This morning while drinking my first cuppa Joe I read the following at the home page of the United States Chess Federation:
US Chess Final Statement About Alejandro Ramirez Investigation By US Chess May 24, 2023
US Chess launched an investigation in late 2022 when it received formal complaints from two individuals alleging sexual misconduct by GM Alejandro Ramirez.
The primary focus of this investigation was to determine when US Chess had knowledge of the various allegations and what responsive actions US Chess took. The third party, independent investigation is complete, and, based on the information received, the third party concluded that the US Chess response was timely and appropriate regarding the reports it received about Ramirez’s conduct. Our focus now is implementing specific action steps to build a safe, welcoming environment for the future. The investigation report will not be released due to the confidential nature of the witness statements.
This writer disagrees with the decision made by the USCF because the United States of America is a forgiving country in which it is said, “If you commit the crime you’ve got to do the time.” We Americans are given second chances for a reason. Please do not get me wrong because from what I have read the actions of GM Ramirez were reprehensible. If he had treated one of my sisters in such a fashion there would have been hell to pay. Actions speak louder than words and you can read in a recent post about the time I took action when one of my sisters suitors intentionally ran her car off of the road in, Say It Ain’t So, Alejandro (https://wordpress.com/post/xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/15193).
One of the members of the Atlanta Chess community ‘back in the day’ was an ex-con, Ulysses Martin. He was a very nice guy and we played many Chess games, including one rated game in which Mr. Martin lost on time after making only 24 moves! Ulysses was a quiet gentleman who had committed a crime, murder, for which he served his time, seven years, before being paroled. As far as I know Ulysses was never again in trouble, other than the trouble he got into over the Chessboard.
‘Back in the day’ a tournament director, Ted Abbott, got up in my face, spewing spittle. I slapped him, not hard, but hard enough to get him to stop spewing. Unfortunately for Ted he responded, slapping the you know what outta me, so I decked him with a straight right fist. For that I was banned from playing in any Georgia Chess Association tournament for one year. As an aside, many years later when involved with sports memorabilia, Mr. Abbott purchased a table at an event in which I was involved. The Legendary Georgia Ironman also had a table, right next to mine, at the event. Tim excitedly returned to the table informing me that “Ted Abbott is here, Mike. He has notebook after notebook filled with autograph cards. They all look like the same person signed them.” After walking over Ted was SHOCKED to see me. After a brief discussion I said, “Ted, all these cards look like they were signed by the same person.” Ted immediately began packing his binders and left the hotel. He was never seen again.
CNN has reached out to Ramirez for comment about the accusations through his lawyer Albert S. Watkins, who replied, “I have been directed to respect the confidentiality I was advised would purportedly attach to pending investigative undertakings.”
The Wall Street Journal, which first reported on the accusations, quoted Watkins as saying, “At some point we are all compelled to take pause and reflect on the reality that unsubstantiated, temporally aged, and concurrent use of social media to incite a ‘Me Too’ call-to-arms runs afoul of every constitutional safeguard we have always held so dear.
Unless there is more, much more, to the story, that the USCF, in its wisdom, is holding back, the decision to permanently ban GM Ramirez should be reconsidered.
Boys Will Be Boys is my attempt at making sense of society’s tendency to blame the victims of sexual assault and rape and make excuses for the perpetrators. It was also my way of dealing with certain events that were occurring in my life at the time. The video itself was intended to express the burden of victim blaming and sexual assault on the victims themselves as the mundane aspects of life go on. A song is just a song but at the very least I hope it will open up difficult yet important conversations between family members, friends, government bodies, organisations and most importantly, boys and men.
Mr. J. Parnell Watkins is the President of the Georgia Chess Association. He has been sidelined recently after having heart surgery to replace a valve. It was good to have this good news in the inbox today! The following exchange transpired a short time ago:
to Jr. I’d not planned on any edits! I would not change a word, sir. Now if you want something changed, please let me know…otherwise, I’m ready to fire that salvo!
J Parnell Watkins, Jr.
to me No changes. I’m feeling reckless, and short on work hours.
With that in mind…
J Parnell Watkins, Jr.
12:42 PM (1 hour ago)
to me I should add, heart surgery went well and other than a tendency to end sentences with “Mooo”, no ill effects. New valve working well, arteries and veins relatively healthy, and back to (limited) work today. I have about a month of GCA to catch up on, but am glad to say we are now at a state where we can host a tournament without my direct intervention. The MLK went well from planning to implementation with minimal input from me. I have the greatest respect for Scott Parker, but I am not him nor am I willing to be the critical piece that makes the entire organization function. I do not have either his or Fun Fong’s energy (each of us have different strengths and weaknesses to work with).
