Cheating At Chess: “Killing Da Wabbit”

I posted a notification of my blog post, Yet Another Chess Cheating Scandal, ( at the All Things Chess section of the USCF forum on Sun Aug 11, 2019 10:17 am. When checking out the forum this morning I learned posts were still being made as of last Friday, August 23. Something in one of the posts caught my eye:

“Players who frequently go to the bathroom are always suspect.”

This is contained in a post by the resident philosopher of USCF forum, Thomas Magar, known as “tmagchesspgh” on the forum. I, along with many other Chess players “…are always suspect.” As a Senior I must head to the head inordinately more often than a younger player. Upon reflection I must admit to having to go to the men’s room during a Chess tournament far more often than normal even when younger. Copious amounts of coffee no doubt contributed to making the frequent trek. There is a recollection of finding myself on the same schedule as a famous International Master at the Governor’s Cup in South Dakota in 2002. IMJD later mentioned the fact, as he, too, had noticed the synchronicity. At another tournament I was on schedule with a GM with whom I was on speaking terms. After the tournament I mentioned not having played like a GM. “Yes,” he agreed, “But you pee like a GM!”

The full post from Mr. Magar:

by tmagchesspgh on Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:08 pm #337358

Facial expressions, hand and arm movements, coughing, and breathing patterns can convey information in a very subtle way if only to alert the player that the position on the board is critical requiring more time. Before I asked him to leave the playing hall at one tournament, I watched one chess dad be almost a semaphore of hand movements and arched eyebrows. That is low tech and may or may not be confusing for a child. When scanning a crowd of players it is useful for a TD to see who is looking with some frequency at an adult or other player during a game. Players who frequently go to the bathroom are always suspect. If a player locks eyes with me across a room, I always wonder what he/she is doing that he needs to see if the TD is watching his behavior.

The worst incident I have heard of was an adult sitting out in the hallway with his daughter’s position on his tablet. How that position got there was a mystery unto itself. When the girl went to the loo, her father was alleged to have told her to “play what you have just seen” while they were huddling over the device. Other parents turned them in. This was just for a trophy and a few rating points in an under-section. Some people cheat because they can, not just for money, trophies, or rating points. There is an amoral approach to competition which irks other players who play honestly. If caught, the offenders shrug it off as a cost of doing business, much like what we see in the real world. The cynical baseball adage, “If you aren’t cheating you are not trying,” is offensive to real players of every sport and game who bust their brains and bodies trying to prepare for competition.

by gwschenk on Thu Aug 15, 2019 1:09 pm #337210

Seriously, though. Why would someone pay the big entry fees to a CCA tournament, for instance, knowing that they’ll be playing a computer for prize money in their class? How rampant is cheating? Do we know? I heard of a FM banned from a small local club for using a phone to cheat. If 2300s will cheat for a $50 prize, what else goes on?

During a game I find myself needing to go to the bathroom, but because the game is in a crucial spot, if I leave will my opponent think I’m cheating? Will the TDs have to start issuing Depends to all players and just make leaving the hall forbidden?

by MikeMurray on Tue Aug 20, 2019 8:51 pm #337336

I agree with GM Spraggett that only a small percentage of cheats are caught. All the cases we’ve discussed in this forum have involved players drawing suspicion by improving way too fast, or by taking excessive restroom breaks or other odd behavior. There is no reason to assume that more patient, more careful players are not slipping under the detection wire. “But cheaters are never patient” say the doubters. And we know this how?

by tmagchesspgh on Fri Aug 23, 2019 1:53 pm #337407

As a coach, I cannot watch my players’ games. Inevitably, they look up or turn around if I am behind them to see from my expression what I think of their positions. I have told them when they do this, it raises the specter of my cheating to help them, so I stay a far distance away or not even enter the playing room at all. I have seen coaches use all manner of gestures, both subtle and overt, to prompt their players. To eliminate that, it is wise for scholastic organizers to keep all adults except TDs out of the room and shoo players who are finished with their games out of the playing area. In big money events, TDs have to be alert to all manner of unusual behavior, technology, and tricks. It is just as exhausting as playing. Even if there is only one instance of cheating in an event, it poisons the general chess atmosphere for everyone else who now suspect that even more cheating has been missed.

Just to give an example or two of how easy it is to cheat, all I have to do is quietly hum “Kill da Wabbit” as I pass by to indicate that there is a sacrifice in the position. I do this as a prompt/hint when we are analyzing a position on a board in the dining room of their homes when they are stumped. Humming a few bars from “Night on the Mountain” or “Finding Nemo”

can impart signals of what to do as well. It does not take much to create mnemonic devices to jog memory or alert the player to danger. Dots by moves or notes of encouragement at the top of a scoresheet are passe. Earbuds with music that reflect studied opening lines is much better as a memory aid. Eyeblinks are useful for giving specific information. Messages can come in many forms. As a former school teacher, I have found the ingenuity of children to cheat on tests to be almost limitless. They are really offended when caught out because their methods were so intricate and foolproof that they cannot believe that the teacher was capable of paying attention.

