Every morning I scan the news of the world, and the news from the Chess world, while drinking my first cuppa Joe. I surf the usual Chess websites every morning, making a mental note to return to some articles. This morning I read about Hijab Head at Chess.com in an article by Peter Doggers. Although I wanted to immediately surf over to The Chess Drum, knowing Daaim would have it covered, but spring has sprung and there were other, more important, things to do. The article, Kenyan Chess Player banned for impersonating woman (https://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/2023/04/11/chess-player-expelled-for-impersonating-a-woman/), is excellent. It is superior to the Chess.com article because Daaim expounds on the situation while answering questions that need answering and offering other questions, which will be addressed momentarily.
The headline at Chess.com, “Kenyan Player Expelled After Pretending To Be A Woman To Win Lucrative Prize,” caused this writer to laugh out loud. The Chess.com article begins, “A mysterious participant in the women’s section of the Kenya Open Chess Championship in Nairobi, Kenya was exposed as a male impostor and removed from the tournament. The player, whose identity was not made public, admitted to the cheating and said it was motivated by financial problems.” (https://www.chess.com/news/view/cheating-kenya-open-women-championship-impostor)
The Chess Drum answers the question:
“At the Kenya Open, something unique happened when a man was caught impersonating a woman in the women’s section. Registered as unrated Millicent Awuor, he was wearing a hijab (head & shoulder covering) typical of a Muslim woman with a niqaab (face covering). After beating a former Kenyan champion (Gloria Jumba) and Uganda’s top player (Shakira Ampaire), many initially wondered why they had never heard of her in important national events. Who was this Muslim woman? Was she a long-retired chess veteran?”
“It turns out that the player was Stanley Omondi a male university student with a 1499 FIDE rating. Other players and tournament officials started to draw suspicions when he never spoke to anyone or interacted with the other players. They also noticed some peculiar mannerisms and a strange gait for a woman.”
Stanley, my Man!
You can click on the link above and read the whole article, and I hope you do, because I am going to get to the pertinent questions posed by Mr. Shabazz, who writes: “It is interesting that while he was not the top woman player there was no “stereotype threat” since they thought he was a woman. Stereotype threat in chess is the idea that women may approach the game differently when facing a man. This incident brings about all types of discussions. One basic question is whether a man should be able to play in the women’s section. Right now the answer is “no” unless the man is technically a transgender woman.”
One can click onto “Stereotype threat” above in the original article to learn what is a “Stereotype threat”. After reading I could not help but wonder if a man “may approach the game differently when facing a” woman. I ask this because I am man enough to admit I lost to the only woman ever faced in a USCF rated tournament. Her name was Alison Burt, and I had given her lessons. The look on her face looked more like she had lost the game. She was shocked to the point of saying, “I’m sorry,” so I immediately said, “You played very well, Alison. I must have taught you something.” She smiled. Alison could have been an excellent Chess player. Not “woman” Chess player, but “Chess Player.” I have always wondered how things might have turned out for her if conditions for women in the Chess world had been better ‘back in the day’. (See: https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2021/09/22/upsetting-time-at-the-1980-us-chess-open-in-hot-atlanta-georgia/)
The “basic question” above made me wonder why there are separate Chess tournaments for men and women? Women compete equally with men at other board games, with Backgammon, Bridge and Poker being prime examples. Daaim addresses this next under the heading, Brief Discussion on Gender:
“While this case wasn’t a matter of a man genuinely claiming to be a woman, it is an issue that is being discussed in different sports. Transgender women (born male) competing with women is clearly questionable when physical strength plays a factor in competition. What about chess? Most will say that gender doesn’t matter in chess because it isn’t a physical sport. However, one can make the argument that testosterone makes men more aggressive in general, and this could also be true in how they approach chess.”
Unless things have changed, the vast majority of girls stop playing Chess upon reaching puberty. There is a reason.
Daaim writes, “Most will say that gender doesn’t matter in chess because it isn’t a physical sport. However, one can make the argument that testosterone makes men more aggressive in general, and this could also be true in how they approach chess.”
