Greengard's ChessNinja.com

MonRoi and I, and You

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I'm always addressing you directly here anyway, but this time pull up a chair for a personal heart-to-heart about a subject dear to us all, the sound of our own voices. This is serious stuff, so I'm told. Some quick background.

The recent US Championship website was hosted by the Canadian company MonRoi, whose services included the live broadcast of the games. As is typical, people here, including me, complained when we experienced difficulties accessing the live games. Most of this occurred in the comments to this item and this item, some of which I noticed and some of which I did not. Some of the discussions turned into arguments directed at MonRoi in particular, some unrelated to the subject of the Championship website.

MonRoi's communications to me are confidential and their exact contents will not be discussed here. (I am aware that email disclaimers are not legally binding, especially in cases where confidential information is not being transmitted, as in this case. It's like writing "TOP SECRET" on an envelope in crayon. There is no condition of privilege and I could post our entire correspondence right here, says my attorney. I am simply acting in good faith by treating our correspondence as confidential.) My life and my work are not confidential, however, and I am free to describe my activities and my situation. Our situation. That situation is that the people at MonRoi are claiming that posts here in the Daily Dirt, of mine and of yours, are legally actionable as libel/defamation. They have requested that said posts be deleted and that information identifying the posters be given to MonRoi. This item is posted to reconcile with MonRoi in good faith by way of apology and correction. This was part of their original list of requests. It is mainly to avoid such conflicts in the future, and so you can protect yourselves accordingly, that this information is being provided.

I've been through this sort of thing quite a few times, back to the KasparovChess.com days. Canadian, even Quebecois, laws are different, but there are laws and lawyers there, too. I told MonRoi I would seek legal counsel and, if recommended to do so, I would take the action I deemed necessary and also inform the posters involved, as I feel I am morally obliged to do. As most post anonymously, this is the only way I have to inform you.

A summary of my actions follows. In Canadian law the host of a blog (me) can be liable for the content of the comments (unlike in the US). But I am willing to go to court here or in Montreal to defend these posts, and mine, on the basis of my own feelings and the legal opinions I have so far acquired. Two posts I was told by counsel could possibly qualify as "maliciously inciting hatred or ridicule" of MonRoi. They were: "Chess Auditor at May 23, 2007 17:52 and "This Is How We Do It In Texas! at May 24, 2007 18:12" I have deleted those two posts. I apologize to the posters, but the combination of evaluated risk and my perception of their low content value sealed their doom. It should be obvious that I am not responsible for the continued existence of these posts in Google's cache or elsewhere. I have made it clear to MonRoi that my actions were done in the spirit of good faith and collaboration and in no way recognize or imply any wrongdoing by me or other posters here.

And while I was assured by counsel that it is legal to call anyone, even a Canadian, a "jerk" or "hysterical" as this is blatantly subjective, I felt bad about it and deleted the "jerk" reference from one of my own posts and also deleted a post of unsupported and anonymous invective of the kind I generally don't like much anyway. That was "joeblo at May 22, 2007 16:10". (As owner I reserve the right to delete things that threaten my business, or even just bug me, though it's rare.) I also apologize to that poster. This is far from all the posts I was requested to delete. The others I am informed would be trivially defended as irrefutable statements of personal experience and/or opinion. Of course you can get a lawyer to sue anyone for anything, that's how they make a living. I'll keep you posted.

The next item is based on a comment posted here by "MonRoi Technical Support," which I hadn't even seen until these allegations of libel were made. If it is to be accepted as an authoritative rebuttal to my/our comments on what went wrong with the live broadcast, I could be obliged to post a correction. I am told this is not the case since I was 1) unaware of the post and 2) unable to know if the real identity of the poster and if they spoke authoritatively for MonRoi. But because I am continuing on good faith, I will publish that post here in full since it has now been confirmed to me that the poster does represent MonRoi.

Thank you for your notes. It was great to see top players of the United Sates using MonRoi PCMs! The system was used in over 60 tournaments (some events had 100 live games), and no viewer user issues were reported in the past. At the US Championship there were technical difficulties beyond our control. The Internet connection in the tournament hall (we got wifi and unfortunately there was no high speed Internet) was going up and down intermittently at the end of some rounds. We also at first assumed that there was a server capacity issue. After speaking with on-site support and monitoring we concluded that resending games each time that the local Internet reconnects and repeating this many times in a short period of time, caused some delays in viewing & loading. We could have addressed it by some back-up Internet channels, but this would have been too costly for the organizers. Over 50,000 unique viewers were on GM Alex Shabalov’s last game. Zeljka prepared a CD with player photos and games for participants and Frank Berry was happy about it. MonRoi PR is focused on other tasks and not on chess blogs. The Frank Berry US Championship event was excellent. Sponsors, organizers, players & USCF collaborated in a professional manner, and it was a pleasure contributing to the event. Each month the number of MonRoi WDC viewers increases. When compared with May 2006, we have 10 times more unique spectators. If we continue growing at this rate, we will need to think about acquiring some hosting company with a bank of servers. It is great to see that spectators are demanding quality, as this will become standard expectation which tournaments will need to strive for. Huh – and chess is getting some real visibility. Replay games on www.monroi.com/wdc and pick up PGN files. Please rest assured that the “Elves” (as Mig calls us) at MonRoi will continue working all year round and hopefully the Grinch will develop a more positive attitude one day.

MonRoi Technical Support

Posted by: MonRoi Technical Support at May 24, 2007 15:09

My statements about their web server being down are literally unverifiable and I apologize for making said statements. Opinions, conjecture, and statements of my (and your) personal experiences on the MonRoi website will stand unaltered.

I have denied and will continue to deny any and all requests to share the private information of users (email, IP address, etc.) with any third party and I have so informed MonRoi. A court order could change this without my consent, but since no copyright issues or threats are involved I am told it would be nearly impossible for a court to issue such an order. It is possible new Canadian counsel will advise me to make further deletions/corrections. I will consider those recommendations and inform the posters of any actions taken the only way I reliably can, by posting about them here. I invited MonRoi to publish a statement here, but that invitation has not been accepted.

I am not willing to chill or condemn free speech here or anywhere. Of course defamatory statements aren't encouraged. It's worth being aware of the line between opinion and malicious claims of information that cannot be proven factual. To quote a site on Canadian defamation law, "defamation tort law protects your reputation, not your feelings." For more information on MonRoi and their technology, you can visit them here. Thanks for your understanding and support. Here's hoping we can get back to chess now.


unreal. their reputation suffers in my book because their site underperformed (in my personal experience), not because of anything Mig said.

pets.com sock puppet lawsuit, anyone?

go Mig!


The only thing that springs to my mind after reading all this, is along the lines "I hope they rot in hell. In the pleasant company of Canadian lawyers."

Kudos for defending free speech Mig!

I believe that the only thing MonRoi is acheiving by their actions is to damage their own reputation.

And I will not spend money purchasing items from a company who turns around and uses the profits to stifle the freedoms provided by the laws of the USA.

That’s the way of the world these days. If you mess up, don’t take responsibility; just sue the pants off the person who first said that the emperor has no cloths! At least we know now that this happens in other countries besides the USA.

Mig, I'm sorry you're having to go through all of this just to provide a format for us patzers. Thanks so much for all that you do, including standing for freedom of speech.

This does, however, help me decide which Stanley Cup finalist to root for. GO DUCKS!!!

sometimes you also make me frown Mig,

around the hill doesn't provide the same view, hope you like the lack of spend energy.

my first post here ;)

as the famous PetrPervii from icc used to say...

Canada-usa 1-0 ;]

This is just outrageous. And I'm pretty sure frivolous as well. Perhaps they can ask for certain comments to be deleted, and I might agree with one of them, but if they think they can control opinion and observation of others, they are just plain wrong.

Some would prefer a world where only flowery praise or nothing is said, but that is just not reality. Mig, we've disagreed on a lot in the past and had some heated words between us, but in this I stand by you fully.

I wonder if my posts in the two threads cited are on MorRoi's hit list. I was the first to say that posters should ease off on a potential future US Chess sponsor, but became more annoyed with them as their behavior displayed more arrogance and hostility that was mis-directed at Mig.

Mig, are my posts part of their hit list? If so, I'm pondering whether or not to just ask you to delete them if it saves you any headache at all. I stand by them and don't feel they were at all inappropriate or malicious, but sometimes you give in to the will of children if just to get them to stop crying.

I'm all for free speech and ESPECIALLY against frivolous lawsuits, but to me this isn't worth putting you through a lot of bills and worry, particularly because I am just fine with 'leaving' the chess world, as little as I am in it now and as little as it matters to me. I really need to ponder what is the best thing to do. I have NO FEAR if a court order forces you to give them information on me, because I know all my posts are defensible in any US court. Since I don't live in Canada, I don't see how their laws apply to me. If I am not allowed into Canada because they can actually find fault in any of my posts, well then I will not be upset

I know some will be very much against doing anything that MonRoi wants as a matter of principle, and I agree with the theory. But practically, I think money out of Mig's pocket is the only thing that is going to result from this (and perhaps the actual goal of this), and thus the question to me becomes "is there something I can do to lessen that amount, and what would it cost me (spiritually)?". Yes, it allows people who threaten lawsuits, even if they are dubious, quite a bit of power, but this is the way of the world - people with good lives are subjugated to those with bitter ones who know that they are freerolling with lawyers and lawsuits. It is a real problem in this world.

