Dark Side of the 2015 US Chess Championship

At the beginning of February an interesting article appeared on the USCF website, “Shankland on his Rise From GM to Top Hundred: Part I” By GM Sam Shankland, dated February 3, 2015. After perusing the article I went to the trouble of cutting and pasting it in order to save it in hopes of being able to read it later. Part II appeared February 12, 2015 and I once again copied and saved the article. Although I have had the time I have yet to go back to it, but it has been on my mind.

I brought the article to the attention of the Legendary Georgia Ironman. When I mentioned the games were not complete, but truncated, with diagrams, Tim related something he had seen decades ago at a major tournament such as the New York or World Open. The Ironman recalled being near when now FM Miles Ardaman wanted GM William Lombardy to look at a position. “Do you have the moves leading up to the position?” asked Father Lombardy. Miles said he did not, and the GM said, “In that case I have no interest in the position whatsoever,” and walked away.

I was gratified to here this because I, too, have always felt that past is prologue, and if you do not know where you have been, you do not know where you are going. It means something because there is the “chess door” principle. The higher rated players walk through the door first and a Grandmaster enters before a floored Expert. One of the wonderful things about the game of chess is that it matters not what title one has in the world outside of chess. It does not matter what elected office one holds in the chess world, or how many times one posts on any chess forum, the only thing that matters is one’s strength at playing the Royal game.

The Ironman said he could not understand why the opening moves had not been given in light of the fact that an article on the endgame in a recent Chess Life by IM Danny Kopec on the “Browne Endgame” contained the moves leading up to the position in the diagram, “Just like the endgame book Smitty had squirreled away you found at that downtown library book sale.” The Ironman was referring to, Exploring the Endgame by Peter Griffiths. He also made a comment about how the USCF does not have an interactive feature as do most, if not all, chess websites. “The USCF is so far behind the times it has 1995 type features,” he said. The Ironman is correct because it is a fact the USCF has been behind the curve when it comes to anything computer for the past quarter century, if not longer.

The Ironman also decried that such an article would be posted on the scroll at the USCF online website in lieu of in the magazine. I concur with the Ironman’s astute assessment of the situation. Chess Life proudly boasts on the cover that it is, “The World’s Most Widely Read Chess Magazine.” Would that not seem to be reason enough to have the article included in the moribund magazine? As it is, to read the article I would need to have my computer sitting next to my chessboard, which is possible with a laptop, but not for someone like Tim who has a much larger home unit. Even with a laptop it is unwieldy with a board, and I have never done so. When I have my board on the table I have a book or magazine, open.
I realize it is possible to print out the article, but I have no printer. I also realize it would be possible to obtain the missing moves by finding the games online, but why should I have to go to all the trouble, especially when there is so much chess readily available online, and all I have to do is plug in and turn on without having to jump through all those hoops?

I mention this because the US Championship is only about a week away, and there may not be any better article to read before the first round begins. “I did not know Wesley So was playing this year,” the Legendary one exclaimed the other day. “Now I am really FIRED UP!” The Ironman is not the only one…it is almost time for Yaz & Jen, not to mention Maurice & the ‘puter…I can hardly wait!

Yet there is a dark side to the tournament…This can be found on the USCF forum:

Post: #289601 by sunmaid on Wed Feb 04, 2015 10:58 pm
Last year Kamsky, Akobian and Lenderman tied for first place at the US championship and it was only through a very unfair playoff system that Gata Kamsky was ultimately crowned champion. Since Kamsky and Akobian are in, I think it would have been a wise decision to give the wild card entry to Alex Lenderman. Sam Sevian is an exciting young player, but he will get his chance in many years to come to play in this tournament.
http://www.uschess.org/forums/viewtopic.php&f=24&t=21044

It is a travesty that one of the players who TIED FOR FIRST PLACE last year is not included in the field this year. This brings SHAME on all involved with the tournament, and especially on the pooh-bahs of the USCF, who obviously have no shame. Only someone like Darth Cheney would be content with this sorry state of affairs…(http://www.ora.tv/offthegrid/senator-angus-king-vs-darth-cheney-0_4ub9v4vxhn35)

Shankland on his Rise From GM to Top Hundred: Part I
By GM Sam Shankland
February 3, 2015
http://www.uschess.org/content/view/12944/798/

Shankland on his Rise From GM to Top Hundred: Part II
By GM Sam Shankland
February 12, 2015
http://www.uschess.org/content/view/12954/798/

GM Sam Shankland – Official Site
http://www.samshankland.com/index

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“Big Bad” Badrakh Galmandakh Plays the Mieses Opening

Unlike most chess fans I look forward to the opening round of an Open event in lieu of the final round because the last round usually devolves into a song by Big Maybelle, better known from the 1957 rockabilly song by Jerry Lee Lewis, “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On.” Or as the Legendary Georgia Ironman, who has done a fair amount of shakin’ himself, has been heard to say, the last round usually turns into a “Big ‘ol group hug.” The first round is more interesting because of the huge rating disparity, affording the possibility of an upset. Players of my level, “weakies” according to Bobby Fischer, have a chance at glory. Lower rated players can benefit from playing over the games of other lower rated players in order to discern where they went wrong; what kind of mistakes they made. In addition, more “offbeat” openings are played in the opening round and not the “round up the usual suspect” openings. It may be true that one should play so-called “main lines,” but how interesting is it to play over a game when the same twenty moves have been trotted out yet again?

In the opening round of the recent 2015 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival Badrakh Galmandakh, representing Mongolia, rated 2240 by the FIDE, sat down behind the White pieces to battle GM Alexander Motylev, rated 2665, the 78th highest rating in the world. As he played his first move Badrakh reached for his Queen pawn, and moved it one square, to d3. This caused me to think of the famous game between World Champion Anatoly Karpov and English GM Tony Miles at the 1980 European Team championship when, in reply to Karpov’s first move of 1 e4, Tony answered with a move which shocked Karpov and stunned the chess world, 1…a6. The game ended in victory for the Englishman.

Upon reflection I also considered something contained in the regular column by GM Andy Soltis in the January issue of Chess Life magazine, “It seems to me that in non-standard positions, chess players have become significantly weaker,” GM Boris Gulko said in a recent Chesspro.com interview. “Because all their strength and energy goes into working with the computer.”