Testosterone is a hormone. As a girl becomes a woman her body is flooded with hormones. From then on her body is flooded with hormones each month, which is called their “period.” It has been my experience with females, including a Mother, and two sisters, and “partners”, that they are different during their period. When asked what it was like to have a period one responded succinctly with, “Like HELL!” Another said it made her feel like she was “going every which a way.” Then there was the one who said, “Like I don’t know whether I’m coming or going.” I stopped asking…
It should be obvious to anyone after reading the above that any objective study of why women are not as strong as men when it comes to Chess must begin with the question of the Menstrual cycle. Good luck with that!
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 review will begin with the bottom line. The book is a lovingly written, magnificent masterpiece. Anyone reading it will be richly rewarded in ways they may not even understand at the time of reading. This is most definitely not a book one reads and forgets. It is a book to savor.
I met Grandmaster Jonathan Rowson at the World Open in 2002 while assisting Thad Rogers in the book room after turning certain victory into defeat in the first round and after losing the next two games Thad needed help and the book room looked inviting. There was a discussion concerning his book, The Seven Deadly Chess Sins,
which had been read the previous year. Later I read Jonathan’s Chess For Zebras,
which was very entertaining, and while working at the Atlanta Chess & Game Center I advocated any and everyone purchase his excellent books. All I recall now about our conversation is that other books were discussed and when asked to name my favorite novel I answered immediately, “The Glass Bead Game, by Hermann Hesse.”
“Really?!” he said before continuing with a question, “Why?”
Why, indeed. I no longer remember how I answered, but do recall being taken aback, because most people with whom I have mentioned the novel have not even been aware of the book. I also recall Jonathan displaying actions which led me to believe he was about ready to leave, so the answer was truncated. In addition I recall Jonathan saying, after I answered his question, “Fascinating!”
GM Rowson tied for first at the 2002 World Open. Because of the pleasant memories of the chance encounter I will admit it is difficult for me to be completely objective. In addition, upon learning of the forthcoming publication of the book about to be reviewed I contacted the publishing company, informing them of the blog and the encounter with Jonathan, while informing them I would like to review the book. I had hoped to finish reading the book long before publication in order to review it ASAP, but life intervened. Another factor is that the book required much more thought than I had imagined, which is a very good thing. A quote from the book comes to mind: “You cannot think about thinking without thinking about thinking about something.” – cognitive scientist Martin Minsky. Therefore reading the book required much more time than I had imagined.
The book is full of wonderful quotes, which is a positive thing. Decades ago there was a show on public television, Thinking Allowed, hosted by Dr. Jeffery Mishlove.
After briefly perusing the book one long time National Master Chess player closed it before saying, “Where’s the meat?!” This meant GAMES. After explaining there were about two dozen games contained in the notes he exclaimed, “What kind of Chess book is that?!” This caused me to consider the question too long because he began talking before I could answer. I was never able to answer his question because, to his way of thinking, a Chess book with mostly words was most definitely NOT a Chess book. This has caused me to reflect upon what, exactly, is a Chess book. For example, consider Frank Brady’s book on Bobby Fischer, Endgame: Bobby Fischer’s Remarkable Rise and Fall – from America’s Brightest Prodigy to the Edge of Madness.
Would it be considered a Chess book? Maybe what constitutes a “Chess book” is what is in the eye of the beholder…
The Moves That Matter is is a book about oh so much more than Chess. It is a book written by a man who devoted most of his early years, and maybe half of his life, to the Royal game, so therefore it does contain much Chess put into words, but, strictly speaking, it is not about Chess. It is about so much more than a mere game. The book is about life, and thinking about life. Although the reader will be entertained, it is not about entertaining per se. It is a “deep” book which will cause the reader to do some seriously deep thinking. That is to be expected since Dr. Jonathan Rowson is an applied philosopher. “The Society for Applied Philosophy was founded in 1982 with the aim of promoting philosophical work that has a direct bearing on areas of practical concern.” (https://www.appliedphil.org/)
In lieu of a review I have decided to write about the the ideas and questions contained in the book. Copious notes were taken while reading; twelve pages of college ruled note paper to be precise. What I will attempt to do is share some of the thoughts and questions in the book that caused me to question and think about those thoughts and questions.
