SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
Has your child received his/her turkey from the CFC yet?
If not, then please contact BC Governor Paul LeBlanc and tell him that your child is clearly under rated and this is an injustice to all of his future sorry-assed opponents!
Several days ago when CFC president Bob Gillanders wrote about the CFC’s ”Christmas present” –his exact words–to 9 year old Jason Cao of Victoria, BC, he probably thought that this would be received as wonderful news to the CFC membership.
”Tomorrow, Jason will receive an early Christmas present of 352 rating points from the CFC. His CFC rating will be adjusted upwards from 1569 to 1921 to match his FIDE rating.
The CFC executive, as well as rating auditor, Governor Bill Doubleday, has approved the adjustment. The adjustment comes from a request from Governor Paul Leblanc who wrote:
“Prior to the WYCC, Jason’s performance record in his last open event was 1870 at the Langley Open, confirming that his playing strength is much higher than his current CFC rating of 1569. It would be an injustice to Jason and his opponents if he continued to be rated at such a low level in upcoming events.”
I must point out that this is not a repudiation of the CFC rating system, but a one time extraordinary adjustment. I think we can all agree that Jason is an extraordinary young man. All rating systems, including ours, have difficulty in rating youngsters who show rapid improvement. A lag is common, and will correct itself over time. There are no plans to adjust ratings wholesale nor to change the formula, but that should not bar us from using some discretion on a case by case basis.
Besides, Jason’s opponents will be intimidated enough facing a World Champion, they don’t need the added pressure of huge rating losses!
Merry Christmas Jason!”–CFC president Gillanders
Since this announcement, however, the CFC’s action has put the executive and Mr. LeBlanc on the defensive. When I contacted Fred McKim for his comments on Gillanders’ declaration, Fred wrote back:
”I’m afraid that the “blame”, if that’s a word you might choose to use must be put on the entire executive. There’s not much more to say on this right now…”
On both public chess message boards (CFC and CMA) the reaction has been the same: members fail to understand the given reasons for arbitrarily manipulating the ratings of Jason. About the only voices in defense of the CFC’s actions are Paul LeBlanc (who ”requested” the 352 points in the first place) and Roger Patterson–both personally involved in the club that Jason belongs to in Victoria.
Perhaps the most lucid argument against the CFC’s action was from future GM Eric Hansen :
”I find this decision very strange and hope it wasn’t because some people were afraid of losing rating points. There are some flaws with the CFC system but gifting points to one person only is silly. Pretty much all juniors are underrated at some point but the struggle to gain rating and prove your worth is universal and the tournament experience is valuable.
Being u-10 world champ shouldn’t exempt you from it at all. A more logical response would have been to rate the WYCC if anything. Credit the way he performed not the title. His FIDE rating is totally provisional, so it’s necessarily accurate either. This underrated problem occurs in most parts of the world no matter the rating system and with the resources available for chess these days it’s not going away anytime soon.
Let him earn it like every other kid who is putting in the time to improve and play events. ”
This was quickly followed up by a comment by Canadian chess youngster Yelizaveta Orlova, who has represented Canada on numerous occasions internationally, the last time being several months ago a the Olympiad:”I agree with Eric Hansen.”
Tyler Longo (no photo available) also wrote eloquently:
”This is just silly. The rating system should correct itself over time… adjusting it because “he must be underrated” sets a bad precedent. His rating will self-adjust to its proper level pretty quickly if he plays any CFC rated events… That’s the way the rating system is supposed to work IMO. There shouldn’t be any need to “correct” someone’s rating when the system will do that itself.”
Clearly this is just one more example of where the CFC executive ignores that there are rules, procedures and ethics involved. And they don’t seem to mind that the entire membership is watching. Many are asking themselves if they could not somehow get the same generous deal! Or for their own children. A dangerous precedent has been set.
More importantly, this is a case where the executive is completely out of touch with reality, and especially oblivious of the feelings out there in the chess community. Everyone is very proud of Jason’s result in the championship in Greece, but if the CFC wanted to reward Jason then they should have given him a bike, not given him a free ride.
The CFC’s Xmas gift to Jason is an insult to every chessplayer in Canada, regardless of strength or rating, or age. Everyone pays for their tournaments to be rated–regardless of whether they win or lose. Therefore, everyone deserves the same consideration and respect.
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS