A Warning from Italy

Bravo to Italian chess organizer, player and long time member of FIDE’s Fair Play Committee, Yuri Garrett, for bringing this to our attention. Earlier today on his FaceBook page Yuri passionately explained the essence of the coronavirus problem:

For my many friends all over the world: please stop thinking this is an Italian problem: we also started with one patient and look at where we are now…

This is coming everywhere. And it’s lethal. Not dangerous, lethal. And not only for the elderly, as anesthesiologists in Italy are clearly yelling out loud in every possible way (although children seem to be less affected, as with every viral breakout).

Do take precautions as of now: wash your hands properly as much as you can, do not go in crowded areas, keep a distance of at least 1m from other people, protect your elderly by not visiting them.

Your enemy is invisible and very subtle.

AND ESPECIALLY: DO NOT ORGANIZE AND SUSPEND ALL CHESS TOURNAMENTS. To play an international tournament in these circumstances makes no sense at all.

by kevinspraggettonchess · Published March 9, 2020 · Updated March 9, 2020

Coronavirus, FIDE & Chess

ACP Anti-cheating Committee Proposals

The headline is, “ACP proposals anti-cheating committee.” I thought that meant the ACP, the Association of Chess Professionals, had proposed a committee, but upon reading it became obvious the ACP already has a committee, and it met Oct 2-3. The article, written by Yuri Gelfer, is dated Oct. 7, 2013. It begins, “On Oct. 2 and 3, the ACP Anti-Cheating delegation composed of ACP Board Director IO Yuri Garrett (ITA), IA Laurent Freyd (FRA), GM Konstantin Landa (RUS) and IM Prof. Kenneth Regan (USA) joined FIDE Vice President Mr. Israel Gelfer, Chairman of the joint ACP/FIDE Anti-Cheating Committee, for what proved to be two very successful days of meetings in the premises of the French Federation at Elancourt.”
The article states, “The ACP proposals include, among other things: – a very sophisticated and scientifically verified statistical tool elaborated by Prof. Kenneth Regan for detecting suspicious play.” This caught my attention. I thought of a recent letter to Chessbase in response to the article, “Ivanov ends his chess career.”
Helmut Grass, Frankfurt
“Tal, Karpov and Anand managed to win games against GMs using almost no time on the clock. Most probably this Ivanov is not one of them. But I want real evidence, no statistics or Houdini bs, please! If you think it’s in his shoes then go for them – even if they’re smelly!” http://www.chessbase.com/Home/TabId/211/PostId/4011410/ivanov-ends-his-chess-career-051013.aspx
Professor Regan stopped playing chess for a career working with computers. It is in his interest to advocate using a computer program to detect alleged cheating in chess by utilizing a computer chess program. Am I the only one who has a problem with using the cause of the problem to allegedly detect said problem? Who watches the watchers?
Chessbase has printed other responses, including these two, with which I wholeheartedly agree:
Max, Hawaii
“Wow. Are you guys serious? This article is kind of irresponsible. You proved nothing and acted as if you caught the guy red-handed. It is interesting he won’t take his shoes off, and you are free to speculate. But please don’t act like you busted him. Also the concept that he can control chess software with his feet is laughable. I am wondering about the sanity and morality of a lot of involved parties, and Ivanov is not at the top of the list. How awful if he is just some innocent kid sick of being harassed by paranoid grandmasters. I don’t know the truth, but either catch him the act or quiet down and let him play. Please no more published articles on this with zero proof.”
Inda Anebira, Abuja, Nigeria
“I could only sigh in disappointment at ChessBase after reading this article. This is irresponsible journalism! You even went to great lengths to stick a phone in a shoe just to make your case creating, instead, a ridiculous conclusion to a rambling, speculative, and verbose article. As a chess player, do I feel Ivanov is cheating? Yes. But as a scientist, have I seen any definitive proof that he is? No, I have not. So until someone can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he is indeed cheating, we need to refrain from publicly slandering him. His grandmaster detractors can either choose to play him or avoid him. As with ‘The Turk’ in the 18th Century, some had their doubts. But they played against it anyway, at least until the secret was unraveled. GM Dlugy is entitled to his own set of opinions but not to his own set of facts.”

O. Al Hamilton once told me he was filled with fear any time he had to face a much lower rated player. I wondered why and, naturally, had to ask. “Because I am afraid they may play the game of their life!” Why would anyone choose to participate in a chess tournament knowing that if they happened to play the game of their life they may be subjected to the command of, “Bend over and spread ‘em?”

The word committee invariably makes me think of a couple of quotes by Fred Allen. “A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling to do the unnecessary.” And, “Committee – a group of men who individually can do nothing but as a group decide that nothing can be done.”

I urge you to read the entire article, with its myriad proposals, including this one for lesser players, “By way of example, the ACP proposed that all electronic devices should be banned in top level tournaments, whereas in amateur/professional tournaments they should only be away from the player’s reach. This means that, in minor tournament, electronic devices can be taken into the playing hall and separately stored (e.g. in a bag), but no player will be allowed to carry them with him (in a pocket, in a jacket, in a bag etc.) during play, even if turned off.”