Galmandakh, Badrakh (2240) – GM Motylev, Alexander (2665)
Gibraltar Masters 2015 Round 1
1.d3 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.dxe4 Qxd1+ 4.Kxd1 e5 5.Be3 Nf6 6.f3 Nbd7 7.Nd2 a5 8.a4 Bc5 9.Nc4 Bxe3 10.Nxe3 Nc5 11.Nc4 Nfd7 12.Nh3 Ke7 13.c3 Nb6 14.Nxb6 cxb6 15.Bc4 Bd7 16.b3 Rac8 17.Bd5 Rc7 18.Nf2 Rhc8 19.Kc2 f5 20.c4 fxe4 21.Nxe4 Na6 22.Kb2 Nb4 23.Rad1 Bf5 24.Rhe1 Rd8 25.Ng3 Nd3+ 26.Kc3 Nxe1 27.Nxf5+ Kf6 28.Ne3 Nxg2 29.Nxg2 h5 30.Ne3 g5 31.Rg1 Rg7 32.Be4 Rdd7 33.Nd5+ Ke6 34.h3 Rd6 35.Ne3 Rd8 36.Bd5+ Kf6 37.Rg2 Rgd7 38.Be4 Rg7 39.Nd5+ Ke6 40.Nxb6 Rd1 41.Rh2 Rc1+ 42.Kb2 Re1 43.Nd5 Kf7 44.Nc3 Ke8 45.Kc2 Ra1 46.Kd2 Rf1 47.Bd5 Kd8 48.Ne4 Ke7 49.Ng3 Ra1 50.Kc3 Rg6 51.Bxb7 Re1 52.Be4 Rb6 53.Bd3 Rf6 54.Be2 Kd7 55.Nxh5 Rb6 56.Bd3 Re3 57.Rf2 Rd6 58.Rd2 Rxf3 59.Kc2 Ke7 60.Ng7 e4 61.Bxe4 Rxd2+ 62.Kxd2 Rxh3 63.Nf5+ Kf6 64.Ne3 Ke5 65.Bg2 Rh7 66.c5 Kd4 67.c6 Rc7 68.Nc4 g4 69.Na3 Kc5 70.Nb5 Rc8 71.c7 Kb6 72.Ke3 Rf8 73.Bh1 g3 74.Bg2 Rf2 75.c8=Q Re2+ 76.Kf4 Rf2+ 77.Bf3 1-0

Like I said, everyone loves an upset, except the one having been upset. Galmandakh did not stop there, but played 1 d3 again, and again. He played it in all five games in which he opened the game!

Galmandakh, Badrakh (2240) – GM Bartel, Mateusz (2631)
Gibraltar Masters 2015 Round 3
1.d3 b5 2.e4 Bb7 3.Nf3 g6 4.Bd2 Bg7 5.Bc3 Nf6 6.a4 a6 7.axb5 axb5 8.Rxa8 Bxa8 9.g3 c5 10.b4 cxb4 11.Bxb4 Nc6 12.Bc3 b4 13.Bb2 Qb6 14.Qe2 b3 15.c3 O-O 16.Bg2 d5 17.exd5 Nxd5 18.O-O Qa5 19.Nfd2 Rb8 20.Nc4 Qd8 21.d4 Na7 22.Nbd2 Nb5 23.Qd3 Nbc7 24.Na5 Ne6 25.Qa6 Ndf4 26.Nc6 Bxc6 27.Qxc6 Nd3 28.Rb1 Qa5 29.Qc4 Qf5 30.f4 Nxb2 31.Rxb2 Qc2 32.Rxb3 Rd8 33.d5 Qxd2 34.dxe6 Qe3+ 35.Kh1 Rd1+ 36.Bf1 fxe6 37.Kg2 Kf7 38.Rb2 Bf6 39.Re2 Qb6 40.Qb4 Qc6+ 41.Qe4 Qd6 42.Re1 Rd2+ 43.Re2 Bxc3 44.Rxd2 Qxd2+ 45.Kh3 Qd5 46.Bd3 Bd4 47.Qxd5 exd5 48.Kg4 Kf6 49.h4 Bf2 50.Kf3 Be1 51.h5 gxh5 52.Bxh7 e5 53.fxe5+ Kxe5 54.Bg6 Ba5 55.Kg2 h4 56.gxh4 Kf4 57.Bh7 d4 58.Kh3 Kf3 59.Bg6 Ke2 60.Kg2 d3 61.Bxd3+ Kxd3 ½-½

Galmandakh, Badrakh (2240) – IM Das, Arghyadip (2476)
Gibraltar Masters 2015 Round 5
1.d3 c5 2.g3 Nc6 3.Bg2 d5 4.Nf3 g6 5.O-O Bg7 6.Nbd2 e6 7.e4 Nge7 8.a4 b6 9.Re1 h6 10.h4 a5 11.Nf1 Ba6 12.c3 d4 13.c4 e5 14.Bh3 O-O 15.h5 Qd6 16.N1d2 Nb4 17.Ra3 Bb7 18.Nh4 Bf6 19.Ndf3 Kh7 20.Kg2 Nbc6 21.Rh1 Ng8 22.Bg4 Kg7 23.Bd2 Nce7 24.Qc1 Bxh4 25.Nxh4 f5 26.Bf3 fxe4 27.Bxe4 Bxe4+ 28.dxe4 g5 29.Bxg5 hxg5 30.Qxg5+ Kh7 31.Ng6 Rf6 32.Qxe5 Nxg6 33.hxg6+ Kxg6 34.Qxd6 Rxd6 35.Rd3 Re8 36.Re1 Rde6 37.f3 Nf6 38.Rd2 Nxe4 39.fxe4 Rxe4 40.Rxe4 Rxe4 41.Kf3 Kf5 42.Rd3 Re1 43.g4+ Kg5 44.Rb3 Re6 45.Kg3 Rd6 46.Rf3 d3 47.Rf5+ Kg6 48.Rf1 d2 49.Rd1 Rd4 50.b3 Kg5 51.Kf2 Kxg4 52.Ke3 Kg3 53.Rg1+ Kh2 54.Rd1 Kg2 55.Ke2 Rd6 56.Ke3 Re6+ 57.Kd3 Kg3 58.Kc2 Rd6 59.Rh1 Kg2 60.Rd1 Kf3 61.Rxd2 Rxd2+ 62.Kxd2 Kf2 63.Kd3 Ke1 64.Ke4 Kd2 65.Kd5 Kc3 66.Kc6 Kxb3 67.Kxb6 Kb4 68.Kc6 Kxc4 0-1

