Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Right Age for Chess

Remember Alisa Maric? I certainly don't, but she was once a challenger for the women's version of the world chess championships. Indeed, on two occasions she finished third in the world championship cycles and, in 1991, was actually a joint winner of a Candidates event. One other detail about Alisa is that she happens to have a twin sister (younger by 21 minutes) named Mijana. Both of them are women grandmasters - the only two such pair of twins in the world!

I'm talking about Alisa because I've just now once again stumbled upon a new chess website. And this one seems to have a lot of interesting content. I'm talking about www.latestchess.com which currently features a lengthy interview with, of course, Alisa herself.

LatestChess :- You were introduced to chess at the age of four, together with your 21 minutes younger twin sister Mirjana Maric. You are the only twins with grandmaster titles in the history of chess. How does it feel?

GM Alisa Maric :- It is interesting that Mirjana and I are the only twin grandmasters still despite many new players rising. I am very happy that both of us have achieved great results during our careers. I got higher rank than my sister but it was because she gave her best to help me as a trainer and pushed her own career back.

My sister was twice champion of Yugoslavia, world champion U16, participant of World championship Inter-zonal tournament and member of Yugoslavian national team at Chess Olympiads in a period of 1990-1994. Finally she had more obligations about her work as a computer programmer in national telecommunication company but also to her family and especially young son Filip.

Apart from being a WGM, Alisa also holds the men's IM title. Here's another article on Chessbase.

Speaking of young kids and chess, Latest Chess also has an interesting article that asks the question, "When should I start teaching chess to my child?" It's written by Dan and Laura Sherman, founders of Your Chess Coach, based in Florida.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Musical Food and Chess

Last year I posted about the Old Boy Chess Club in Newtown - a chess club with a difference, located right in one of Sydney's hip and happenin' places. Well, it's on again. This is an email I received from one of their members:

After last months ***Chess Club*** descending into a mental and musical orgy, your good friends at ***CC*** thought it would be for the best if they did it again. In the interest of public sanity.

Get your selves down to Hutch town, this Thursday the 2nd to attain your cultural watermark in a "elegant" and "sophisticated" setting of couchs, killer moves and miscellaneous bass vibrations.

To Help you along the way, your good friends at ***Chess Club*** have arranged an all you can eat* musical banquet to feast your ears upon.

Enter Menu . . .

Entré: We have Dj Snowball Dudley lightly sauté in a mysterious sweet smoke with a generous side of Munted Monkey. Not for the faint at heart.

Main: Two individual slices of one Madam Squeeze. Served with crispy harmonics and a gooey center.

And Dessert will see wiz-kids, PC Dinner & his conjoined twin, Mr Bill, dish out an lap-top driven, gli'tched up, elecetro, minimalist crunch bass, crack-step-core-fondu to dip your ears into.

It won't be the same without you.

This place is so cool that we can't even tell you the address! But perhaps you'll find it somewhere here, in the club's Myspace page.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

My Retirement Years

Yes, yes...when I retire, this is how I'd like to spend my days. Quiet, relaxing chess at the park. When the drunks aren't around, that is.

Chess in Hyde Park

You know what else? We've got this new guy at the park who isn't too bad a player himself. Some sort of postgrad student from Switzerland who sports a rating of 2300 FIDE. He's currently studying at Sydney Uni. He has one particular habit especially during a time scramble: viva two hands! According to him, it's them FIDE rules. See, I told you so. And this guy's smart.

Friday, March 27, 2009

2009 Games Festival

Just received word from our mates over at ChessDom about the 2009 Games Festival in Thessaloniki, Greece. The event will incorporate three chess tournaments - the World Amateurs, the World Schools and the Thessaloniki International Open. So far the list of participants across all three aren't especially impressive. The World Schools, for example, has only a handful of countries to date.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Second Chess Needs Second Go

There's a new entrant among chess websites, but this one has a slight albeit familiar twist. It's not a blog, not a news site, not a portal. Second Chess is pure social networking for chess fans and features many of the usual tools. It's all about sharing content. Users can post their games, upload pictures or even videos. Of course it's possible to share news, too. The user experience "almost" reminds me of Digg! To top off its social networking credentials, the site even allows for a Twitter-like status update (but it's "what are you thinking?" instead of "what are you doing?").

Now Second Chess may have taken its mark from some of the big guns in Web 2.0, but this site has a long, long way to go. Second Chess is, quite frankly, a shocker! Where do I start?