I do see the will to fight though, and how stupid it would be to never stand up against petty actions. I'm really torn.

People on this board raised funds for US Chess players. I suggest another to help with legal fees. If "Donate to the Dirt" is an anonymous process, or you can set up one, I think many might find a way to really help you fight this.

I'll never have anything to do with MonRoi ever after this. I hope somebody else competes and offers a similar service. I can't stand companies bitng the hand that feeds them when the temptation to throw their weight around gets too great.

We're the people they market to, and here they are damaging one of our best public spaces.

I will not forget. MonRoi is awful.

I'd be happy to donate to a defense fund. Let's do it on the model of the brilliancy prize.

Zinger said it (above). Made me reach for Tom Petty and play "I Won't Back Down" with the knob turned up to 11. Thanks Mig, for all you do for us.

This is not the first time Monroi has tried to censor someone for not liking their product.
Someone (I wont give their name)in Michigan didn't like the electronic scoresheet concept. He told people his feelings on the USCF message board. He was never malicious about it, he just didnt believe that they belong in tournaments.
Monroi threatened him with legal action.
I dont know how it turned out though.

Let's not forget here how weak and pathetic the MonRoi technical support rebuttal is. If that is all they have to say, you've gotta wonder whether it is all just their fault. The aggressiveness with which they are covering their a$$e$ seems suspicious too.

MonRoi, haters of chess players.

I can't believe you rolled.

Let them drag it to court and make a complete fool of themselves in front of the whole world.

"Company sues because of anomymous comment on blog!"

You have any idea how many blogs/forums there are on the internet? They expect to "control" all of that?


One has to feel a bit sorry for MonRoi: they've developed a cool & truly useful product with technical glitches. One can be FCC-compliant and still have interference issues that affect the product's operations, as one experienced MonRoi user told me this weekend.

Also, the current price is ridiculous: the early-adopter premium has already been harvested. OTOH, the relatively small size of the chess market may delay the inevitable reverse engineering.

And then there's burn rate: a fact of life for both MonRoi and 23andme: guess which company has the deeper pockets....

I chatted with Brana briefly in Northbrook last year. She seems like a charming person: I wish her luck with her next company.

N'hésitez pas à me contacter:

1607 W. Thome Ave.
Chicago, IL 60660

No legal defense fund yet guys, although I'm very touched by the thought. I do know a lot of lawyers, and they know other lawyers. I'm consulting with a "media and defamation" attorney in Toronto by email and phone.

Stern, your posts in those threads are the ones they should be reading over and over until they sink in. I've spent a lot of time emailing with them. Not to save myself, since I don't feel I'm at risk and since it would be simple enough just to delete things, but to avoid a huge waste of time and effort (and possibly money) as well as a potential PR disaster. I just want to have fun with my little chess blog and my friends (and enemies!) here. I suggested many ways to patch things up, to make a mutual statement of support and apology, to engage the community instead of attacking it.

Note that my item above is posted to reconcile with MonRoi in good faith by way of apology and correction. This was part of their original list of requests. And how could I have done that without explaining the deletions, etc.? I'm really not interested in dragging this out at all and I hope they feel the same. I just want to get back to the candidates matches and stop wasting time on this. I'm not going to sell myself or my friends out to save some time. I'm not a martyr either, so I'll keep listening to legal advice. So far those things have coincided fine.

I can understand you just don't want any mess. Personnally, I would have stone cold ignored them.

Some funny reading:

Or else just enter "legal threats" into google. ;)

If you do find yourself in need of raising a legal defense fund, I (and I'm sure many others) will certainly support you, Mig!


Yes, you'd think satire would sink in too. My "toy-making elf" joke doesn't seem to have gone over too well. [Begin clearly labeled satire.] But really, do they hate elves? What's wrong with being called an elf? I like elves, personally. Does the elf anti-defamation league know about this? I'm thinking of moving this entire discussion over to a "Why does MonRoi hate elves?" campaign. [End clearly labeled satire.]

I hate elves and (very subjectively) dislike MonRoi's tactics against their potential customers. Dang, it's hard to find friends around here... I guess I'll have to sharpen my $.25 pencil and make do with a scoresheet.

The anonymous person using the name "This Is How We Do It In Texas" and "Chess Auditor" has been identified.

I can only tell you that in the past several hours, the FBI has raided HER apartment and seized all of her computers, inflatable toys, and various other items.

Her ISP has terminated her account and she is under arrest. The Daily Dirt will never again receive anymore malicious posts claiming the MonRoi hardware/software package did not, never did, and will never work. We honestly could not care less whether the Monroi toys are pieces of junk or just good as doorstops, or both.

I'm just here, eating all of Chess Auditor's food and playing with her computer. Hope you're all having fun out there in the chess world!

oh please go now stop monroi threat legal action, yes? excuse chess player no lose mouth water over this it simple! monroi menace evil chess player with lawsuit when monroi no like what evil chess player say!

i quote previous threat that show history of pissed-off people and bad company, yes?

"Below are your public statements, written and broadcasted to many. You are aware that corporations in North America are entitled to material damages caused by libel. We suggest that you retract false facts and derogatory statements." --Monroi.


The worst part about all of this is that we now know MonRoi has a dedicated blog reader who tirelessly scours teh intarweb for posts which have even the most miniscule chance of being considered libelous in a court of law. It's like a middle school bully decided to sell shoddily assembled goods on the playground and somehow had the foresight to show up with his own stenographer. genious.

Mig - Your response to the demands seems like a model for how to deal with legal demands. Libels are bad, opinions and facts are good, and free speeh is crucial. Thanks for the always-brave reporting.

All I can say is that MonRoi sort of brought it all onto themselves. They came in trying to hijack the chess market, aggressively lobbying with FIDE and the USCF to change their rules to accommodate their new product, and then claiming copyright on all the games that entered their so-called World Databank of Chess. I was gonna quote here from their license terms but now they've amended them (only very recently it seems) and added the statement: "This disclaimer does not pertain to individual game copyrights, which are non-copyrighted materials.", making their purpose much less ambiguous. Still, they came into a market where a vast majority of the consumers live by the ideals of the free and unrestricted flow of knowledge and information with the attitude of a Microsoft. They should have known better.


Threat of legal action on non-illegal matters in the US is called extortion. In the US it is a Felony. Monroi be ware.

I've linked this issue to the USCF discussion board:

Anyone who is a member of USCF may want to chime in here. Personally, I wonder if the USCF should do anything for MonRoi, including allowing its use in tournaments, if it is going to hurt free discussion in the chess community in this manner.

Suing people and thretening to sue people seems to be an easy way to make money in the US and this is as ridiculous as they come...

What if someone like Mig went to blogspot and create an entire blog dedicated against them... would Monroi be suing blogspot.com then and asking them to delete his blog?

Mig can hardly be held responsible for our comments here but I guess he could get into a bit of trouble for his own comments especially when they seem to instigate(?) a lot supportive posts...

Mig, maybe you can seek counsel from Kamsky after his match :)

"Mig, maybe you can seek counsel from Kamsky after his match :)"

even better, make Kamsky's father part of your legal team. he is an expert in one-on-one negotiations, or so i hear

Hmm...I guess MonRoi didn't bother asking themselves which would be the greater hit to their credibility: a few gripes in a blog, or a serious display of unprofessionalism by way of attempted legal browbeating. It's too bad they didn't have someone on their staff who knew to handle the whole thing properly - by responding to questions and refuting any false accusations in a polite manner. As noted previously, a couple of lines on their website acknowledging the broadcast problems likely would have avoided all this silliness.

The sentence that hit me in their letter is "MonRoi PR is focused on other tasks and not on chess blogs".

Yeah sure!


Thank you.
We should raise a brilliancy price for the elf toy-makers' marketing. They want to sue one of the most influential chess journalists in the World, because he used thier service, and didn't like it, and expressed his opinion about it.

All right, back from dinner and a 3-mile run. My head is a lot clearer. Mig, I wouldn't spend another dime or minute on this matter. I'm pretty sure that you've spent more time with lawyers than they have on this, even though they are trying to convince all of us otherwise.

The following is my opinion alone, and does not reflect upon Mig, ChessNinja.com, or any of its lovely participants.

Hey MonRoi - YOU SUCK. Come and get me. Please spend a lot of time and effort trying to squeeze out my IP address from Mig, energy you won't be using to, you know, actually focus on your product and marketing. Write to the Canadian Bureau of Hurt Feelings, and have them exercise their mighty might over the U.S. and its citizens. That process should take you at least a few months, and I hope it leads to your government revoking whatever funding they are providing to you under the "incompetency" clause. Or perhaps it won't. That would explain a lot why Canada is where it is today in international standing.

