SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
I suppose it is a reflection of the times. The prestige and visibility of our noble game is at an all time low; hundreds of chess columns have disappeared in recent years without as much as a warning signal. The same is true of sponsors disappearing, no matter whether for a World Championship match or a traditional tournament that had been going strong for years if not decades.
When chess is reported it often seems as though it is to poke fun at the game: a drunk grandmaster having to be carried away from the board in an international chess tournament; a player having a heart attack during the game; a top local player pissing on the board in plain sight of everyone at a top Ottawa chess club; a former President of the CFC disappearing with the family assets… you get the picture! The times when chess was a universally respected game seem to have ended…and the world laughs at chess’ politicians, organizers, players and tournaments!
A mini-scandal was created in the Brazilian press last week when one of the top jurists was caught playing chess on his computer during one of the most important conferences of the year.
Carlos Roberto Santos Araujo, 57 years of age, was attending the meeting at the Tribual de Justicia da Bahia when the journal-photographer Harold Abrantes (of the journal A Tarde) took not less than 6 photos of the judge playing chess.
When a colleague of the judge sent a message to him ,letting him know of the presence of the journalist directly behind him, Araujo quickly exited the program! When confronted by this flagrant act of disrespect for the court, the judge denied everything! He claimed that it was just an image of a chess game and that this image was on the computer when he turned it on.
This just made things worse as the journalist was able to prove with his 6 photos that the judge was indeed playing chess!
It is not clear if any sanction will be imposed on the judge, but the intense media avalanche that followed will surely have serious consequences for the judge’s career. This scandal took place at the same time as a poll showed that the Brazilian public have little faith in the efficiency of the justice system….
Curiously, it was only with great difficulty that I was able to find the above photos! Most of the Brazilian news sites/cyber sites that covered the story have had the photos removed! One wonders whether there is not a bigger scandal hidden in the grass somewhere!?