Authorities Crack Down On Go Players Using Phones

It was just a matter of time as far as I was concerned until the Go community would be forced to take action when I posted on Go forums prophesying about the actions which would be necessary in the near future to prevent cheating with use of computer programs during play. This was before the rise of AlphaGo and I was excoriated unmercifully for even saying such a thing. After all, Go was not Chess, and most so-called “experts” were predicting it would be another decade before any computer program would rival even lower level Dan players. In reality it was closer to ten months before the Go community was in for a “rude awakening.”

Chess GM Alexander Morozevich, who has also been in the news for playing Go recently, spoke about this in a recent interview with Murad Amannazarov when he was asked, “So it’s only a hobby?” Morozevich answered the question, “Well, of course it’s a hobby. Go can’t be my profession, I understand that perfectly well. It’s not that I’ve been disappointed in chess and decided to start from scratch, because it’s clear that I’ve got neither the time, opportunity nor anything else in order to become a professional there. For me it feels more like I’ve learned a foreign language i.e. if I learned something like Spanish, Chinese, Arabic or some other language I’d also need to practice it from time to time and that, of course, would surprise no-one. It turned out that I “learned a language” – I got acquainted with playing Go, it really drew me in and it’s the first game after chess that has really enthralled me. To some extent I’ve learned to play it, which by analogy is like someone more or less acquiring a language at a beginner level. Then he travels either to the country or finds some native speakers, or he reads books i.e. he develops that in some way. I do more or less the same: I go along, I chat, sometimes I play tournaments, but it’s clear that it’s only as a hobby, of course. It’s not a new job, or a new profession, or a new path. At least from the point of view of achieving any results I don’t have any illusions. I’m 40 years old and that would be extremely naïve. I understand perfectly well that there are roughly ten thousand 10-year-old Go players who would beat me. Therefore you have to understand that if you’re competing with millions and among them you’re roughly in the 4th million, or something like that, then no doubt there’s no point having any great illusions.

A different issue is that somehow I see very similar processes in what Go is going through and what happened in chess 10-15 years ago. That’s all happening to them and is comparable to what happened to us – it’s not even retro-analysis but as if you have another view of the process that we already saw in chess. When the first computers came along they gradually gained momentum, became stronger and stronger, and the way chess players reacted to that then, what they expected of where it would lead, how they began to use them – the same is now happening, the same computer revolution, only it’s as if it’s only just begun. Until 2015 that was the only intellectual game in which professionals were stronger than machines, and only in the last year or year and a half have the first harbingers appeared saying that yes, the end of Go has come. For now it’s not quite formalized, but gradually, I think, they’ll follow the same path that we followed in chess. Machines, of course, will take up an absolutely dominant position, despite the fact that of course the calculating algorithms, the evaluation algorithms are quite different. As far as I understand it the algorithm used by AlphaGo, the most successful program, is a Monte Carlo algorithm. That was also one of the main computational approaches in chess, but it didn’t become common. Machines reached a maximum of 2400 with that. After all, our game is about more direct selection, while there it was possible even to use that algorithm, which is quite interesting.”

I highly recommend anyone interested in either game read this excellent interview with one of the more interesting minds in the world of games.

An article published recently in the Global Times:

Authorities getting stricter about Go players using their phones at a match in China

China’s top authority for the game Go recently announced a ban on phones at Go matches in response to the increasing use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the sport.

According to a notice released by the Chinese Weiqi Association (CWA) on Tuesday, “during matches, players are not allowed to have or watch mobile phones and any other electronic devices. If they are found with one of the devices, they will be judged losers immediately.”

Players are also forbidden to leave the room during a break in the matches, unless they have special needs and are acccompanied by a judge.

For team events, if the team leaders or coaches use AI technology in connection with the match, the entire team’s score for the round will be declared invalid.

The new regulation covers all upcoming matches of China’s professional Go league in 2017, with further expected in 2018.

AI technology has been used on some board games with great success.

On a related note, Georgian chess champion Gaioz Nigalidze was thrown out of the Dubai Open in 2015 for regularly leaving the table to check his mobile phone which he had hidden in a toilet cubicle, the Washington Post reported.

AlphaGo, a Google AI program, claimed a 3-0 clean sweep on May 27 over China’s Ke Jie, the current world No.1 Go player, after defeating many other top players.

“AlphaGo has done a splendid job,” 19-year-old Ke, a native of Lishui, Zhejiang, told a postgame press conference.

Go, or weiqi in Chinese, involves two players who take turns putting white and black stones on a grid of 19 x 19 lines. Victory over an opponent involves advancing over more territory on the grid.