After that, please spend even more time and money with your lawyers (who are laughing at you behind your back while billing you hourly for the privilege) trying to convince my ISP why they should turn my personal info over to you because you name calling sissy employees can't take what they like to dish out. I'm sure my ISP has actual competent lawyers who will laugh right in your face as they bill my ISP's headquarters for the privilege. Seeing this bullying coming from Canada (CANADA!), and the big bad threat of Canadian Law in the U.S., will probably have them doubled over and thanking me for making their day.

If by miracles of miracles you get that far, please use that information in any way you see fit that you think will affect me in any way. Send me dozens of threatening mails summoning me to Canada. Try to get your most frivolous of frivolous lawsuits against me established in the U.S. I look forward to mounting an "Absolute Truth" defense about your incompetency in public relations and business, this whole string of events being my key evidence.

MonRoi, I'm laughing in your face, trying to pretend you are some big bad company with big bad resources to try to out-lawyer and out-annoy some commoner such as myself with your supposedly unlimited war-chest designated for such matters. I'm saying right for you and everyone else to see that you don't have the guts or the resources to bother anyone, your product is overpriced and underutilized and cannot possibly be generating enough income that your threats should be taken seriously, and if you are dumb enough to pursue this matter, it will only lead to your company's demise faster. So come and get me. I'm a gambler at heart. I believe I am the one freerolling here, and every dollar you spend trying to shape the world to your will is one that hurts you a lot more than it can possibly hurt me, even if it is some worthless Canadian dollar. So spend away and prove me wrong, or go away with your lamest of bluff attempts. I'm waving my butt at you, come try to kick it.

(This is my opinion alone, and does not reflect Chessninja.com, its owner, or any of its participants. Even though I bet it does, deep down.)

As an avid reader of this blog i feel compelled do write on this issue - something i ve only done a couple of times.

How on earth does MonRoi expect to gain something out of this?

Here you have a community - old and young - that is activily participating in the chess world, that eagerly discusses every aspect of it and tries to get people involved - in other words the perfect target group for new products.

Here you have a company having a new product for the chess world, a product that is "tailored for the community"!!!

But, obviously some people have problems with the product - they complain and because they are passionate (oh, what a great traget group) they complain more violent.

Here you have a marketing chance that we, in Europe, would call a "penalty kick without a goalie".

And obviously MonRoi dosent see a golden opertunity when it bites them in the lower end of their back...because what they do is ... attack the community!?????

Hey Mrs. Malobabic-Giancristofaro, since you obviouly monitor this: havent you ever heard of the power of the streets? Do you realy want to do this? Do you want to fight your own customers?

I mean, no post could do you as much harm as this threat to sue the dirt!!! Seriously reconsider! What do you want to gain out of this???

Already people are willing to donate to Mig for a defense fund! I can see websites, internet tournaments, "free the dirt"-campaigns, monroi vs. ROW - correspondence matches ...remember that these people have the time, the money and the passion !

It is no threat to say that every reader of the dirt will stand by Mig in this one - its a fact! Havent your marketing people told you this???

Use this chance and speak up in this blog! Please, explain yourself!

Hey Mig,

I´m in in for the fund! Keep up the good work!


Hm, what MonRoi says about internet connections sounds reasonable, but

a) when the load goes up, the tournament organizers would have to pay extra for continued accessibility. Since chess organizers usually do not have much money in reserve, and usually don't make money out of web hits, that model isn't going to work well. Maybe next time we should collect for "back-up Internet channels" instead of brilliancy prices.

b) the way say are saying it -through lawyers- makes very bad publicity. I could say a lot more, but my legal counsel says shut up.

c) a tip to MonRoi: You should focus more, and in a more constructive way, on chess blogs.

So if Monroi were selling something on say amazon.com they would take legal action against anyone who posted a bad review and rating? Or is just that this is supposed to not a blog but a news website by them?

I meant: Or is this supposed to be not a blog but a news portal by them?

Mig, in a way its a compliment to you and this blog if they are so worried about what you write here..

stringTheory so you think the problem is not that we on DD think they suck, but that we say that they suck on a news site? Maybe they consider this is not a news? Mig, can you clarify this?

What really pisses me off here is the sheer stupidity of it all. You mess up and apologize, you get a second chance (and in most cases many more). Some people was pissed off by the initial comments from Monroi, but there were no real boycott threath. So what does Monroi do? They make sure they provoke absolutely everybody.

In the first two threads there were several comments regarding lack of professional commercial leadership, maybe the message gets through now.


A waste of time...but anyway...


About your "clear-headed" post: what does Canada really have to do with this? If the offending company was American, I assume you would launch a similar attack against the country? Er, never mind that actually, it slipped my mind for a minute that frivolous legal posturing never happens in the U.S. Apparently smug, infantile, attention seeking, egomaniacal rants do though. And remember this: attitudes like yours are the reason your international reputation is not as lofty as you imagine it to be.

PS - $1 CAD = $0.9329 USD

Yes, I mean if BBC or Chessbase were to write something that was factually incorrect then they could be sued for it..

Mig, I don't see why you need to be responsible for comments that we post. Are they any different than people writing reviews on amazon? Does Apple sue people who write "..ipod is crap, I used it and it did not work well"?

What if you praised Monroi and then someone posted whatever you had written about Monroi that they did not like? Are they saying you would you still be responsible for reading every comment posted and censoring them? Havent they heard of Freedon of Speech?

I would say don't even bother editing your previous posts or deleting comments. Thats like letting them control The DD.

If you could be sued for your/our comments here, I think Danailov, Topalov and maybe even Kramnik, Leko might have a better reason to file defamation law suits against you :)

stringTheory I think that Mig made a geniuos move.
He deleted some posts, thus he has all the grounds to claim that "he wants peace, not to waste effort and time on elfs but chess" and so on. In fact, by making this thread he let us know what's going on, thus hitting Monroi's reputation muuuch more than his deleted posts did. He did this in the most "politically correct" way, so no one can have legal claims.
Kudos to Mig, well done.

If you will not show us the Grail we shall storm your castle.

Murmurs of assent.

You don't frighten us, English pig-dog! Go and boil your bottoms,
son of a silly person. I blow my nose on you, so-called Arthur-king,
you and your silly English K...kaniggets.

Now look here, my good man!

I don't want to talk to you, no more, you empty-headed animal,
food trough wiper. I fart in your general direction. You mother was a
hamster and your father smelt of elderberries.

Is there someone else up there we could talk to?

No. Now go away or I shall taunt you a second time.

Cynical Gripe: "About your "clear-headed" post: what does Canada really have to do with this? "

Simple - Monroi seems to be using Canadian Law (that blog comments are the responsibility of the blog owner) as the basis for their whole complaint. Therefore, even though this is a trivial matter that will never see the light of day in either countries' courtrooms, the political and economical relationship between the two countries in question comes into play. What is more likely - that Canada has the political and economical pull to force America to extradite / or enforce Canada's will, or the other way around? I'm the first to say that neither will probably happen, but say if one MUST happen, which way do you think the dice will roll?

CG:"If the offending company was American, I assume you would launch a similar attack against the country?"

It wouldn't be necessary, because the discussion would be around American Law.

CG: "Er, never mind that actually, it slipped my mind for a minute that frivolous legal posturing never happens in the U.S."

Never said this or came close to saying anything like this. In fact, if the Canadian Education system were better, you would have noticed that I said that frivolous lawsuits are a real problem in America because it gives those with nothing to lose a 'free shot' at those with something to lose.

CG: "Apparently smug, infantile, attention seeking, egomaniacal rants do though. "

If you are referring to me, then I wonder if your evaluation would be the same if I didn't mention Canada. If that is the sole reason you would classify the things I write as "smug, infantile, attention seeking, egomaniacal rants", but would be kinder if I left Canada out, then aren't you being super-sensitive to the imaginary insults you only see in your own mind? Sort of like MonRoi? What the heck is in the water up there?

CG: "And remember this: attitudes like yours are the reason your international reputation is not as lofty as you imagine it to be."

I have no doubts that American standing in the international community has suffered under the current administration (and in my honest opinion, deservedly so. See, in America, we have free speech so I can say that.). I never said it was 'lofty', but just this: Hate or love America, when America speaks, the world MUST listen, even if we are wrong. Canada doesn't even get invited into the room to speak, unless the need for good PR is necessary. Sorry, its just the truth. In fact, I wish it were different so America couldn't act so unilaterally, but I need to live in reality and evaluate things objectively.

CG: "PS - $1 CAD = $0.9329 USD"

Dumbest comeback I've seen in awhile. Here is something else:

$1 CAD = 113 Japanese Yen.

Are you saying the CAD is 113x better than the Yen? Conversion rate means very little in absolute terms. Again, if the Canadian Education system was better, you'd realize that the underlying economies have much more to do with monetary evaluation and their corresponding international worth than some simple exchange rate ratio.

Some simple exercises for you: How many countries worldwide accept (even prefer) to be paid in American Dollars? On the street and even for large institutional transactions? How many accept (or prefer) CAD?

