Today’s Vintage Chess Humor
Chess in the time of Coronavirus
Insightful cartoon published in ChessReview during the 1960’s. Preparing for tournaments was taken seriously by club players in those days. After all, there were simply fewer tournaments and therefore each had an increased significance.
Perhaps I should not have added ‘in those days‘ since today chess players prepare even more (!) given the availabilty of free databases, endgame tablebases and relatively inexpensive software such as ChessBase and ChessAssistant.
I am curious about how such habits will change in the chess community — if they change at all — during the present lockdown because of the coronavirus. Will people study chess more? Will people play more serious chess online?
Up until now, before the lockdown that is, virtually all online chess had been dedicated to ‘friendly’ or ‘recreational’ chess. For the first time ‘serious’ tournaments are being planned.
This undoubtedly will appeal to a segment of the chess community that has up to now , more or less, ignored online chess.
Of course, one of the challenges will be how to deal with online cheating. There is no perfect solution, but organizers and players have to begin to cooperate to find a compromise that will (1) maintain the integrity of the game without undermining the right of players to be free of suspicion , while (2) remaining vigilant for those who do cheat.
What we have at present is somewhat unsatisfactory. To simply make 5-dollar platitudes of (as for example Chess.Com often flatters itself ) how much anti-cheating measures have evolved or bragging of using award winning software — that no one has ever been allowed to see or verify — is not going to cut the mustard. Why should the players be blocked out of having a say?
You can not tackle the problem of cheating by minimizing it or ignoring it, or by starting with the premise that everyone is guilty until proven otherwise.
It is going to take a more serious approach — a consensual approach — into how we look upon cheating, searching for new solutions and having an open mind to tackle this growing threat to chess.
For this reason it is very disappointing to see such ignorant declarations by the FIDE president made in a recent interview published on the official FIDE website.
Cheating is a growing problem at all levels of play. Any solution should have nothing to do with inventing arbitrary blanket exceptions — such as re-framing the cheating problem so as to exclude 2700+ players because they — unlike mere mortals — have a ‘reputation’ to defend. It is scandalous for a FIDE president to equate a higher ELO with a higher morality and code of ethics.
Instead, tackling the phenomenon of cheating is about building a sound and effective program designed to confront cheaters where ever they participate in tournaments.
It is disturbing to see Dvorkovich’s apparent willingness to divide the chess community into superficial categories that create second class people deprived of the presumption of innocence because their elo is not high enough!
A cheater is a cheater is a cheater, regardless of rating. There is nothing subjective, arbitrary or artificial about it.
It would have been more constructive for Dvorkovich to use the present opportunity of the lockdown to unite all of the chess world to confront a common problem.