandemic has brought me as much work in a single day as I have had in a year previously,” said Prof Kenneth Regan, an international chess master and computer scientist whose model is relied on by the sport’s governing body, Fide, to detect suspicious patterns of play. “It has ruined my sabbatical.”

Fide’s general director, Emil Sutovsky, described it as “a huge topic I work on dozens of hours each week”, and its president, Arkady Dvorkovich, said “computer doping” was a “real plague”.

At the heart of the problem are programs or apps that can rapidly calculate near-perfect moves in any situation. To counter these engines, players in more and more top matches must agree to be recorded by multiple cameras, be available on Zoom or WhatsApp at any time, and grant remote access to their computers. They may not be allowed to leave their screens, even for toilet breaks. In some cases they must have a “proctor” or invigilator search their room and then sit with them throughout a match.

Sutovsky has also suggested eye-tracking programs may be a way to raise a red flag if a player appears to be looking away with suspicious frequency.

Chess.com, the world’s biggest site for online play, said it had seen 12 million new users this year, against 6.5 million last year. The cheating rate has jumped from between 5,000 and 6,000 players banned each month last year to a high of almost 17,000 in August.

Gerard Le-Marechal, the head of the site’s fair play team, said he had brought in three new members of staff to deal with the problem. “I think it’s to do with people being cooped up. It’s just so easy to do, so alluring, and it’s without doubt creating a crisis.”

The growth in cheating and a corresponding explosion in social media discussion of the problem has created a new atmosphere of suspicion and recrimination. “Paranoia has become the culture,” said Le-Marechal, whom a friend declared “the cyber chess detective” when he got the job. “There is this very romantic vision of the game which is being scuppered.”

While chess.com is reluctant to reveal details of its system, Regan describes his as “a model that detects cheating as the deviation from the proclivities of an honest human player”. With enough evidence, such models produce a high level of confidence that a given player could not possibly have played a particular set of moves unaided.

The most prominent of the recent disqualifications came in the PRO Chess League when the St Louis Arch Bishops, a team made up of top American players, lost in the final to the underdog Armenia Eagles.

The Eagles’ victory rested on the performance of Tigran Petrosian, an Armenian grandmaster and the world No 260, who stunned commentators with his victory over Fabiano Caruana, ranked second in the world.

Petrosian attributed his play to the gin he sipped during the game. But suspicious observers suggested he seemed to be glancing away from his screen frequently, and chess.com later overturned the team’s wins and banned him for life.

Petrosian later called the claims “idiotic, invented allegations”. He posted a lengthy rant addressed to another opponent, the world No 8 Wesley So: “You are a biggest looser [sic] I ever seen in my life! You was doing PiPi in your pampers when I was beating players much more stronger than you!… you are like a girl crying after I beat you!”

So, for his part, told the Guardian in an email that he felt sorry for Petrosian. Perhaps thinking of Lance Armstrong, he added: “I was a big fan of a certain cyclist and a part of me understands the pressure to succeed at all costs. At the same time I feel pain for other competitors … Who will restore what was taken from them?”

Conrad Schormann, who has covered the cheating crisis as news editor of chesstech.org, notes that Petrosian did not appear to get help on every move, making the suspicious behaviour even harder to spot. “In his games there were abnormalities, sequences that he played godlike, but there were blunders as well,” he said.

Such controversies have been replicated even in the lower-stakes world of junior play. Sarah Longson, a former British ladies’ champion who runs the Delancey UK Schools’ Chess Challenge, said at least 100 of 2,000 online participants cheated.

The cheating was blatant, she said, with mediocre preteens at the level of the world champion, Magnus Carlsen. “But only three of them admitted it, which is pretty disgusting.” After realising the night before the final that the top three qualifiers had all been cheating, she said, “we stayed up til 3am deciding what to do” and nearly cancelled altogether.

Sarah Longson runs the Delancey UK Schools’ Chess Challenge. Photograph: Christopher Thomond/The Guardian

“It’s the children from the private schools, sadly,” she said. “When I ring their parents they just get angry with me. They’re under such pressure to succeed.”

Without a significant culture change, most say, the cheats are unlikely to go straight. Regan is realistic but determined. “If you cheat on a single move I will disclaim any ability to catch you,” he said. “You can fly under the radar. But if you keep going at the same rate, you will come into the radar in the end.”
https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2020/oct/16/chesss-cheating-crisis-paranoia-has-become-the-culture

It has become obvious Hans Niemann is not an anomaly. Cheating has become endemic in Chess. The young man has copped to online, but not over the board cheating. I refuse to cast a stone at Mr. Niemann. From the numbers it appears there are many thousands, if not millions, of Chess players who will not be able to cast a stone at Hans Niemann, yet many have thrown that rock while continuing to cheat with impunity.