That chess is unrecognised as a sport nor supported by governments (in Australia) is a common lament amongst Aussie chess lovers. The situation here is markedly different to that of my beloved Philippines where chess enjoys funding from the PSC (Philippines Sports Commission) .
Yet is chess really deserving of that recognition and support? I have in mind the vexed issue of "arranged draws". Let me just suggest for a moment that these arrangements fly in the face of "sporting contests".
The recent St George Open, which I mentioned in an earlier entry, featured exactly this kind of arrangements. According to some experienced opinions, those arrangements constituted games of chess. How can this be so?
Consider this: say a player already has an unassailable lead in the tournament going into the last 2 rounds. He's feeling a bit lazy. Is it acceptable for him to simply arrange draws with his last 2 opponents? To my mind this is like Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger agreeing not to bother turning up to a league match because Arsenal's already stitched up the title 2 weekends ago.
So you see, chess is hypocritical. For it to be considered a sport, "games" must be decided in the appropriate sporting arena. Over the board.
Monday, July 18, 2005
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One strong junior interested in the games of strong players.
Basic task is to construct 10 games that might have been played between Australian elite who will be nominated, but in effect just could not be bothered.
The junior will be required to construct the 10 games; all DRAWS; in the Style of the said players.
It is preferred that the games show advantage swings from White to Black etc, rather than just lifeless swap-offs to dull positions. All openings can be selected except the St George Defence.
Chess wants sponsorship money but cannot deliver entertainment for spectators.
Chess wants money from government but does not have a spiel.
Chess wants money from its own players but cannot get past the winner-takes-all mentality.
If Ferguson and Wenger pre-arranged a draw in their soccer clash, there'd be outrage and calls for their heads: the match would be ruled a double forfeit and officials would face sanctions.
Over at St.George these actions are justified as "the tournament was over anyway" and "why is there a witch hunt?".
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