The site is slow. Layout is awful. And that softish kinda red is just not doing it for me. Hec, after signing up and giving this site a whirl for a couple of hours, I'm ready to give up! There's only one final problem: there seems no way to delete my account.

All in all, a poor rating from me. But I'm giving them a second chance. Hopefully a second go in version 2 will sort them out. Else, they ain't gonna last very long.

Icelandic Doco About Fischer

The Iceland Review reports of a doco about ex-World Champion Bobby Fischer that will premier on 17 April.

"It begins in the Cold War […]. Then we travel to Japan where Saemi is trying to free his friend. Then the story continues until Bobby's death".

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Viva Two Hands

Chessbase's report on the Hypercube Blitz Chess Tournament contains some details about a minor incident between the current world's youngest GM, Anish Giri, and GM Vladimir Epishin. It seems that at some particular moment the young Giri executed a move by using both his hands and to which Epishin immediately filed a protest.

By some incredible chance, a photo was captured of that very moment. Here's what Chessbase had to say: "In the above picture Anish has the captured piece in his left hand, while executing the move of the capturing piece, his queen, with the right. He then went on to press the clock with his right hand."

Thus, it is clear and I'm sure most of us lightning aficionados have committed the same exact mechanics. That is, we pick up a "capturer" piece with the right hand, pick up the "capturee" with the left, then press the clock with the right hand to complete the move.

So on what grounds was Epishin protesting? No doubt he had in mind these two.

4.1 Each move must be made with one hand only.


6.8b A player must stop his clock with the same hand as that with which he made his move. It is forbidden for a player to keep his finger on the button or to "hover" over it.

There is also Appendix B5: "The arbiter shall make a ruling according to Article 4 (The act of moving pieces), only if requested to do so by one or both players."

Look, I don't mind rules myself, but frankly - the strict application of 4.1, in blitz, is nonesense. It's time that we adjusted the rules for blitz so that 4.1 isn't strictly followed. Here's a couple of arguments for it, and I swear I'm really serious.

The first is that using both hands allows for more accurate placement of pieces. An obvious benefit is that we minimise any confusion over which squares your bits are sitting. Secondly, two-handed play reduces the incidence of knocking pieces over. This is because a player is able to nicely grab a single piece instead of two. It's especially the case when capturing a taller piece. Try it, capture a Queen with a pawn, say, and you'll see what I mean. Finally, that using both hands generally only occurs during a time sramble tells us that it we're basically outlawing a behaviour that is, in fact, pretty rare. So why not simply rid our tournaments of one more reason for an entirely unnecessary dispute?

But, the singularly most convincing argument of all is that this is blitz! OK, so the guy moved with both hands. Who cares? I tell you who. Whining pussies.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Meaning of Blitz

And speaking of blitz chess, last night I happened to be playing around with Twitter Search when I decided to find out what people were saying about chess. One tweet grabbed my attention. User @Gurdonark wrote: "Blitz chess is a good reminder of how much of life consists of squandered small advantages."


Doeberl Cup vs ACF

An embarassing stoush has developed between, in one corner, two big ACF heavy weights and, in the opposite corner, the new kid on the block, Charles Bishop - organiser of the Doeberl Cup. Mr Bishop's firm, O2C, is also the principal sponsor of the event.

The spat seems to be over the definition of just what is a "junior" for the purposes of tournament competition and specifically as it applies to the Doeberl Cup. In this post, in Australia's most popular chess bulletin board, Mr Bishop commits a critical blunder:

The Doeberl Cup has always based its Junior entry fee on the first day of the tournament. The prizes are aligned with this. Additionally our approach to allocation of the prizes is aligned with the Grand Prix approach. The Grand Prix runs for a full calendar year and requires Juniors to be under 18 on the first day they can start accruing points towards the Grand Prix prize which is the 1/1 of each year. In the case of the Doeberl cup this is the first day of the respective tournaments that prizes are allocated within.

It's a mistake that immediately drew a typically strident response from no less than Aussie chess mandarin and current deputy president of the ACF, Bill Gletsos.

Sorry but you do not know what you are talking about as this is not the ACF Grand Prix ACF or FIDE approach.