If caught cheating I assume the perpetrator would be forced to do a “perp walk” with the only question being, “Would you like a blindfold?” There are some, if not most, officials in FIDE, such as Zurab Azmaiparashvili, who would dispense with the blindfold and even possibly even the perp walk. For those unaware, Canadian GM Anton Kovalyov, after knocking former World Human Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand out of the World Cup, was accosted by the bombastic organizer of the event, GM Zurab Azmaiparashvili for wearing Bermuda shorts even they are deemed acceptable by the world Chess organization, FIDE, a few minutes before beginning the game with his next opponent. As stated by numerous witnesses, Azmaiparashvili’s unnecessary diatribe would have rattled even the most stable Chess player.


See also the article Psychopathy in Tbilisi, by GM Kevin Spraggett on his excellent blog in which he prints the official FIDE rule:

3 Dress code for players during games in progress

3 a. The following is acceptable for men players, captains, head of delegation.

Suits, ties, dressy pants, trousers, jeans, long-sleeve or shirt-sleeve dress shirt, alternatively T-shirts or polo, dress-shoes, loafers or dressy slip-ons, socks, shoes or sneakers, sport coat, blazer, Bermuda shorts, turtleneck, jacket, vest or sweater. Team uniforms and national costumes clothing.

Another excellent commentary of the sordid affair is:

Kazim Scores with the Leningrad Dutch!

After losses to GM Yury Shulman (2568) and IM Lev Milman (2437), with a win vs unrated Siddharth Barot, who upset Justin Burgess (2160) the previous round, sandwiched in between, Kazim Gulamali sat down to begin the fourth round of the 42nd World Open, being held at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City, located at 2799 Jefferson Davis Highway in Arlington, Virginia, behind the Black pieces vs IM Justin Sarkar (2414). In reply to his the opening move of 1 d4 Kazim played 1…f5! It turned into one of the main Leningrad Dutch variations.
Kazim was known as the “Little Grandmaster” at the House of Pain. He cut his chess teeth at the House. It was thrilling to watch the game today because I LOVE the Leningrad Dutch! I was also elated to learn the Master of the Leningrad Dutch, none other than GM Vladimir Malaniuk, has written a book entitled, “The Leningrad Dutch: An Active Repertoire Against 1.d4, 1.c4, 1.Nf3” published by Chess Stars, and I cannot wait to get my hands on it. Unfortunately, although it was supposedly published June 9, I cannot find it for sale. I checked with the Gorilla only to find, “Out of Print-Limited Availability.” If anyone knows how to locate a copy, please let me know!
Justin Sarkar (2414)vs Kazim Gulamali (2300)
1.d4 f5 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.g3 Bg7 5.Bg2 O-O 6.Nf3 d6 7.O-O Nc6 8.d5 Ne5 9.Nxe5 dxe5 10.Qb3 Kh8 11.c5 e4 12.Rd1 b6 13.Bf4 bxc5 14.Qa3 c4 15.Qc5 Ne8 16.Qxc4 a5 17.Rac1 Nd6 18.Qc5 Bd7 19.Rc2 Qb8 20.Be3 Rc8 21.Bd4 Qb4 22.Bxg7 Kxg7 23.Qd4 Qxd4 24.Rxd4 c5 25.dxc6 Bxc6 26.Bf1 Rab8 27.e3 Nf7 28.Ba6 Rd8 29.Ne2 Bd5 30.Ra4 Ng5 31.Kf1 Nf3 32.Nd4 Nxh2 33.Ke2 e5 34.Nb5 Nf3 35.Nc7 Bf7 36.Rxa5 Rb6 37.g4 Rbd6 38.gxf5 Rd1 39.Ne6 Kh6 0-1

Here are some other games with this variation I found on the Chessbase database and at

Monnard, Laurent (2285)- Spraggett, Kevin (2495) 0-1
A89 Andorra op 9th 1991
1. c4 f5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. O-O O-O 6. d4 d6 7. Nc3 Nc6 8. d5 Ne5 9. Qb3 Kh8 10. Nxe5 dxe5 11. c5 h6 12. a4 a6 13. a5 g5 14. c6 bxc6 15. dxc6 e4 16. Rd1 Qe8 17. Qc4 Ng4 18. Nd5 Rb8 19. Nxc7 Qh5 20. h3 Ne5 21. Qc2 f4 22. gxf4 Bxh3 23. Qxe4 Bxg2 24. Kxg2 Rb4 25. Qxb4 Qg4+ 26. Kh2 Qh4+ 27. Kg2 Ng4 28. Be3 Qh2+ 29. Kf3 Ne5+ 30. Ke4 Rxf4+ 31. Bxf4 Qxf4+ 32. Kd5 Qxb4 33. Nxa6 Qc4# 0-1

Behling, Robert (2290)- Spraggett, Kevin (2540) 0-1
A89 Vienna op 1990
1. c4 f5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. O-O O-O 6. d4 d6 7. Nc3 Nc6 8. d5 Ne5 9. Nxe5 dxe5 10. Qb3 Kh8 11. c5 h6 12. Rd1 g5 13. a4 f4 14. Ne4 Nxe4 15. Bxe4 Qe8 16. Ra3 Qh5 17. Qd3 g4 18. Rd2 Bf5 19. Rc2 Rad8 20. gxf4 exf4 21. Bxf4 Bxe4 22. Qxe4 Rxd5 23. Rd3 Rxd3 24. exd3 g3 25. f3 gxh2+ 26. Rxh2 Qxc5+ 27. Be3 Qd6 28. Rg2 b6 29. Rg6 Rf6 30. Rg2 Qe6 31. b4 Qxe4 32. fxe4 Rf3 33.Te2 Txe3 – + 0-1