The book contains eight chapters each broken down into another eight sub-headings. The format caused me to reflect upon one of my favorite books, The Eight,
by Katherine Neville.
Katherine Neville in 1985
A photograph of the author in San Francisco’s Marin Headlands, California, 1985.
In the first chapter, Thinking and Feeling, under sub-heading #5 Asking Pertinent Questions, one finds, “There are many different ways to frame the educational value of chess, but if I had to sum it up in one word, it would probably be: ‘questions’.
If I had three words it would be ‘questions about relationships’. As the writer Marinan Benjamin puts it, to ask a question is to invest in attentiveness, to declare a stake in the answer, and that is one of the many gifts of chess; you cease to be a passive recipient of information, and become an active learner – an intrinsically rewarding experience. Playing chess is about posing questions to the opponent, and answering the questions they pose you; the little questions are always nested inside bigger ones.”
We will move ahead to the last chapter, Life and Death, under sub-heading #64, Facing up to death. It is written, “The 2009 Acropolis Open in Greece was overshadowed by the death of a respected Greek player, Nikolaos Karapanos, who had a heart attack just before executing a winning move in his first-round game. His opponent, Israeli Grandmaster Dan Zoler, who happens to be a doctor, tried to revive him, but Karapanos stopped breathing before the ambulance arrived.
This story indicates just how stress-inducing chess can be, but the deeper point is that we never know when our time will come. All the major spiritual traditions speak about the importance of being ready for the unthinkable, and the importance of being ready for the unthinkable, and the importance of dying at peace, without undue regret.
It seems profane to point out that Zoler resigned the game, but he also withdrew from the event, stating that he no longer felt like playing chess in the circumstances. You can hardly blame him. Chess sometimes seems singularly charming and vitally important, but a brief reflection on our mortality has to lead to some searching questions. Is this it? Pushing these pieces around? Is this what I am supposed to be doing?”
Nikolaos Karapanos vs Dan Zoler
24th ICT Acropolis (2009), Chalkida, Greece, rd 1, Aug-10
Catalan Opening: General (E00)
Reading the following from Mark Weeks blog, Chess for All Ages, caused me to pause and reflect upon the man named in the post:
“By coincidence, while I was preparing the recent post, An 1886 Photoshopped Illustration, where I mentioned that ‘I’ve been downloading old copies of The Chess Journalist (TCJ)’, I noticed that the December 2006 issue of the TCJ credited the existence of the scanned CL/CRs to Tim Tobiason. He seems to have been a colorful character in several ways, but this isn’t the time or place to repeat stories that can be found elsewhere on the web. It is his misfortune that while the original magazines are protected by copyright, his scans aren’t protected by a second copyright because they don’t represent creative work.”
The first time I met Tim Tobiason was in Rolla, Missouri, at the 2002 Missouri State Chess Championship. Mr. Tobiason, who was also playing in the small event, had the most eclectic collection of things ever seen at a Chess tournament. Along with the usual Chess books and other Chess related things, he displayed books he had written, and other items looking like they would be more comfortable at a gun show. I cannot recall the titles, but they were along the same line as the infamous Anarchist Cookbook.
He talked of the right he had to publish anything, and of being hounded by the FBI because of the content, which tended toward blowing things up with explosives. Tim rather proudly stated he had been “filmed by 60 Minutes,” the CBS TV show. He also mentioned having been banned at gun shows, which is where he sold most of his self-produced books. People began moving away from the table. He also mentioned needing a place to stay, or at least a shower, as he was traveling from Chess tournament to tournament while living in his van. I mentioned, with as much deference as could be mustered, maybe he might want to reconsider the part about being followed by the FBI if he wanted a place to stay. “You gotta point,” he said.