The ACF Grand Prix and the ACF follows the FIDE approach that is based on the juniors age as at the 1st Jan and can entry and win any event within that calendar year in which the competition is held

Thus if a junior is under 18 as of 1st Jan 2009 then they are eligle to enter and win any U18 FIDE event that is held in between 1st January 2009 and 31st December 2009.

That salvo was enough to ward off Mr Bishop from further dealing with questions directly on Chess Chat and opting, instead, to handle them via email. But not before another ACF big dog, Denis Jessop, piped in: "I find Charles' attitude here to be very odd. Apparently he just can't cope with criticism of any kind."

For more on this and other tidbits, click here.

Well, what to make of this? Two thoughts.

Firstly, I do wish that these ACF types can be more diplomatic. As far as I can tell, Mr Bishop was simply answering a question calmly and honestly. His response may not have been entirely "correct", but did he really deserve such a treatment? I don't think so. He is, after all, a sponsor of this country's premiere chess event!

Secondly, what's with these Doeberl Cup organisers making fancy changes to established "traditions"? I'm not particularly concerned about this latest fight, but I am still pissed off over the cancellation of the traditional blitz event. Instead, this year we have something called Chess960. It's random chess basically where one can begin a game with your knight located on e1! Ridiculous.

I know it may be pointless, but I hope these Doeberl Cup people can organise another event - for blitz. Let the players choose: those who want to play blitz can play in that, and those who prefer the inferior Chess960 can opt for that.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Postscript to Spassky - Bronstein

We have a postscipt to this post about Spassky - Bronstein. Yesterday I received an email from John Henderson, chess columnist for The Scotman and who also now works for the ICC, to remind me of his column from way back on 12 December, 2006. In that article, John wrote:

The only difference between the two games was that in the Bond movie there were no pawns on d4 and c5 – and this was a critical error, because Black could have drawn at the end with 22 ..Ne6! 23 Ng6 Qc5+ 24 Kh1 Qb5! 25 Bc4 Qc6 26 Qf7+ Kh7 27 Qf5 Ng5! forcing a perpetual with 28 Nf8+ and Ng6+. It was only in 2002, when the Bond franchise reached its 40th anniversary, did the reason for the missing pawns come to light: Bond producers Albert “Cubby” Broccoli and Harry Saltzman mistakenly believed there to be a copyright on chess games, so therefore opted to omit the pawns!

Tomek Rej Simul

Just received this from Tony Lau. The James Ruse Agricultural High School, in Sydney, will hold their 50th anniversary fete this coming 4 April between 12 noon and 8PM. One of the attractions will be a simul event to be given by FM Tomek Rej. There will also be a "guess the number of chess pieces" as well as a book stall selling, obviously, chess books!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Better Thinking Through Chess

I was kinda moved by this. Lisa Luhay teaches five subjects, all for USD$16,000 before taxes! Latterly she included chess in her school's curriculum. The results were outstanding.

Every one of my students learned to play chess this year. What's more, they all began to think more clearly and often, and think before they acted. Achievers blossomed and borderline drop-outs are now making the honor roll and are seriously thinking about college and jobs that do not involve fries or result in an orange jumpsuit and leg irons.

Think of the potential. During a time when funds are running dry, if they've not already evaporated, and handwringing about how to turn children into thinkers seems to be growing, a chess movement in education could be just what we need to begin to revive education.

Many of my students face the threat of expulsion for not being able to pay their tuition. Other students have been accepted to college, but have failed to find any funding. This is absurd and sad.

Read more in Why my students asked Obama to play chess with them.

And in a somewhat related news, the Philippines' Department of Education has announced that chess will now be part of physical education classes among grade 3-6 elementary school students throughout the country. Excellent development for a country that is slowly clawing its way back to being an Asian superpower in this wonderful game.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Aussie Champs Go North

In his column for the Sydney Morning Herald on 9 March this year, Peter Parr reported that the next Australian Chess Championships will be held from 2 - 14 January, 2010 at the Norths Club in the northern Sydney suburb of Cammeray. No confirmation yet from the Australian Chess Federation if this is a definite go as there was no word in their latest newsletter dated 15 March. We'll have to wait and see.

Check out Tabbloid.com

I don't know about you but sometimes, I just get bored with looking at RSS feeds! Lines and lines of text are hardly exciting. That why I was rather excited to discover www.tabbloid.com. At last, I can have my selected RSS feeds automatically delivered to my inbox in a magazine style format! Below is a sample shot of Daily Dirt subscription.

