Reply to Grant Oen

This morning there was an email from Mr. Grant Oen, Chief Arbiter and Organizer of the two Chess tournaments held at the Charlotte Chess Club and Scholastic Academy, where he is, “Assistant Director, Charlotte Chess Center, and a National Tournament Director, International Arbiter.” The entire email is located at the end of this post. Mr. Oen concludes with, ” Please do the right thing and remove your post and let your mailing list know.”

I will do no such thing, Mr. Oen.

After receiving the following email I surfed on over to the Chessbomb website “Almost no one still uses,” according to Mr. Oen, and copied these “games” from the GM section of the recent Charlotte CLT GM 2021 for your amusement and edification:

Ringoir, Tanguy (01) – Korley, Kassa (01)

Charlotte CLT GM 2021 round 01

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 c5 4. cxd5 exd5 5. g3 Nc6 6. Bg2 Nf6 7. O-O Be7 8. dxc5 Bxc5 9. b3 O-O 10. Bb2 Ne4 11. Nc3 Nxc3 12. Bxc3 Bf5 13. Nd4 Bxd4 14. Bxd4 Qd7 15. Bb2 Rad8 16. e3 Bg4 17. Qd3 Bh3 18. Rfd1 Bxg2 19. Kxg2 Qe6 20. Rd2 h5 21. h4 Qe4+ 22. Kg1 Rfe8 23. Rad1 Qg4 ½-½
    https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-charlotte-clt-gm/01-Ringoir_Tanguy-Korley_Kassa

As the Stockfish program shows, 24 Qb5 looks strong…

Yoo, Christopher Woojin (02) – Paragua, Mark (02)

Charlotte CLT GM 2021 round 02

  1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Bd3 dxe4 4. Bxe4 Nf6 5. Bf3 c5 6. Ne2 Nc6 7. Be3 cxd4 8. Nxd4 Ne5 9. O-O a6 10. Nc3 Be7 11. Qe2 O-O 12. Rad1 Qc7 13. Rfe1 Ng6 14. Nb3 Bd7 15. Bd4 Rac8 16. Qe3 b5 17. Bb6 Qb8 18. Ba7 Qc7 19. Bb6 Qb8 20. Ba7 Qc7 ½-½
    https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-charlotte-clt-gm/02-Yoo_Christopher_Woojin-Paragua_Mark

Ringoir, Tanguy (03) – Gauri, Shankar (03)

Charlotte CLT GM 2021 round 03

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 Qb6 8. a3 Nc6 9. Nb3 Be7 10. Qd2 Ng4 11. Bxe7 Kxe7 12. O-O-O Rd8 13. Nd4 Qxd4 14. Qxd4 Nxd4 15. Rxd4 ½-½
    https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-charlotte-clt-gm/03-Ringoir_Tanguy-Gauri_Shankar

Ringoir, Tanguy (04) – Fernandez, Daniel Howard (04)

Charlotte CLT GM 2021 round 04

  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. g3 Be7 5. Bg2 O-O 6. O-O dxc4 7. Qc2 a6 8. a4 Nbd7 9. Nbd2 Nb6 10. Nxc4 Nxc4 11. Qxc4 b5 12. Qc6 Rb8 13. axb5 Bb7 14. Qc2 ½-½
    https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-charlotte-clt-gm/04-Ringoir_Tanguy-Fernandez_Daniel_Howard

Fernandez, Daniel Howard (06) – Paragua, Mark (06)

Charlotte CLT GM 2021 round 06

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ Nd7 4. d4 cxd4 5. Qxd4 a6 6. Bxd7+ Bxd7 7. c4 Nf6 8. Bg5 e6 9. Nc3 Be7 10. O-O Bc6 11. Rfd1 O-O 12. Qe3 Qa5 13. a3 Ng4 14. Qf4 Bxg5 15. Qxg5 Qxg5 16. Nxg5 ½-½
    https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-charlotte-clt-gm/06-Fernandez_Daniel_Howard-Paragua_Mark

Ringoir, Tanguy (06) – Sinha, Sahil (06)

