Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Typical Wednesday

My work as a chess coach sees me mainly driving from school to school running hour long sessions of coaching and playing for kids. I also do some more advanced coaching, and try to write a little bit as well, and of course try to keep up with chess news and look at some games and ideas. During the week I have some time between lessons to relax, or work, or do whatever I feel like doing. I always have reading material with me ("Life After Life" by Kate Atkinson, "The String Diaries" by Stephen Lloyd Jones, and the latest  New in Chess Magazine), and a laptop with mobile internet access.

So besides my work admin site, and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, I have dropped into a sort of routine about which sites I look at on a regular basis. I follow chess news mainly through TWIC, though I sometimes go to other sites if there looks to be a story of interest. I also seek opinions on chess forums in both Australia and England (I must branch out a bit here, and start looking at some more forum sites). Today, I learned from the Australian Chesschat forum the sad news of the death of Peter Parr. I had never met Peter but his role in Australian chess is legendary, as an arbiter, organiser, mentor, chess shop owner and a player. Memories of Peter Parr, and tributes from chess players who knew him can be found here.

RIP Peter Parr (image from CDS)

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It's currently a typical Melbourne winter's day. There is a fairly strong breeze blowing, and rain is coming in showers. Funnily enough, the day started in a completely different manner, with sunshine and what felt to me like a surprisingly early sunrise. Needless to say that Melbourne is famous for it's 4 seasons in a day. My main concern is whether the rain will be coming down when I'm outside or inside. So far I've been pretty lucky this winter, as I have mostly seemed to avoid the rain. That luck has to run out sometime I guess! Talking about 'unlucky', GM Cori of Peru will definitely be feeling aggrieved being eliminated from the World Cup. Cori was involved in a potential big upset against Radjabov after finishing 1-1 in the Rapid games and taking the match to a blitz play off. Cori claims he thought the start time of the next round was 6.50, when in fact it was 6.15. After seeing players taking their seats online, he rushed to the playing hall, arriving 2 minutes late for the start of the game, and was forfeited. This seems incredibly harsh to me, especially as there were no written notices as to when the start time of rounds were to be. While the decision may have followed the letter of the law, it seems that the processes involved were rather sloppy, and this certainly needs tightening up, by organisers and FIDE.

I am somewhat luckier than Mr. Cori, as the rain has stopped just as I walk to head to my next class. Will the weather be as kind to me on the walk back?

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Well luck has stayed with me today, and I've been inside when it's been raining, though we're only half way through the day. Driving between jobs can be somewhat monotonous and I often fill the time listening to music, like I guess a lot of drivers do. But sometimes I just like to think either about the lessons that I'm to present, or chess in general, or anything else that comes to mind. Today, 2 subjects have been buzzing round my mind in spare moments. One is what I genuinely feel about the 'zero tolerance' rule that cost GM Cori his game, and the other is coffee!

I actually quite like the fact that a player can be forfeited if he isn't ready to start at the allotted time. If chess wants to be recognised as a professional game/sport then I think setting professional standards of organisation and behaviour is reasonable. Of course, the case involving GM Cori was anything but professional. A minimum expectancy from the organisers should be prior written instructions as to when rounds are to be played. In this case it was a verbal instruction given to players after the stress of having already played in a 2 game rapid match. The more I consider this, the more I personally don't think that this case was handled fairly and I have a definite sympathy with Cori.

Quite another issue is applying the zero tolerance rule to all events, and this touches on how different levels of events are treated. I'm sure if FIDE could get their way, then all FIDE rated events would have an automatic forfeit rule for players not present at the start of a playing session. But at the amateur level this is really not realistic. Take for instance, the FIDE rated tournament currently being played at the MCC, the Malitis Memorial. Players are travelling to the club after work on a Monday, through traffic which can sometimes be heavy and it cannot be expected that they would get to the venue for the start time of 7.15 pm every week. In fact. some players even let the arbiter know if they will be late in an act of courtesy to the club and their opponent. Thankfully, tournament organisers currently have the discretionary ability to state their own forfeit time for a game, and the MCC uses a 30 minute period of grace for a player to arrive after the start of the playing session. If a player has trouble with this, then postponements, and late starts (with the agreement of an opponent) are possible.

There are definitely 2 tiers to chess competition, and even if we all play under one rating system, FIDE have to understand that local club players have different needs to the top professionals. Getting sponsorship and full recognition at the top level is a different issue to getting a large number of bodies to play chess at lower levels, but both are equally important for their own reasons.

I'm the Expresso (from a meme site)

Coffee is a different subject that I have daily thoughts about. In fact, I may have a mild addiction to coffee, and I usually have 1 or 2 coffee's a day. We're not talking about instant coffee here, but the real thing. My preference is simply black coffee, either in short or long form. I don't take milk or sugar preferring the genuine taste of the coffee. Or at least, I hope to enjoy the taste of the coffee, though they aren't always great. I usually pick up a take away on my way to my first class in the morning. This class will be at 8 am each morning so an early pick me up int he form of a coffee is much needed. I tend to pick my coffee up from the Artful Dodger in Elsternwick which serves a very good coffee, strong and full bodied, but with s slightly sweet flavour. After that I tend to find somewhere to sit and have a coffee at some stage during the day. Today I was in the bayside suburb of Black Rock and had a pretty decent long black in Jacques, along with a tasty almond croissant.

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Well, I'm sitting at home in the evening after a miraculous day of missing rain showers and staying dry. I suppose I should really apologise for going on about the weather, but I believe it has something to do with my English upbringing. With rain always around the corner, the English are weather obsessed, and if it's not too wet, then it must be too hot, or too cold, or too dry, or just "not quite right", or "about to deteriorate". Looking back on my day, I can say there were some real highlights. Starting a new book is always a risky thing, but "The String Diaries" has completely gripped me. It has the potential to be one of the best thrillers I've ever read (not that I'm particularly well read in that genre).

The other notable moment was when I was showing some of the kids I teach pictures of top chess players from my New in Chess Magazine. Comments included "Wow, he's just a kid" (on Carlsen), "Who's that old guy?" (on Gelfand, depressingly younger than me!) and "He looks weird" (on Ivanchuk). Sometimes it's a challenge working with kids, but there are times when it brings a smile to your face!

By the way, just 33 days before my holiday!!

1 comment:

  1. Wimbledon, with an audience of millions, has a 15 minute forfeit time so why should chess have zero forfeit?