We desperately need a treasurer if you know anyone who has that kind of mind for details and a love of chess. It isn’t me for sure. Board positions up for election in April are: President (me), 1st VP (Thad Rogers), Treasurer (vacant), Secretary (Kendya Scott), 1st Member at Large (Kevin Schmuggerrow), 2nd Member at Large (vacant). Kendya will not run again (focusing on running tournaments) and Thad may not (he is slowing down).
Thanks to the generosity of James Altucher, most of your concerns with last year’s Senior’s Tournament have been addressed. He is hosting the event, giving us a break between rounds. Most of the other details are the same. Formats for the championship, class, and open are the same this year. Women’s tournament tournament failed to occur last year, the first choices for venue were not available and the backup site was cancelled on us. Still trying to get a college, preferably a women’s college (Agnes Scott or Spellman), to host.
With some minor exceptions, this year is planned, and we will begin looking at 2024 in April. Two biggest challenges right now are the office of treasury (paying bills, awarding winnings, accounting, etc.) and communications (websites, blogs, etc.). I need the right people to run these efforts. We need to be more timely paying out and have better accounting practices and ensure easy and clear access to any and all GCA information via social media of choice, coordinating the outlets and feeding them in a timely manner.
Well, I’m back and open for feedback again. Sorry for the long absence but my heart wouldn’t wait for a more convenient time to make its own problems known. Now with a fully functioning heart I hope to have more energy to put into the GCA.
You have heard from The Man. Any organization is only as good as those who lead the organization. The GCA needs YOU!
My friend Michael Mulford is one of the good guys involved with the Royal Game of Chess. “Mulfish”, as he is known at the USCF Forum, has devoted much time to Chess over the decades, and is currently very much involved with Senior Chess. After seeing this post on the USCF Forum it seemed to differ from the first one posted:
Postby Mulfish on Sat Sep 17, 2022 8:36 am #354807 https://www.minnesotachess.com/ is the Minnesota Chess website. It now shows tournament details and a link to the registration page, though i still don’t see it on the US Chess website.
I would also caution anyone interested in playing in the Georgia Senior. The round schedule is absurdly tight, with only 4 hours between the morning and afternoon rounds and a time control of G90/ inc 30. The organizer has told me they have to finish and be out of the building by a specific time. The ad does say they provide “light food”. If I were playing, I think I’d bring my own to be sure that I could keep my blood sugar where it should be. I’d probably have used a slightly shorter time control like G/75 inc 30, but it’s hard to criticize them for wanting to use the same time control as the Irwin uses. No amount of evidence will ever persuade an idiot – Mark Twain http://www.uschess.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=26094
Because it differed I reached out to the Mulfish asking if it were, in fact, a different post. This was the reply:
Sat, Sep 17, 9:10 PM
This is the original; I had it only because Parnell included it in his email to me. If you wish to point out I made this original post and then edited it, that’s fine, but if you do please portray it as a revision to incorporate his explanations. He didn’t ask me to do so. I think he would have made a post of his own once he figured out how to join the forums and do so.
“I also caution anyone interested in playing in the Georgia Senior. The round schedule is absurdly tight, with only 4 hours between the morning and afternoon rounds and a time control of G90/ inc 30. I don’t know what they were thinking on this one. Perhaps they lose the site at 5 or 6 pm. If you’re going to play, I’d consider asking the organizer about that. It might be possible to persuade them to build a little more time into the schedule.”
I had questioned the new President of the Georgia Chess Association about the format, which allowed not time for rest or food between rounds a year ago when the format of the Georgia Senior was advertised. For that reason I, and several other Senior players, did not participate in the 2021 Georgia Senior. In response Mr. Watkins defended the format by informing me there would be a “charcuterie” board provided for the players. The definition of a charcuterie board is: “Sausages, ham, pâtés, and other cooked or processed meat foods.” Just what a Senior needs, right? There is nothing like processed meat served on a board that has been sitting out for hours to whet your appetite. Unfortunately, it did not whet my appetite as I do not, and have not eaten pork products for decades, and try to avoid processed food as much as possible, as do most Seniors. I met the new POTGCA at the 2022 Georgia State Chess Championships and the man is HUGE. He looked like the kind of guy who should, by all means, stay away from processed food, and immediately go on a diet to lose at least fifty, if not one hundred pounds.
In an email exchange Parnell closed with this:
“A monkey in my plans is that I have been diagnosed with a heart condition, a leaky valve. I will have to have surgery this year, and it explains finally why I hit a wall in chess (tournaments and can’t seem to get past the first couple of hours of a tournament. I always contributed to my nervous disorder causing me to become exhausted. No, my heart gives out.”
Mr. Watkins became POTGCA when no one ran against him. The VP of the GCA is Thad Rogers, who has his own health problems.
