An email received from a friend, who was concerned since the AW has not posted in a few days, prompted this post. He thought maybe the Russians had decided to silence the AW. Fact is I had to be taken by ambulance to the hospital when my back again ‘went out on me’. I have had to take it easy and limit the time spent on the interwovenwebofallthings.
There was one development found while surfing worthy of comment. Daaim Shabazz,
the founder of excellent blog, The Chess Drum,
published an informative article, Discussion: The Future for Chess and FIDE (https://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/2022/07/22/discussion-the-future-for-chess-and-fide/). I looked for an article on all of the major Chess websites, Chessdom, Chessbase, Chess24, and Chess.com, to no avail. The following day I looked again, finding an article at Chessdom, which has recently become my number one “go to” website for Chess news, but after looking again today it was unable to be located.
As a general rule I do not spend much time reading about or listening to politicians because life is too short, especially at my age, to waste any of it listening to some blowhard say whatever it is they happen to think will obtain your vote. Daaim succinctly summarizes the ninety minute “discussion” in a couple of minutes.
Mr. Shabazz writes: “Yesterday the Association of Chess Professionals held a roundtable hosting the FIDE Presidential Candidates on the future for chess. The FIDE Presidential Election will be held on August 7, 2022, at the FIDE General Assembly in Chennai, India. The topic of the discussion was, “The Next 4 Years – The Future for Chess and FIDE.”
“Out of the four tickets, only three presidential candidates were present: Arkady Dvorkovich, Anrdii Baryshpolets, and Bachar Kouatly. The “Best Move” candidate Inal Sheripov was not present. The discussion is hosted by Maria Gevorgyan and Yuri Garrett, ACP Deputy President.”
“Following a seven-minute introduction from each person was a lively 90-minute discussion on a variety of topics including the perceived political entanglement of FIDE and Russia. The bulk of the time was spent discussing the future for chess and how it would navigate the changing landscape of for the sport. There was a lot of talk among the three candidates about widening the scope of chess to include underrepresented regions. There was also some time discussing increasing participation of girls and women.”
At the end of the discussion, each candidate was able to ask any combination of two questions of the other candidates. Predictably, there were many statements directed at Dvorkovich who stands in a situation made more tenuous by Carlsen bolting from the cycle and forfeiting his title. Baroshypolets questions were directly at Arkady as were Kouatly’s. Baryshpolets provocatively asked Dvorkovich, “Aren’t you ashamed of what you do to the chess world?” This was in reference to his Kremlin past as Deputy Prime Minister and the implications that he retains ties in Russia. Dvorkovich pushed back strongly and continued to tout the administration’s list of successes. Bachar Kouatly asked, “Will you resign if you are sanctioned? Arkady replied, “Yes.”
“Very interesting discussion!”
What does it say about the current state of Chess that a genocidal Russian is currently the head of FIDE? What happens if that very same genocidal Russian, the nefarious Dvorkovich, who takes his orders from the Madman, Vladimir Putin,
wins reelection? The fact is that all the Russians surrounding Mad Vlad take their orders from the monster, while living their lives in fear of displeasing the genocidal maniac. A vote for the Dvork is a vote for Mad Vlad. The question is, “Why is the Mad Vlad proxy being allowed to run for any FIDE office again?” What will be the future of the Royal Game and what kind of message will Chess be sending the world if the Dvork is again elected?