How many countries' economies are tied directly into the American Dollar (hint: Look at how China artificially determines and manipulates their exchange rate of Yuan vs American Dollars) and are willing to bend their economies to support it? How many do so for CAD?

If you could not convert you monies, what specific items would be sold to you using CAD? Is it larger than the products willing to be exchanged for the American Dollar?

If the Canadian Education system were better, you'd understand that:

American GDP = $13.3 Trillion
Japanese GDP = $5 Trillion
Canadian GDP = $1 Trillion

is way more significant in understanding a currency's worth than "$1 CAD = $0.9329 USD".

To other Canadians: A lot of this is ribbing, but CG seems so super-sensitive about it, I couldn't help but needle him a bit more. He'll probably try to sue me under Canadian Law, but I'll risk it.

>> Hate or love America, when America speaks, the world MUST listen, even if we are wrong. Canada doesn't even get invited into the room to speak, unless the need for good PR is necessary. Sorry, its just the truth.

So true. Todays US is almost as hated as USSR in its prime-time. The difference is that an ordinal USSR citizen was not proud about the interventon of Czech. You are proud of what you are.
You will collapse even faster.

Well, being Canadian and all I'll try not to take offence to the jingoistic bellicosity going on here, but I've got to say: bad, bad, bad MonRoi.

Their PR department has got a lot to learn about disaster recovery, damage control, whatever you will call it. Exxon Valdez stuff. There are all kinds of textbooks about it, and it is one of the basics of good public relations management.

If MonRoi PR is focused on other tasks and not chess blogs, then MonRoi needs to get new PR people and fast.

I think Mig's response is pretty reasonable.

After last year's Quebec Open, I wrote to chesscafe.com's "Ask the arbiter" and posed a few questions about issues surrounding the MonRoi device.

When it was published, I, along with chesscafe.com, got an e-mail from MonRoi indicating they were none too pleased. I replied that I saw nothing wrong with what I had written and asked exactly what they were seeking. I never got a reply and just let it drop.

I also was the recipient of some very unpleasant e-mails from an individual who was working for MonRoi. (They say he is just a consultant.) He took issue with an opinion I voiced on the cost of the item (among other things).

Clearly this is a company that is ready to react vigorously in the event of any perception of a negative reaction to their product. It's an odd way to treat their target clientele.

Most puzzling in all this is that fact that the technician I met at the Quebec Open and the two women most prominent in their firm have all come across as extremely personable and professional when I have met them in person.

Neil Sullivan

Perhaps Monroi is a good product, but I don't even care now after the actions of their people. They should know better. I will never support them unless they issue an apology to Mig and to all of us, which I doubt is forthcoming.

This is quite a pathetic display by the MonRoi people. Well done Mig for the extremely dignified way in which you have dealt with what must be a very annoying intrusion. I have been reading your blog for a long time and have always found your comments interesting and well informed. Don't let the buggers grind you down!

This is quite a pathetic display by the MonRoi people. Well done Mig for the extremely dignified way in which you have dealt with what must be a very annoying intrusion. I have been reading your blog for a long time and have always found your comments interesting and well informed. Don't let the buggers grind you down!

Everyone here seems to be missing the point: libel law is based not on saying something false, but saying something maliciously. Every post with a nasty comment about Monroi is more fuel on their fire. If you want to help Mig's bargaining position in this litigation it would make sense to pipe down for a bit in order to let him show them that he is making a good faith effort to calm down the comments. Otherwise this item looks like an attempt to be rather clever, and incite a lot of negativity.

I am not a lawyer and thus don't have a proper understanding of these things, but there are several major cases in the Canadian courts right now that are outlining the responsibility of blog owners. One case (seen by the major media reporting as being a long-shot) involves Google and Wikipedia as defendants for not removing allegedly libellous content from their sites in a timely fashion.

Mig isn't going to be extradited and dragged before a court in leg-irons here. This isn't even going to see a courtroom. But every negative post about Monroi only improves their bargaining position, and weakens Mig's.


[who has no connection with Monroi or any other chess playing enterprise]

And Mig, congratulations on handling this so well. Thank you for always being an entertaining read and a voice of reason in this crazy chess world of ours.

holding a Canadian passport for the last few years I took it a bit personal and wrote an angry email to Monroi last night. I signed it with my full name/address, but put my work email. Well, I got a call at work this morning from Zeljka from Monroi and we spoke on the phone for over 10 min without much being accomplished, but here are points (impressions and statements):

- she claims she only had problems with personal attacks including some sexual references. Not sure what she's talking about since I haven't read all of it and Mig probably has already removed them.

- criticizing the technical side is ok in principal, though they feel unjustly targeted when they did their best without getting paid (they provided the service for free according to her). is that true?

- I don't think they are suing anyone anytime soon and I don't think they have gotten much legal advise either. IMO this was a bad idea gotten out of hand.

- really disastrous PR campaign. I tried to advise them not to read the blogs too much, but I don't think this will happen either.

P.S.: The Canadian Education System is a joke.

They don't even teach American History, eh?

PC stands for Politically Correct

It's funny how quickly things degenerate from an isolated incident to a nice big fat anti-Canada series of comments. Exactly the type of behavior which creates more anti-american sentiment, and also shows a significant degree of presbyopia. There may be cases when Canadian (or American, or French, or British, or German) law gets it wrong. If this is one of those cases remains to be seen, and with things of the sort is an ungoing (and vastly trial and error) process as the tech landscape continues to develop.

If anything, it appears that some Canadians have learned far too well from Americans the power of the "threat to sue" ..a lesson our education system could have done well without.

When it comes to the dollars (USD vs CAD), GDP, and so on...this is not a matter of "my father could beat up your father" ... size does matter, but in the end it is not gross size which is important. For both countries there are major challenges ahead, but Americans will continue to see a falling dollar and face a time bomb that needs to be stopped before it blows up in the form of its 1) health care and 2) social security systems.

Canada has it a little better there...a balanced budget, a health care system which sucks but will not lead to government bankruptcy like the American one will, natural resources, etc...

On America's side is immigration...but that's a whole other debate. But any American needs to read the government's own budget projections before bragging too much. Grim is not the word to describe those. Any solution involves either raising taxes in a way that the economy would be totally beat, cutting nearly everything (ie no more benefits/health care for the aged) or just rebuilding the health care system/social security from scratch in a more "Canadian-like" way.

The longer nothing is done, the worse.

As far as education...if you have been to 10 randomly selected public schools in NYC...you might be depressed for some time :)


So much for my plans to purchase a MonRoi. Obviously someone there has little concept about Marketing and Public Relations.

Mig, in my brief career as an attorney, I have found that those who threaten to sue with the most bravado are those least likely to do so.

Thanks for providing material that patzers like me can enjoy. Although defamation law is not my thing (I'm an IP and antitrust guy), please be in touch if commiseration would be helpful.

It looks to me as if Mig has handled this as close to ideally as possible.

The following are only my personal opinions and observations, and Mig is not responsible for them.

First, I have no experience with the Monroi recording device. However, I infer from Monroi's actions here that it has an arrogant attitude toward customer complaints, and is likely to provide poor customer service and complaint resolution.

Second, my personal experience with trying to get games from the US champs was that it was hellishly tedious and unsuccessful. In Nakamura-Becerra, for example, after move 26 or so, the page went dead for a long time, then it reverted to move 12 for unknown reasons. Nobody was able to get the correct moves until long after the game was over.

Third, while the Monroi website is at the moment apparently not an income generator for the company, glancing on it suggests that they have hopes for using it as an important portal to on-line chess, integrating it with their recording devices to produce a unified delivery system. They have already gone to the trouble of producing a license agreement which could in the future be used to charge fees for providing live games. I have already gone on record, under my username of "Theodulf" (which any user of the USCF forums can link with my real name), as saying that this was actually a promising idea. However, I will now go on record under my actual name to say that it is not a good idea to entrust any organization with the arrogant and anti-free-speech approach that Monroi has displayed here with such a license, even leaving aside the matter of the poor quality of their move transmission (if the US Champs are an example).

Fourth, in the legitimate defense of free speech against SLAPP lawsuits actual and threatened (see this link: http://www.thefirstamendment.org/antislappresourcecenter.html ), I think it would be a good thing for all readers of this column to agree to boycott Monroi products, and to encourage organizations such as the USCF not to enter in contractual relations with them in the future, until they agree not to sue people for criticizing them. I am not saying that Monroi can't correct false statements or sue people for willful and injurious lies about them, but I don't see that anything written on this blog approached the level that would warrant the kind of response that Monroi has mounted.

Fifth, none of this has anything to do with their being Canadian, which would in fact be a plus with me, all other things being equal.

Pete Kimball
Chicago, IL
Member, USCF and (under the handle "Theodulf") of the ICC
Now sue me if you like for this, Monroi!

This is the kind of "stuff" that get's my blood boiling. I was seriously considering purchasing a PCM before my next tournament. No way, no how.