One of the best things about the Atlanta Chess and Game Center was the multifarious people, who came from every walk of life while having one thing in common: Chess. I thought of this while reading an article in the New York Times, How to Change Minds? A Study Makes the Case for Talking It Out. Below the title one finds the main point of the article: Researchers found that meaty conversations among several people can align beliefs and brain patterns — so long as the group is free of blowhards. (https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/16/science/group-consensus-persuasion-brain-alignment.html)
There were the habitués who would pontificate loudly, but usually anyone could get a chance to put in their two cents worth. There were a few blowhards and occasionally the Forhorn would blow. During the time spent working there it became obvious the blowhards were all far right of the political spectrum. One extremely strident wrong-winger lost it once, balling up his fist before slamming it into the glass counter top, shattering the glass. He was never seen again, thankfully.
From the article:
“Conversation is our greatest tool to align minds,” said Thalia Wheatley, a social neuroscientist at Dartmouth College who advises Dr. Sievers. “We don’t think in a vacuum, but with other people.” The new study “suggests that the degree of similarity in brain responses depends not only on people’s inherent predispositions, but also the common ground created by having a conversation,” Dr. Leong said.
The experiment also underscored a dynamic familiar to anyone who has been steamrollered in a work meeting: An individual’s behavior can drastically influence a group decision. Some of the volunteers tried to persuade their groupmates of a cinematic interpretation with bluster, by barking orders and talking over their peers. But others — particularly those who were central players in the students’ real-life social networks — acted as mediators, reading the room and trying to find common ground. (https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/16/science/group-consensus-persuasion-brain-alignment.html)
There were myriad “meaty conversations” at the House of Pain. The President of the Georgia Chess Association, Scott Parker, was also the Tournament Director at many events. Scott was called, “The Sheriff” behind his back because he did not care to be called “Sheriff,” but with his ramrod straight deportment it fit. When The Sheriff was in the House the conversations may have been “meaty” but they were “conversations,” not shouting matches. Scott was, whether he likes it or not, The Sheriff because of the respect everyone at the House had for him.
Writing these words caused me to reflect upon those days and nights at the House and how little conversation has been engaged during the pandemic. A phone call is not the same as actually watching someone engaged in conversation; nor is an email. With that in mind I have recently been reading comments left at various websites concerning the Magnus Freak Out affair. I spent time reading the comments left by Chess fans at various websites and after copying one, wondered why I did not copy an earlier comment, so I scrolled backward and did just that. What follows could be considered modern day conversation:
Chumlychess @DohnalSteven Replying to @ChampChessTour Always admired the World Champion but unless he speaks out to his proof this seems like a wussy move
B @damnthecatt emotional damage for niemann his chess career is done
kiran.sol 🔮🦉 @kiranjaimon He has an impeccable record with no controversy. If he believes something is wrong, I am inclined to agree
David Gil de Gómez @ITStudiosi Why anyone would defend Magnus here is beyond me.
Khan Explorer @khan_explore Unfortunately Magnus has too many dick riders who will keep defending him.
dd df @dddf08021173 Disqualify Magnus for this behaviour.
Steve Holloway @JSteveHolloway A good lawyer sees a defamation suit against Magnus
Indian Sports Fans @IndianSportFan King 👑 Magnus does it again. Magnus Carlsen vs. Hans Niemann game today, a recap:
Magnus Quits.. Why. Can anyone explain. Pls. #chessdrama #chess
CryptoSala🔁 @CryptoSala Magnus should not participate in events with Hans in that case. Or provide evidence for Hans cheating.
Neil Merryll 👌🥀 @Neilmerryll True its unsportsmanlike and he has no integrity
Praava 🇮🇳 @Praava97 Magnus losing all his fans really quickly. Going down the Fischer lane..
Praava 🇮🇳 @Praava97 I’m a huge fan of Magnus but this sort of behaviour is just bullish to say the least. It’s high time now that Magnus should come forward and SPEAK on the matter.
Gerry Last @PatzerGod I feel this is some kind of massive troll, or publicity stunt. Most likely wrong but this just doesn’t make any sense.
Vishesh Kabra @visheshkabra This is the new Queen’s Gambit Declined
DK @DaleKerr Magnus should have been sanctioned after the Sinquefield Cup, either he makes a full statement and provides some evidence, or he is banned from future tournaments. His actions are disrupting tournaments and every player, not just himself and Hans.
Martin Hansen @bondegnasker If he isn’t sanctioned, that raises another point about a wealthy and influential player owning his own chess server and how that affects fair play.
Kela Siame @TheRealKela You’re in fantasy world sir.
dot @dot16060982 Magnus should be banned from chess tournaments
Big Alex @Big__Alex this summed to the fact that he will not defend his title is really a shame. He should have been punished!
Mark J. Moser @mjmoser I lost all respect for Magnus. Whatever Niemann did or not. Magnus should communicate and not just fan the flames of gossip and ruin the reputation of Niemann. The loser is chess!
Hic. @TheHigherSpace Everybody turning against Magnus .. This is weird ..
