What Constitutes a “Serious Game?”

In response to my previous post, “Screw you Rex” (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2014/06/01/screw-you-rex/), the esteemed former President of the Georgia Chess Association, Scott Parker sent this email:

My view is that while short “quick handshake” draws may not be what you want to see as a spectator, unless you are paying a significant appearance fee to a player you have no right to tell him/her how to conduct his/her game. If you are paying a significant appearance fee, then setting a ground rule like “no draws before move 30”, or “no draws in the first time control” is fair. If a player doesn’t like the ground rules, he/she has the option not to come and take the appearance fee. Absent that, you have no right to tell a professional player how to conduct his/her business, which is what a rule against a quick draw does. Apparently there was no such rule in the tournament you reference (I haven’t checked). That being the case, a player has the right to conduct his/her game as he/she sees fit.

Best Regards, Scott

The part that bothered me was, “…you have no right to tell a professional player how to conduct his/her business, which is what a rule against a quick draw does.”
I took it to mean I would have no right to, for example, tell a professional Major League Baseball player to not use steroids, which is basically what fans told MLB. Because of the outcry from the fans of MLB, steroids are now banned from the game. If the fans, collectively, had not told MLB to clean its act, some monster ragin’ on ‘roids would have blasted 100 home runs in a season by now. Fans told professional MLB players how to act because CHILDREN EMULATE MLB PLAYERS!
I also suggested that Mr. Parker, “…read the US Constitution, and pay particular attention to the First Amendment of what is called the Bill of Rights, which states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Then you should go here: (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_speech) where you will find it written : “Freedom of speech is the political right to communicate one’s opinions and ideas using one’s body and property to anyone who is willing to receive them. The term freedom of expression is sometimes used synonymously, but includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used.”
You will also find: “The right to freedom of expression is recognized as a human right under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and recognized in international human rights law in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Article 19 of the ICCPR states that “[e]veryone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference” and “everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice”.
Being able to express oneself is what separates our country from others where the citizens cannot speak freely.
I also wrote in reply, “If you go to the USCF Official Rules of Chess (I have the 5th edition) you will find on page 42 rule 14B6. Premature or prearranged draws. There it is written, “It is unethical and unsporting to agree to a draw before a serious contest has begun. The same is true of all arrangements to prearrange game results. In case of clear violations of the moral principles of the game, penalties should be imposed at the director’s discretion.”
“For you to be right in this matter, and for me to be wrong, you MUST believe the six move draw made by GM Finegold and GM Josh Friedel was a “serious contest.” What is worse is that you must also defend the draw Ben Finegold passed out to his son after playing only ONE MOVE as also a “serious contest.”
I also included, “Just today at the chess camp two older boys who have been involved with chess for a few years, got up from their board. I asked the result only to be informed they had agreed to a draw. I was STUNNED! I told them to sit back down and finish the game. Later I asked why they had agreed a drawn game, one said, “That’s what the adults do.” Out of the mouths of babes…What kind of example is being, and has been set by we “adults?”
Indeed, what kind of example is being set at the leading light of chess in America, the St. Louis Chess Club & SCHOLASTIC CENTER! The so-called “professionals” at the StLCCSC repeatedly violate rule 14B6 and they do so with impunity.
I see this as a problem for chess, one of the many facing the Royal game. Mr. Parker sees no problem. One of us is right, and the other wrong. In the end there can be only one. If Scott is right then what is the purpose of rule 14B6? If a professional is allowed to make a draw after only six moves, or in the case of the serial drawer, GM Ben Finegold, only ONE MOVE, the only justification is that a “game” of only one move constitutes a “serious game.” And if that is, in fact, the case, then why force the “professional” to come to the board at all? Why not let them phone it in the night before so as to be able to sleep in the next day. After all, they are “professionals” and who am I to “tell them what to do?”

“Screw you Rex”