Galmandakh, Badrakh (2240) – GM Tarjan, James E (2518)
Gibraltar Masters 2015 Round 7
1.d3 g6 2.g3 Bg7 3.Bg2 c5 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.O-O e5 6.c4 Nge7 7.Nc3 d6 8.Ne1 Be6 9.Nc2 d5 10.cxd5 Nxd5 11.Ne4 Qe7 12.Ng5 O-O 13.Nxe6 Qxe6 14.Ne3 Nde7 15.a4 Rad8 16.Nc4 Rd7 17.a5 Rc8 18.Bd2 Nd5 19.Qa4 Nd4 20.Rfe1 b5 21.axb6 axb6 22.Na3 Nc7 23.Qc4 b5 24.Qxe6 Ncxe6 25.Be3 Rb8 26.Rac1 Bf8 27.Kf1 Rd6 28.Bxd4 Rxd4 29.Nc2 Rd7 30.Ra1 ½-½

Galmandakh, Badrakh (2240) – IM Docx, Stefan (2450)
Gibraltar Masters 2015 Round 9
1.d3 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.e4 Bc5 4.Nxe5 Bxf2+ 5.Kxf2 Nxe5 6.d4 Nc6 7.c3 Qh4+ 8.g3 Qxe4 9.Bd3 Qd5 10.Re1+ Nce7 11.Na3 d6 12.Be4 Qe6 13.Bxb7 Qf5+ 14.Qf3 Qxf3+ 15.Bxf3 Rb8 16.b3 Bb7 17.d5 Nf6 18.Bg5 Kd7 19.c4 Ng6 20.Bxf6 gxf6 21.Nb5 Ne5 22.Be4 a6 23.Nd4 Rbe8 24.Kg2 c5 25.dxc6+ Nxc6 26.Bxc6+ Bxc6+ 27.Nxc6 Kxc6 28.Rxe8 Rxe8 29.Rf1 Re6 30.Rf5 Re2+ 31.Rf2 Re6 ½-½

Badrakh Galmandakh faced three GM’s, and two IM’s, and battled them to a draw with the Mieses opening, scoring 2 1/2 out of 5 games. He was out rated by an average of 308 points and finished the tournament with a PR with White of 2548.

If you are curious, as was I, about how he played as Black, here are the games:

IM Donchenko, Alexander (2511) – Galmandakh, Badrakh (2240)
Gibraltar Masters 2015 Round 2
1.d4 d6 2.Nf3 Bg4 3.e4 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.h3 Bh5 6.Qe2 d5 7.Qb5+ Nbd7 8.exd5 Bxf3 9.gxf3 exd5 10.Nxd5 Bd6 11.Qe2+ Kf8 12.Nc3 Bb4 13.Bd2 Bxc3 14.bxc3 c5 15.Bg2 Qc7 16.O-O h6 17.Rab1 g6 18.f4 Rb8 19.f5 b6 20.fxg6 fxg6 21.Qf3 g5 22.Qf5 Rg8 23.Rbe1 Re8 24.Rxe8+ Kxe8 25.Re1+ Kd8 26.Re6 Rf8 27.d5 Qb8 28.c4 Nh5 29.Qh7 Nf4 30.Qe7+ Kc8 31.Rc6+ Kb7 32.Qxd7+ Ka6 33.Rc7 1-0

IM Georgiadis, Nico (2490) – Galmandakh, Badrakh (2240)
Gibraltar Masters 2015 Round 4
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 e5 4.Nf3 Nbd7 5.Bc4 Be7 6.O-O O-O 7.a4 a5 8.Re1 c6 9.h3 Qc7 10.Be3 exd4 11.Nxd4 Nb6 12.Bb3 Nfd7 13.Nf5 Nc5 14.Bd4 Bxf5 15.exf5 Kh8 16.Qg4 f6 17.Be6 d5 18.b3 Bd6 19.Bxc5 Bxc5 20.Ne2 Bd6 21.Rad1 Rae8 22.Nd4 Bb4 23.Re2 Nd7 24.Bxd7 Rxe2 25.Qxe2 Qxd7 26.Ne6 Re8 27.c4 g6 28.cxd5 cxd5 29.Qd3 gxf5 30.Nf4 d4 31.Qxd4 Re1+ 32.Rxe1 Qxd4 33.Re8+ Kg7 34.Ne6+ Kf7 35.Nxd4 Kxe8 36.Nxf5 Kd7 37.Kf1 Ke6 38.Nd4+ Ke5 39.Nc2 Bc5 40.Ke2 Ke4 41.g3 Bd6 42.f3+ Kd5 43.Ne3+ Kc5 44.Nf5 Bc7 45.Kd3 Kb4 46.Kc2 Bb6 47.h4 Bc5 48.h5 Bf2 49.g4 b5 50.axb5 Kxb5 51.Nd6+ Kb4 52.Ne8 Bd4 53.Nc7 Be5 54.Ne6 Bd6 55.Nd4 Bc7 56.Ne6 Bd6 57.Nd4 Bc7 58.Ne2 Be5 59.f4 Bc7 60.Nc3 Bd8 61.Ne4 h6 62.Nf2 Kc5 63.g5 fxg5 64.fxg5 Kd5 65.g6 Bf6 66.Ng4 Bg7 67.Kd3 Bf8 68.Ke3 Ke6 69.Ke4 Bg7 70.Ne3 Bc3 71.Nf5 Bd2 72.Nd4+ Kf6 73.Kd5 Be3 74.Ne6 Bd2 75.Nd4 Bc3 76.Ne6 Bb2 77.Kd6 Ba3+ 78.Kd7 Bb2 79.Kd6 Ba3+ 80.Nc5 Bb2 81.Kd5 Kf5 82.Ne6 ½-½

Skutta, Bernd (2059) – Galmandakh, Badrakh (2240)
Gibraltar Masters 2015 Round 6
1.d4 d6 2.e4 Nf6 3.Nc3 e5 4.Nf3 Nbd7 5.Bc4 Be7 6.O-O O-O 7.Re1 c6 8.a4 a5 9.b3 exd4 10.Nxd4 Nb6 11.Bf1 d5 12.e5 Ne8 13.Nce2 g6 14.Nf4 Ng7 15.Bb2 f6 16.e6 Bd6 17.Qf3 Qc7 18.g3 Be5 19.Bh3 Qe7 20.Ba3 Bd6 21.Bb2 Be5 22.Re2 c5 23.c3 cxd4 24.cxd4 Bd6 25.Nxd5 Nxd5 26.Qxd5 Ra7 27.Qb5 Ne8 28.d5 Bc5 29.b4 axb4 30.Rc2 b6 31.a5 Ba6 32.Qa4 Bb7 33.Qb3 bxa5 34.Qc4 Bd6 35.Bd4 Ra8 36.Qb5 a4 37.Rc4 Ba6 38.Qxa4 Bxc4 39.Qxa8 Nc7 40.Qa4 Bxd5 0-1

IM Almagro Llamas, Pablo (2469) – Galmandakh, Badrakh (2240)
Gibraltar Masters 2015 Round 8
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 e5 4.Nf3 Nbd7 5.Bc4 Be7 6.a4 a5 7.O-O O-O 8.Re1 c6 9.h3 exd4 10.Nxd4 Nb6 11.Ba2 Nfd7 12.Nf5 Nc5 13.Nxe7+ Qxe7 14.Bf4 Rd8 15.Qd4 Be6 16.Nd5 cxd5 17.exd5 Nxd5 18.Bxd5 Qd7 19.b3 Bxd5 20.Qxd5 Ne6 21.Be3 Qc6 22.Qd2 d5 23.Qd3 Rac8 24.Rac1 d4 25.Bd2 b6 26.Qg3 Nc5 27.Re7 Ne6 28.c3 Qe4 29.Kh2 Qg6 30.Qxg6 hxg6 31.cxd4 Rxc1 32.Bxc1 Rxd4 33.Rb7 Rb4 34.Bd2 Rxb3 35.Bxa5 Ra3 ½-½

GM Bellon Lopez, Juan Manuel (2370) – Galmandakh, Badrakh (2240)
Gibraltar Masters 2015 Round 10
1.b3 b6 2.Bb2 Bb7 3.e3 e6 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.d4 Be7 6.Bd3 O-O 7.O-O d5 8.c4 c5 9.Qe2 Nc6 10.Nc3 Rc8 11.Rfd1 cxd4 12.exd4 Nb4 13.Ne5 Nxd3 14.Rxd3 Ne4 15.Nxe4 dxe4 16.Rh3 f6 17.Ng4 Kh8 18.f3 f5 19.Ne5 Qe8 20.Rd1 Rd8 21.fxe4 Bxe4 22.Nd3 Bg5 23.Nf2 Bb7 24.Re1 Bc8 25.Nd3 Bf6 26.Ne5 Bb7 27.Qe3 Be4 28.Qg3 Kg8 29.Kh1 Qe7 30.d5 exd5 31.Nc6 Qd7 32.Bxf6 Rxf6 33.Nxd8 f4 34.Qf2 Rg6 35.Rf3 Qxd8 36.cxd5 Qxd5 37.Qe2 Re6 38.Kg1 g5 39.Rf2 Bf5 40.Qc4 g4 41.Qc8+ Kg7 42.Qc7+ Kg6 43.Rxf4 Qb5 44.Rxg4+ Kh5 45.Rg3 Re4 46.Qxh7+ 1-0

It is an established fact that it is much more difficult to play chess having the Black pieces. Still, Badrakh finished only -1 in his five games playing defense, for a PR of 2360. To put this result in perspective, Kenny Soloman recently earned a GM title and his FIDE rating was 2399 at the time. Badrakh Galmandakh finished the tournament in the middle of the field with a score of -1 and a PR of 2428. The new GM, Kenny Soloman also played in the Gilbralter Masters, and although he finished with an even score, ahead of Badrakh by 1/2 a point, Soloman’s PR was only 2320. (http://chess-results.com/tnr158561.aspx?lan=1&art=9&fed=RSA&turdet=YES&wi=821&snr=96).

I know nothing more about Badrakh Galmandakh than what I have been able to find online. He is 25 years of age and #17 in Mongolia. My hat is off the “Big Bad” Badrakh Galmandakh!

Karpov, Anatoly – Miles, Anthony 0-1
B00 EU-chT 1980
1. e4 a6 2. d4 b5 3. Nf3 Bb7 4. Bd3 Nf6 5. Qe2 e6 6. a4 c5 7. dxc5 Bxc5 8. Nbd2 b4 9. e5 Nd5 10. Ne4 Be7 11. O-O Nc6 12. Bd2 Qc7 13. c4 bxc3 14. Nxc3 Nxc3 15. Bxc3 Nb4 16. Bxb4 Bxb4 17. Rac1 Qb6 18. Be4 O-O 19. Ng5 h6 20. Bh7+ Kh8 21. Bb1 Be7 22. Ne4 Rac8 23. Qd3 Rxc1 24. Rxc1 Qxb2 25. Re1 Qxe5 26. Qxd7 Bb4 27. Re3 Qd5 28. Qxd5 Bxd5 29. Nc3 Rc8 30. Ne2 g5 31. h4 Kg7 32. hxg5 hxg5 33. Bd3 a5 34. Rg3 Kf6 35. Rg4 Bd6 36. Kf1 Be5 37. Ke1 Rh8 38. f4 gxf4 39. Nxf4 Bc6 40. Ne2 Rh1+ 41. Kd2 Rh2 42. g3 Bf3 43. Rg8 Rg2 44. Ke1 Bxe2 45. Bxe2 Rxg3 46. Ra8 Bc7 0-1

Beautiful Flowers on the Chess Battlefield

Being pawed in the eye by Copper the dog left me with much time to cogitate, what with my eye being swollen shut. The day before I had read an article in the August issue of Chess Life, “Excutive Director’s Report,” which is by the new woman chosen to lead the USCF, Jean Hoffman, the first woman to hold the position (http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Executive+Directors+of+the+United+States+Chess+Federation). I learned the USCF mission has become, “Empowering people through chess one move at a time.” I wondered what that meant, exactly.

According to the Free Dictionary (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/empower), the definition of “empower” is:
1. To invest with power, especially legal power or official authority.
2. To equip or supply with an ability; enable: “Computers … empower students to become intellectual explorers” (Edward B. Fiske).

Jean writes, “As a result of this process, we crafted a new mission, complemented it with our first-ever vision statement and also developed long-term organizational goals that align with our status as a 501(c) charitable organization.”

The USCF mission statement sounds like one of those Orwellian “newspeak” things along the lines of the “Clear Skys Initiative,” promulgated by the Bushwhackers, which brought massive pollution raining down upon We The People by the Bushwhacker admistration. What happened to “Chess is a lifetime sport?”
The first-ever USCF “vision statement” is, “Our vision is to enrich the lives of all persons and communities through increasing the play, study, and appreciation of the game of chess.” How is it possible USCF made it through eighteen male Executive Director’s without a “vision statement?

Chess is not for all people. USCF statistics show the vast majority of children who learn chess reject it at, or before, puberty. Why is that? A generation after moving toward scholastic chess USCF is still “studying the question.” If the USCF has a clue, it has yet to be divulged to the membership.

The new female Executive Director comes from what is now referred to as “the scholastic part of chess.” With Ruth Haring the President of the USCF board the top two leadership positions are held by women. Here in the Great State of Georgia three of the five remaining board members are women, who do not play chess. Women like change. I cannot count the times I have heard someone say after a break-up between a man and a woman, “She thought she could change him.” The proliferation of women in the game of chess has changed things drastically. This is not your father’s chess, Bunky.

A good illustration would be an article published today on the Georgia Chess News website, “Women’s Open 2014 Results” By Laura Doman. (http://georgiachessnews.com/2014/09/29/womens-open-2014-results/)
“Pink carnations were laid beside each board position. Beautiful flowers in vases graced the tournament directors’ informatics table. Yes, this was the site for the annual Georgia Women’s Open tournament, which hosted sixteen women and girls on Saturday, September 20 at the Wyndham Atlanta Galleria Hotel.”

“Pink carnations” and “Beautiful flowers”? Laura Doman is a lovely woman, and I am sure she means well, but this is the kind of thing women have done, and are doing, that is off-putting to male chess players. What could be worse than to spend time getting psyched-up for the coming battle, getting prepared, as it were, to pull your sword, and arrive at the field of battle with “Pink carnations” and “Beautiful flowers” gracing the battlefield? This reminds me of an episode of the TV show, “Northern Exposure.” Holling Vincoeur, played by John Cullum, married a much younger woman, Shelly Marie Tambo, played by Cynthia Geary. Shelly began to “make changes.” Next thing you know Holling is forced to visit the Dr. Joel Fleischman, played by Rob Morrow. For the first time in his life Holling has become constipated. Dr. Fleischman cannot understand it and fails to find a reason, until it comes out that Holling had given Shelly permission to make changes in the bedroom. She had turned his rustic, log cabin in Alaska into a “pink” room with “flowers.” It was obviously more than Holling’s system could take, and he became all stressed out and “jammed-up.” I had the same kind of feeling after reading Laura Doman’s report.

This kind of thing proliferates. For example, see “Yamie Chess simul with Jennifer Shahade” on the Chessbase website (http://en.chessbase.com/post/yamie-chess-simul-with-jennifer-shahade). What is Yamie Chess? “Manufactured in the Michigan, USA, and designed for 5 to 12 year olds, the Yamie Chess® learning aid series focuses on nurturing children’s cognitive thinking and intellectual potential for mathematics, and is aligned to support the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics’ Curriculum Focal Points in algebra, geometry, data analysis, measurement and number logic.” If you are still uncertain about what, exactly, Yamie Chess is, it will help you to know that “Under the pieces the cartoon characters can be seen.”

Scott MacKenzie San Francisco 1967(original)

Scott McKenzie – San Francisco.flv

Chess Life Editor Daniel Lucas and Mental Illness

This was posted on the USCF forum a couple of months ago:

by Chess Life Editor on Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:58 pm #281923

“Chess Hoarders, we want to hear from you! For a future article on chess hoarding, let us know about your experiences, huge piles of books, scoresheets, etc. Do you have a ‘spare bedroom’ that has never seen a guest because it is filled with Informants from the 1970s? Let us know! Send hi resolution photos too. Email us at letters@uschess.org.”
Dan Lucas
Editor, Chess Life

As of this writing 192 people have read the Editor’s post, none of whom left a comment. Why am I not surprised? After all, hoarding is considered a mental illness, to wit:

“Compulsive hoarding (more accurately described as “hoarding disorder”) is a pattern of behavior that is characterized by the excessive acquisition of and inability or unwillingness to discard large quantities of objects that cover the living areas of the home and cause significant distress or impairment.
Researchers have only recently begun to study hoarding, and it was first defined as a mental disorder in the 5th edition of the DSM in 2013.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compulsive_hoarding)

Diseases and Conditions
Hoarding disorder
Definition
By Mayo Clinic Staff
“Hoarding disorder is a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them. A person with hoarding disorder experiences distress at the thought of getting rid of the items. Excessive accumulation of items, regardless of actual value, occurs.” (http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hoarding-disorder/basics/definition/con-20031337)

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
Hoarding: More Than Just a Mess
Hoarding is a common problem that is difficult to treat.
By Eric Metcalf, MPH
WebMD Feature
“This problem has gained wider visibility in recent years, thanks in part to several hoarding-related television shows. Two percent to 5% of Americans may meet the criteria for being hoarders, says psychologist David Tolin, PhD, a hoarding specialist and author of Buried in Treasures. “Panic disorder might affect 1%, and obsessive-compulsive disorder maybe 2%. We’re talking about a surprisingly common disorder that had never really been recognized,” he tells WebMD.” (http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/features/harmless-pack-rat-or-compulsive-hoarder)

I cannot help but wonder how many emails the Chess Life editor has received? I question the sanity of anyone who would ask chess players with a mental illness to be profiled ” For a future article on chess hoarding…”
I await this article with bated breath.

The Hoarding Song

Kathy Griffin – ‘Hoarders’