Saltybird @saltcod1 Naa.. Hugely impressive move by Magnus in my opinion. Brutal forcing strategy.. no sweeping it under the carpet now and it will ALL come out.
On the home page of the Georgia Chess Association this can be found: 2021 Georgia Senior’s Championshp February 19, 2022 10:00 AM • (http://georgiachess.org/)
My first thought upon seeing this was to wonder why the name was changed from the “Georgia Senior” to the “Georgia Senior’s Championship.” The next thought was also a question: “Why was it made into a one-day event?”
After clicking onto the link this was found:
2021 Georgia Senior’s Championshp
February 19, 2022
February 20, 2022
This event will honor senior chess players in Georgia. The winner will receive a stipend to attend the 2022 John T. Irwin National Tournament of Senior State Champions.
ELIGIBILITY FOR STIPEND AND 1ST PLACE TROPHY
Participants must be residents of the State of Georgia for 30 days prior to the date of the qualifying tournament.
Players must be over the age of 50 on or before June 1, 2022.
Stipend of $500 to the winner to attend theJohn T. Irwin National Tournament of Senior State Champions. Trophies to top two each section.
Open: 1st – $300, 2nd – $175, 3rd – $100
Reserve: 1st – $100, 2nd – $75, 3rd- $50
One “½ Point Bye” is available in Rounds 1 thru 3. A “Zero Point Bye” is available in Round 4. All Byes must be requested in advance of 1st round before pairings posted. No changes afterwards.
$50.00, Late Entry $65 after Wednesday 16 February 2022
GCA and USCF memberships (required) and must be purchased if necessary.
In the event of a tie, the stipend will be awarded as follows: players will play two G/10 d5. After those games, if a tie persists, players will play one “Armageddon” game with White getting 6 minutes to Black’s 4 minutes, both sides receiving 5-second delay, and Black having draw-odds.
Before posting my thoughts on the tournament I decided to reach out and my friend Michael Mulford, known far and wide as “Mulfish,” a man who has earned much respect for his work in the Chess community, and he was nice enough to share his thoughts:
My thoughts are:
Unless you expect 20 or more players, there is no reason to split to two sections.
I hope Zapata plays, and the combination of first prize plus the stipend should be enough to attract him. GA should be represented by a strong player, not an expert. Incidentally, if you weren’t aware of it, Mark Hoshor won the NC Senior, which was also a two section affair.
15 second increment is unusual, but not bad. I know you aren’t a fan of increment.
You might be amused to know that when this was originally posted, it said 1/2 point byes were available rounds 1-4, but only 0 point byes for round 5. I pointed this out to the incoming GCA President, who got it corrected on the GCA website. It has not, however, been corrected on the US Chess website.
10-2 is a decent round schedule, but if you do have a long morning game you won’t have much time for a meal and rest. I’d have preferred 10-2:30 or 10-3. It also will be difficult for anyone to travel for a 10am start time from outside of the greater Atlanta area. That’s not a huge issue since there aren’t a lot of players in the extreme parts of the state. Scott always wanted to start at noon on Saturday to allow for travelers, but earlier on Sunday so round 4 ended early enough for the travelers. Conflicting values.
Am I blind, or did they fail to tell us where the event is being held? Maybe “The Boardroom” is a known location, but I’d think a street address would be useful.
In answer to the Mulfish I replied: “to obtain the address you needed to look up, where you will find: The Boardroom – Puttin’ on the Blitz December 31, 2021 7:30 PM • 1675 Peachtree Pkwy, Suite #180, Cumming Georgia 30041
Someone must have thought it only needed to be printed once in order to save digits…”
As of this writing there is only one “registered atendee.” That would be Van Vandivier, who registered the day after Christmas.
The question must be asked those in charge: “Why the hurry to hold this tournament?” The new administration of the GCA has only recently taken office and these things are usually scheduled many months in advance. Granted, times are difficult now but what has, or is being done to contact each and every Senior Chess player in the great State of Georgia? How much input came from those who will be participating in the tournament? How many Senior players were contacted in advance? Who decided on the particulars of the tournament?
Mike’s third point concerning the increment, “3. 15 second increment is unusual” is an understatement if ever there was one…There is a reason 30 seconds is “usual.”
‘Back in the day’ we called Harry Sabine, “Head’em up…Move’em out, Harry,”
because of his “Rawhide” Chess.
What were those who put this tournament together thinking?!
One of the things about being a Senior one learns quickly is that much more rest is needed for everything, but especially for COGITATING! Not only do the movers and shakers of the GCA want to “head’em up and move’em out” but they do not even want the players to have time for a repast. Even if things were “normal” and there were no dreaded virus I would not even consider participating in any tournament in which time for food and rest is not allowed.