Monroi thanks for bringing back some memories of my youth: aka, Fahrenheit 451, 1984 and Brave New World.

In the U.S. it's a defense to a libel action that your writing is:
--a statement of opinion, not a statement of fact.

An Open letter to Mig and Chess fans

Dear Mig. Thank you for deleting my letter. Clearly I was out of line with my hasty and opinionated verbage concerning corpulent MonRoi Inc.

My apologies to all Chess fans. In retrospect more thought should have gone into expressing an opinion so as to accurately reflect facts without any mistrued intent.

So here goes. In fact, in my opinion Monroi may be the single most maldministrative megalomaiacally inept Company in Canada. Imbecilic by action, indecent by nature, their response to my gentle missive was vindictive, visceratingly vicious and completely uncalled for.
Monroi's attempted abuse of moribund chess media milquetoasts(excepting Mig of course) by threatening insipid bilious legal action whenever and wherever an imaginary slight to their sensibilities arise, is colossally comical and cantankerously cloddish at best. Fact is, the so called executive team running Monroi are cognitively compromised beyond salvage. Please add $1000 contribution in my name to the DAAFCI(Defense Against Attack From Chronically Impaired) Fund.

Thank you for your kind permission to allow one to express an admittedly biased opinion.

Respectfully Yours,

Joseph Blo

I agree that Monroi behaviour is disgusting and childish. And Mig has been very reasonable and responded ideally. While he has agreed to some of their demands, he has hit them where it hurts the most. That is clever!

Great to see all the support from folks! Please don't turn this into a US vs Canada sideshow, however!!

I am also ready to contribute to the Mig defense fund. Reason being, even though I have disagreed with Mig a lot in this blog, my views have never been censored. Basically, Mig practises what he preaches and that has to be respected.


monroi is absolutely right.

Canada-usa 1-0

Petr. ;]

This illustrates some of the differences:




You have things like "slander of goods" and of reputation under Commonwealth/Canadian laws, much like the UK. And the defendant has to prove the statements are true instead of the plaintiff proving they are false, as in the US. But even with that stacked deck, the posts in question and my own words are on very firm ground as personal experience and opinion without malicious intent.

There are three layers in this case. 1) Can a suit in a Canadian court bind me? This has been disputed in several cases recently as American lawmakers have tried to protect American citizens and companies from the broad libel laws in other countries, especially the UK. 2) Can I be held responsible for the comments of others? See the first link above. There are cases about this in progress in Canada and that long fight would come before anything about content. In the US the answer is no. 3) Does the content constitute libel or defamation? Well, that's what lawyers get paid to fight about. I'm sure it would be easy to get a lawyer to sue someone for saying the sky is blue. But I've received several educated opinions that the remaining content isn't even close.

It would be different if there was some long-running feud, but this all started at a specific time over one incident. This helps show that there was no malice, just observation and discussion, if heated at times. That's a key item. (And why one of the posts that was deleted was marked by my attorney for claiming to have an ax to grind with MonRoi.) I have a demonstrable record of saying only kind things about MonRoi's products. And who doesn't love Canadians?! I went to Montreal on vacation last summer and even met some MonRoi people! They had funny accents (and pointy ears) but seemed quite sane.

I happily join the boycott of Monroi. In fact, I boycotted it before this even started, at the US Championship. This corporation (or whatever it is) sees people who have spent years at chess, qualified for the US Championship, and then (the majority) lose money by playing. And it seeks to profit from this, by - apparently - selling the right to rebroadcast games to ICC, and getting free publicity for their expensive device and website. I don't know what their plans are for the future, as far as charging people to watch the games on their site, but I know that professional players will never see a penny of the money they make. I guess they can buy the chess politicians at FIDE and USCF, but chess masters can stand up by simply refusing to use their device, and I encourage them to do so. If we decide that a game can be copyrighted, then the copyright should belong to the players, not some company.
What they have done with the daily dirt just shows the deficiencies of these womens' character. Now we know that any people getting up and lauding monroi in the future have been bought by monroi. It is unfortunate that chess can be bought so cheaply.

With the hope to get some technical information (is it worth a hack?) I went through their (in my opinion featherbrained) video. Apart from Aronian-is-a-slouching-ape-S.Polgar (http://susanpolgar.blogspot.com/2007/05/chess-impression.html) I thought I recognized Krush and - GHASP - at the very end it says "endorsed by Garry Kasparov" !! Does he even know about that ?!

Mm, are they trying to make chess players dislike them? Odd business strategy.

PP: Garry did a 30-second web commercial for them in March of last year. I filmed it! It used to be up on their site on a "Legends Speak" page that is 404 now. He's always been into gadgets of all sorts, being a huge James Bond fan.

Funny, as so often happens when I'm googling for something I turn up one of my own pages:


"Some games are viewable at the official site, but they are also being broadcast by Monroi, the makers of the handheld scorekeepers that finally seem to be gaining some purchase. The moves are transmitted to their central server as the players write them down. I don't know how it's going on site, but the games are nearly real time on the Monroi website. The World Open games are here. You can get PGN from the game list, but not from the Flash viewer itself. It's very spiffy stuff. I wish the viewer displayed time stamps with each move, or counted the clock down. Their "legends speak" page has a nice pic of Kasparov I took in London 2000 and even a video commercial of him endorsing Monroi's gadget."

Malice, schmalice. Maybe this is all going to show that I'm just a terrible judge of character.

"Maybe this is all going to show that I'm just a terrible judge of character."

As if we needed any further proof of THAT!

Wow, this is really an unpleasant surprise. I'm sorry that Mig has to put up with legal threats just because of the opinions expressed by some people on his blog. It doesn't even matter that I disagreed with the harsh rhetoric against MonRoi by some posters.

The simple fact that the MonRoi website was unable to relay the games in a consistently live manner warrants negative publicity. To the outside audience, the reason for this failure is completely irrelevant. Look at how much heat ICC takes whenever a website in Kalmykia or Turkey or Timbuktu goes down during a major event.

I am extremely disappointed by this pointed legal language. I have been a supporter of the MonRoi product in the past and have advocated it to my friends. No more! Most significantly, I will join the increasing number of masters who decline to use the MonRoi device at future tournaments.

Hopefully MonRoi can see the hostility they have created and will back off before matters escalate.

Michael Aigner

One needs to disregard public blogs, as the companies have no time to check each and every posting on the Internet, and validate their accuracy. It is hard to see how false and defamatory statements are helping chess or its sponsors. DailyDirt? Why not something positive and constructive. Anonymous guys with awful notes could be actually Mig himself.

This is what I received:
1. MonRoi sponsored the US Chess Championship.
2. MonRoi received complaints from clients on DailyDirt libel (not related to live games, but defamation), and had an obligation to inform Mig (as any other corporation would do).
3. Mig removed some defamatory comments, and issued an apology.
4. MonRoi did not state that the Company will file legal proceedings against DailyDirt and we discussed libel laws in order to determine correctness of the actions.
5. The only comment posted by MonRoi is related to describing the Internet connection issue. It is commendable that MonRoi took time to inform readers of truth, as many companies simply ignore readers of blogs.
6. Mig was not hired this year by the organizers for the US Championship webpage management due to limited budget, and not due to his past accomplishments.
7. ICC was not hired for live broadcast, simply because they do not own technology for live broadcast. MonRoi did not sell the broadcast rights to ICC or any other company.

Why each time that some company sponsors the USCF event, it becomes a target.

Information which are useful for blogging

1. The corporations encourage and welcome free speech which openly discusses facts, but disagree with gossip which turns out to be false (no law will offer a protection for a false speech).

2. In the USA, presenting a person in a false light can have extreme damages. In recent cases > 10M and 2 years in prison. In a false light claim, the injured party does not have to prove real damages, only that they were exposed to public hatred, contempt or ridicule.

3. You are bound by the rules in the place where the defamed person reside, not where you published the offending statement. Today's blogger is subject to the jurisdictions of over 190 countries and states and you must ensure that you do not inadvertently defame or injure someone by even linking to so called "false light" or defamation.

4. Singapore for example has one of the most stringent libel laws. In Canada you can be sued for anything you say about another person that damages their reputation. If sued, the onus is on you to prove the truth of your statements; the fact that you genuinely believed them to be true is not good enough. Even truth is not an absolute defence - if the court finds you told the truth but your intent was malicious, you might lose anyway.

5. The courts are now very willing to force ISPs to reveal the identity behind an IP address, even on non-criminal civil complaints. There’s no right to defame and damage others under a cloak of anonymity.

6. Microsoft, McDonalds and many other corporations have numerous court cases against libel. Those corporations are well within their legal rights to claim damages.

MonRoi has made a PR mistake with any legal threats Mig described. But I am not going to judge the company by its worst moment. Let them mull things over for a week, and hopefully they will then accept Mig's offer to post a new optimistic thread on his blog.

The MonRoi concept is GREAT. Using pencil & paper to make an analog recording of a digital game is pathetic. Someday all tournaments should end with the TD doing a simple click to send all games to ChessBase and Convekta; even at the club level (NOTE_1).
The people at MonRoi have labored and risked capital to bring this dream within sight of reality.