Sherwin, James T (2309)- Hague, Ben (2227) 0-1
A89 BCF-chT2 0304 (4NCL) 2004
1. Nf3 d6 2. d4 f5 3. c4 Nf6 4. g3 g6 5. Bg2 Bg7 6. O-O O-O 7. Nc3 Nc6 8. d5 Ne5 9. Nxe5 dxe5 10. Qb3 Kh8 11. c5 h6 12. a4 g5 13. Bd2 a6 14. Rad1 Qe8 15. Qb4 f4 16. Qa5 Qh5 17. f3 g4 18. gxf4 gxf3 19. exf3 Bh3 20. fxe5 Bxg2 21. exf6 Rxf6 22. Kxg2 Rg6+ 23. Kh1 Be5 24. Rf2 Bxh2 0-1

Novikov, Igor A (2591)- Braunlich, Tom (Unr) 1-0
A89 Portsmouth Millennium op 2000
1. d4 f5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. O-O O-O 6. c4 d6 7. Nc3 Nc6 8. d5 Ne5 9. Nxe5 dxe5 10. Qb3 Kh8 11. c5 a6 12. Rd1 Rb8 13. Bd2 Bd7 14. Rac1 h6 15. Qa3 g5 16. c6 Bc8 17. cxb7 Bxb7 18. Na4 e4 19. Ba5 Ne8 20. Nc5 Qd6 21. Bb4 Bc8 22. Rc4 Qg6 23. Bc3 Nd6 24. Rb4 Rb5 25. Nxa6 Bxa6 26. Qxa6 Rxb4 27. Bxb4 Bxb2 28. Qc6 f4 29. Qxc7 Qf6 30. Bxd6 exd6 31. Bxe4 Rf7 32. Qb8+ Rf8 33. Qb7 Rf7 34. Qc8+ Rf8 35. Qe6 fxg3 36. Qxf6+ Bxf6 37. hxg3 Ra8 38. Rd2 Bc3 39. Rc2 Ra3 40. Bd3 Kg7 41. Bc4 Bd4 42. Bb3 Bc5 43. Rc4 Ra7 44. Re4 Rf7 45. e3 h5 46. Kg2 g4 47. Ba4 Ra7 48. Kf1 Kf6 49. Bb3 Ba3 50. Re6+ Kg5 51. Bc2 Rg7 52. Kg2 h4 53. gxh4+ Kxh4 54. Re4 Kh5 55. Bd1 Bb2 56. Rxg4 Rxg4+ 57. Kh3 1-0

Thingstad, Even (1893) v Mikalsen, Erlend (Unr)
Arctic Chess Challenge Tromsoe
08/07/2007 Round: 4
ECO: A89 Dutch, Leningrad, main variation with Nc6
1. d4 f5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. O-O d6 6. c4 O-O 7. Nc3 Nc6 8. d5 Ne5 9. Nxe5 dxe5 10. c5 e4 11. Qb3 Kh8 12. Rd1 b6 13. Bf4 bxc5 14. Qa3 Nh5 15. Be3 f4 16. Bxc5 f3 17. Bf1 Rf7 18. Nxe4 Bg4 19. Ng5 Rf5 20. exf3 Rxg5 21. Bxe7 Qb8 22. Bxg5 Bxb2 23. Qe3 Bxf3 24. Qxf3 Qb4 25. d6 1-0

Yannick Pelletier (2571) v Francisco Vallejo Pons (2648)
Biel 2002 A89
1. d4 f5 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 Bg7 4. c4 Nf6 5. Nc3 d6 6. Nf3 O-O 7. O-O Nc6 8. d5 Ne5 9. Nxe5 dxe5 10. c5 Kh8 11. Qb3 h6 12.Rd1 a6 13. Bd2 Qe8 14. Rac1 g5 15.Na4 e4 16. Ba5 Bd7 17. Nc3 Rc8 18. Qxb7 Rb8 19. Qxc7 Rc8 20. Qb7 Rb8 21.Qxa6Ra8 22. Qb6 Rb8 23. Qa6 Ra8 24. Qc4 Rxa5 25. c6 Bc8 26. b4 Ra8 27. b5 Qd8 28.Qc5 Ne8 29. b6 Nd6 30. Rb1 Ba6 31. a4 Qb8 32. Nb5 Bxb5 33. axb5 Ra2 34. b7 Be5 35. Rdc1 Ra4 36. e3 Kh7 37. Bh3 h5 38. Qc2 Ra5 39. Bf1 f4 40. Bg2 fxe3 41. fxe3 Kg7 42. Bxe4 Rxb5 43. Bh7 Rxb1 44. Rxb1 Ne8 45. Qg6+ Kh8 46. Qh6 Bg7 47. Qxg5 Kxh7 48. Qxe7 Rf5 49. c7 Nxc7 50. Qe4 Kg6 51. Rf1 Qxb7 52. Qxf5+ Kh6 53. d6 Nd5 54. Qe6+ Kh7 55. Qe4+ 1-0