It bodes ill for the members of the Georgia Chess Association, and other Chess playing fanatics in the Great State of Georgia, when the organizer (who is the organizer?) throws any Chess tournament together at the last minute with no obvious forethought. If this is a sign of what is to come from those now in charge of the GCA all I can say is, “Pucker up, Buttercup,” because it is gonna be a bumpy ride…
After hearing a rumor about the demise of the new ACC it was time to check with the man known as “The Sheriff,” aka Scott Parker, President of the Georgia Chess Association. Mr. Parker does not care for the appellation but a more fitting sobriquet does not exist. It was hung on Scott by the Legendary Georgia Ironman. When queried about the name Tim said, “Scott walks around the House (of Pain) ramrod straight, like Gary Cooper in High Noon.”
Michael, Sat, Nov 13 at 3:31 PM
Sad but true.The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Atlanta will be shutting it’s doors on Nov. 24. Participation has not recovered enough from the pandemic for them to make a go of it. They’re in a nice space in a nice area of town, but the $3800/month rent is killing them. They are losing too much money, and the job is taking too much of Karen’s time. She’s really unhappy about having to do this, but she feels there is no choice.
My term of office ends on Dec. 12 at the conclusion of the annual GCA Membership Meeting. After that I will be tying up some odds and ends like the financials of the State Championship tournament and trying to smooth the transition to Parnell Watkins’ Presidency, but essentially I will be done at that time. It’s time for me to move on from the GCA, and it’s time for the GCA to move on from me.
Be well, Scott
After replying the following was received:
Michael, Sat, Nov 13 at 6:46 PM
The 2022 GA Senior Championship is in limbo now. That event was to have been held in January along with the GA Women’s Championship at Ben and Karen’s place, but obviously that isn’t going to happen. Where and when it will be held will be up to the next GCA Board.
I doubt that I will be playing in any more tournaments, senior or otherwise. The prospect just doesn’t interest me anymore. I’d play some casual blitz, but that’s probably the extent of it. As I said, time to move on.
Be well, Scott
A case can be made that Scott Parker was, historically speaking, the best President of the Georgia Chess Association. Then there is Chess Hall of Famer Thad Rogers, who single-handedly kept the sinking boat of the GCA afloat after Earle Morrison bankrupted the organization. For what it’s worth, Mr. Parker said he thought Ted Weiber was the best POTGCA.
After my most recent required Medicare physical I had to do the Cologuard (https://www.cologuard.com/) thing now required for Seniors. This is the second time I have sent my excrement to HQ where some unfortunate human must screen it for whatever. The day of the procedure, which includes more than just dumping and sending, I will spare you the details, for some reason I thought of Thad Rogers, long and many time President of the Georgia Chess Association.
On his way back from a Chess tournament the owner of the Atlanta Chess and Game Center, Thad Rogers, stopped at the House of Pain before heading south to Macon. Howls of laughter emanating from downstairs piqued my curiosity and an inquiring mind wanted to know what was causing such an uproar. Once downstairs I saw Thad holding up a T-shirt. “That looks like a turd on the shirt, Thad,” I said. There were more howls of laughter especially when Thad said, “That’s not a turd, it’s Mr. Hankey!” I thought about going next door to the pizza joint to have a beer, or maybe even something stronger, but I never drink during the day, even when it’s called for, as was the case that day. It turned out Thad was a HUGE fan of the TV show South Park. Evidently he was not alone…Thad would often bring in from the road Chess books and other Chess type things to sell at the House of Pain, but that day will long be remembered as Mr. Hankey day.
Before writing this post I could not recall the name of the turd on Thad’s T-shirt, so I went to the internet and typed in “South Park feces” and there was a turd with a Christmas type hat on top of its “head.” I had found Mr. Hankey!
I mention this because the thought occurred that an award should be given to the player(s) who “play” the shortest game at one of the norm tournaments held at the Charlotte Chess Center and Scholastic Academy. What better prize than a Mr. Hankey?!
For the most recently completed tournament I thought to award the prize to the player(s) agreeing to the shortest draw. After putting this together my mind was changed. What follows is the shortest draws from each of the four different tournaments held in conjunction at what has become known as the Charlotte Draw Center. The loser who wins the prize will become known at the end of the post.
Ringoir, Tanguy (BEL) – Ostrovskiy, Aleksandr (USA) Charlotte Labor Day GM A 2021 round 07
Thirteen (13) was a popular number in this section when it came to agreeing to split the point. I mention this because almost half a century ago I made a study of my games, coming to the conclusion that I had made an inordinate number of questionable (OK, BAD, or HORRIBLE, moves) when producing my thirteenth move of the game. It was more than a little obvious I was having much trouble with the transition from the opening to the middle game. After deep study my game, such as it was, improved at least to the point where I won the coveted title of Atlanta Champion a couple of times.
GM Dragun, Kamil 2555 (POL) – GM Ali Marandi, Cemil Can 2530 (TUR) Charlotte Labor Day GM A 2021 round 01
This game is included because it involves Tanguy Ringoir, a serial drawer, who averaged only twenty, that’s 20, or TWO ZERO, moves per game in the tournament. Just to think the dude came all the way from Belarus to not play Chess… The most moves in any of his games were the 37 he played in defeating Arthur Guo in the fourth round. Arthur was either, “out of form” as is said about a player who is having a bad event, or ill. We do not know because nothing is written on the blog of the CCCSA informing we fans of what is happening during the tournaments.
Bora, Safal (USA) – Ringoir, Tanguy (BEL) Charlotte Labor Day GM A 2021 round 09
Amongst this nefarious group of non Chess players who will be all be execrable losers when awarded the dishonorable mention prize one player stood out among the other losers who blaspheme against Caissa. That would be Tanguy Ringoir,
a one man wrecking draw. He was bat and balls below every other player. His passport should be revoked.
(My first thought upon seeing this move was, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Former President of the Georgia Chess Association, and many other state organizations, not to mention USCF mover and shaker, Don Schultz,
Testing the New Polgar Chess Clock – Front: Anatoly Karpov and Susan Polgar – Back: Karpov Chess School President Marck Cobb, Vice-President and Secretary Irwin “Wes” Fisk, USCF Vice-President Don Schultz, U.S. Chess Trust Director Barbara DuMaro and USCF Vice-President Joel Channing
played 1 a3 against me in a tournament game, and lost. After the game Don informed he decided to play the move because, “I’ve played everything else against you, so why not?” Why not, indeed. Don and I played many 15 minute games ‘back in the day’ and, for some reason, I seemed to have Don’s number. We were both class A players who had crossed the 2000 threshold. SF 270919 @depth 50 plays 1…c5, as does Komodo 13.2 @depth 44. There are only two games with 1…f5 at the CBDB. After mentioning the first two opening moves to the Legendary Georgia Ironman he said, “I guess it stops e4.”) 2. e4 fxe4 3. d3 e3
(This move caused me to think of the poplar saying, “Patzer sees a check, patzer gives a check.” The move is also a “bright Red move. The thought of something a local Chess teacher mentioned about the early Qh5+ move occurred. He said a new boy had come to one of his groups and was beating all the local players with, you guessed it, 2 Qh5. “He was one of Steve’s boys.” “Steve” being Steve Schneider, the owner of Championship Chess, whom I have written about previously. (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2019/07/19/the-world-of-championship-chess/) Upon completion of laugh the tale continued with my asking, “I thought you taught these kids how to defend against the Queen’s Raid.” His response was, “Evidently not enough.” This time I, as we say down South, busted a gut laughing! After gathering myself I said, “It looks like with someone who not only teaches the Queen’s Raid, but owns a company that goes into schools and teaches nothing but the Queen’s Raid, everyone in the state would teach their spuds how to defend against the Queen’s Raid.” He nodded in agreement… 4 Bxe3 looks like a good enough move) 4…g6 5. Qe5? (One of the possible legal moves in this position is 5 Qe2. Just sayin’…) 5…exf2+ 6. Kxf2 Nf6 7. Nc3?
After reading Kevin Spragett’s post dated March 30, 2019, Friday Coffee
by kevinspraggettonchess · Published March 29, 2019 · Updated March 30, 2019, (http://www.spraggettonchess.com/friday-coffee-24/) which includes the question, “Is Chess Sexist?”, I sent Kevin an email:
You write, “We acknowledge that there is no fundamental difference when it comes to the brain of a women or that of a man.” You, sir, are WRONG! I have written much on my blog concerning the science and studies which confirm just how wrong are you as there is a “fundamental difference” between the male and female brain, which you would have known if you had read my blog.
After reading the new book, Gender and Our Brains, by Gina Rippon,
I must apologize to Kevin and admit being wrong. Although there appear to be some differences between the male brain when compared with the female brain that does not mean there is any difference between the two brains when it comes to cognitive ability. For example:
Study finds some significant differences in brains of men and women
Ms.Rippon writes, “We have tracked the “blame the brain” campaign down the ages, and seen how diligent was the scientists’ pursuit of those brain differences that would keep women in their place. If a unit of measurement didn’t exist to characterize those inferior female brains, then one must be invented!”
She also writes, “Hence men’s more efficient callosal filtering mechanism explained their mathematical and scientific genius (with chess brilliance thrown in for good measure), their right to be captains of industry, win Nobel Prizes and so on and on. In this instance, in the “size matters” wars, with respect to the corpus callosum, small is beautiful.”
This is the only place in which one finds the word “chess” in the four hundred pages of the book.