Sadly I doubt the company can survive financially at the high $360 price point they must charge. Maybe that propect makes the angry posters here happy.


Lost on many web blog-responders is the distinction between "free speech" versus "anonymous free speech".
The latter carries more ethical responsibility, but some people fail to honor that responsibility. Attackers should identify themselves.

At least at Mig's blog there are almost no totally anonymous posters, in that most sign with a consistent nickname or handle, like "Theodulf" or "GeneM". Even handles are mostly absent from Susan Polgar's blog.


- - - - - - - - - - - - -
NOTE_1: There is no reason to save and distribute video recordings of club level tennis matches between two 40 year old guys. But games between 40 year old club chess players are different, partly because chess is a digital sport (not an analog sport).

Club level games can be interesting to club level players (the vast majority of chess players world-wide). As just one of several examples, at a Las Vegas tournament, I could look in my ChessBase database for the guys I might have to play against tomorrow. Oh look at that, John Smith usually opens with 1. c24, maybe I will brush up on those lines tonight.

The .PGN files submitted by club TDs need to contain the players' Elo rating, to enable filtering.
- - - - - - - - - - - - -

Hey now, gk (coincidence?!) my MRI came back "COMPLETELY NORMAL" this week, so there. Maybe the inflamed nerve in my face has to do with too much stress caused by this blog. (Instead of getting married and worrying about my boss getting radiation poisoning.) I was almost looking forward to a tumor by this point, but I guess Mig's medical fund and legal fund and the brilliancy prizes would be too much to ask. I think my wife wants to know about a "trip to Paris" fund, too.

Denis' comment stands as a shining example of what this MonRoi company is all about. I cannot imagine a more foolish response to all this.

Boycott MonRoi! The Chess community does not need these kinds of people.

Denis writes, "You are bound by the rules in the place where the defamed person reside [sic], not where you published the offending statement."

This is an interesting idea. So if I, or Tim Russert or William Kristol or Paul Krugman or any of 100,000 columnists, commentators, politicians, free-lancers, etc., write something that gets on the Web about General Musharraf, or President Olmert, or Prince Charles, or President Alvaro Uribe or President Kim Jong Il or President Ahmadinejab or President Sarkozy, we can be sued under Pakistani law or Israeli law or UK law or Colombian law or North Korean law or Iranian law or French law, and the US courts will go along with this, all provisions of the US constitution aside? Fascinating. I don't think so. Not even these days.

I am also struck by the way Denis tries to defend Monroi's customer service policy by comparing it with Microsoft and McDonald's!


Denis' comment just shows the truth.

" 4. MonRoi did not state that the Company will file legal proceedings against DailyDirt and we discussed libel laws in order to determine correctness of the actions. "

;] but i think they should. this blog is full of hatred be it monroi, Topalov...

Canada-usa 1-0.



Oh, what a delightful circus. I love it!! Makes me wanna read the Dirt even if there's no major tournament going. By design, or otherwise, Mig's ability to attract this kind of stuff is amazing. At the end all parties gain exposure…

What this Canadian company MonRoi needs is a seasoned Marketing Director with some sense. That's all. Nothing more than a tiny bit of common sense. Frustrated, threatening characters will damage the business, or even worse, damage it's credibility… They can turn this into a PR opp. Now that Mig has popularized their company.


"One needs to disregard public blogs, as the companies have no time to check each and every posting on the internet and verify its accuracy."
--If you'd followed your own advice we'd probably be talking about something else right now.

"Daily Dirt? Why not something positive and constructive?"
--Probably because that's the best name Mig could come up with on a limited budget. But, Denis, I'm sure Mig would welcome your suggestions for a positive and contructive new name for his blog.

"Information which are [sic] useful for blogging."
--I visited your linked site, Denis, and found this disclaimer: "This is a literature review prepared by a non-lawyer..." Your link is about as useful as a nintendo player giving out chess tips.

"Today's blogger is subject to the jurisdiction of over 190 countries and states..."
--Yeah, right, Denis. Why don't you run your ridiculous nonsense past a real lawyer before you make a fool of yourself by posting it here.

"Monroi did not state that the company will file legal proceedings against Daily Dirt and we discussed libel laws in order to determine correctness of the actions."
--Denis, I am not stating that you are such a person, but the cyber-world is full of preening, posturing, blow-hard weasels who think they can intimidate folks with their fifty cent legalese.

This is really sad.

Mig, you are to be commended in the professional way you handled an extremely unprofessional problem.

I sure hope the folks at MonRoi learned a lesson here. They turned a non-issue into a PR disaster.

They could do well to issue an apology to Mig and his readers.

I'm sure they have a nice product but this kind of press is not the way to get people to buy it.

Good point, Dimi,

Although much the same could also be said of a certain prominent chessplayer's manager. ;)

OT @ Neil Sullivan: our family is in Montréal 7/11 to 7/15 and Québec 7/15 to 7/18. Anything going on during/after Canadian Open?

Might sneak into Ottawa on the 10th, as it looks like a great event to kibitz....

Denis, if you are going to attempt a bluff, it has to have some chance to at least *appear* valid for it to possibly succeed. If it is obviously a bluff, and you attempt it anyway, it only makes you look like a fool. Guess what category you fall under?

Denis: "3. You are bound by the rules in the place where the defamed person reside, not where you published the offending statement. Today's blogger is subject to the jurisdictions of over 190 countries and states and you must ensure that you do not inadvertently defame or injure someone by even linking to so called "false light" or defamation."

I guess if Iran makes bikini-wearing illegal, women in the U.S. will be rounded up immediately. Truly one of the all-time dumbest statements. By using the Internet, I fall under Canadian Legal Jurisdiction?!?! WHO KNEW!!!

Were you educated under the Canadian School System? And (god please let it be true) are you a consultant for MonRoi? Perhaps their legal council? That would be a laugh riot.

Denis: "Monroi did not state that the company will file legal proceedings against Daily Dirt and we discussed libel laws in order to determine correctness of the actions."

Demanding commentators' personal information from Mig (which he doesn't have) and dropping in the whole "libel law" (wink wink) bluff-threat is enough of an outrage to warrant our continued scorn and condemnation.

Now Denis, go sit in the corner with Frank and Yvon, you've earned it.

After informing their info mailbox that I would never use monroi equipment after this fiasco, here's their reply. Sounds like they've gotten enough complaints to have a response canned?


Thank you for your email. We appreciate your feedback. We are in the
of reviewing DailyDirt statements.

1. MonRoi sponsored the US Chess Championship.
2. We received complaints of clients on DailyDirt libel (not related to
games, but defamation), and had an obligation to inform Mig (as any
corporation would do).
3. Mig removed some comments, and issued an apology.
4. MonRoi did not state that we will file legal proceedings against
5. The only comment posted by MonRoi is related to describing the
connection issues and we see no harm in free speech of true facts.

Microsoft, McDonalds and many other corporations have numerous court
against libel. If you are interested in this topic, here is a good


I invite you to disregard public blogs, as we have no time to check
each and
every posting on the Internet, and validate their accuracy.

Kind regards,

If you walk around wearing a lime-green leisure suit and nobody tells you you look like an idiot, they aren't helping you. The guy who tells you there is a problem is. Nobody enjoys being criticized or having something they built (wrote, baked, etc.) criticized. But it's how we improve.

As for the name "Dirt," whoopee. It's sorta funny. I liked the image I made of the hand with the soil and the chess pieces. I'm not clever enough to come up with something better. Take your pick. It's not as if changing the name to "Miggy Sunshine's Chess Blog of Good Cheer and Entirely Non-Libelous Statements" would alter the content.

None of this had anything to do with the USCF, or even the US Championship, at least not for most of the posters or for any of the posts in question. People were simply complaining about poor user experience at a website. It's a big, bad world out here. People can be mean and angry. They'll take your millions of dollars in sponsorship for a world championship and still make fun of your sheep. It's brutal. Your best bet is honesty and openness, display a willingness to listen and engage. Even that doesn't guarantee success, but it's worth a try.

The information posted at the Burleson website is interesting, but as much scare-tactic as law. Most of those dire pronouncements are based on extreme cases outside the normative causes and results of these cases. It's good to be cautious, of course, which is why I hired counsel and cooperated in good faith with MonRoi's requests as much as I felt was responsible.

The most ridiculous part of this entire thing is that even if they achieved every single thing they said they wanted from me, it would still be a disaster! People noticed when I deleted just those three posts. Do you think they would just ignore my silently deleting a dozen or more, or ignore the fact that I would have to continue deleting posts mentioning MonRoi? It would turn into a wildfire as these things often do online. It would end up all over the web and once you crack open that hornets' nest you can't put it back together.

There's a big difference between going to court because you think you can win and going to court because it would be a good thing. You have to think about the consequences. The same goes about making "requests" for personal information and post deletion.

I would ask that this thread not get out of hand, please. Let's be the adults here. People make mistakes but life goes on. We will be here tomorrow and MonRoi will be here tomorrow. They are trying to make a living and to run their business. Egging them on or taunting them over what we might see as a poor business strategy isn't going to help and it could definitely hurt.