Tabbloid PDF

The only big thing that I don't like is that there does not appear to be any way to control the order of content. So, as you see above, Daily Dirt sits along side Lifehacker. It's sometimes disconcerting to read the headline "Kramnik Beats Wang Yue 2-0" on the left column, and "EVI debuts road-ready commercial transport electric vehicles" on the right! Still, I can live with this.

Of course, you could always just sign up to chess only content.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Insulting Spassky - Bronstein

I owe this to a mate of mine from the Town Hall Chess Club, in Sydney.

The recent discussions of copyrighting chess games (see here and here) focus on one angle. That is, actually using other people's games complete and unchanged. But what if we were to use a game, but with one or two little details omitted or even altered?

Consider this, for example:

URS-ch27, Leningrad 1960
Spassky, Boris V
Bronstein, David I

1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf4 3. Nf3 d5 4. exd5 Bd6 5. Nc3 Ne7 6. d4 O-O 7. Bd3 Nd7 8. O-O h6 9. Ne4 Nxd5 10. c4 Ne3 11. Bxe3 fxe3 12. c5 Be7 13. Bc2 Re8 14. Qd3 e2 15. Nd6 Nf8 16. Nxf7 exf1=Q+ 17. Rxf1 Bf5 18. Qxf5 Qd7 19. Qf4 Bf6 20. N3e5 Qe7 21. Bb3 Bxe5

Position after 21...Bxe5

And now 22. Nxe5+ Kh7 23. Qe4+ 1-0

The well-informed will immediately recognise that the same position after black's twentyfirst was used in the film From Russia with Love, except that white's c and d pawns were removed by the film makers!

So, what do we have here, then? Perhaps not so much a breach of copyright, but it is certainly downright sacrilegious! It's like adding or removing a single note from a Mozart concerto!

For an extensive discussion of this insult, see Chessbase.

Right Up in the Kisser

Well, I did not make it clear in this post, but, of course, the writer of the Queenstown report is none other than yours truly! So, dear readers, go and get it! Unhappily, however, the editors removed about 15% of my words. A reference to Gary Bekker's fave bar, for instance, didn't make it; neither did that little tidbit about Victor Mikhalevski's run-in with peace protesters. Oh well, such is the editorial process.

I also must thank IM David Smerdon for agreeing to annotate his game. More players should write like he does - very entertaining. "Right up in the kisser!"

Monday, March 16, 2009

Chess in the Islands

It's when I read these kinds of stories that I have to react: "what the...are you kidding me?" Even in the Solomon Islands, chess is a sport! The Solomon Star reports, "PNG Chess Federation donated ten chess sets to the SICF last year and another 20 this year. The donation is to help and develop the sports in the country. Since the inception, chess has gained recognition and support from the National Sports Council."

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Banned for Not Playing

One could be ban for cheating, doping or something, but now the All India Chess Federation has come up with something else! ChessDom reported recently that the Indian body has banned one of its players, G.N. Gopal, not for anyone of the "normal" reasons but, wait for this, not playing!

Gopal's family is understandably in shock.

Chess and Twitter

I've been on Twitter since June 2007, but never even thought that it could be used for chess! I mostly use the service for connecting with other people in my line of work or reading news or just following "celebs" in the tech world who often post some interesting links. See, for instance, my post last week.

Now, in yet another step towards innovation, ChessVibes has recently signed up for Twitter and began tweeting. Their first tweet said, "Exploring Twitter (it's about time)". The editor describes the move as an experiment, but I hope they make it work and stick to it! Here are a couple of tips for them: (i) dial down on the advertising and (ii) be more frequent.

Two other chess fans I know of who are on Twitter are @SonOfPearl and ChessExpress' @ShaunPress. The Aussie and ex-weekend warrior Malcolm Treddinick is also there, but he's mostly tweeting about his pained life as a programmer (e.g. "And now we will play the new traditional game called 'fixing all the stuff I broke yesterday'. This is getting old, I have to say.")

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Father & Son

As I was flicking through the TV channels, I stopped at the ABC's "Rage" program and discovered this. An old classic by Cat Stevens, now Yusuf Islam, called "Father and Sons". And yes, there is a chessic reason why I'm posting this.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Running out of Chess Coaches

A reader in New Zealand sent me this link about a recent conference in Italy - the "World Conference on Chess in Schools", held from 25 - 27 February, 2009.