If you believe Gina Rippon’s thesis then the question of why women are segregated in Chess must be asked. As a matter of fact the question was asked by E.E. Deedon in a letter (via email) to Chess Life magazine in the July 2019 issue. Mr. Deedon wrote:
“I just received my May 2019 edition of Chess Life, “The Women’s Issue.” What I cannot understand is the fact that men and women are still segregated after it has become quite obvious that men have no “advantage” when playing against women as they would obviously have in “physical” sports like football, basketball, and track and field. Would you be so kind to enlighten me as to why this situation still exists?”
For my international readers I must mention that when E.E. uses the word “football” he is talking about the American version, what I call “maimball”, not what is known in the rest of the world, which is called “soccer” here in the United States of America.
There follows in Chess Life:
Women’s Program Director for US Chess, WGM Jennifer Shahade
(that’s for WOMAN Grandmaster, as opposed to a real Grandmaster, whether male of female. For the international readers, Jennifer Shahade is rated 2301 US and 2322 FIDE. She has earned the title of “Original Life Master” from the United States Chess Federation. Although I am uncertain how one becomes an OLM I do know that if Jennifer were a male she would be considered just another National Master) responds:
“Women have historically been outnumbered in chess competition (She could stop there as it answers the question, but adds more, much more, as if she is a long-winded politician running for office) and most women and girls play and study in mixed competitions for the majority of the time.”
This begs the question of how she knows “most women and girls study in mixed competitions.”
“Women’s spaces, tournaments, and camps are great ways to allow them to work on their game, make friendships, and get attention for their success and talent, which creates a positive, self-perpetuating cycle that brings more girls and women into the game.”
You are not alone in your curiosity. Your question is by far the most frequent I get when hosting, supporting, or streaming an event that includes a women’s or girl’s component. Unfortunately, when this question is asked, it is often negatively charged, and changes a positive event (women and girls enjoying and playing chess) into a forum for amateur analysis of gender, biology, and sociology. This line of questioning is so common that streamers like Alexander Botez (as featured in the first edition of my Ladies Knight podcast) create automated moderator responses for her streams – if the questioning become negative, moderators advise re-focusing on the chess.
Which brings me to an important point when we talk about women and girls in chess. As Woman’s Program Director, I focus on the positive as we grow the game: from Jennifer Yu’s stirring victory to the inspiring story of Phiona Mutesi, from Rachael Li’s standing as the top nine year old in the U.S. to the rich history of women’s chess from Menchik to Graf to Rudenko.
Thanks for you interest in US Chess Women!”
What, women cannot “work on their game, make friendships, and get attention for their success and talent” by attending a “space” -whatever that means- tournament or camp that includes males?
Who judges when a question is “negatively charged?” If anyone suggests females play in tournaments open to everyone regardless of sex does Jennifer consider that to be “negatively charged?”
I played Backgammon professionally for a time and women were welcomed in tournaments. There were no tournaments for only women.
Jennifer’s ridiculous answer to an important question can be distilled to, “Because we’re special.” Women want to eat their cake and have it too. It is as simple as that…
The fact is that men resent preferential treatment for women in Chess because females are diverting money from the small pool of Chessbucks which should go to the best player(s) regardless of sex. Period.
As I write this a Chess tournament, the FIDE chess.com Grand Swiss, is unfolding in the Isle of Man. In the second round the female player GM Antoaneta Stefanova defeated male player Gawain Jones. IM Batkhuyag Munguntuul bested GM Sergei Movsesian.
There are many female players challenging males. I do not know exactly how many, or what percentage, are female because Chess Results (http://chess-results.com/tnr478041.aspx) makes no distinction between the sexes.
There are more women and girls involved with Chess than ever before and it started with the so-called “youth movement,” which began when money earmarked for Master Chess was, shall we say to be kind, diverted to children’s Chess. With this brought an influx of “Chess moms,” a term first heard in relation to soccer, as in “Soccer mom.” It has gotten to the point that many women have been placed in positions of power in the Chess world, taking positions formerly held by men. For example, in the Spring 2018issue of the American Chess Magazine
there is an interview with the new executive director of the USCF, Carol Meyer.
Pete Tamburro posed this question to the new E.D.:
Have you learned to play chess? (Upon reading this my first thought was, “What The Fork?”) Anybody offer you lessons? Do you have a chess strategic plan?
“I know how to move the pieces and have played with my family.” (I’m thinking, “You’re kidding me, right?”) “What I’ve learned is that playing chess for a tournament player is a very different concept from playing chess as a casual player. (How would the woman know that if she has NEVER PLAYED A TOURNAMENT GAME?) I have considered taking lessons after I settle in a bit more. I was thinking about blogging the personal experience of someone over the age of 50 learning the game.”
Good luck with that! The fact is that Chess is so difficult it is almost impossible for anyone over the age of 50 to learn how to play a decent game of Chess. I have attempted to teach Chess to men in their 30s to no avail. One gentleman was an attorney with a prominent law firm who informed me he had accomplished whatever it was he attempted until trying to play Chess.