We have candidates matches starting in less than 13 hours! This thread is probably hijack proof, but I commend anyone who can get the topic onto the candidates matches.

To Bill Brock

The Quebec Open only starts on the 20th of July. All eyes will be on Ottawa and the Canadian Open. That's only 2 hours from Montreal and the list of titled players is growing. Nigel Short would be the best-known.

If I can help you with any questions about Montreal or Quebec, feel free to drop me an e-mail at akibasimba at hotmail dot com

'1. MonRoi sponsored the US Chess Championship.'

That is a lie.

What is it about chess and business? Normally it is the chess players being retarded and losing sponsorship. This time it is a sponsor being retarded and losing business. Why can't chess and business work together?

"Microsoft, McDonalds and many other corporations have numerous court cases against libel."

What cheery company MonRoi would like to keep! I suggest the addition of the Church of Scientology to the list of "many other corporations" to be regarded as models of business conduct.

In my opinion you should tell GK so he can "unendorse" MonRoi real quick, because this doesn't seem to go with his other endorsement of democracy and human rights (free speech).

From a Giancristofaro interview, where she speaks about security: "[...] the MonRoi device is based on the proprietary operating system, of which the code is known only to MonRoi." In my opinion this statement contains the necessary keywords so that it could be interpreted as "security by obscurity" (in other words: bad security design).

Generally speaking, in my opinion with any device of similar complexity with several interfaces (e.g. wireless network, cf card) that is based on a standard chip, is software upgradable and produced at an affordable price (mass market) one cannot exclude the possibility that people with the necessary determination and resources could have a field day with it. There is of course also always the possibility of a disgruntled ex-employee leaking information, stealing keys etc. Imagine the hypothetical case when after a while it turns out that for some time a software image has been floating around the internet that allows reception of chess engine moves while in "record mode" - and the corresponding impact on ELO ratings and norms.

So let's suppose some TV station does an interview with a well known top professional chess player and they ask him what he thinks of this MonRoi thingy and he says "I don't like it, it sucks, I prefer a paper scoresheet." ... They can sue him?

I don't know if you know about this site Mig, but in case you don't:

"Do you know your online rights? Have you received a letter asking you to remove information from a Web site or to stop engaging in an activity? Are you concerned about liability for information that someone else posted to your online forum? If so, this site is for you."

The problem, wtf?, is not that they could sue him. The problem seems to be that they could sue the TV station, and even if it's in a different country, subject to different laws (I am sure this is probably different for TV and websites, but the parallel is accurate.).

Yes, I have already contacted the Electronic Frontier Foundation and several free speech organizations and journalists both in the US and in Canada. I work from home and for a pro-democracy organization, so my resources are better than what most would have. The one thing I can guarantee is that this will be quite public if it continues. Thanks for the links and info, always welcome.

Based on our latest email exchange, MonRoi is going to pursue legal options. For some reason they seem displeased with this apology and corrections. This was accompanied by the astounding admission that to this point they had not consulted an attorney. I was also told that by posting my apology and corrections I had "provoked" more defamatory comments (see above). If they don't see the difference between their actions and my mentioning their actions, I simply don't see how I can/could make them happy. Shut down the comments or the blog forever, I suppose.

Yoiks. Mig, they should actually pay you a fat consulting fee to visit and teach them the very basics of Internet marketing.

Stern, I took the liberty of quoting you on my blog. I think you summed it up most eloquently.

MonRoi, Mig has provoked nothing. Your own silly comments and ridiculous attitude have started the fire and you seem determined to pour gasoline on it. You could have used this forum for productive dialogue. Oh well.

What I would like to know is, what is the position of candidates for the USCF Board on this? With all the shouting about sponsors this and sponsors that, one would like to think they have an opinion and if, so, what it is.

There's precedent for the knee-jerk legal reaction from MonRoi.

About a year ago there were a few lively and heated discussion in the USCF forums regarding MonRoi devices and federation rules. For one reason or another, one of the most prolific posters in the forums at the time, tournament director Douglas M. Forsythe, was really uncomfortable with the advent of these devices: their use in tournaments, their compatibility with rules, the way the USCF office was dealing with the company, etc.

Douglas is a colorful character who argued his points passionately, controversially, circularly, repetitively, and with a writing style that made it hard to figure out what he was talking about a lot of the times. Plenty of people disagreed with his points when they did understand them or thought they did understand them. Even so, you could tell that he cared deeply for the game and had mostly good intentions.

Anyway, one day he got an email purportedly from MonRoi threatening:

"Below are your public statements, written and broadcasted to many. You are aware that corporations in North America are entitled to material damages caused by libel. We suggest that you retract false facts and derogatory statements. "

and listing a bunch of excerpts that were mostly opinion. Douglas posted the full letter to one of the MonRoi threads. This was one of his last posts in the forums. It was followed by a post that cannot be found anymore that described some communication he perceived as a bribery attempt (I don't remember by whom) in order to get him to publicly change his opinions. He was in so much shock and anguish from the threat and what he considered a bribery attempt that he decided to not post in the forums ever again, and this after contributing a few thousand posts, at a frequency of many very lengthy posts a day. I think he was even considering canceling his USCF membership over the episode (he's still a very active Life member and tournament director though).

I find it very sad that a company that should be trying to win hearts and minds and that has an innovative product with good potential should be behaving in this bullying manner. For one thing, IT IS COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY. They may think that they are protecting their brand, but the best defense is a good offense. In this case that would be marketing, good and polite PR, and successful events demonstrating the benefits of the technology.

The website glitches (a normal part of life) will be shortly forgotten by the public, the legal threats will not be.

MonRoi has apparently hired the marketing firm of Howard, Fine and Howard to run their PR campaign.

J.A. Topfke

Well, here we go:




Now I suppose they will all get nasty letters saying that's just not how things are done in Serbia. I mean, Canada. Thanks for the words of support, all. I really wish this could have been avoided. If this goes legal it will be all over the place in a heartbeat. Net-heads love "company tries to chill free speech" stories. I will never understand why they thought a public statement was a good idea.

Please note for future reference that MonRoi did not explicitly threaten legal action. I have been careful with my wording as well. While anyone over six years old would understand the implications of their allegations, it's wise to be technically correct whenever possible in these situations...

Hey! Wait! You linking to people who linked to comments on your blog quoting people who quoted other people who expressed negative opinions...

O never mind.

I'll tell you if I get a nasty letter.

This is unbelievable. I haven't played competitive chess in almost 1 year, but when I play again, I will never again use Monroi and will ask my opponents to do the same(with explanation, of course).

At my blog, I cut through all these histrionics and start a rational discussion about the Monroi. The post is



the coverage of the US-ch on Monroi was poor: long offs, no refreshing for hours, wrong moves etc etc etc. Monroi coverages are often no fun to follow. They should do 1st their (techn.) homework before opening their mouth that wide open and threatening to sue everyone. Just an opinion.

Not directly on topic, but I'm surprised that using a personal electronic device is even allowed at serious tournaments in this age when a phone call loses a game immediately.

I guess it's one thing if all devices are supplied by sponsor/organizers, but if everybody can bring their own, that's a recipe for disaster. First of all, what prevents a determined cheater from putting a PDA in the body that closely resembles Monroi device? Then he/she can tack on a couple of screens that emulate the appearance of Monroi software, but with some interface to pocket Fritz, etc. How does TD catch stuff like that?

Personally, I'm underwhelmed by the Monroi device. With DGT boards all over the place now they appear to be superfluous and introduce another layer that is unnecessary.

Also, I find filling out a scoresheet to be part of the ritual of a 'proper' chess game. Not to mention their worth as historical documents : I remember seeing one from a world championship game where the pressure of the game was reflected in the loser's writing slowly deteriorating until the final moves were almost unreadable scribbles.

" In the USA, presenting a person in a false light can have extreme damages. In recent cases > 10M and 2 years in prison. In a false light claim, the injured party does not have to prove real damages, only that they were exposed to public hatred, contempt or ridicule."

Oh really? How about citing the specific case where these Draconian penalties were appplied?

"You are bound by the rules in the place where the defamed person reside, not where you published the offending statement. Today's blogger is subject to the jurisdictions of over 190 countries and states and you must ensure that you do not inadvertently defame or injure someone by even linking to so called "false light" or defamation."

As other people have noted, this is absurd. As an example, McDonald's pursued their libel case in the UK, because the prospects of winning the case were better there (The defendents had the burden of proof). In the US, the burden is on McDonald's, and so McDonald's strategy has been different.

Can anybody provide an example where Americans were bound by the libel laws of other countries? This might affect corporations, which have an actual presence in these countries, but it would not impact individuals, as any Canadian judgment is unenforceable in the USA.

"In Canada.... Even truth is not an absolute defence - if the court finds you told the truth but your intent was malicious, you might lose anyway."

Well, if accurate, that is simply pathetic. There has never been any moral injunction against uttering the Truth--until now, it seems.

