Today’s Vintage Chess Humor
The Politics of Discarding the Rules of Chess
When the Spanish priest Ruy Lopez published in 1561 his LIBRO DE LA INVENCION LIBERAL Y ARTE DEL JUEGO DE AXEDREZ most of the ‘modern’ rules that we play by today were already established, subject to minor ‘tweaking’ over the next 500 years, of course.
For example, while the stalemate concept was known in Ruy Lopez’ time it was not considered a draw like it is today (this came about only in the 19th century). Another example is the castling concept: the exact form we use today was last tweaked in the 17th century.
We accept that some limited, periodic tweaking to the rules is desirable. Times change. For example, when the endgame table bases first came out FIDE debated the technical limitations behind the ‘50-move‘ rule, mentioned in Ruy Lopez’ 1561 book.
Another change — and one that is still heatedly debated — is the ‘zero tolerance‘ rule regarding a player not showing up for the game on time. Of course, this is less of a technical rule change than a politically motivated change.
However, it is necessary that each of these periodic changes to any long established rule of the game be consensual, responsible, and demonstratably positive for the game of chess.
For that reason the chess community had decided — wisely I think — way back in 1924 that only FIDE has the power to effect any such changes.
Can we trust Dvorkovich’s FIDE?
I followed the 2018 FIDE presidential campaign of Arkady Dvorkovich very closely and I can assure you that Dvorkovich ran on a platform that focused exclusively on improving FIDE’s governance and transparency. But that is not what we witness today.
We elected Dvorkovich to run FIDE. We did NOT elect Dvorkovich to CHANGE the game of chess as it is loved and played by millions of fans around the world.
Today we are beginning to realize that Dvorkovich has a hidden agenda: that of changing some of the most sacred concepts and traditions of our game.
- He has created a World Championship for Fischer-Random, a game that is not even known to the general public and that virtually nobody plays, even in chess clubs. In this variant of the game, the pieces are not allowed to be set up in the traditional manner.
- He has recruited former World Champion, Vladimir Kramnik, as a special ‘counsellor’ and now Vlad is going around promoting and advocating that all of Chess’ current problems could be instantly solved if we give up the right to castle! That chess going back 500 years is the right direction for FIDE…
Deliberately undermining the prestige of chess is a seriously flawed and erosive course of action for FIDE’s leadership to pursue. Worse still, these planned changes to the game will be implemented for only one reason: to ultimately make chess a more easily marketable product for ONLINE business potential.
That is, NOT to improve the chess playing experience of actual chess players, but to change the game into what FIDE believes is what the general ONLINE public wants and is ultimately willing to pay for to watch.
The Global Strategy Commission
This is another of Dvorkovich’s new instruments for making his planned changes to chess. What does the Global Strategy Commission (GSC) do? Anything it wants apparently, but mostly it decides upon the RULES of every official FIDE competition.
But its primary goal is to reduce the presence of classic time controls in FIDE competitions. The following is taken from the report of the January 2019 meeting of the GSC where planned global strategies were discussed :
Dvorkovich intends to do away with the ‘classical’ time control. In January it was recognized that the vast majority of polled grandmasters don’t want to see any changes. But this item makes it very clear that it will be the ‘general public’s preference’ that will ultimately decide the issue. NOT THE PLAYERS THEMSELVES.
Where do we go from here?
The current FIDE administration is less interested in what chess players want and like and think than what profits can be made by increasing FIDE’s presence ONLINE.
If FIDE thinks that there is more money by having actual chess players humiliate themselves by playing unrecognizable varieties of chess, then you can rest assure that RULES will be introduced to effect this.
For Arkady Dvorkovich, the future of chess is to give the ONLINE spectators what they want. (And are willing to pay for.) And that is a real shame. That is not why I play chess, nor the VAST majority of chess fans around the world.
But this is why Dvorkovich is FIDE president. It is about repeating history. And, of course, about continuing the incredibly destructive Russian influence in world chess.