The St. Louis Chess Club AND Scholastic Center was in its infancy when I played in the St. Louis Open there in the spring of 2009. In the second round I faced a young boy, Kevin Cao, who was an expert at the start of the tourney. Playing my favorite Bishop’s opening the boy did not take advantage of the opportunities my play afforded, putting him in a difficult position. My opponent had been keeping score on a gizmo called “Monroi.” When the going got tough my opponent pulled the hood of his jacket over his head and placed his gizmo on the table, eschewing the actual chessboard in order to focus only on the chessboard on his gizmo. Since this violated the rules of chess, I lodged a protest with the TD’s. The rule is simple and clear: 11.3 a) During play the players are forbidden to use any notes, sources of information or advice, or analyse any game on another chessboard. (https://chess24.com/en/read/news/us-champs-r9-so-forfeited-amid-family-turmoil)
The tournament director’s did not see it that way. Since the Monroi was a USCF “approved” gizmo they had trouble ruling the only way they should under rule 11.3. They decided to “compromise” by asking my opponents father have his son not use the gizmo as a chessboard the rest of the game. I agreed to this, and so did the father, albeit reluctantly. This was done because I was playing a child. If my opponent had been an adult I would not have agreed, but insisted he be forfeited because the rule is clear. Things change dramatically when a child is involved.
After a few more moves my opponent’s position deteriorated, and he was in also in time pressure which happens with a G/2 time control. His father, seeing this while constantly hovering over the board, told his son to do go back to using his gizmo. The boy then pulled his hood over his head and placed his gizmo on the table and again eschewed the actual chessboard. I protested, the clocks were stopped and into the TD room we went. This time things became, shall we say, heated. Actually, the father went ballistic. Some time later the USCF issued a ruling castigating the father for “reprehensible behaviour.” The father took his son home and when his time ran out, I was declared the “winner.” The young boy dropped back into the “A” class because of the loss. He is now rated 2300+.
This was written about and discussed on the forum of the St. Louis Chess Club AND Scholastic Center, which no longer exists, and some have said it is no longer in existence was because of what was written on it, none of it positive toward me. Simply put, I was vilified. Much was written on the USCF forum at the time, where I was also excoriated unmercifully.
I closely followed the recent US Championship tournament, the one now called the “Open” tournament, as opposed to the one called the “Women’s” tournament. GM Wesley So is obviously a supremely talented chess player. I found the interviews with him intriguing, to say the least. After the interview early in the tournament,maybe the very first round, the one in which he mentions playing weakly in the middle game after not seeing his foster mother for some time, (She had been with Jeanne Sinquefield he said) I told the Legendary Georgia Ironman something was obviously “not right” about Mr. So. I could not put my finger on it, but knew something was wrong.
Much has been written about Wesley being forfeited, and I have read everything found on the interweb. I would like to share some of it with you, then share a few comments of my own.
“Akobian complained that this distracted him”!? What is the motive behind this statement? To me it looks like a “sucker punch” from Akopian to get an easy win. Chess referees should according to the rules always apply common sense. And the nature of this incident considering the actual writing of So does not by any means amount to such a serious offence that So should forfeit his game against Akopian.” – thomas.dyhr (Thomas Dyhr, Denmark)
“This decision is absolutely ridiculous I take it So has been writing on his scoresheet sometimes which would show on his copy handed in and is against Fide rules ok and Rich told him this.
He gets a blank piece of paper instead to write some thought positives and Akobian complains to Rich who forfeits So.
Akobian if he was distracted by So’s actions should have asked him to stop first.
Rich should have seen that this was not writing on a scoresheet which he warned him about and if he was not allowing So to write on blank paper as well told him to stop immediately and if So complied let the game continue.
Akobian and Rich do not come out of this with any credit and Akobian should be ashamed of himself as a man of integrity.” – Gilshie (Thomas Gilmore, United Kingdom)
Many chess writers and commentators seem to have little better to do this weekend than to talk about a silly forfeit incident in the US championship, so I will throw in a few of my own observations.
The first is that even though some tournament rule might give the tournament arbiter, Tony Rich, the POWER or the AUTHORITY to forfeit Wesley So , no rule –just because it is written–gave Tony Rich the RIGHT to forfeit Wesley So for doing what he did. So offended no one nor did he disrespect his opponent; he caused no disturbence, nor did he cheat. Wesley So’s actions were not designed to give him anything other than peace of mind and a calm spirit.