The Legendary Georgia Ironman, Tim Brookshear, returned from the Atlanta Chess Championship after playing his first game in the fourth round. He had taken a half point bye in the first round and had to take another half point bye in the second round, hoping to play in the third round because of having had contracted poison ivy in addition to three spider bites, causing him to break out in a red rash on his arms and legs. When it became obvious to him that he was in no condition to go play chess, he took a zero point bye in the third round Saturday night. He has not looked this bad at the board since the wreck he had on an Atlanta expressway, being found underneath the bed of a pick-up truck after going through the back windshield head first. He got out a bed at the hospital to go play chess with bloody bandages all over his head. He was obviously the talk of the tournament before he beat one of the strongest players to ever play in the Great State of Georgia, NM Randy Kolvick. Although he looked somewhat better this morning, he still looked like someone with whom you would not want to be seated on a bus. In spite of that the man had a hunger to play chess, so play chess he did. Tim came home between rounds to inform me he had won his game.
While he was here the last round of the CCSCSL Invitational began. When I told him GM Josh Friedel had offered his opponent, IM Andrey Gorovets a draw after making his ninth move, Tim let fly with enough expletives that must be deleted to make Tricky Dick Nixxon proud! Then when I told him IM Angelo Young had gone him one better, offering WIM Victorija Ni a draw on move eight and that it had been accepted, he erupted with, “That’s like saying ‘Screw you, Rex’!” I asked if I could quote him and he said, “Hell yeah!” Tim has yet to read my previous post so I mentioned it and we discussed the one move draw passed out by GM Ben Finegold at the St. Louis Chess Club and Scholastic Center a few years earlier, a post for which I was excoriated by certain members of the chess community (“How dare you question a Grandmaster?!”). The post, “The Fix Is In St Louis” can be found here: (http://baconlog.blogspot.com/2011/08/fix-is-in-st-louis.html).
The CCSCSL is the leading light in American chess. It is a beacon for our small chess community, and should be leading the way, brightening the path. Is that not why it has incorporated the “Scholastic Center” to go with the “Chess Club?” From all the reading I have done about the CCSCSL much has been devoted to what Rex and his wife are trying to accomplish with the children. What kind of example is the CCSCSL providing for the next generation? Bobby Fischer decried short draws, something which has become routine at the CCSCSL.
I do not receive one red cent for writing this blog and am anything but wealthy. Pay me a stipend for writing, Rex, and I will move to St. Louis, where not only will I write, but I will play every game as I did the few I was fortunate enough to have played at the CCSCSL back in 2009. I played every game as hard as possible and each one until my time expired. The children will see a grizzled ol’ veteran doing battle with all of what little he has left and giving the Royal game all he has for as long as he has it. And I will “talk politics” with you, as you said to GM Maurice Ashley during the interview I saw during the recent US Championship, and I will argue with you until the cows come home, just like I did with my mother, a Goldwater Republican, bless her heart. I will take your money, but I will not laugh behind your back, or make you out to be a fool. Can you say the same about these GM’s who take your money and not play?

Friedel, Joshua E – Gorovets, Andrey
CCSCSL Inv GM 2014 Saint Louis USA (9.4), 2014.06.01
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 a6 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Bf4 c6 6.e3 Bd6 7.Bxd6 Qxd6 8.Bd3 Nf6 9.Nge2 ½-½
From TWIC (http://www.theweekinchess.com/live)

Chess Drawers

By the time I surfed over to check on the games being played in the The 2014 Saint Louis Invitational the round had begun a few minutes earlier. This is the first game listed:
Finegold, Benjamin – Friedel, Joshua E
CCSCSL Inv GM 2014 Saint Louis USA (7.1), 2014.05.31
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bb5 Bd6 5.a3 O-O 6.d3 ½-½ (From http://www.theweekinchess.com/live)
This is pitiful. Why were these drawers invited? Why play chess if this is all you can give? There are plenty of games that end as a draw because these players are so strong and evenly matched without foisting a game like this, a game that did not even make it out of the opening “book,” on what few chess fans are left.
There are only two things that will stop weak-minded and weak-willed players from blaspheming Caissa. More points can be given to a player who wins or draws with the black pieces, and/or opprobrium must be heaped upon those who commit these atrocities.
An article appeared today on the Mail Online, “Being ignored is WORSE than being bullied: Ostracism is more psychologically damaging, claim experts.”
The article begins, “The famous quote claims the only thing in life worse than being talked about, is not being talked about – and a new study may have proved this to be the case.
Being ignored at work has been found to be worse for a person’s health than people who are harassed or bullied.
Researchers found that while most consider ostracism less harmful than bullying, feeling excluded is significantly more likely to lead job dissatisfaction, quitting and health problems.”
‘We’ve been taught that ignoring someone is socially preferable – if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all,’ said University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business Professor Sandra Robinson, who co-authored the study.
‘But ostracism actually leads people to feel more helpless, like they’re not worthy of any attention at all.’
The researchers used a series of surveys for their study.
Serial drawers should be ostracized. Why should the chess community pay any attention to these chess nonplayers? Why do organizers continue to invite these nonplayers?

Here are a few “games” from the ongoing 33rd Zalakaros Open. All took place in the early rounds:

GM Berkes, Ferenc (2665) – GM Bachmann, Axel (2589)
33rd Zalakaros Open 2014 Zalakaros HUN (4.1), 2014.05.26
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Bb4+ 4.Bd2 a5 5.g3 c5 6.Bg2 cxd4 7.Nxd4 Nc6 8.Nc2 Bc5 9.Be3 Qb6 10.Bxc5 Qxc5 11.Nba3 ½-½

GM Grigoriants, Sergey (2595) – IM Petenyi, Tamas (2448)
33rd Zalakaros Open 2014 Zalakaros HUN (4.9), 2014.05.26
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 Nc6 3.d4 e6 4.a3 d6 5.b4 g6 6.b5 Nb8 7.Bb2 Bg7 8.Nc3 O-O 9.e3 Nbd7 10.Be2 c5 11.a4 Qe7 12.a5 e5 13.dxe5 Nxe5 14.O-O ½-½

GM Horvath, Jozsef (2507) – GM Papp, Gabor1 (2580)
33rd Zalakaros Open 2014 Zalakaros HUN (4.4), 2014.05.26
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.e3 e6 4.Nc3 d5 5.Nf3 a6 6.dxc5 Bxc5 7.a3 O-O 8.b4 Ba7 9.Bb2 dxc4 10.Qxd8 Rxd8 11.Bxc4 b5 12.Be2 Nbd7 13.O-O Bb7 14.a4 bxa4 15.Rxa4 ½-½
From: (http://www.theweekinchess.com/chessnews/events/33rd-zalakaros-open-2014)