Take Me To Your FIDE Leader

I have following the FIDE election news on GM Kevin Spraggett’s incredibly sublime blog, “Spraggett on Chess” ( With a headline like this, “More bad news for Kasparov” it is obvious things are not looking good for the former World Champion of the human race. Garry will forever be known for “losing” a short match with a computer program called “Deep Blue.” If he loses the FIDE election he may well be known for eternity as a “loser.”
This is terrible news for the world of chess. FIDE has become as corrupt as, well, the US political system. It is incredibly difficult to defeat an entrenched, powerful leader of such a corrupt system because the leader can “spread the wealth” and “make promises,” most of which are never fulfilled. The name of Kasparov’s opponent is Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. The Royal game cannot withstand yet another term from this alien.
“On the night and early hours of February 20-21, 1954, while on a ‘vacation’ to Palm Springs, California, President Dwight Eisenhower went missing and allegedly was taken to Edwards Air force base for a secret meeting. When he showed up the next morning at a church service in Los Angeles, reporters were told that he had to have emergency dental treatment the previous evening and had visited a local dentist. The dentist later appeared at a function that evening and presented as the ‘dentist’ who had treated Eisenhower. The missing night and morning has subsequently fueled rumors that Eisenhower was using the alleged dentist visit as a cover story for an extraordinary event. The event is possibly the most significant that any American President could have conducted: an alleged ‘First Contact’ meeting with extraterrestrials at Edwards Air Force base (previously Muroc Airfield), and the beginning of a series of meetings with different extraterrestrial races that led to a ‘treaty’ that was eventually signed.” (
It has been alleged the ET communicated telepathically with President Eisenhower, and others. “There was telepathic communication,” says Michael Salla, 45, as he sits in his suburban Falls Church living room. “It’s as though you’re hearing a person but they’re not speaking.” (
After greeting the ET leader President Eisenhower “heard” these words. “Greetings, Earthling. I am Kirsan from Kalmykia, a planet much like yours in the Zeta Reticuli system.”
It has been written that US Secretary of State James Forrestal met with the leader of the ET group. It has also been written that Forrestal’s mind was blown when the ET communicated with him telepathically.
He was a very idealistic and religious man. He believed that the public should be told. James Forrestal was also one of the first known abductees. When he began to talk to leaders of the opposition party and leaders of the Congress about the alien problem he was asked to resign by Truman. He expressed his fears to many people. Rightfully, he believed that he was being watched. This was interpreted by those who were ignorant of the facts as paranoia. Forrestal later was said to have suffered a mental breakdown. He was ordered to the mental ward of Bethesda Naval Hospital. In spite of the fact that THE ADMINISTRATION HAD NO AUTHORITY TO HAVE HIM COMMITTED, the order was carried out. In fact, it was feared that Forrestal would begin to talk again. He had to be isolated and discredited. His family and friends were denied permission to visit.
Finally, on May 21, 1949, Forrestal’s brother made a fateful decision.
HE NOTIFIED AUTHORITIES THAT HE INTENDED TO REMOVE JAMES FROM BETHESDA on May 22. Sometime in the early morning of May 22, 1949, agents of the CIA tied a sheet around James Forrestal’s neck, fastened the other end to a fixture in his room, then threw James Forrestal out the window. The sheet tore and he plummeted to his death. James Forrestal’s secret diaries were confiscated by the CIA and were kept in the White House for many years. Due to public demand the diaries were eventually rewritten and published in a sanitized version. The real diary information was later furnished by the CIA in book form to an agent who published the material as fiction. THE NAME OF THE AGENT IS WHITLEY STRIEBER and the book is ‘MAJESTIC’. James Forrestal became one of the first victims of the cover-up.” (
Poor Kasparov. Facing that kind of other worldly power, how can a mere Human stand a chance?

Who Is Rex Sinquefield and Why Is He Funding Chess?