Please understand that I am not saying that Akobian–who is a perfect gentleman– acted wrongly when he drew to the arbiter’s attention So’s actions. Nor am I saying that Tony Rich acted incorrectly when he decided to act according to the written rules. And especially I am not saying that So was right when he lashed out when interviewed afterwards…there were CLEARLY better ways to have handled the situation.
What I am trying to say is that once more the game of chess DESERVES to be belittled because of this incident. ONCE MORE, mainstream media will target and make fun of us. Chess LOST some prestige on that day. When Jon Stewart recently did a humorous skit on the USCF trying to recruit F.Caruana for the national team, many–including ChessBase–thought it was also a bit insulting to the game of chess. Perhaps it was a bit insulting, even though it might not have been intended to be insulting…
But until the day we (the chess community) STOP allowing silly and poorly written rules to hurt and denigrate the noble game of chess in the eyes of normal and intelligent onlookers (and let us not forget about potential sponsors and patrons), then we deserve to be insulted a little bit more each time…” – Grandmaster Kevin Spraggett
“Guess my point is – even if he warned So, forfeiting is a staggering over-reaction. Threaten with forfeit = fine. Actually doing it = insane” – GM Jon Ludvig Hammer (Also from the aforementioned chess24 article, and if you click on this, you will find more comments, including this one by IM Mark Ginsburg, “Correct. Time penalty first. This action was wildly disproportionate as GM Hammer points out. Bad call.”)
GM Emil Sutovsky, President at Association of Chess Professionals, wrote this on his Facebook page (taken from the aforementioned chess24 article) “The arbiter’s decision to forfeit Wesley So for writing down irrelevant notes on his scoresheet during the game seems weird to me. Indeed, that can be seen as a violation of rules: ” 8.1 b. The scoresheet shall be used only for recording the moves, the times of the clocks, offers of a draw, matters relating to a claim and other relevant data.” And arbiter has repeatedly urged Wesley to stop it. But awarding a loss is way too harsh a punishment for such a minor sin. Yes, it can be disturbing for the opponent, and the arbiter could and should have deducted the time on Wesley’s clock for disturbing the opponent. And to keep deducting it (2 minutes each time), if needed after each move (warning Wesley, that a forfeit will come after 2nd or 3rd deduction). That was the most painless and logical decision. Unfortunately, the arbiter has preferred the most brutal solution. These things should not happen.”
It should be obvious from the above that the TD, Tony Rich, and the St. Louis Chess Club AND Scholastic Center have not come out of this sordid incident in a favorable light. As GM Spraggett says, once again chess has suffered a black eye. I agree with Kevin when he writes, “…no rule –just because it is written–gave Tony Rich the RIGHT to forfeit Wesley So for doing what he did.” The reputation of the St. Louis Chess Club AND Scholastic Center has been sullied.
The punishment should fit the crime. As GM Kevin Spraggett writes, “So offended no one nor did he disrespect his opponent; he caused no disturbence, nor did he cheat. Wesley So’s actions were not designed to give him anything other than peace of mind and a calm spirit.”
Contrast this with how I was treated at the St. Louis Chess Club AND Scholastic Center. My opponent violated the rule in order to gain an ADVANTAGE! GM Wesley So did no such thing. He is one of the elite chess players in the world and has no need to gain an advantage against any other player in the world.
If one closely examines the rule, “11.3 a) During play the players are forbidden to use any notes, sources of information or advice, or analyse any game on another chessboard,” it is clear the meaning is that a player cannot use any “NOTES, sources of information or advice,” to help, or assist him in regard to making his MOVES. A player cannot utilize a book, or gizmo containing chess information, or any “advice” from another person. There is no ambiguity here.