The next encounter with Tim was at the Atlanta Chess Center. He needed to take a shower and wanted to stay inside the House of Pain that night. In addition, he needed some space in the back room to set up his equipment, which consisted of scanning equipment to be used to copy older material, which he would sell. Unbeknownst to me David Spinks had flatly turned him down. Later on I saw and greeted him. He was obviously road weary and in a disheveled state. Tim was heavyset, with a rather large, and protruding belly. Happy to see a friendly face after his encounter with Spinks, he greeted me like a long-lost friend. After informing me he knew Thad Rogers, owner of the Dump, and explaining the situation, as he had attempted with Spinks, I told him it would be OK to shower. I figured Thad would give the OK, so I did so. David was LIVID! It was one of the few times I saw Spinks “lose it.” David was adamant. He did not want Tim around, especially on a tournament weekend. I tried reasoning with him, to no avail. For the first and only time while working at the HOP I placed a call to Thad. After informing him of the situation, he said, “Toby’s there? Tell him I said hello, and yes, you were right to allow him access. Let me speak with David.” Spinks did not like being overruled, but had no choice in the matter.
Toby said he was hungry and I mentioned the Dekalb Farmer’s Market, but Toby had other ideas. He asked about an all you can eat place, telling me he only ate once a day, spending hours eating all he could, which would have to last until the next day. I understood immediately why Thad liked Toby, as he, too, could spend hours at an all you can eat buffet. Besides, Toby was a character, and Thad always had a fondness for characters, one of the great things about Thad. That particular character trait was exactly what one needed to interact with Chess players.
Upon his return we made room for Toby and his equipment in the back room while taking pains to pacify Spinks. I spent a great deal of time with Toby that evening while working the front. Toby was a nervous type, and who would not be with the FBI breathing down his neck? Most Chess players are paranoid; it seems to come with the game. Toby was not the only player claiming to be followed by authorities. IM Emory Tate was in the military for many years, playing, and winning, the Armed Forces Championship five times. We were regaled with stories of his being in Military Intelligence, and according to Emory, “They are still watching me.” Who were we to argue? After listening to Emory I will admit to being pleased someone was keeping an eye on the man. Consider this:
“A lone lion wanders afar in the wilderness, no longer part of the pride
Once gleaming, accepted, a beautiful beast, now having been cast aside
No chance for part in coordinated hunt, this one can’t run very fast
Nature holds no place, and faltering, it seems this beast just won’t last
Thad drove up from Macon the next day and if memory serves, stayed the night. While on duty Thad could be heard laughing constantly from the back room. It was obvious he had an affinity for Toby. I cannot differentiate between all the tournaments held at the House of Pain, but because of Toby I do recall that particular weekend. Toby definitely brought something different to the staid House that weekend. In deference to Spinks I mentioned the recent rash of car break-ins experienced at the House in the crime filled area and Toby decided to sleep in his van.
I asked Thad if what Toby related was real, or a figment of his imagination. “I dunno,” he answered, “But they make for great stories!” he said with a grin. Toby kept busy, and out-of-the-way, making his discs, which he sold to Thad. One legendary Atlanta player was extremely pleased with what he purchased.
The last time I encountered Toby was in Louisville many years later. There was a children’s tournament and I arrived a little after noon. The event was over (they ‘head ’em up and move ’em out’ in Derby land) and Toby was getting ready to leave, hitting the road for who knows where.
Reading the Chess for All Ages post prompted a visit to startpage.com, where I entered Toby’s name, finding this article, which is quite lengthy. If you do not have the appetite for all of it, scroll on down to the last four paragraphs, which has been made bold. This will make you want to read all of what follows, so why not just invest the time and read it all now?
Hoax! (part 2) The second half of Jon Ronson’s investigation into people behind the post-September 11 anthrax hoaxes.
I had met Tim two years earlier at a gun show in Rochester, Minnesota. I was there with my producer, Jim, and the Ruby Ridge survivor Randy Weaver, whose wife and son were shot by FBI agents in a bungled raid in Idaho 10 years ago. Crowds flocked to get Weaver’s autograph, but Tim didn’t. He stood apart, a lone wolf among lone wolves, a pasty-looking man, wearing a lumberjack shirt and glasses. He had a deep grudge against the federal government and, it turned out, a rudimentary scientific knowledge. He told us that anthrax was the only way forward for the “movement”. In our experience, anthrax wasn’t a big militia topic of conversation. In fact, we’d never heard it mentioned, so Jim did a quick interview with him.