Charlotte CLT GM 2021 round 06

  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. f3 c5 5. d5 b5 6. e4 O-O 7. Nh3 bxc4 8. Bxc4 exd5 9. Bxd5 Nxd5 10. Qxd5 Nc6 11. O-O Ba6 12. Rf2 Nd4 13. Nf4 d6 14. Qh5 Re8 15. Nfd5 Re5 16. Qg4 f5 17. Qg3 Bxc3 18. Nxc3 Bb7 19. Be3 ½-½
    https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-charlotte-clt-gm/06-Ringoir_Tanguy-Sinha_Sahil

Prohaszka, Peter (07) – Ringoir, Tanguy (07)

Charlotte CLT GM 2021 round 07

  1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. Bf4 Bg7 4. e3 O-O 5. Be2 d6 6. h3 b6 7. a4 a6 8. O-O Bb7 9. Bh2 Nbd7 10. c4 d5 11. cxd5 Nxd5 12. e4 Nb4 13. Nc3 e6 14. Qb3 a5 15. Rac1 Rc8 16. Rfd1 Qe7 17. Bc4 Kh8 ½-½
    https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-charlotte-clt-gm/07-Prohaszka_Peter-Ringoir_Tanguy

Sinha, Sahil (07) – Fernandez, Daniel Howard (07)

Charlotte CLT GM 2021 round 07

  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 O-O 5. Nf3 d5 6. Bg5 h6 7. Bh4 c5 8. cxd5 exd5 9. dxc5 Nbd7 10. a3 Bxc3+ 11. Qxc3 g5 12. Bg3 Ne4 13. Qd4 Ndxc5 14. Rd1 Bd7 15. b4 Ba4 16. bxc5 Bxd1 17. Kxd1 Rc8 18. e3 Rxc5 19. Bd3 Qc8 ½-½
    https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-charlotte-clt-gm/07-Sinha_Sahil-Fernandez_Daniel_Howard

Fernandez, Daniel Howard (08) – Prohaszka, Peter (08)

Charlotte CLT GM 2021 round 08

  1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. Bd3 Nc6 5. c3 Nf6 6. Bf4 g6 7. Nf3 Bf5 8. Bxf5 gxf5 ½-½
    https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-charlotte-clt-gm/08-Fernandez_Daniel_Howard-Prohaszka_Peter

Sinha, Sahil (09) – Gauri, Shankar (09)

Charlotte CLT GM 2021 round 09

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. cxd5 cxd5 4. Nc3 Nf6 5. Bf4 Nc6 6. e3 Bf5 ½-½
    https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-charlotte-clt-gm/09-Sinha_Sahil-Gauri_Shankar

Wang, Tianqi (09) – Fernandez, Daniel Howard (09)

Charlotte CLT GM 2021 round 09

  1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nd4 4. Nf3 e6 5. O-O a6 6. Bd3 Nc6 7. b3 d6 8. Bb2 Nf6 9. Re1 e5 ½-½
    https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-charlotte-clt-gm/09-Wang_Tianqi-Fernandez_Daniel_Howard

Mr. Oen writes, “Accusing us and the players of cheating and collusion is in extremely bad form, and we need your post be corrected or removed, and your mailing list be advised.”

I have accused no one of anything! Mr. Oen obviously did not see the “?” at the end of the title of the post.

Mr. Oen writes, “You can check the games and results of our other conditioned players from this event (GM Prohaszka, GM Ringoir, GM Paragua, IM Matros, IM Del Campo) to see if you think that we are asking our players to make quick draws. I am particularly shocked that you are jumping to these conclusions based on downloading the PGN. Moves and games are not proof of anything.”

I could not find any place in the post where I had accused anyone of asking players to make quick draws. In addition, I have jumped to no conclusions. I was not in Charlotte and have no idea what transpired over the Memorial day weekend. On the other hand, I would argue that, “Moves and games ARE PROOF OF EVERYTHING!”

As for the Tsay-Andrianov game, I stand corrected. I have been away from Chess for a year, which was spent sans computer while reading books and magazines. There have been many changes and I am attempting to get up to speed. I was unaware that, “Almost no one still uses ChessBomb.” I like ChessBomb, and do not particularly care for the format at Chess24.

