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Ears to the Ground

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A good reporter is always willing to make personal sacrifices to get the story. With this in mind I forced myself to hang out with Almira Skripchenko, Anna Hahn, and Irina Krush last Friday night. The occasion was the press conference for the ChinaCom.com (com.com.com?) match between French female #1 Skripchenko and her American counterpart Krush in September. You can read my report and interview with them here at ChessBase.com.

As is usually the case, the activities afterwards were more interesting than the press conference. The event was held at the Russian Samovar restaurant on the West Side of Manhattan and it is justly famous for Russian specialties and Russian vodka.

The latter is probably what led to the ear pulling. (Not to mention the photos of the ear pulling.) Of course I wasn't going to stand for this and quickly called New York's Finest. Photogenic Officer Robert Giannetta was quickly on the scene to sternly admonish the French ear puller in question, Almira Skripchenko.

US Women's Champion Anna Hahn came to her friend's rescue, as you'll see in the photo below.


Mig, my heart bleeds for the suffering you subject yourself to in the pursuit of truth, but can you clear up one thing for me here, please?

I have been seeing this match billed as between the French and U.S. women´s champions, and thinking “but isn´t Anna Hahn the U.S. women´s champion?” Now I see you referring to Skripchenko and Krush as “French female #1” and “U.S. counterpart”.

Checking the sponsors´ site in my own fleeting search for truth, though, I see it still refers to Skripchenko and Krush as “French champion” and “American champion”. Are they just being embarrasingly ignorant, or is there more to this?

They aren't ignorant, just a little embarrassed. They know Hahn is the champion, but they also felt a 200-point Elo gap was too much and they didn't want one of the players to be a big underdog. At least when I publish their stuff I'm careful not to use the "US Champion" title for Krush, other than mentioning her 1998 title. I can't speak for ChinaCom, of course, but apparently they still have their original erroneous press release up, which we corrected when we ran it at the ChessBase site. http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=1579

This reflects the confusion (sometimes intentional) of rating versus title as also seen in the recent item here about Garry being called World Champion. Basically there isn't much to be done about non-chess PR people slapping imaginative titles on everything and everyone. (Calling this a world championship, for example, or Kasparov-Fritz, etc.)

We're calling them the top ranked players in their respective countries. Irina is the top rated American Woman, and Almira the top rated French Woman. (Before the obvious chirping, Polgar isn't active.)

We've also been calling them American Champion and French Champion. I don't see what's technically wrong with this. Irina has won the US Women's Championship and same for Almira and the French Championship.

The original press release error was due to me not being involved and some confusion with what happened in Seattle. Someone who wasn't carefully reading would think that the title was shared. (Actually, the Seattle people did share the title in 2001 despite having a playoff anyway for the ring. I believe this was where the confusion came in.)

I would like to point out that Almira Skripchenko has never been French Women's Champion and has never participated in the women's Championship.
In fact she has participated instead in the last two mixed Championships, open only to twelve selected players, as she was much too strong for the women's competition.
She remains our highest rated woman.

eu amo almira

Mmmmmm. More photos please. And please, lose the cop.

I think the cop is cute.

Inky your the Best. Oscar wouldn't know a Pawn from a Knight


Inky your the Best. Oscar wouldn't know a Pawn from a Knight


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    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on May 16, 2004 1:02 PM.

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