“I get into the more dangerous biological and chemical weapons area,” Tim said during this taped interview. “You can mail massive-scale weapons in microscopic form on a postage stamp, and that way you can re-arm the entire nation if the government ever tries to take your guns away.”
Guardian Today: the headlines, the analysis, the debate – sent direct to you
The people we met at the gun shows all had their own special ways of theoretically battling the government. One man had advocated the use of piano wire, another favoured firebombs. Tim’s big thing was anthrax. I’d never ratted out an interviewee to the feds before. I’d never given up a source. This would normally be a very bad thing for a journalist to do. But this was October 2001.
“Tim probably isn’t the anthrax killer,” I thought to myself. “But how often does one meet someone who is almost the anthrax killer?”
“I should call the FBI,” I said to Jim, when he telephoned in early October to remind me about our interview with Tim.
“Hang on,” he said. “I’m the one who thought of Tim. I should call the FBI.”
“I want to call the FBI,” I said.
“Well, I don’t want you bloody going to the FBI without me,” said Jim.
There was a hurt silence. “OK,” I said. “I promise to bring you with me to the FBI.”
It wasn’t easy to find the FBI in London. Directory enquiries had no record of them. “Are you sure F stands for Federal?” they asked.
I finally tracked them to the US embassy, and an agent called Michael came on the phone. When I told him what I had, he said, casually, “Yes. That would be something we’d be interested in. Could you bring it in?”
“Tomorrow?” I asked, and Michael agreed.
I realised that things were less casual when Michael telephoned me at 8.30am to ask if I was coming in today. Things aren’t casual at 8.30am. People call at 8.30am if they’ve been up worrying.
And two hours later – in Grosvenor Square, central London – Jim and I were past the security guards, past the ocean of fencing, through the x-rays, the bag search, up the elevator, through a series of reinforced steel doors – the kind of doors you find on safes – through more corridors, through the body search, and into London’s FBI headquarters. We were led into an office decorated with novelty Big Ben snowstorms and a collection of funny police helmets.
Michael was sitting at his desk. He was bookish and young. He shook hands, led us through to his boss’s office, and sat us on the sofa. He got out his notepad and said, “So how did you come to meet this Tim?”
“Well,” said Jim, “we’re journalists, and we were following Randy Weaver around the gun show circuit. Actually, Jon had hooked up with Randy Weaver a few days earlier, but I’d been researching another project, would you believe it, surveillance cameras in shopping malls!” Jim laughed nervously. Michael’s eyes began to glaze.
I think that Jim, like many people who meet law enforcement officers, was feeling the desperate urge to confess. Luckily, Jim didn’t have anything to confess to, so this compulsion was finding a different outlet – mad small talk. I glanced down at Michael’s notepad. So far, he’d written only two words: “Randy Weaver.”
“Shall we watch the tape?” said Michael.
“With a mass propagated pre-packaged bio-weapon, you could render most of the major cities uninhabitable in about a week, which would wreck the economy and pretty much put an end to the government,” said Tim on the tape.
“Tim,” replied Jim on the tape, “what you’re advocating here is the spread of really dangerous information. Why do you feel that it’s a good idea for everybody to know this terrible stuff?”
I was relieved that Jim had adopted a combative style of questioning with Tim. All too often, Jim and I ask extremists over-soft questions that might lead FBI agents erroneously to believe that we had gone native. When the tape ended, Michael thanked us very much and escorted us back to the lobby.
That night, as I lay in bed, I thought of Tim, and I wondered who he really was. A week later, the Wall Street Journal provided the answer: the FBI, it said, was looking for a home-grown anthrax terrorist, and they were making inquiries about a Nebraska man called Tim Tobiason, who was known on the gun show circuit for advocating the use of anthrax. Apparently, the FBI had been alerted to Tim by a “member of the public”. There was a photograph. This was my Tim.
