Friday, March 04, 2011

The Colour of Titles

I must admit that when I posted yesterday's news about the drop-dead-gorgeous WGM Lara Stock winning a Kiwi event with a false name, I didn't expect that the two premiere chess news sites would quickly follow. The Germans can recognise a pretty face when they see one, but seem a tad coy about naming Lara. While our Dutch friends have at least managed to make Australia's 'rebel' chess forum very happy, indeed!

The most strident reaction so far, however, is from British Chess Magazine editor, FM Steve Giddins. Says he:

Despite the paltry rewards that their actions have earned them, it would be nice to see appropriate action taken, if only pour encourager les autres. Since the young lady is so keen not to let anyone know that she holds the WGM title, I think a good start would be to take away her title altogether. Throw in a life ban from all internationally rated chess, and that should make others think twice about trying the same tactic.

Maybe I'm just too much of a sucker for pretty blondes (if only they aged gracefully), but perhaps we should withold calling for her head until we understand why.

As Chessvibes pointed out, Lara quit playing competition chess in 2007. Maybe, just maybe, the pressures were too much for the then teenager and now she just prefers to get into the rough and tumble free from expectations. Just think: if this was all about cash, why not simply rock up to a local club or organiser and demand an appearance fee? Or just play in a big event. With her kind of horsepower in this part of the world, she'll easily finish among the prize winners.

So there you have it, none of us like fraud, but let's not be too hasty on this one.

At any rate, if she ever stops over in Tokyo en route back to Europe, I'm quite happy to take her around my local chess club. I might even drop her a line: "What you got in there?"


Anonymous said...

At one of the clubs they visited, they said 'Lara' (or whatever) had just completed some years of study, and that this trip was a reward. Some reward, now she's infamous! Incidentally, why is being pretty considered any excuse whatsoever for cheating? Steve Giddins has the truth of it, I think.

RuralRob said...

I'm in full agreement with Mr. Giddins. Off with her (admittedly pretty) head!

Anonymous said...

What nasty comments Steve Giddins has posted
1) "think a good start would be to take away her title altogether"
2) "Throw in a life ban"

this poor girl has been internationally vilified by a local chess offical Scott Humphreys (rated just 1663 himself fide ) due to some unrated patzer event.

As for Steve Giddins, he should have his "FM" title taken away as clearly your current rating of 2188 is clearly below that of a real titled player.
And all Lara Fans we no doubt join me in burning all Steve Giddins books we find after his nasty comments to this young girl

Martin said...

They should both be prosecuted for fraud if they're still in New Zealand.

The NZCF should also lodge formal complaints with the German and Croatian chess federations, and if they don't take any action, then complain to FIDE.

A 2 year ban seems fair to me.

HeinzK said...

All this over the top nastiness. Chess players are really a nasty lot. Wouldn't it be great if Tiger Woods would show up incognito at the local golf tournament and play some holes? It's good value for the tournament sponsor's limited prize money

Anonymous said...

agreed, good comment "Henik" !

Anonymous said...

The LaughingStocks of the chess world have apparently decided not to play in the Auckland Chess Centre event this weekend...

Anonymous said...

just noticed that Steve Giddins has now posted more on his blog

"a holder of the Woman Grandmaster title has travelled halfway across the world, to a continent where she was confident that she would not be recognised, and has then attempted to enter a series of amateur tournaments, aimed at novice players, using a false name, in order to clean up the prize money available"

a series of events ??? what events ??? in order to clean up the prize money available ?? this is total slander

Martin said...

The issue is one of honesty and integrity. Look at the facts - they gave false names, they lied about their playing strength, and the girl lied about her age to snag the Under 18 prize.

Fraud is fraud, and I'm surprised that the wider chess community is treating this so lightly. It is not "nasty" or "over the top" to want to see this behaviour punished.

To state the obvious, the fact that the girl is young and pretty is completely irrelevant, as are the Elo ratings of those who criticise her.