A week and a half back I noticed a link to a story about The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis hiring both a public relations firm and a lobbying firm. Finding that interesting I clicked on sent me surfing on over to Politico, where I read:
CHESS CLUB HIRES TWO FORMER MEMBERS OF CONGRESS: The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis has brought on some major Missouri political heft. The St. Louis-based nonprofit has retained the public relations firm of former Sen. Jim Talent, and the lobbying firm of former Missouri Rep. Earl Thomas Coleman. According to a lobbying registration filed this week, Coleman will lobby on “opportunities for client to testify before a committee of Congress and the secure sponsorships for H. Res. 169.” The resolution H. Res 169 would designate S. Louis as the “National Chess Capital.” It was introduced by William Lacy Clay Jr. and currently has 28 co-sponsors. Sen. Claire McCaskill has introduced a Senate version of the resolution that has just one co-sponsor. “We’ve been working very diligently to try to showcase chess as a great educational tool,” said a spokesman for the chess club about their public affairs and advocacy efforts.
Having read much lately concerning lobbyists being hired to “grease the wheels” of Congress for the wealthy, the people my mother called the “Upper crust,” I thought this sounded like a good thing, with someone to lobby on behalf of We The People. I considered posting something about it, but never got around to it. Last night I noticed something on my favorite chess blog, Spraggett on Chess, “Interesting read about Rex Sinquefield.” ( I was too tired to read the long article, but did download it, and have spent considerable time today reading many articles about the man behind the blooming of chess in St. Louis. It has been disquieting, to say the least.
It has been my experience in chess that for those who wish to “run things” in chess there has been little, if any, obstacle to their doing so. Elections are rare in chess, and I say that as someone who has played in many different state championships, and sat through many business meetings where elections have been held.
As I have grown older I have become less of a political person, to the point I could care less which bum wins. Some years ago while living in North Carolina my landlord, who was from the Great State of Virginia, mentioned that the NASCAR drive, Jeb Burton, intended on running for office in his home state of Virginia after his driving days were over. I told him all politicians were crooks and it did not matter what their party. He vehemently disagreed with me, telling me he thought Jeb was an honest man and would make a fine politician. “You mean to tell me ol’ Jeb will get down in the slime pit with the rest of ’em but come out smelling like a rose?” Everyone at the party laughed, even Will, who said, “You’ve got a point.”
About the story on Mr. Sinquefield mentioned in GM Spraggett’s post, ‘A Reporter’s Guide to Rex Sinquefield and the Show-Me Institute: What Reporters, Citizens, and Policymakers Need to Know’ ( Kevin says, “A fascinating story about a fascinating man!”
In a review, “When Moving From Rags to Riches Makes a Person Ruthless, Not Compassionate,” ( of the 39 page PDF, Bill Berkowitz for Buzzflash at Truthout writes, “His is a legitimate “rags to riches” story. However, instead of using his millions to improve the lives of the poor, and working people, our protagonist is bullying his way to political power in pursuit of an agenda that benefits the privatizers and the rich and powerful. You probably never heard of him, you wouldn’t know him if you ran into him at a St. Louis Cardinal game at Busch Stadium, or rode in the same elevator to the top of the city’s Gateway Arch. If you live in Missouri – thereby directly effected by the way he wields his wealth — and if you want to understand how one very wealthy and powerful individual goes about the business of building influence throughout the state, consider the story of Rex Sinquefield.” Unfortunately, it gets worse…
“A Reporter’s Guide points out that two years ago, “Sinquefield told the Wall Street Journal that what he had spent so far is ‘merely the start of what he’ll spend to promote his two main interests: rolling back taxes” and what he describes as “rescuing education from teachers unions.’ He has also invested in groups working to thwart fair wages in Missouri, and undermine other long-standing union rights.”

“Key findings from the re- port include”:
— “Other states that have cut income taxes have offset the lost revenue by taxing capital gains or hiking property taxes but Sinquefield, whose vast wealth has come from investments and who owns two of the most ex- pensive mansions in the state, wants to instead hike the sales tax, which disproportionately affects working people.”

— “Sinquefield called neighboring Kansas’ steep tax cuts ‘unbelievably brilliant’ in 2012 and predicted that Missouri businesses would quickly flock across the border, but in the year following the cuts, Kansas’ economy has lagged behind most of the region, and has actually added fewer businesses than Missouri.”
“Sinquefield’s contributions have not always brought successful outcomes. He backed Todd Akin’s candidacy for the Senate, even after Akin said that women who are victims of what he called “legitimate rape” rarely get pregnant.”
Think about that while the women’s championship is taking place at the St. Louis Chess Club and Scholastic Center.
From the article, “Show Me the Money: Meet the Multimillionaire Squeezing Missouri’s Schools” by Brendan Fischer and Lisa Graves, The Progressive (, Even more revealing is how Sinquefield behaved when Missouri was operating under laws to limit the amount of donations one person or group could give to influence elections. In order to bypass those clean election laws, he worked with his legal and political advisers to create more than 100 separate groups with similar names. Those multiple groups gave more, cumulatively, than Sinquefield would be able to give in his own name, technically complying with the law while actually circumventing it. That operation injected more than $2 million in disclosed donations flowing from Sinquefield during the 2008 election year, and it underscored his chess-like gamesmanship and his determination to do as he pleases. (Sinquefield is an avid chess player.)”
It bothers me that Mr. Sinquefield, “… has also invested in groups working to thwart fair wages in Missouri, and undermine other long-standing union rights.”
It makes me wonder why Rex Sinquefield and his wife have put so much money into chess. The purpose, as far as I have understood it is that they have wanted to do something for We The People. After reading the above, and more, much more, I am perplexed, wondering if they have an ulterior motive for their largess for the chess community. When reading the article, “Billionaires gather in Arizona to discuss giving,” ( I could not help but wonder if the Sinquefields were there. After reading the article, and seeing a picture of Warren Buffett, I realized it was about a different kind of giving. Another article has just appeared ( concerning the “Upper crust” giving crums to We The Little People. Throughout his this is the kind of thing the crusty uppers have done to stave off revolution. Now that the Supremes have ruled corporations are people I could get in bed with the corpo’s, but that does not sound as satisfying as getting in bed with a real, living woman.
For the past few years I have looked forward to the US Chess Championships, even with some weird type formats in use. I was especially looking forward to the Championships this year because it is what is now called a “traditional” round robin format. After reading these, and other articles (do a search on any search engine -I use only -you will find a plethora of recent articles), today, I have decided to not spend my time on the tournament. I will miss Yaz and Jen.

