Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Chill Mr. Gil

Thanks to this post by Shaun, I found my way this morning to The Chess Drum site. Actually, I've known about The Chess Drum for a few years now and, I have to say, it's one chess site that I take the time to visit regularly. They've also recently launched a blog.

Scrolling my way around the blog, my eyes were immediately drawn to particular post with a rather juicy title: "Is The Chess Drum a Racist Website". You can read the post yourselves but our Aussie readers might be interested to know that the whole thing was provoked by one IM Javier Gil. "I find your site very offensive and racist, and I think a lot of other people do also", Javier is quoted as saying. If you didn't know, Javier is a regular visitor to Oz and, in fact, the last time I checked he was living in Sydney.

That whole discussion was serious enough to provoke The Chess Drum creator, Dr. Daaim Shabazz, to pen a lengthy essay.

Look, Javier is a good friend of this blog and we rather like his positive opinion of TCG on his site - but, I'm afraid, we have no choice but to completely disagree with him on this one! That Dr Shabazz reports exclusively on black chess doesn't make him racist. We might as well say the same about Kiko who covers exclusively those brown people called the Filipinos! As far as I am concerned, this is just a form of highly specialised reporting about, by and for a certain segment of the chess playing population. What's wrong with that?

A couple of weeks ago we posted on these pages something about Web 2.0 and chess. Well what could be more Web 2.0 than giving content and voice to a once near-invisible chess crowd? And did I hear somebody say "the long tail"?

Mr Gil, mate, I'm sure you've got this one terribly wrong. Chill dude!


chessnia said...

Quoting Amiel: "Mr Gil, mate, I'm sure you've got this one terribly wrong. Chill dude!".

Well, GOD himself has spoken, so if he says I'm terribly wrong, then, despite his long and convincing arguments (a bit of irony there), I will not challenge his verdict. :-)

I wish Daaim would warn people when he emailed them first though, you know, something along the lines: "Whatever you say in this message, I can use against you in anyway I like".
He published selected extracts from a private message which I sent to him. Personally, I would never do that without asking permission first. It worked quite well for him because we're even talking about it here. Fine, that's his style.

I can not take back any of the things which I said because that's what I honestly believe. A world where the differences between human beings who play chess are only stablished by their intellectial capacity and not the color of their skin.
You have your own interpretation, that's Ok. But let me live with mine. :)

chessdrummer said...


Firstly, I gave you as much warning as you gave me when you posted those remarks on your website in March. None. Secondly, you did not contact me to personally ask me what the purpose of the site was and went forth to post disparaging remarks about The Chess Drum (and other sites). Thirdly, after our initial exchange, you never responded to my follow-up e-mail and all I was left with was your initial letter. Fourthly, should you be so arrogant to believe that I should ask you permission after you have disparaged The Chess Drum since March 2007? Dream on.

In addition, I posted the ENTIRE e-mail (not excerpts) in my essay so readers can get a context of the venom you spewed about a respectable site. Over the years, the site has won a broad base of readers worldwide and your attempts to paint it negatively (and other chess sites) was insulting and moreover in bad taste. You apparently did no research before forming your opinion and/or the mere thought of a Black-oriented site repulsed you... you even said this! You need to examine your own racial sensitivity.

Ironically Javier, your comments would be considered racist in most places because it shows that you disregard the celebration of chess by a particular ethnic segment. If you do not like the site that is fine, but do not poison the minds of others. The least you can do is give readers a chance to judge for themselves! The essay I wrote was in defense of The Chess Drum and will be there for all to read and make their own judgement since you deprived them of a chance.

Finally, The Chess Drum shows that people of African descent are part and parcel of the chess community and have made (are making) noteworthy contributions. Answer this question... how else would we know about these contributions and accomplishments? It is important to show the universal nature of chess since most of the most popular websites focus primarily on Europe and secondarily, North America.

Whether by accident or intention, even your own focuses primarily on Europe and European players... and that is your prerogative. However, The Chess Drum focuses on a segment that has received little (if any) attention. The more segments we cover, the more we show that chess is accessible to a variety of people. This is an ultimate promotion of chess and the universal goodwill that it conveys.

Daaim Shabazz, The Chess Drum

Anonymous said...

Why mention Mr Press when you copied the topic from Rogers' Sun-Herald column? Not good form Mr Closet GM!

The Closet Grandmaster said...

Rogers' Sun Herald column? Honestly, I have not seen it. I'll check Sunday's edition.

The point is yesterday was the first I read about this debate on TCD and only via Shaun's post.


Anonymous said...

A happy father is a result of a wise son, slow anger but quick to reason. Viva Chessdrum viva!!