As far as Italy, where chess are considered a "sport" and included inside the National Sport Olympic Committee (in Italian: CONI), chess are also taught in the school but they are not in the essential programs of the morning. In any case about 200.000 children yearly follow the chess lessons. The request of learning chess in Italy is very high and sometimes the real problem is to find ... the teachers!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Wanker of a Grandmaster

What was it that Ronald Reagan said to brush aside and in the process totally destroy Jimmy Carter during a debate? Ronnie said, “There you go again.” And that folks is basically how we, the chess world, ought to respond to Shakhriyar Mamedyarov’s latest reported salvo:

Looking at the chess media, I’ve noticed that much concerning the game with GM Kurnosov in the Aeroflot Open seems unclear and I would like to bring some order in this. After the game finished, I have again analysed the games of Kurnosov until the 6th round and after that. As a result, some facts became clear.

All together now: there you go again!

Totally meaningless accusations, no facts, no proof. How ridiculous! Insofar as a rebuttal is concerned, I think Mig said it best and said enough. Honestly, Shakhriyar's behaviour seems to me to be outright slander. That other guy, Kurnosov, should sue.

So here's to our Azeri GM. Mate, you're a bloody wanker!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Queenstown in NIC

New in Chess magazine, issue no. 2 (2009), will be a must-read. It will feature a report on the Queenstown Chess Classic and also includes a special annotation by IM David Smerdon on his game against GM Victor Mikhalevski. That one is a hoot! Also featured with full commentary will be Rozentalis-Jones, by Rozentalis.

For Pinoy fans, none other than GM Wesley So annotates his win over Hillarp Person in section C of this year's Corus event. I could be wrong, but I think this is So's debut in the exalted pages of NIC!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Chess Renaissance

According to this report from New Zealand, many old board games like chess are making some sort of a comeback thanks to social networking sites such as Facebook. The report even quotes Aussie Richard Gastineau-Hills.

Games such as Scrabble, chess and even Monopoly work well online because, unlike graphics-heavy "shoot-em-up" or role-playing games, they require relatively low bandwidth. Even without broadband it is quite possible to play a game of, say, Scrabble online.

One game that has seen a marked renaissance in recent years is chess.

The treasurer of the NSW Junior Chess League, Richard Gastineau-Hills, says junior ranks have swelled enormously. About 20 years ago there were fewer than 25 primary schools competing in the inter-school competition - now there are more than 400.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Better to Know Less?

This afternoon I saw @hrheingold tweet, "Neil Postman, 1990, "Informing Ourselves To Death" http://bit.ly/TOiyg interesting reflection on monks' invention of clocks & impacts". I'd never heard of Neil Postman prior to that, but the article's title caught my eye. As I was reading it, I was reminded of my recent post on the role of chess databases, but I was actually reminded most of all of what a friend of mine said to me long, long ago.

There we were going about our usual business of chess on a sunny weekend, I think it was, when all of a sudden this friend, usually given to out-of-left-field philosophical observations, said: "You know, the more you know, the harder chess becomes".

Sometimes, I just can't help thinking that maybe he was right!

Chess for the Blind

From India's DNA:

But it is not only in its competitive aspects that chess is important. As the only mainstream sport that the blind can play, it is increasingly being recognised as an important medium of integration with society.

The only mainstream sport that the blind can play? I never even realised that! More in Why the blind love chess.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

FIDE Assembly Minutes

If you happen to be interested in such things, the minutes to FIDE's General Assembly, held during the Dresden Olympiad, have now been published. Annex number 50, the Swiss Pairings Committee Report, has some info that might be of interest to arbiters:

The chairman, Mr.Markkula and Mr.Stubenvoll reported that they have tested the program [Tournament Service 6.0], which is now producing fairly good pairings due to the Dutch Swiss rules. Therefore the committee proposes the endorsement of the program Tournament service for the pairings of Dutch Swiss rules. The committee unanimously stated that the endorsement of a program is only concerning the pairings due to the specified rules. The committee will neither judge other special functional features of a program or ist applicalbility [sic] at all nor give recommendations for chosing a special program.

Then, there's this bit: "Mr. Tsorbatsoglou regretted that the Swiss System rules are grown up [sic] so complicated that neither players nor most of the arbiters understand them. The chairman replied that the complexity is the price for increased fairness compared to older rules. Nevertheless the committee will wellcome [sic] any proposals for new simple Swiss System rules."