The Gareev Defense

Before the first round of the Land of the Sky tournament in 2012 GM Timur Gareev noticed a book in my hand, “In Search of the Multiverse,” by John Gribbin After perusal I offered to let him read the book. Much to my surprise, I noticed Timur reading the book while sitting in the spectator section during his game with NM Richard Francisco. Every now and again Timur would glance up from reading to gaze at the position of his game on the demo board. Later someone said, “He was in trouble,” during the game, which he eventually won. Timur is obviously an interesting fellow as can be seen by the many interesting articles recently concerning his adventures, not only at the chess board. Timur played a game in the 2004 World Juniors Championship that began with the moves 1 e4 c6 2 d4 Qc7!? It is the only example I can find of Timur playing the move Qc7. Further checking found many games using this move by Nguyen-Huu Hoang, an expert from France. Chess openings are not usually named after sub-masters, although a case can be made for the opening to be named the Hoang defense. From what I found, Timur is the first GM to have used the move. The earliest example I could find is from an expert from Germany, Wolfgang Goebel, who played it twice in the German Junior Championships of 1957. Wolfgang won the game that day, but lost with it the very next day. If Wolfgang played it first, should it be called the “Goebel defense”? Should it be called the “Hoang defense” in honor of the player who has played it most often, or the “Gareev defense?”
Wagner Herbert – Goebel Wolfgang (GER) (2130) [B12]
Ch DDR (juniors) (under 18) Ruhla (Germany) (6), 21.08.1957
1.e4 c6 2.d4 Qc7 3.Nc3 d6 4.f4 e5 5.Nf3 Bg4 6.dxe5 dxe5 7.h3 Bxf3 8.Qxf3 Nd7 9.Bc4 Ngf6 10.Bd2 Bd6 11.g3 0–0 12.f5 b5 13.Be2 b4 14.Nd1 a5 15.g4 Nc5 16.Nf2 Ne8 17.g5 g6 18.Ng4 gxf5 19.Qxf5 Qd7 20.Nf6+ Nxf6 21.gxf6 Qxf5 22.exf5 Rfd8 23.Rg1+ Kh8 24.Rg7 Ra7 25.Bh5 Ne4 26.0–0–0 Bf8 27.Be3 Rxd1+ 28.Kxd1 Rd7+ 29.Ke2 Bxg7 30.fxg7+ Kxg7 31.Bf3 Nd6 32.Bxc6 Rc7 33.Ba4 Nxf5 34.Bb6 Rb7 35.Bxa5 Ra7 36.b3 Rxa5 0–1

Wisliceny Juergen – Goebel Wolfgang (GER) (2130) [B12]
Ch DDR (juniors) (under 18) Ruhla (Germany) (8), 22.08.1957
1.e4 c6 2.d4 Qc7 3.c4 d6 4.Nc3 e5 5.Nf3 Nf6 6.Bg5 Be7 7.Be2 Nbd7 8.0–0 0–0 9.Qc2 exd4 10.Nxd4 Ne5 11.f4 Ng6 12.Nf5 h6 13.Nxe7+ Qxe7 14.Bxf6 Qxf6 15.Qd2 Rd8 16.Rad1 Qe7 17.e5 f5 18.exd6 Qf6 19.c5 Be6 20.Qd4 Qf7 21.Bh5 Kh7 22.Rf3 Qd7 23.Re1 Nf8 24.Rfe3 g6 25.Bd1 Re8 26.g4 Qg7 27.Qxg7+ Kxg7 28.gxf5 gxf5 29.Bh5 1–0