It turned out that Tim Tobiason came from Silver Creek, Nebraska. He had once been a pillar of the community, the owner of an animal-feed mill with 24 employees and $3m a year cashflow, married, with two daughters, and a bit of a chemical wizard, too; he mixed up witches’ brews at night in his garage – funny-smelling stuff, said his neighbours. Then he made a new kind of phosphate-based feed additive which, he calculated, would net him millions. He set about patenting it, but the government said it would be dangerous to cattle, so they rejected it. He began bitching to his friends about a conspiracy, how the government had stolen his patent and given it to some agricultural corporation. He moved into a Dodge caravan and plotted his revenge. He wrote Scientific Principles Of Improvised Warfare: Advanced Biological Weapons Design And Manufacture. The cover promised, “If you can make Jell-O, you can wipe out cities. Enjoy!”
His marriage collapsed and he took to selling his book on the gun show circuit. In the wake of the Wall Street Journal article, TV crews stormed Silver Creek. But Tim had vanished. The FBI analysed his handwriting, and followed the instructions in his anthrax cookbook, finding them to be shoddy and incomplete. They concluded that Tim Tobiason was innocent. As a result of the publicity, Tim was banned from gun shows across the US. His Silver Creek neighbours said they didn’t expect him back, which was for the best because he was no longer welcome in town.
The last I heard of Tim Tobiason was in December last year. Dan Rather’s CBS news team secretly filmed him at a gun show in California – one of the few still letting him sell his books. In this covert recording, Tim said that if a federal agent killed him and his children, an unnamed colleague of his would exact a terrible revenge. This colleague would take “communicable weapons to every grade school within 50 miles of CIA headquarters, infect them all, they go home, infect Mom and Dad, Mom and Dad goes back to CIA, and two weeks later CIA’s gone.” Tim was one of those people who always lived in fear that the federal government would come after him, and Jim and I made his paranoid fantasy come true.
For all his blather, I think my decision to shop Tim to the FBI was an even less justifiable response to the hysteria than the actions of the four anthrax hoaxers whom I interviewed. Clay Waagner had a good excuse for going crazy that month. He had a cause. Lucy Manifold was trying to stay happy. Bryan Mangnall was a dumb jock. And Terry Olson was depressed and wanted attention. I had no good reason to do what I did. And I got thanked for it. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2002/oct/05/anthrax.uk1
Crime in The City (Sixty to Zero) by Neil Young
All the champs and the heroes
They got a price to pay
They go from sixty to zero
In the split of a hair
They see the face in the window
They feel a shadow out there
They’ve got the places they can go
They’ve got the people who stare
They’ve got to walk in their shoes
They’ve got to see what they see
They’ve got the people around them
Getting too much for free
All the pimps and the dealers
All the food they can eat
All the screamers and squealers
When they walk down the street
He’s just a rich old man
He never cared for anyone
He likes to count his possessions
He’s been a miser from penny one
He never cared for his children
Never cared for his wife
Never made anyone happy
That’s the way he lived his life
And one day in the sunshine
He got a bolt from the blue
Unloaded all of his possessions
Sold his investments too
And now he lives with the homeless
Owns 900 hospital beds
He prefers to remain nameless
It’s publicity he dreads
There’s a judge in the city
He goes to work every day
Spends his life in the courthouse
Keeps his perspective that way
But I respect his decision
He’s got a lot on his mind
He’s pretty good with the gavel
A little heavy on the fines
One day there was this minstrel
Who came to court on a charge
That he blew someone’s head off
Because his amp was too large
And the song he was singin’
Was not for love but for cash
Well, the judge waived the charges
He fingered his mustache
Well, there’s a clown in a carnival
He rode a painted horse
He came from somewhere out west
He was very funny of course
But that is not what I noticed
It was the incredible force
With which he held his audience
While he rode on his horse
His jokes were not that off-color
His smile was not that sincere
His show was that not that sensational
Reasons for success were not clear
But he still made big money
One day the circus was his
Now he’s married to the acrobat
And they’re training their kids
Now the jailhouse was empty
All the criminals were gone
The gate was left wide open
And a buck and fawn
Were eating grass in the courtyard
When the warden walked in
And took a rifle from the prison guard
And said to him with a grin
To shoot those deer would be stupid, sir
We already got ’em right here
Why not just lock the gates and keep them
With intimidation and fear?
But the warden pulled the trigger
And those deer hit the ground
He said Nobody’ll know the difference
And they both looked around.
Well, the cop made the showdown
He was sure he was right
He had all of the lowdown
From the bank heist last night
His best friend was a robber
And his wife was a thief
All the children were murderers
They couldn’t get no relief
The bungalow was surrounded
When a voice loud and clear
Come out with your hands up
Or we’re gonna blow you out of here
There was a face in the window
TV cameras rolled
And they cut to the announcer
And the story was told.
Well, the artist looked at the producer
The producer sat back
He said What we have got here
Is a pretty good track
But we don’t have a vocal
And we still don’t have a song
If we could get this thing accomplished
Nothin’ else could go wrong
So he balanced the ashtray
And he picked up the phone
And said Send me a songwriter
Who’s drifted far from home
And make sure that he’s hungry
And make sure he’s alone
And send me a cheeseburger
And a new Rolling Stone
Well, the Sioux and Dakota
They lost all of their land
And now a basketball player
Is trying to lend them a hand
Maybe someday he’ll be president
He’s quite a popular man
But now the chief has reservations
And the white man has plans
There’s opposition in Congress
The bill is up against cash
There’s really no way of predicting
If it will fly or it will crash
But that’s the nature of politics
That’s the name of the game
That’s how it looks in the tepee
Big winds are blowing again
There’s still crime in the city
Said the cop on the beat
I don’t know if I can stop it
I feel like meat on the street
They paint my car like a target
I take my orders from fools
Meanwhile some kid blows my head off
Well, I play by their rules
So now I’m doing it my way
I took the law in my own hands
Here I am in the alleyway
A wad of cash in my pants
I get paid by a ten year old
He says he looks up to me
There’s still crime in the city
But it’s good to be free
Now I come from a family
That has a broken home
Sometimes I talk to my daddy
On the telephone
When he says that he loves me
I know that he does
But I wish I could see him
Wish I knew where he was
But that’s the way all my friends are
Except maybe one or two
Wish I could see him this weekend
Wish I could walk in his shoes
But now I’m doin’ my own thing
Sometimes I’m good, then I’m bad
Although my home has been broken
It’s the best home I ever had
Well, I keep getting younger
My life’s been funny that way
Before I ever learned to talk
I forgot what to say
I sassed back to my mummy
I sassed back to my teacher
I got thrown out of Sunday School
For throwin’ bibles at the preacher
Then I grew up to be a fireman
I put out every fire in town
Put out everything smoking
But when I put the hose down
The judge sent me to prison
Gave me life without parole
Wish I never put the hose down
Wish I never got old. http://thrasherswheat.org/fot/lyrics_crime.htm
GM Alonso Zapata, FM Kazim Gulamali, and NM Sanjay Ghatti each finished with a score of 6-3 at the US Open to lead the contingent of players from the state of Georgia. There is a dearth of games thanks to Monroi.
GM Zapata was upset in the second round by a young girl, Expert Jessica Regam. She played the GM tough enough to win when the GM could not make time control. The game score shows the GM making his last move, but since he lost on time I have no idea why the move is given.
Jessica Regam (2125) vs GM Alonso Zapata (2555)
Rd 2 2014 US Open
GM Zapata went into the penultimate round tied for first with nine other players while having White versus the seventeen year-old GM Illia Nyzhnyk of Ukraine. Since he is listed on the wallchart as being from Missouri, I assume he is one of the chess mercenaries at one of the colleges in the show me state.
After the teen GM played 14…h4 I thought back to a time when IM Boris Kogan was presenting a game from the US Championship when, in an analogous position his opponent had played his King Rook pawn across the Rubicon, just as Nyzhnyk. Boris moved his King Rook pawn to h3, and said while grinning, “He come no further!” I was flummoxed when GM Zapata did not move his Rook pawn, allowing his opponent to “come on down.” I was even more flummoxed when the youngster did NOT play h3 on his next move! I had been expecting the thematic 16 f5 when the much older GM played the cheap trick, 16 Nb5, losing a pawn. This move gave the advantage to the younger player. GM Zapata fought hard and after many vicissitudes had a chance to draw the game, but did not take advantage of the presented opportunities, and lost. Possibly demoralized, and certainly fatigued, the Senior GM lost his last round game with Black against NM Carl Haessler from Oregon. This was a fine win for the underdog out rated by more than five hundred points. Hopefully the game will be published in a future edition of the excellent Northwest Chess Magazine (http://www.nwchess.com/nwcmag/index.htm).
Kazim Gulamali also had a chance to finish in the second score group only a half point behind the co-champions, but alas, he too was upset in the last round, losing to Expert Mariano Sana of Tennessee. Check out this picture of Kazim in the blitz tournament here (http://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/2014/07/30/2014-u-s-open-orlando-usa/). Once again, there is no game, so I will present one of the few games to appear on Monroi:
Kazim Gulamali (2397) vs Sir Jalen Wang (2206)
Rd 7 2014 US Open
Benjamin Barry Moon finished only a half point behind those above, scoring five and a half points, with four wins, threed draws, and two losses. BB gained sixty rating points, improving from 2084 to 2144.
Constantine Xanthos (2218) vs Benjamin Barry Moon (2084)
Alex Little scored five points with three wins, four draws, and only two losses. He went from 1634 to 1792, gaining a whopping 154 points! Again it is unfortunate, but I have no game to present.
Kevin Schmuggerow, the owner of the North Georgia Chess Center (http://www.northgachesscenter.com/) scored four and a half points, taking a half point bye in the last round. Schmuggy. a floored NM, won three, lost three, and drew two.
Daaim Shabazz (2093) vs Kevin Schmuggerow (2000)
Rd 6 2015 US Open
Jeffery Rymuza scored an even fifty % with four wins and losses to go with a single draw. The beautiful Elena Gratskaya also scored fifty % by also winning and losing four while drawing one. Her opponent in this game is the man behind the excellent Chess Drum website (http://www.thechessdrum.net/), Dr. Daaim Shabazz, who has played at the House of Pain. Elena did cross over into class “A” territory, now rated 1819. A couple of hundred more points and she may be invited to participate in the US Women’s Championship.
Daaim Shabazz (2093) vs Elena Gratskaya (1792)
Rd 4 2014 US Open
Over 350 pages in the new book, “The Modern French: A Complete Guide for Black,” by Dejan Antic & Branimir Maksimovic and not one word on the second move of g3. Two Georgia players succumbed to the “Shabazz.” This sent me to the CBDB where I found this recent game:
Carlsen, Magnus (2881) vs Rodriguez Vila, Andres (2437)
Four Player Festa da Uva 2014 03/06/2014
Thomas Jackson Campbell scored four and a half points by winning three, losing three, drawing one, and availing himself of two half-point byes. Sujay Jagadeesh also scored four and a half by winning three, drawing and losing two, with one half-point bye. Prateek Mishra won his last two games to finish with an even score, while Samhitha Dasari won and lost three to go with one draw and a half-point draw to also finish with an even score. GCA President Fun Fong also scored four and a half points by winning three, drawing one, while losing four. Michael Mulford, Steven Boshears, Ainesh Balaga, and Srihitha Dasari all finished with four points. Tom Kayma, Tyler Schmuggerow, Steven Eisenhauer, Skyler Kelly, and Shyam Dasari each scored three and a half points. Dhruv Rajaganesh finished with three points. Pranit Mishra and Sanjay Jagadeesh each scored two and a half. Anish Kumar finished with a point and a half, as did Pranav Devalapalli. By my count that makes twenty-nine players from the Great State of Georgia at the 2014 US Open, the majority of whom are children, with a few adults, most of whom are eligible to play in the US Senior. This closely matches the current demographic profile of the USCF. It is obvious from the names of many of the players that it is a good thing that Vishy Anand has been World Human Chess Champion recently. I shutter to think of what the USCF would be without the influx of Indian players.