I was not there and do not know EXACTLY what Tony Rich said to Wesley, but from what I heard on the broadcast, and have now read, GM So was under the impression he could not write on his scoresheet, so he wrote on another piece of paper. How culpable is Tony Rich in this matter? Did he make himself COMPLETELY understood? Besides, as “Najdork” (Miguel Najdork, from Nepal) commented, “Also I would like to point out how from rule 8.1 you are allowed to write on the scoresheet any “relevant data”, and that is so vague that I guess you could write almost anything.” Who defines what is “relevant?” Your relevant may differ from what I consider “relevant.” For example, what if your opponent in a Senior event wrote on his scoresheet, “Take heart medication at 3 PM.” Who, other than GM Varuzhan Akobian, would complain? And who, other than Tony Rich would forfeit the man? I know Tony Rich. As Tony reminded me in 2009, I won our game at the Missouri State Championship in 2002 in Rollo. He was nice to me then, and has been every time I have encountered him, such as at the US Open in Indiana a few years ago. I liked Tony until he lost his mind. What could possibly have motivated the man to issue this stupid ruling, which will have lasting repercussions? If you were Wesley So would you join the American team at the Olympiad?
“In love with this rule: “12.2 The arbiter shall: b. act in the best interest of the competition.” Common sense.” – GM Jon Ludvig Hammer.
The forfeit defies common sense. “Judges are like umpires. Umpires don’t make the rule; they apply them. The role of an umpire and a judge is critical. They make sure everybody plays by the rules. But it is limited role. Nobody ever went to a ball game to see the umpire.” – John Roberts, Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court to the Senate Judiciary Committee in September 2005. (http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/10/when-the-umpire-is-playing-for-the-other-team/262429/)
No one watches a chess tournament to see the TD. In lieu of watching Wesley So play GM Akobian, the world was instead subjected to a TD try and explain his “logic.” As many a TD has proven over the years, the less involved they are, the better the outcome.
None of this made any sense to me until reading this, “In the final reckoning Wesley So’s forfeit had no effect on the top three standings. Even a win against Akobian would only have tied So with Ray Robson on 7.5/11, and since he lost against Robson he would still have finished third. The person who has a real cause for complaint seems to be Gata Kamsky, who was edged out of 5th place – his goal in order to qualify for the World Cup later this year – by Akobian.” (https://chess24.com/en/read/news/nakamura-and-krush-are-2015-us-champions)
There it is, the reason for this whole debacle. It always comes down to “Who profits?”
The whole affair is disgusting, and sickening. It proves only that a TD has only one rule by witch to abide: Do What Thy Wilt! There should be some kind of punishment for a TD who oversteps his bounds. I have seen far too many tournament director’s puff out their chest while strutting around singing, “I’ve got the power,” such as Richard Crespo, the former TD spending his days in prison after abducting a woman and shooting it out with police in San Antonio, Texas a decade ago.
I am embarrassed, and ashamed, to be an American involved with chess. This putrid affair rivals anything I have written about FIDE and the nefarious Russians. United States chess has reached a new low. Tony Rich has now made everyone forget about L. Walter Stephens, the TD who awarded Sammy Reshevsky a win against Arnold Denker in the 1942 US Championship even though it was Sammy who lost on time. The game will die before the shock waves emanating from this debacle subside. The St. Louis Chess Club AND Scholastic Center touts itself as the US Capital of Chess. Knowledgable players and fans know that three of the players in the Championship, Sam Shankland, Sam Sevian, and Daniel Naroditsky, cut their chess teeth in the San Francisco Bay area, home of the oldest chess club in America, the venerable Mechanic’s Insitute Chess Room. If any area should be acknowledged as the “Capital of US Chess,” it is San Francisco, in lieu of the neuveau rich, faux chess club AND scholastic center in St. Louis, which has now been tarnished. No longer can it be considered a “leading light,” or “shining example.”
I can only hope this affair does not dessiccate Wesley So’s desire. If one watches the interviews with Mr. So during the US Chess Championship he will see a dramatic change in Wesley as the tournament progressed. Hopefully, this will fire him up and prod Wesley to play the kind of chess of which he is capable culminating in a match for the World Chess Championship.