Venkatesh M R (IND) (2450) – Gareev Timur (UZB) (2525) [B12]
Ch World (juniors) (under 20) Kochin (India) (7), 23.11.2004
1.e4 c6 2.d4 Qc7 3.Nc3 d6 4.Nf3 e5 5.a4 Nf6 6.Bg5 Be7 7.dxe5 dxe5 8.Bc4 0–0 9.Qe2 Nh5 10.g3 Bg4 11.Bxe7 Qxe7 12.h3 Bxf3 13.Qxf3 Nf6 14.g4 Qb4 15.Bb3 Na6 16.g5 Nd7 17.0–0–0 Nac5 18.Ba2 Nb6 19.Rhe1 Nc4 20.Bxc4 Qxc4 21.Qf5 Rae8 22.h4 a5 23.h5 Qe6 24.Re2 g6 25.Qf3 Qe7 26.Qg3 Rd8 27.Rh1 Rfe8 28.f3 Ne6 29.hxg6 fxg6 30.Rg2 Qc5 31.Rgh2 Qe3+ 32.Kb1 Nxg5 33.Rxh7 Qf4 34.Qxf4 exf4 35.Rxb7 Nxf3 36.Rhh7 Ne5 37.Rbg7+ Kf8 38.Ra7 Kg8 39.Rag7+ Kf8 40.Ra7 Kg8 ½–½

Spraggett Kevin (CAN) (2610) – Nguyen-Huu Hoang (FRA) (2079) [B12]
It (open) Metz (France) (2), 23.04.2006
1.e4 c6 2.d4 Qc7 3.Nc3 d6 4.a4 e5 5.g3 Nf6 6.Nge2 Be7 7.Bg2 0–0 8.h3 Nbd7 9.0–0 Re8 10.f4 exd4 11.Nxd4 Nc5 12.g4 Bf8 13.Re1 Ne6 14.Nf5 g6 15.Ng3 h6 16.Rf1 Bg7 17.Be3 b6 18.Qd2 Kh7 19.f5 Nc5 20.Bf4 Bf8 21.Rad1 Ba6 22.Rf2 Nb7 23.g5 hxg5 24.Bxg5 Ng8 25.fxg6+ fxg6 26.Bf1 Bxf1 27.Rdxf1 Bg7 28.Rf7 Qd8 29.R1f4 1–0

Major Issues Killing Chess

I received several emails in response to the previous post from friends who have played chess for decades, and for whom I have a great deal of respect. The first one is from the Discman:
“I don’t know man…If a player makes the exact same moves throughout a game/tournament as a GM+-calibre computer program, that is enough evidence for me that he is being fed moves somehow. No human can play a tactically perfect game without the aid of a computer. It would be relatively easy to do – simply have some device that pulsates. Tape that device to your skin under your clothes. Have a partner generate the correct move using the computer program and send coded pulses to the player at the board. This device could probably be created using only plastics so it could get through a metal detector. Just like Brady Anderson’s 51-homer year after demonstrating that he was a 15-homer/year player for the rest of his career – I am almost as certain that he was juicing that year (although I’m not as certain as I am in the chess example). I agree with the concept of innocent until proven guilty beyond the shadow of a doubt, but playing tactically perfect chess removes this shadow in my opinion. I don’t have a solution – clearly strip searching chess players is ridiculous. The ease of using computer programs to generate chess moves is one of several major issues killing chess.”
The next one is from Big Mac:

“It still requires a loop antenna but there is another person who did it for medical reasons, he is going blind.
This will be hard to catch. Implants are here.”
This could possibly mean the end of tournament chess as we have known it. If you go to the Chessbase website ( and enter the word “cheating” into the search box you will find page after page of article after endless article on cheating, and more cheating. Proving that the threat is indeed stronger than the execution is an article from 19/12/2006 entitled, “Topalov: Kramnik will never admit that he cheated…” Then there is the article from1/2/2007, “Nigel Short pushes for cheating enquiry,” which concerns cheating allegations leveled at Veselin Topalov and Silvio Danailov during the Wijk aan Zee tournament. The sad fact is that computer chess programs have become so powerful that no one will ever know for certain whether or not one of the top players in the world, the so-called “Super Grandmasters,” cogitated the outstanding move, or if it came from an algorithm in some machine somewhere, maybe even in the “cloud.”
I shudder to think what would happen today if a player happened to have the tournament of his life, as did Expert Alan Trefler at the World Open in 1975. From Wikipedia: In the open section of the 1975 World Open chess tournament, played in New York, expert Alan Trefler (Elo rating 2075, 125 points below the lowest master rating), and ranked 115th in the tournament, scores 8-1 to tie for first with International Grandmaster Pal Benko, rated 2504, ahead of Grandmasters Nicolas Rossolimo and Walter Browne.[8] • 8) ^ Chess Life & Review, September 1975 (available on DVD), pp. 586-87. ( If this happened in the climate of today Chessbase would no doubt lead the charge against such an occurrence being legitimate because the odds of an Expert winning the World Open would certainly be prohibitive. It is a good thing Alan Trefler did what he did “back in the day,” because if he had just won this year’s World Open, he would be hounded to the point of contemplating suicide!
It has gotten to the point where there are so many articles on the chess websites that I can no longer read them all due to a lack of time. Here are two on my roundtoit list: &
Then there is the GM who gets down to brass tacks ( better than anyone on the web, the irrepressible Kevin Spraggett. I refer you to “Spraggett on Chess” for his inimitable take on the matter: