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A Chessplayer by Any Other Name

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The China View news service is reporting that 2001 FIDE Women's World Champion Zhu Chen is involved in a battle to retain the rights to her name. Apparently a foreign (non-Chinese) company tried to register the rights to the 28-year-old's name without her knowledge.

Maybe she should also have a talk with a Mr. Carlos Moreno, who registered zhuchen.com a month ago! (Earlier here I mistakenly identified the registrar as the registrant due to fine print and laziness. My bad. Thanks for the corrections.) It can take time, but it is now fairly routine for well-known individuals and brands to get their name domains taken away from other people. Carlos would have to make a good case for having zhuchen.com for something other than reselling it to prevent a court from handing it over to Zhu Chen. (Loads about this in the case regarding sting.com here.)

The unsavory practice of cyber-squatting also popped up in the chess world in several places. When we started work on KasparovChess in 1999 one of the biggest behind-the-scenes battles was about how some nut was squatting on kasparov.com. He'd met Garry years earlier, done nothing with the project, and ended up causing no end of trouble until it was finally awarded to Kasparov in a long and expensive court battle.

We went on a domain-buying spree back then and many of those I registered for the now-defunct company still show the old contact information. Back then I noticed that a Spanish chess group had registered the domains of the names of many top players.

There are some other curious ones out there. vishyanand.com, vladimirkramnik.com, and peterleko.com are owned by my friends at the London Chess Centre (who also have the coveted chess.co.uk). kramnik.com is owned by his friend Miguel Illescas's chess school in Spain. KasparovChess offered big bucks for chess.com, but in the net madness of the late 90s the fellow at Chess Mentor turned down enough to retire on. Whoops.

It's interesting that the LCC has registered so many full names, which could likely be taken away by their namesakes in court. (Even if they make peterleko.com into a Peter Leko fan site a court could still call him the rightful owner as a public figure in need of protecting his name and earning power.) Meanwhile, paulmorphy.com is still available!

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on March 17, 2004 8:43 AM.

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