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Another Copyright Debate

Just a couple of months after my post, "Macieja on Copyrighting Games", ChessVibes has once again provoked a lengthy discussion on the same old issue. It all began with this successful C&D action against ChessBase by the Bulgarian Chess Federation:

The German chess site „ChessBаse” was forced to cease the live broadcasting of the games of the match between World Cup candidates Veselin Topalov and Gata Kamsky. Without permission from the Bulgarian Chess Federation (BCF) the Germans broadcast the first four games on the global network in spite of the warning published to that effect by the organizers on the official site of the match wccc2009.com.

To make this a little confusing, the Bulgarians took aim only at Chessbase without, apparently, being too bothered by ICC's or ChessDom's "rebroadcast" of the same event. Maybe we can assume some sort of side deal. Anyway, that detail aside, this latest discussion is interesting at least because it touches upon the rights of organisers. Let's look at this from their point of view.

If they're spending thousands of dollars to make the whole thing happen, presumably with sponsorship partners on board who themselves have injected funds into the event - then aren't the organisers entitled to a certain exclusivity for eyeballs? I think so.

To my mind, broadcasting an event as it happens is an entirely different thing to copyrighting games. It seems to me that the Bulgarians are merely asserting their right(s) to the former, not the latter.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Online Gambit Encyclopaedia

Checking my web traffic from time to time reveals some interesting discoveries. For instance, just the other day I came across this site - Enciclopedia pratica dei Gambetti. It's basically an online encyclopaedia of gambits, in Italian. The Hector Gambit looks kinda fun.

It goes: 1.Nc3 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.f3

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Killing the Handwriting

Following on from my post about Article 8, here’s an interesting article by the BBC last week – “The Slow Death of Handwriting”:

A century from now, our handwriting may only be legible to experts. For some, that is already the case. But writer Kitty Burns Florey says the art of handwriting is declining so fast that ordinary, joined-up script may become as hard to read as a medieval manuscript.

Forget about medieval manuscripts. Some players these days write in Egyptian hieroglyphs! Just ask anyone who's had to code the games.

Frankly, if there's any part of the Article 8 that needs maximal enforcement, it is surely this: get these players to write legibly and clearly. It's the rule.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Chess and Degas

The National Gallery of Australia in Canberra is presently showing "Degas - Master of French Art". Now I'm no expert, but I saw some of this guy's works back at the Musee d'Orsay in Paris and, let me tell you, it was breathtaking. Simply beautiful!

Photograph I took of a Degas painting in the Musee d'Orsay

When I heard about this exhibition, I immediately made plans to see it sometime during the Doeberl Cup. Sadly, it's not to be: the exhibition will end in a couple of weeks on 22 March! Just bad luck.

Meanwhile, about the Doeberl Cup - the latest info release from the organisers is the following: "The Indian Chess Federation informed us on Saturday that they would be bringing a mens and womens team out to the tournament (3 GM, 4 IM, 4 WGM, 3 WFM). This means that as of last night there were only 26 places left in the Premier. Players interested in playing in the Premier should register and pay as soon as possible to secure their position."

Note that the Indian player IM Tanya Sachdev is no longer playing in Doeberl and the SIO. Personal reasons, apparently.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Ban Walkabouts During Play

Article 8 of the official Laws of Chess reads: "In the course of play each player is required to record his own moves and those of his opponent in the correct manner, move after move, as clearly and legibly as possible, in the algebraic notation (Appendix E), on the ‘scoresheet’ prescribed for the competition. It is forbidden to write the moves in advance, unless the player is claiming a draw according to Article 9.2 or 9.3 [my emphasis]."

I don't know about you but I've always had a problem with that last bolded bit. Of course, I follow the rule, but prior to its introduction my method was to first write down a move before actually playing it. And yes, many a times back then I would re-examine the position, thought for a little more, then changed what I wrote. It is apparently exactly this kind of behaviour that the rule is designed to prevent for, as some would say, it's tantamount to cheating.


If it's a product of my own thinking process, how in the hec is it cheating? Honestly, it's a total joke.

Look - if there's one behaviour that we ought to stop, it's being able to walk around during your game. Forget the next move or correct plan in a Sicilian Najdorf? Problem solved: just look for a board with a similar opening. If that's not cheating, I don't know what is.

I predict that a couple of years from now, this will be next brilliant idea by FIDE. And they can thank me for it too.