Mr. Oen begins his email with, “In other tournaments around the world, it is well known that some games are played “only on paper,” meaning that the players just fill out a scoresheet from their hotel rooms and submit them to the organizer, who fills out a false PGN by the end of the tournament with 30+ move “games”.”

Show us the proof, Mr. Oen. Which one of us is, “Accusing us and the players of cheating and collusion.”

Mr. Oen writes, “People spreading lies and insinuating negative things about our tournaments with no basis is disheartening and is very negative for the future of American chess.”

Which one of us is, “spreading lies and insinuating negative things?” All I did was question “moves and games.” Mr. Oen is now on record of accusing games “In other tournaments around the world…” of being, “…played “only on paper,” meaning that the players just fill out a scoresheet from their hotel rooms and submit them to the organizer, who fills out a false PGN by the end of the tournament with 30+ move “games”.” There was absolutely NO PROOF WHATSOEVER contained in the email received this morning! SHOW US THE PROOF, Mr. Oen!

Mr. Oen writes:

“Nikolay Andrianov is a seasoned IM who has defeated Garry Kasparov, David Bronstein, Alexey Suetin, and many other top GMs throughout his career. However, as he is turning 60, he is mostly coaching, and his playing level in certainly much lower than what it was. As you know, many strong players around his age have already retired from chess for decades, but Nikolay still enjoys visiting chess clubs, new cities, and playing in strong tournaments.

If he is fine with several quick draws, that is acceptable for with us as long as the rules are followed. Everyone shows up for the games (which are not pre-arranged (sic)), and moves are made. In our events, no one plays their games at different times, agrees to results before games, or breaks FIDE rules. Here is (Although highlighted in blue, nothing happened when I clicked on it) a very recent round robin tournament in Mexico where Nikolay made many quick draws to substantiate our claim that he enjoys traveling to tournaments, but perhaps lacks the energy to fight in every round, especially while wearing a mask.”

Please define “several” Mr. Oen. Maybe the time has come for the IM to consider playing in only Senior events? Maybe the rules need to be changed?! IM Adrianov began the tournament with a six move draw. He battled for 74 moves before losing in the second round. He obviously never recovered because he agreed to another six move draw in the third and fourth rounds before playing seven moves in the fifth round. It was back to six moves in the sixth round. Evidently still not recovered, the IM could only manage five moves in the seventh round. The aforementioned eighth round game with Vincent Tsay must have taken about all he had left. Those ninety something moves must have almost killed the poor old dude. Still, he managed to make it to the round on time for the last round, where it was back to form and another six move draw.

There is a reason IM Nikolay, or Nikolai, Adrianov was in the field. Fortunately, he survived the battles.

Maybe the problem is not with IM Adrianov but with the organizers finding a proliferation of short draws “acceptable.” Maybe it is time to consider awarding on 1/4 point for a draw. Think of it this way, if a game is won the two players combined earn one point. If a game is drawn, whether six moves or sixty, one point is awarded to both players combined. The way things are now a draw is equal to a win; the same total is awarded to each board no matter the outcome. Cut that half point in half and you may no longer see tournaments like the ones in Charlotte. (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2018/04/06/drawing-at-the-charlotte-chess-center-scholastic-academy/) You will no longer see young players ready and willing to “split the point.” There will no longer be last round “group hugs,” and Chess will be a better game!

Grant Oen grant@charlottechesscenter.org
To:xpertchesslessons@yahoo.com
Cc:Peter Giannatos
Wed, Jun 2 at 10:58 PM
Hi Michael,

We have become aware of your recent blog post which insults the Charlotte Chess Center’s events and one particular player, IM Nikolay Andrianov. Furthermore, the post has been emailed to many people for whatever reason.

