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All sorts of useful and timely information at the new USCF website. 2006 US championship runner-up Yury Shulman just won clear first in the US Open in Chicago. (If you didn't already know it was in Chicago you might have trouble finding out from the site. Gotta get those "who what where when" in there!)

The last round was a bit of a let-down because the young Peruvian talent - 15 year old Emilio Córdova - was more interested in getting a quick draw and his second GM norm than in beating leader Shulman. According to this page in Spanish, Córdova was very happy with his result. His story has been followed closely in the Peruvian press. He was supposed to come back for a tourney in Peru but after a coalition of Peruvian-Americans put together funds to support his expenses he stuck around for the Open.

The USCF site also has some good reports on the US team at the Pan-Am Youth championship in Cuenca, Ecuador. Tatev Abrahayman scored 9-0 against admittedly less than challenging opposition, but it was the only clean score of the event. Elliott Liu, who played in the US Championship this year, also won gold in the U18. This despite a blatantly thrown game between two Venezuelans chasing him in the final round. All the results are presented rather confusingly at the official site.

Peru sent a big team and won an impressive raft of medals. I saw a lot of chess in Peru in my several visits there and they look to be systematizing this interest. The legacy of Julio Granda-Zuñiga might help, although he is famously shy and erratic and sponsorship for chess in Peru is always on the edge.


Well regarding Elliot Liu if Chavez supported a coup against a very popular American president would American chess players not want to get revenge against the Venezuleans by arranging a draw?

The problem wasn't a draw, but one player resigning to give the other a needed point.

Apparently the game was only a dozen or so moves in with no pieces off the board.

One player could just make a blunder and there would be nothing you could do about it. I wonder why they didn't do that. Now to make an excuse they would have to say that they were under the weather and hallucinated that they blundered their queen so they resigned. I have seen races in other sports where people from the same country conspire to ensure that the other one wins by purposely going slowly so everyone behind that person goes slowly. When do you play the position and not the opponent? Ken Shamrock really hated Tito Ortiz, wanted to really beat him down in the ring. The hatred was brought into the sport, into the ring. It's wrong to hate a kid like Elliot who might not be of voting age. The money that Elliot receives is a paltry sum, not enough to argue that the money would be spent in America, benefiting the American economy.

Yes, they were too stupid to even cheat right. They thought it would be cooler to make a point of throwing the game out in the open and I'm glad they didn't get away with it (the game was adjudicated a draw). Colluding by throwing games is bad enough. Believing it makes a political point is idiotic. Of course "beat the USA" is going to be motivation in many places (the anti-US factions at the World Cup were impressive) as ever. More from a country like Venezuela with a leader loudly antagonistic toward the US. But apparently there was a touch-move incident between Liu and a Venezuelan player in an earlier round, which probably had more to do with it.

Cycling is a team sport, and car racing works that way too in most cases. One team member can cut off the leader of the other team so someone from his team can win. This is routinely done in athletics as well, although it's rarer if only because you don't always have more than one runner per country in events. Short draws between compatriots in chess isn't unusual, but throwing games is tragic and warped.

The only coverage I read of the Venezuela thrown game was on the USCF site, apparently also Mig's primary source. It says nothing about politics, but rather mentions the touch-move dispute in an earlier round as what motivated the Venezuelans to make their "protest."

True, it also says the protest was "against the US," but that's all -- no mention of Bush or Chavez. I read that as simply meaning the Venezuelans got pissed at the US TEAM (NOT the US population or economy, as superfreaky would have it), because they felt a US player had cheated against one of them. Not too far from the Armenians beating up Gormally in Torino after he decked Aronian.

Reading geopolitics into this petty personal chess dispute, comes across like Sam Sloan reading his political paranoid theories into everything. (For instance, see his write-up of how JFK was really assassinated by a retired US Chess Championship contender named Norman Whitaker. The same chess champ also secretly poisoned President Warren G. Harding some 40 years earlier, according to Sloan.)

By the way when you break the rules as a protest, the tradition seems to be to make it blatant like the Venezuelans did. I guess people figure they are standing up for a principle; being devious would not qualify as a protest, but would be viewed (even by the perpetrators) as real cheating -- a cowardly act that would make them no better than the guy they felt had screwed them.

As corroboration, I recall reading someone's account of a concocted (drawn) game between two top U.S. women at some international women's event. The women, one of whom was Irina Krush, were paired against each other and felt this was unfair in terms of the rules of that event. So as a protest, they handed in a score that was an ingeniously composed game, one of those stalemate-on-a-full-board positions reached in 8 or 10 moves from the initial position. It wasn't the Sam Loyd 7-move stalemate that was a popular prearranged-draw vehicle in my teenage days; I think it was an original composition Irina and her opponent created just for the occasion.

Bottom line, if I'm right, it's wrong to call the Venezuelans "too stupid to cheat right." I don't think they wanted or intended to get away with it; the point of protesting is to make a statement.

I was being sarcastic in response to superfreaky. But that doesn't mean they weren't hoping to get away with it. We'll get more details from Aviv and Michael, but it sounds like there was a considerable fight about it after the fact. I don't doubt some dumb statements were made, perhaps even political ones. But conjecturing about it further on such limited information isn't going to get us anywhere.

When I read the article, it was quoting Elliot as saying "hating me and the U.S." or something close to that. If I were Elliot and they meant the U.S. team, I would say "hating me and my teammates" or "hating me and the U.S. team." If I wanted to say that they hated U.S. policy, I might just say "hating me and the U.S." So thinking that he meant U.S. policy, I immediately went for Chavez and Bush. We don't know the details, but I think my guess was reasonable.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on August 17, 2006 5:03 AM.

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