From the earliest days of my involvement in Chess everyone involved came from some kind of Chess background. It may not have been required, but that was the way it was…I have battled over the Chess board with many USCF pooh bahs, such as Don Schultz, President of several different state organizations. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Schultz) Don was POTUSCF at one time. The fact is I cannot recall all of the many positions Don held in Chess. I do know he was once President of the Georgia Chess Association. This woman, Carol Meyer, in that position makes the USCF President, Allen Priest, rated 701 after having played 45 games in his life (10 wins; 3 draws) look like a battle scarred veteran. What can this woman possibly know about the Royal game? Is having someone who knows almost nothing about Chess good for the USCF? Having a litigious imbecile as POTUS has not exactly turned out well for the USA or the world, and it will get worse before he is impeached and forced to resign. I do not know about you but I would not want the pilot of my plane to say, “I know how to push the buttons and have flown in a simulator.”
Then there is the Publications Editor, Melinda Matthews. I searched the USCF and found her listed along with other rated players but the USCF MSA page shows she has yet to play a rated game. I kid you not. Maybe she is the reason the once venerable Chess Life magazine now includes articles such as More Chess Parenting: Nurturing the Talented Child, by Alexey Root, WIM.
Alexey is rated 2000 USCF, meaning she would be a floored National Master if male. I recently reached out to a number of Chess players, asking if they read the article. No one replied in the affirmative. One wag responded, “No one reads that shit, Bacon.” Who knows, maybe a few parents of children involved with Chess actually read the article. Maybe… Another said, “The USCF could care less about people who actually play Chess, Mike. They are attempting to reach PARENTS!”
“It’s a Total Numbers Game”
The above has become the mantra for women involved with Chess. It is also a load of crap. Statistics prove that young girls exposed to Chess stop playing the game around puberty. There is a reason. I do not profess to know the reason, but there must be a reason, because there is always a reason. Unfortunately, the same could be said for preteen boys. Something happens to children of both sexes around puberty and they leave Chess in droves. Why is that? There is a reason, and it would seem those in charge would spend as much of Rex Sinquefield’s money as they could grasp to learn why young people leave the game. Instead, large sums of money go to attracting even more young children to replace the money of those who leave the game, never to return.
Sports Illustrated Features US Chess Women: “It’s a Total Numbers Game.”
By Jennifer Shahade|December 21, 2018|Kids, News, Women
It’s a total and complete numbers game. What the women’s committee is trying to do is to grow the base- Maureen Grimaud
Ladies Knight with Maureen Grimaud [PODCAST]
By Jennifer Shahade|August 21, 2019|Ladies Knight, News, Podcast, Women
The August episode of Ladies Knight features Maureen Grimaud,
chair of the US Chess Women’s committee. Maureen is a vocal proponent and supporter of bringing more women and girls into chess, from her work with the girls club’ rooms and Regional women’s events. In a Sports Illustrated article about women in chess, Maureen said, “It’s a numbers game, It’s a total and complete numbers game. What the women’s committee is trying to do is to grow the base.”
How about Maureen’s numbers? The woman has played a total of 44 rated games since 2006. She won four of the games and drew three. She last played in a USCF rated tournament in 2012. Her rating is 440. How about Rex Sinquefield putting up money for a match between Maureen and the President of the USCF, Allen Priest? Although the Prez outweighs her by about the same number of pounds as he out rates her I would hafta say it’s a toss-up.
I do not have answers to the questions posed in this post; maybe there are no answers, or no one really wants to learn the answers while the money is still flowing into Chess. But how long will it last?
In the latter half, journalist Linda Godfrey, an authority on anomalous animals and paranormal phenomena in Wisconsin,
discussed her new work on urban legends and ancient lore. Modern-day eyewitnesses describe creatures not known to exist in our time but which show up in ancient cultures such as in the Egyptian pantheon, where there was a dog-headed upright creature named Anubis that correlates with recent sightings of ‘Dogman.’ Godfrey has concluded that the strange sightings of anomalous creatures are not mass hallucinations– “it’s something that is happening to people in all walks of life,” she said, and “usually unexpectedly.”
Indigenous people have characterized the strange creatures as spirit beings that take physical form to procreate and demonstrate different qualities. While they can leave tracks and claw marks, Godfrey pointed out that when people have fired upon them or hit them with their vehicles, the creatures seem amazingly resilient, picking themselves up and dashing off into the woods. She delved into beings such as Slender Man, who first took off as a fictional meme on the Internet, leading to a case where two Wisconsin girls stabbed a schoolmate as a way to please Slender Man. The idea of a tall, stick figure actually dates back to the Native American lore of “Deer People,” she cited. Godfrey also talked about persistent sightings in central Wisconsin of panthers– animals that wildlife officials claim cannot be there. (https://www.coasttocoastam.com/show/2019/07/15)
Dedicated to Georgia Chess Association President Scott Parker