In other tournaments around the world, it is well known that some games are played “only on paper,” meaning that the players just fill out a scoresheet from their hotel rooms and submit them to the organizer, who fills out a false PGN by the end of the tournament with 30+ move “games”. This is one of the reasons that we provide live games and send them to every top chess site for broadcasting. We also take pictures during the events and post them to our Facebook page. In all of our norm tournaments, all games are played the right way, at the same time, and under FIDE rules.

We have never asked or pressured any player in any tournament to offer a quick draw (or lose, or anything else). Not having cash prizes in our round robin events also decreases the chances of cheating of collusion. Nikolay Andrianov is a seasoned IM who has defeated Garry Kasparov, David Bronstein, Alexey Suetin, and many other top GMs throughout his career. However, as he is turning 60, he is mostly coaching, and his playing level in certainly much lower than what it was. As you know, many strong players around his age have already retired from chess for decades, but Nikolay still enjoys visiting chess clubs, new cities, and playing in strong tournaments.

If he is fine with several quick draws, that is acceptable for with us as long as the rules are followed. Everyone shows up for the games (which are not pre-arranged), and moves are made. In our events, no one plays their games at different times, agrees to results before games, or breaks FIDE rules. Here is a very recent round robin tournament in Mexico where Nikolay made many quick draws to substantiate our claim that he enjoys travelling to tournaments, but perhaps lacks the energy to fight in every round, especially while wearing a mask.

Accusing us and the players of cheating and collusion is in extremely bad form, and we need your post be corrected or removed, and your mailing list be advised. There are no prizes, and no norms were achieved this time in the IM section (no one was even close to the norm score of 7/9), so clearly any “collusion” clearly did not accomplish anything. Norms require a high winning percentage (6.5/9 or 7/9), so early draws do not really help players. Draw agreements are the decision of the two players in the game, and have nothing to do with the organizer or people watching on the internet.

You can check the games and results of our other conditioned players from this event (GM Prohaszka, GM Ringoir, GM Paragua, IM Matros, IM Del Campo) to see if you think that we are asking our players to make quick draws. I am particularly shocked that you are jumping to these conclusions based on downloading the PGN. Moves and games are not proof of anything.

This is obviously the real IM Andrianov. I believe that Nikolay may use the more formal spelling “Nikolai” when being official, and that may be why the USCF and FIDE spelling differs by one letter. He is not the only one with a minor difference between how people address him and how his name is written on documents after immigrating to the states.

Below, find a picture of Nikolay from round 1 of this tournament (Myers-Andrianov). It is certainly the same player as the one you posted a picture of, the Russian IM now living in Arizona, not an 1800 from Russia. I am also including another picture from a previous Charlotte Chess Center event without masks, and you can also see other pictures from our events including Nikolay from our Facebook page.

Regarding the Vincent Tsay game, the DGT broadcast occasionally catches moves that players analyze after the game is finished if the broadcast is not stopped at the right time. This is tough when the players make moves after the game before “setting the kings.”

An arbiter corrected the end of the game to move 91 after the fact and most modern sites (chess24, Follow Chess, lichess) picked up the correct end of the game – 91.Kb3 was the final move, with a draw. See the chess24 game link with the correct end of Tsay-Andrianov here. ChessBomb did not pick up the correction because that site is outdated and no longer fully functional after being purchased and rebranded to Chess.com/events. Almost no one still uses ChessBomb.

The Charlotte Chess Center has made a name of itself with 21 norm tournaments which have produced 54 norms, including 8 final (third) GM norms for American GMs Tang, Burke, Zierk, Checa, Brown, Jacobson, Niemann, and Balakrishnan. However, if you reviewed the crosstables, you will see that many more people have missed the norm in the final rounds. If we were cheating or colluding, surely the “Armchair Warrior” would not be the first one to notice.

In the past, American players had to fly to Europe to play norm round robins, but Charlotte is providing consistent opportunities, even during COVID, for players to gain experience and FIDE titles. People spreading lies and insinuating negative things about our tournaments with no basis is disheartening and is very negative for the future of American chess. Please do the right thing and remove your post and let your mailing list know.

Grant Oen
Chief Arbiter and Organizer


Grant Oen
Assistant Director, Charlotte Chess Center
National Tournament Director, International Arbiter