The headline is, “ACP proposals anti-cheating committee.” I thought that meant the ACP, the Association of Chess Professionals, had proposed a committee, but upon reading it became obvious the ACP already has a committee, and it met Oct 2-3. The article, written by Yuri Gelfer, is dated Oct. 7, 2013. It begins, “On Oct. 2 and 3, the ACP Anti-Cheating delegation composed of ACP Board Director IO Yuri Garrett (ITA), IA Laurent Freyd (FRA), GM Konstantin Landa (RUS) and IM Prof. Kenneth Regan (USA) joined FIDE Vice President Mr. Israel Gelfer, Chairman of the joint ACP/FIDE Anti-Cheating Committee, for what proved to be two very successful days of meetings in the premises of the French Federation at Elancourt.”
The article states, “The ACP proposals include, among other things: – a very sophisticated and scientifically verified statistical tool elaborated by Prof. Kenneth Regan for detecting suspicious play.” This caught my attention. I thought of a recent letter to Chessbase in response to the article, “Ivanov ends his chess career.”
Helmut Grass, Frankfurt
“Tal, Karpov and Anand managed to win games against GMs using almost no time on the clock. Most probably this Ivanov is not one of them. But I want real evidence, no statistics or Houdini bs, please! If you think it’s in his shoes then go for them – even if they’re smelly!” http://www.chessbase.com/Home/TabId/211/PostId/4011410/ivanov-ends-his-chess-career-051013.aspx
Professor Regan stopped playing chess for a career working with computers. It is in his interest to advocate using a computer program to detect alleged cheating in chess by utilizing a computer chess program. Am I the only one who has a problem with using the cause of the problem to allegedly detect said problem? Who watches the watchers?
Chessbase has printed other responses, including these two, with which I wholeheartedly agree:
“Wow. Are you guys serious? This article is kind of irresponsible. You proved nothing and acted as if you caught the guy red-handed. It is interesting he won’t take his shoes off, and you are free to speculate. But please don’t act like you busted him. Also the concept that he can control chess software with his feet is laughable. I am wondering about the sanity and morality of a lot of involved parties, and Ivanov is not at the top of the list. How awful if he is just some innocent kid sick of being harassed by paranoid grandmasters. I don’t know the truth, but either catch him the act or quiet down and let him play. Please no more published articles on this with zero proof.”
Inda Anebira, Abuja, Nigeria
“I could only sigh in disappointment at ChessBase after reading this article. This is irresponsible journalism! You even went to great lengths to stick a phone in a shoe just to make your case creating, instead, a ridiculous conclusion to a rambling, speculative, and verbose article. As a chess player, do I feel Ivanov is cheating? Yes. But as a scientist, have I seen any definitive proof that he is? No, I have not. So until someone can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he is indeed cheating, we need to refrain from publicly slandering him. His grandmaster detractors can either choose to play him or avoid him. As with ‘The Turk’ in the 18th Century, some had their doubts. But they played against it anyway, at least until the secret was unraveled. GM Dlugy is entitled to his own set of opinions but not to his own set of facts.”
O. Al Hamilton once told me he was filled with fear any time he had to face a much lower rated player. I wondered why and, naturally, had to ask. “Because I am afraid they may play the game of their life!” Why would anyone choose to participate in a chess tournament knowing that if they happened to play the game of their life they may be subjected to the command of, “Bend over and spread ‘em?”
The word committee invariably makes me think of a couple of quotes by Fred Allen. “A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling to do the unnecessary.” And, “Committee – a group of men who individually can do nothing but as a group decide that nothing can be done.”
I urge you to read the entire article, with its myriad proposals, including this one for lesser players, “By way of example, the ACP proposed that all electronic devices should be banned in top level tournaments, whereas in amateur/professional tournaments they should only be away from the player’s reach. This means that, in minor tournament, electronic devices can be taken into the playing hall and separately stored (e.g. in a bag), but no player will be allowed to carry them with him (in a pocket, in a jacket, in a bag etc.) during play, even if turned off.” http://www.chessprofessionals.org/content/acp-proposals-anti-cheating-committee#sthash.eqkm2Z8K.dpuf