Sunday, February 17, 2013

Reporting Hearsay

We all hear people say things, and often conversations then become forgotten. Well, I've heard a few people say a few things that I'm going to record here, so I don't forget them. I will not incriminate anyone by mentioning names, so don't bother asking!

1. Multiple people have asked me recently why don't I write a book about chess? Well, I would love to write a book about absolutely anything but the main reason for not doing so is that I have nothing specific to write about. Ok, I can write some blog posts here, but that's hardly the same as writing a book. Put into chess terms, I can't think of anything in particular that I am so inspired by that I would even attempt to write a book about. I've started reviewing some books and seen the trouble that top players have and if I was to write something I'd like it to be good and worthwhile. So in short, if I think of something to write about, then I'll go straight ahead and start writing a book. In fact, any suggestions would be seriously considered, so tell me what you'd like me to write a book about!

2. Why do IM's and GM's get everything for free when I have to pay? A student asked me that, though it's a question I've heard of a few times over the years. Actually it's a pretty difficult one to answer. My answer was that it was something that was earned by the player who had excelled in their chosen field, and tournament organisers want those strong players to play, so offer them that gratuity. I had to cover a laugh when I was told that some masters are crap, so why should they get free entry?

Apart form this amusing anecdote this is an interesting topic. Should GM's and IM's get free entry into events? To be honest I've never really had a problem with it. I have always been happy to pay entry into events which I don't expect to win and I always felt that the masters had earned the right to free entry. It means on those few occasions when I beat them it makes it that much sweeter. But there does seem some inconsistency. I mean, there are some very strong players without the master title, and FM's are pretty good players too, many of whom out rate masters who may have lost some strength. As an example, Australian Open champion Bobby Cheng is an FM with a FIDE rating of 2425. He would still have to pay entry fees to tournaments that a great number of masters who are rated below him would get in for free. I think it's time to change things and perhaps just give a rating limit for free entry. If you're above it, then you're in for free, if not you pay. Not only would this be fair to strong players without titles, but it would give masters that incentive to maintain their strength.

3. Are you really going to give up FIDE rated chess? A pretty easy one to answer really. Yes! After my blog post of February 4th quite a few people have expressed outrage, disbelief or sadness on my behalf, but most don't think it will be 'the end of my FIDE playing days'. Subsequent to this post, FIDE backed down on their proposed licensing laws. But is this the end of FIDE's continual ruination of our game? I doubt it very much. Our beloved leader has announced his desire to launch a world chess party, initially in Russia, but eventually a worldwide phenomenon. Sorry, but I'm not going to be a part of this new party. I love chess as a game and an intellectual pursuit, I'm not evangelical about it (though I can talk chess with the best of them, though i prefer preaching to the converted), and I don't feel the need to politicise it.

And I don't think we've seen the last of the licensing scheme. FIDE cancelled their proposed licensing scheme, but new proposals will be drawn up and presented to the next General Assembly. So this means we have a reprieve, and perhaps a watered down proposal will initially be pushed through, but it seems clearly obvious the direction that the current FIDE leadership want to take chess down. It's a direction I don't much care for so I'm abandoning ship now.

So, you all now know that when you say things to me, nothing is sacred! At this rate, I'll be turning into a journalist!


  1. free entry to 2400 players? Cheng gets in but Baron and West miss.
    Free entry to 2300 players? Cheng,West and Baron are in!

  2. Of course, the rating limit would be determined by the organiser depending on the strength of players in his locality. A tournament at MCC might consider 2300, or 2250 (IM Rujevic gets in then with FM Wallis and Justin Tan), whereas Doeberl might consider 2350 or even 2400.

    It was just a thought :)