The Cost of Chess Magazines

The Legendary Georgia Ironman loves “Chess Monthly” (http://www.chess.co.uk/). He takes it with him to lessons and pontificates at length about the good qualities of the magazine. He does this while there are copies of the best chess magazine in the world, “New in Chess” (http://www.newinchess.com/), sitting unopened, still in cellophane, in the apartment. The Barnes & Noble in Buckhead carries “Chess Monthly” and “Chess Life” but not “New in Chess.” An advertisement in the 2014/3 issue of NiC shows ten places it is sold and one of them is The Book Tavern in Augusta, Georgia, yet I have been unable to find it in any bookstore or newsstand in the largest city and the capital of the state, Atlanta.
I have purchased “Chess Monthly” at the B&N when found. This means it comes irregularly, so the Ironman is missing some issues. We usually split the cost. One time Tim received a B&N gift card and he gave it to me to use and it covered the cost of two issues. We hit the jackpot when Greg Yanez of chess4less.com (http://www.chess4less.com/) was here for the National children’s something or other at the downtown Hyatt. Greg had back issues on sale for only five dollars, and they went fast. The last July issue sold before the Ironman was able to nab one. Meanwhile the issues of NiC, which cost more, did not sell well. Everyone wants a deal. Still, I would rather have a NiC at ten dollars than a CM for five.
I was in the B&N the other day and, as luck would have it, so was the July issue of “Chess Monthly.” I had a buck or two left on the aforementioned B&N gift card, so I nabbed a copy and took it to the checkout counter. My billfold was out when I heard the clerk say, “That will be eighteen something.”
“Pardon me?” I said. Having tinnitus means I do not hear as well as I used too, what with the constant ringing in the brain.
“That will be eighteen something,” he repeated. The last one I purchased was “eleven something.”
“Are you sure?” I asked. He showed me the price attached to a price tag that covered the one on the magazine, and, sure ’nuff, it showed a price of $16.99 US. Include tax and, wah-lah, “eighteen something.”
As I was putting my billfold back into my pocket I said, “Wow…Last time I purchased a copy it was only eleven plus; that is a dramatic increase.” He gave me a blank stare. The clerk at the next register, who had been watching this unfold, gave me a look and sort of shrugged his shoulders as if to silently say, “What’cha gonna do?”
I started to grab the magazine, telling the young man I would put it back, but he jerked it out of my hand saying, “We will do that!” I was stunned, thinking, “I did not even get a chance to peruse the mag…”
I went to the coffee shop where one of the Starbucks employees is a fellow who used to come to the House of Pain and trade genuine Starbucks coffee for a membership, etc. And now everyone knows the secret of why the House had the best coffee of any chess club. I told him my tale of woe while awaiting my cuppa joe. Back in the adjoining bookstore an empty table was located, where I broke out my chess board and latest copy of the best chess magazine in the universe, “New in Chess.” I am behind with the NiC, having only recently received issues 2014/2 & 3. The subscription ended and times are tough, with the current situation being in a state of, shall we say, flux. I purchased the issues from Amazon. The Gorilla recently raised the amount for free shipping from $25 to $35, and since the price of a NiC is a little over $10, I have included it to meet the new requirement. Unfortunately, the Gorilla cannot produce an issue in a timely fashion. For example, check out the dates of the two NiC’s I have on order:
Not yet shipped
Track Package
Delivery estimate: Friday, October 10, 2014 – Wednesday, October 15, 2014 by 8:00pm
New In Chess Magazine 2014/4
Guezendam, Dirk Jan ten
Sold by: Amazon.com LLC
Delivery estimate: Thursday, October 9, 2014 – Tuesday, October 14, 2014 by 8:00pm
New In Chess magazine 2014/5
ten Geuzendam, Dirk Jan
Sold by: Amazon.com LLC
That’s right, the Gorilla has the issue out now set to ship before the previous issue! I believe 2014/4 was published in June. I have been sending emails to the Gorilla about this, but maybe I expect too much from a Gorilla…It is obvious there must be a better way.
Back at the B&N with my cuppa joe, I opened NiC 2014/3 and thought about what GM Jonathan Rowson wrote about taking his new issue of NiC to the coffee shop as soon as it arrived…Then I began to read. I discovered a letter by one Evan Katz, of “New York, NY, USA.” Seems Mr. Katz is disappointed in the price of the best chess magazine, ever, in the recorded history of the human race. NiC is truly “cheap at twice the price,” but not to Evan.
At this point I began to ponder the reason for the dramatic increase in the price of “Chess Monthly,” so I decided to ask the manager. When I mentioned the amount of the price increase she was obviously shocked. “That is a huge increase,” she said. The nice woman went on to tell me B&N had nothing to do with the price of magazines because a distributor handled it, going on to inform me that beginning in July B&N had a new distributor. I told her that explained things, and thanked her for the information, and her time.
In putting this together I did discover that chess4less.com not only provides a yearly subscription for $70, but has individual issues for sale for $7.95. The Ironman and I have not seen the May, June, July, and August issues. Even with shipping charges one can purchase two for the price of one from chess4less in comparison to B&N. Goodbye Barnes & Noble, hello chess4less!

Elton John perfoms Benny and The Jets on Soul Train

The Chess Detective

The US Open begins in a few days, which means the chess politicos are packing their bags, getting prepared to travel to Orlando to do their “moving” & “shaking.” For that reason I have decided to post some thoughts, and pose some questions, for the “pooh-bahs” and I need to do it now because once they arrive there will be no time for them to read and thoughtfully consider anything because they will be busy “schmoozing.”
Like many others I read with interest the June “Chess Life” cover article by Howard Goldowsky, “How To Catch A Chess Cheater.” I clicked on the links provided and read everything on the blog IM Ken Regan shares with R. J. Lipton, a Professor of Computer Science at Georgia Tech. Since the article appeared I have invested a considerable amount of time reading, and cogitating, about the issue of cheating at chess by using a program. Most people will not do this, and most readers may not have the time to read all of this long post, so I will give my conclusions up front in the hope it will spur some, especially those people in power who must confront one of the major issues facing the Royal game, to read on and learn what brought me to my conclusions.
The article was published in order to allay the fears and suspicions of the chess playing public. I am reminded here of the infamous statement by Secretary of State Al Haig following the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan.
Al Haig asserted before reporters “I am in control here” as a result of Reagan’s hospitalization. The trouble was that he was not in control, according to the line of succession in the 25th Amendment of the US Constitution. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yAhNzUbGVAA).

The incorrect statement was made to reassure We The People, as was the “official” announcement that Ronald Raygun had removed his oxygen mask and quipped to his doctors, “I hope you are all Republicans.” This is now written as “history.” The thing is that “Rawhide,” the name given to RR by the SS, had suffered a “sucking chest wound,” and no one, not even the “Gipper,” is able to talk after suffering a such a wound. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attempted_assassination_of_Ronald_Reagan)

Like the handlers of the wounded POTUS, the Chess Life article is an attempt by the powers that be to tell chess players the Chess Detective is on hand, so, “Don’t worry Be happy.” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-diB65scQU)

How can one be happy, and not worry when the Chess Detective, IM Ken Regan, says this, “An isolated move is almost un­catchable using my regular methods.”

The man with whom the Chess Dectective shares a blog, Richard J. Lipton writes, “How should we rate how well a player matches the chess engine as a method to detect cheating?
The short answer is very carefully.
Ken has spend (sic) years working on the right scoring method given these issues and others. I believe that his method of scoring is powerful, but is probably not the final answer to this vexing question.”

The only problem is that the Chess Detective has spent years using what is now obviously antiquated programs. Sorry Fritz, but your program was passed by those of Houdini, Komodo, and Stockfish, the top three chess programs in reverse order, quite some time ago. How is it possible for even the Chess Detective to discern possible program generated moves while using an inferior program?