Fortunately, in the USA, the Truth is an absolute defense. Your intentions can be utterly malicious, as long as you stick to the truth.

"Microsoft, McDonalds and many other corporations have numerous court cases against libel. Those corporations are well within their legal rights to claim damages."

Yes, McDonald's had a famous libel case in the UK--Britain's longest ever trial. In the end, after spending many millions of pounds in legal fees, McDonald's did prevail. The won exactly 1 pound in damages, and the couple who were sued ended up getting a windfall in free, favorable publicity. McDonald's came off looking like bullies. The decision to sue for libel hurt their own reputation. A Pyrrhic victory, if ever there was one.

Mig: "Based on our latest email exchange, MonRoi is going to pursue legal options. For some reason they seem displeased with this apology and corrections. This was accompanied by the astounding admission that to this point they had not consulted an attorney."

This is exactly where I thought they were in their 'process', since I couldn't believe anyone competent was advising them. They are just starting where many assumed they were well past 2 days ago (bothering to see if they had any legal standing). All that occurred before was basically just them playing "Lawyer" in their spare time (or main time), which is about as good as their game of "PR". It was easy to tell that they were not talking to any competent attorney, or else they would have changed tactics a while ago and perhaps realized how much backlash they would receive.

As I said before, I wouldn't spend another dime or minute on this. My concern goes downward, not upward, with the notion that only now are they 'pursuing legal options', which still leaves them needing to prove they have any. Lets see how much money they waste trying out lawyers until they find one that agrees with them, the quality of which is one I'm confident I'd be happy they have on their team.

I predict a draw offer, which frankly I would turn down (but you seem more peaceful), or that they lose on time. You've done more than enough to deal reasonably with them. Let them prove otherwise.

If they find a way to the next step, I think then is a great time to contact mainstream U.S. media and give them the story. I think it might have a good chance of getting picked up - free speech, wacky Canadians vs wacky Americans, "nerd battle" in chess (sorry, but it's a good angle for a compelling story), and serious issues like international relations in the Internet age. Our side will not lose this PR battle, especially considering the other team's history, and will give MonRoi the exposure they truly deserve. In this case, any exposure will not be good exposure. I've already begun writing something for Slate and Salon.com, who I'm pretty sure will pick up the story if it escalates.

Mig, don't feel hesitant to push the legal defense fund button if it is needed (I'd just sit for now though). I'd prefer an anonymous method of donation online given the circumstances, but I'd send an unmarked envelope of cash if need be.

Is this a record number of comments for a Dirt story?

I have formally offered MonRoi right of reply here in the Dirt. Not because I have to but because I feel it's the right thing to do. I'd already asked them to send a statement or fashion one together with me but they declined. This time I made it more formal and put an expiration on the offer. If they decline it further illustrates they were interested in intimidation and not redress.

This petty stuff break the comment record?!? Hah! We've gone over 200 on whether or not koster is actually Kramnik's love child! (Or was it whether I had to shave Garry's back?) But seriously, there have been several 200+ threads. A few during the Elista WCh and BladderGate. (I just checked and we broke 300 a few times in October and 200 regularly.)

Monroi's coverage of the European Championship's in Dresden was dreadful: many games missing, many games incomplete.

Perhaps, the only worse web coverage I've seen was from Dresden's official site (they handed coverage of some games to Monroi part way through the event).

I think all posters need to take heed of Mig's words which seems to have gotten lost amidst the posts.

As much as I would like to see Mig stand up to this latest turn of events, I do not think Mig would like to expend any more considerable amount of energy nor resources in having to deal with this issue than it clearly DOES NOT warrant.

I think Monroi should take heed of what it's doing. If some posters say that Monroi didn't perform up to their satisfaction wrt the USCh, the posts are clearly a matter of opine and should be treated as such. We all know that opinions are like a**holes. Everyone has one.

Rather than reacting negatively, I would've very much preferred Monroi listen to the feedback and take that as a positive comment to finding ways to improve and work together with the chess community. If someone has a problem with the product, Monroi should've tried to find ways to contact the person and make enquiries to make it better. If the person is spouting rubbish, sooner or later, the lies would be caught and that would be the end of it.

Have a look at it this way. Microsoft knows there are thousands of people who hate their products and comment that their OS sucks to the blue heavens online every single day but you don't see them using their lawyers to attempt to gag every single poster out there who says it so.

This heavy handed approach IMHO is counter-intuitive and regressive. For now, it would be good for everyone to step back and think before posting. I'm sure Mig doesn't want to go through the hassle of blotting out potentially liable posts again.

The Candidates matches are in full swing and I for one, would like to see Mig put more attention towards them.


Believe it or not, you-know-who was actually saying mean and untrue things about me/us in a Canadian message board! Hilarious. I responded via a friend. I had to use polite words so the Canadians would understand me, but it should be clear.


Pretty please no North American feuds here, eh? Close your eyes and repeat, "peace and love, peace and love...."

What I find sad is that, searching Susan Polgar's blog just now, I cannot find one word about this -- not one.
I was intending to vote for Susan and Mikhail, among others (all good candidates of whom we can be proud) for the USCF Board.
But this really bothers me. I mean, the question that can be asked (without being malicious at all) is, is this intimidation? Does it chill free speech? Is this what corporate sponsorship really means?
We have had a loooooooong election campaign with all sorts of promises for these board positions, and I really want to vote for some decent people who can do more than brag about the secrets they have uncovered or the blazers they got some chess team to wear. I am a big fan of Susan's; but I haven't been a member of the ACLU for nothing!
Can't we get some leadership on this BEFORE the votes are cast?

Someone who is a USCF member, please start a thread on the USCF Forums, specifically asking all EB candidates to declare their position on Monroi's actions toward people (especially Mig and individual commenters on Dirt) who criticized Monroi's coverage of the recent US Championship.

This is indeed the critical phase of the election campaign, and this probably should be the single most important issue. While the issue isn't exactly being ignored on the USCF's discussion forums, it's getting nowhere near the play it's getting here -- which I find disturbing, given how much debate and even vitriol often pops up on those USCF boards about so many other matters that have far less significance for either tournament chess players or chess fans.

There is already at least one thread on USCF Forums about Monroi's lawsuit threat, but it is not getting much attention from EB candidates (or present incumbents for that matter).

Since the USCF officially endorsed Monroi's product last year, and since many believe that the new "move-then-write" scoring rule was adopted by the USCF specifically at Monroi's request, this is a central issue that USCF voters should take into account when deciding who should be on the policy-setting EB.

(I'm a USCF member myself, but haven't had time start such a thread there.)

No worries, I'm getting used to scanning for and deleting these frequent duplicates. I'm still without the time investigate and then to rewrite my templates to minimize the server load spike that causes these errors.

I again ask that people be careful with their characterizations. Technically, MonRoi has taken no action and I want it to stay that way. As much as part of me wants to put them in their place and all that, it would only feed lawyers with very little satisfaction for anyone else. MonRoi has punished themselves quite enough, I'm sure.

As for the USCF board and candidates, bah. They all think they know which side their bread is buttered on even if there isn't any butter. Or any bread. (I tried to tell them that I wouldn't post at the USCF unless my name appears as Mig instead of Michael, which only Grandma calls me.)

I understand if some would like this to be a USCF campaign issue, but please treat it almost hypothetically. There has been no legal action at all.

dude pass the popcorn.. the sad thing is, this done nothing to help chess.. just another soap opera.. ya know topalov' camp now says he should play mexico.. that the next episode on "AS THE PAWN MOVES"

>There is no way to receive any information on the device which could assist a player during play.

Do you _know_ this and are you actually qualified to make this statement (then please elaborate) or is it rather a sentence you took from the user manual/marketing material you edited ?

Also: it would seem to be sufficient to reverse engineer the protocol between the device and the hub and any private key from the device. After that you could build your own mock device that is able to do what ever you want (in addition to the original functionality). In this light your statement wouldn't even make sense would it ?

All right, you guys are starting to freak ME out. I didn't even notice the long Goldner post. To put it mildly, that's a bit creepy no matter how sincere and verifiable it may be. If legal action between MonRoi and me ensues I'll be sure to contact him for a statement. But meanwhile, this has run its course in a big way and is degenerating into the usual lunacy and meta-lunacy. I really don't want this to become a dumping ground for every beef everyone has ever had with MonRoi, although it looks like someone could do good business opening up a site just for that purpose. (And you are welcome to send me such testimonials for use in any future legal defense.) I don't have the time to read everything to see if it could possibly contain content that might complicate the legal outlook.

Apologies, but I'm chopping that one and the few references after it and closing comments pending any legal action. I'll be happy to open it back up or start a new item if there is news. Thanks for all the support and much needed entertainment. It's been amazing. I know it's all coming from a good place, but sometimes you can love too much and this ain't Oprah. If they initiate any legal action against me, I assure you the gloves will come off in many ways and I'll need all your manic energy again. I'm honored to find out I know so many smart and funny people.

Saludos, Mig

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on May 29, 2007 7:32 PM.

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