Mr. Lipton continues, “The problem is what strategy might a cheater use? A naïve strategy is to always select the top ranked move, i.e. the move with the largest value. This strategy would be easy for Ken to detect. A superior strategy might be to select moves based on their values: higher values are selected more frequently. This clearly would be more difficult for Ken to detect, since it is randomized.”
“Another twist is the cheater could use a cutoff method. If several moves are above a value, then these could be selected with equal probability.”
“I could go on, but the key is that Ken is not able to assume that the cheater is using a known strategy. This makes the detection of cheating much harder, more interesting, and a still open problem. It is essentially a kind of two player game. Not a game of chess, but a game of the cheater against the detector; some player against Ken’s program.”

There you have it, the man with whom the Chess Detective shares a blog has no faith in the methods used by the Chess Detective. What follows is the post that has consumed much of my time for the last month or so.

The Chess Detective

An interview between Scott Simon of NPR and IM Ken Regan begans, “Ken Regan is a kind of chess detective. He’s a computer scientist and an international chess master, who played with the likes of Bobby Fischer as a kid. Which gives him particular skills to help recognize cheating in chess, which, he says, is becoming more common. Ken Regan has created a new algorithm to help detect test cheating. He’s profiled this month in “U.S. Chess” magazine and joins us now from Buffalo. Thanks for much for being with us.” (http://www.npr.org/2014/06/21/324222845/how-to-catch-a-chess-cheater)

“SIMON: So how does somebody cheat in chess?
REGAN: The most common way is having the game on your smart phone or handheld device and going into the bathroom surreptitiously to check it.
SIMON: So people are consulting their smart phones, because there are algorithms that will tell them what the propitious next move is?
REGAN: Yes. There are chess engines that are very strong – stronger than any human player, apparently even running on the reduced hardware of smart phone.
SIMON: Well, what are the odds of somebody being falsely accused?
REGAN: I deal with accusations, whispers, public statements, grouses that people make. And, usually, my model shows, no, this play really was within expectation. The other side is, yes, it’s a great danger that the statistics might falsely accuse someone. As a failsafe, I have taken data – many millions of pages of data from the entire history of chess, including all the performances by Bobby Fischer and Gary Kasparov. So I have an idea of the distribution of what happens by nature.”

An article about a name from the past, “Seven things you should know about Alan Trefler” By Michael B. Farrell (http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2014/07/05/seven-things-you-should-know-about-alan-trefler-founder-pegasystems/ZQULf5r9uUFkZZytsQB3WP/story.html), brought back memories of the man, now a billionaire, who, as an expert, was co-champion of the 1975 World Open. What would happen today if an expert did the same?

The cover story of the June 2014 Chess Life, “How To Catch A Chess Cheater: Ken Regan Finds Moves Out of Mind,” by Howard Goldowsky, was deemed so important one finds this preface, “The following is our June 2014 Chess Life cover story. Normally this would be behind our pay wall, but we feel this article about combating cheating in chess carries international importance.
This subject has profound implications for the tournament scene so we are making it available to all who are interested in fighting the good fight.”

~Daniel Lucas, Chess Life editor (http://www.uschess.org/content/view/12677/422/).

From the article, “According to Regan, since 2006 there has been a dramatic increase in the number of world­wide cheating cases. Today the incident rate approaches roughly one case per month, in which usually half involve teenagers. The current anti-cheating regulations of the world chess federation (FIDE) are too outdated to include guidance about disciplining illegal computer assistance, so Regan himself monitors most major events in real-time, including open events, and when a tournament director becomes suspicious for one reason or another and wants to take action, Regan is the first man to get a call.”
Dr. Regan, a deeply religious man, says, “Social networking theory is interesting,” he says. “Cheating is about how often coincidence arises in the chess world.”
“Regan clicks a few times on his mouse and then turns his monitor so I can view his test results from the German Bundesliga. His face turns to disgust. “Again, there’s no physical evidence, no behavioral evidence,” he says. “I’m just seeing the numbers. I’ll tell you, people are doing it.”
Goldowsky writes, “Statistical evidence is immune to con­ceal­ment. No matter how clever a cheater is in communicating with collaborators, no mat­ter how small the wireless communications device, the actual moves produced by a cheater cannot be hidden.”

This is where Alan Trefler enters the conversation. Goldowsky goes on to write, “Nevertheless, non-cheating outliers happen from time to time, the inevitable false positives.”

“Outliers happen…” How would you like to tie for first as an expert today and have your integrity questioned in addition to having to strip naked and “bend over and spread ’em?”
The article moves on to a detailed analysis of how the “Chess Detective” determines whether or not cheating has occurred.

“Faced with a complex calculation, a player could sneak their smartphone into the bathroom for one move and cheat for only a single critical position. Former World Champion Viswanathan Anand said that one bit per game, one yes-no answer about whether a sacrifice is sound, could be worth 150 rating points.
“I think this is a reliable estimate,” says Regan. “An isolated move is almost un­catchable using my regular methods.”
But selective-move cheaters would be doing it on critical moves, and Regan has untested tricks for these cases. “If you’re given even just a few moves, where each time there are, say, four equal choices, then the probabilities of matching these moves become statistically significant. Another way is for an arbiter to give me a game and tell me how many suspect moves, and then I’ll try to tell him which moves, like a police lineup. We have to know which moves to look at, however, and, importantly—this is the vital part— there has to be a criterion for identifying these moves independent of the fact they match.”

What is the “criterion”? It is not mentioned.

Dr. Regan is co-author,with Richard J. Lipton, of the blog, “Godel’s Lost Letter and P=NP.” I went to the blog and found this recent post by “rjlipton” (http://rjlipton.wordpress.com/2014/06/18/the-problem-of-catching-chess-cheaters/).

R.J. writes, “The easy (sic) of cheating is a major issue for organized chess. The number of cases in professional tournament play is, according to Ken, roughly one per month—one case happen at a tournament in Romania just last month. Ken knows this because he routinely runs his detection methods, more on those shortly, on most major tournaments.”
“How should we rate how well a player matches the chess engine as a method to detect cheating?
The short answer is very carefully.
Ken has spend (sic) years working on the right scoring method given these issues and others. I believe that his method of scoring is powerful, but is probably not the final answer to this vexing question.”
“The problem is what strategy might a cheater use? A naïve strategy is to always select the top ranked move, i.e. the move with the largest value. This strategy would be easy for Ken to detect. A superior strategy might be to select moves based on their values: higher values are selected more frequently. This clearly would be more difficult for Ken to detect, since it is randomized.”
“Another twist is the cheater could use a cutoff method. If several moves are above a value, then these could be selected with equal probability.”
“I could go on, but the key is that Ken is not able to assume that the cheater is using a known strategy. This makes the detection of cheating much harder, more interesting, and a still open problem. It is essentially a kind of two player game. Not a game of chess, but a game of the cheater against the detector; some player against Ken’s program.”

This article provides links to several other posts concerning the subject of cheating at chess and I read each and every one. Here are a few excerpts:

“Chess is a game of complete information. There are no cards to hide that might be palmed, switched, or played illegally, no dice that could be loaded. So how is it possible to cheat at chess? Alas the complete information can be conveyed to a computer, and thanks to the exponential increase in computer power and smarter chess-playing algorithms, consumer hardware can play better than any human. Hence cheating in chess in possible, and unfortunately this year it has seemed to become common.” (http://rjlipton.wordpress.com/2013/09/17/littlewoods-law)

“The fear of players being fingered this way is remarked by Dylan McClain in today’s New York Times column:
“If every out-of-the-ordinary performance is questioned, bad feelings could permanently mar the way professional players approach chess.”

The threat can be stronger than its execution.

A question was posed to Dr. Regan:
“I think there is a bigger picture here. Why even play a strategy game that a computer, without any information or connectivity advantage, will win.”
IM Regan answered:
“Because it’s still fun, has a great history, and has more public participation all over the world than any time previously. Computers are still a step behind the best humans at the Japanese form of chess (Shogi), and human supremacy at Go is apparently not threatened in the near future. My best effort at a more computer-resistant “evolution” of Western chess is here.”
From: “The Crown Game Affair” by KWRegan January 13, 2013 (http://rjlipton.wordpress.com/2013/01/13/the-crown-game-affair/)

“I have, however, been even busier with a welter of actual cases, reporting on four to the full committee on Thursday. One concerned accusations made in public last week by Uzbek grandmaster Anton Filippov about the second-place finisher in a World Cup regional qualifier he won in Kyrgyzstan last month. My results do not support his allegations. Our committee is equally concerned about due-diligence requirements for complaints and curbing careless allegations, such as two against Austrian players in May’s European Individual Championship. A second connects to our deliberations on the highly sensitive matter of searching players, as was done also to Borislav Ivanov during the Zadar Open tournament last December. A third is a private case where I find similar odds as with Ivanov, but the fourth raises the fixing of an entire tournament, and I report it here.
Add to this a teen caught consulting an Android chess app in a toilet cubicle in April and a 12-year-old caught reading his phone in June, plus some cases I’ve heard only second-hand, and it is all scary and sad.
The Don Cup 2010 International was held three years ago in Azov, Russia, as a 12-player round-robin. The average Elo rating of 2395 made it a “Category 6″ event with 7 points from 11 games needed for the IM norm, 8.5 for the GM norm. It was prominent enough to have its 66 games published in the weekly TWIC roundup, and they are also downloadable from FIDE’s own website. Half the field scored 7 or higher, while two tailenders lost all their games except for drawing each other and one other draw, while another beat only them and had another draw, losing eight games.
My informant suspected various kinds of “sandbagging”: throwing games in the current event, or having an artifically-inflated Elo rating from previous fixed events, so as to bring up the category. He noted some of the tailenders now have ratings 300 points below what they were then.
In this case I did not have to wait long for more-than-probability. Another member of our committee noticed by searching his million-game database that:
Six of the sixty-six games are move-by-move identical with games played in the 2008 World Computer Chess Championship.
For example, three games given as won by one player are identical with Rybka’s 28-move win over the program Jonny and two losses in 50 and 44 moves by the program Falcon to Sjeng and HIARCS, except one move is missing from the last. One of his victims has three lost games, while another player has two wins and another two losses. Indeed the six games are curiously close to an all-play-all cluster.”
From: “Thirteen Sigma” by KWRegan, July 27, 2013 (http://rjlipton.wordpress.com/2013/07/27/thirteen-sigma/)

To Catch A Chess Cheater

Cheating at chess has been featured prominently in the news recently. In addition to the article in the latest issue of Chess Life, June 2014, “How To Catch A Chess Cheater,” the subject of the article, IM Ken Regan, was interviewed on the PBS program, “Weekend Edition,” on June 21, 2014. The program can be heard, or a transcript read, online here: http://www.npr.org/2014/06/21/324222845/how-to-catch-a-chess-cheater
Mark Weeks posted “The ‘No Cheating’ Jigsaw Puzzle; on 10 June 2014 (http://chessforallages.blogspot.com/2014/06/the-no-cheating-jigsaw-puzzle.html). He posted a link to the aforementioned Chess Life article and to the “Draft Copy of Recommendations of the Anti-Cheating Committee” at the FIDE website: (http://www.fide.com/component/content/article/1-fide-news/8041-draft-copy-of-recommendations-of-the-anti-cheating-committee.html).
There is a current thread on the USCF forum, “Increased Allegations of Cheating.” (http://www.uschess.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=20174&sid=5ee2b845fe92c0ae5a55aa76d85aadd2)
The thread was started by “DENTONCHESS,” who is Robert B. Jones. His thread begins, “This topic applies to regular events, as (at least in most DFW events) we kick parents/coaches out of the scholastic playing area. The allegations that seem to be increasing…”
Jeff K. Weiwel, Posting as “jwiewel,” writes, “I’d guess that one reason for the larger number of accusations is that now there are programs anybody can run that are much stronger than the scholastic players (heck, often they are much stronger than GMs).”
Most of the thread concerns cheating in scholastic events. For example, Thomas Magar, or “tmagchesspgh” on the forum, writes, “It may be necessary to have some announcements before a tournament begins, backed up by flyers and education sessions for parents to explain to them what acceptable communication they can have with their children. Alleging someone is cheating is ratcheting up complaints to the highest degree.”
Later on he writes, “At one tournament, one of my students went outside of the playing hall to talk to his dad. I exploded all over him and his dad for doing that.”
I would liked to have seen that explosion! I cannot help wondering how long it took to clean the mess…
My point is that talk of possible cheating is prolific. The chess discussion, rather than being about the positive attributes of the Royal game, has been consumed by constant talk of cheating. Rumors abound in every tournament. An example would be the rampant rumor of the child playing in a recent scholastic event here in Atlanta who “Built a fortress around his scoresheet in order to hide a gizmo underneath.” I have absolutely no idea whether or not this particular rumor is true. Whether true or not does not matter. What matters is people are talking about the possibility of cheating.