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Minor Scandals Dept.

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I few tidbits I've been sent recently from the chess world's greasy area behind the stove.

Ever-entertaining GM Jan Timman sounds off in a can't-miss interview with a major Dutch paper. You don't need to read Dutch to understand the headline. You can also make due with the Google translation for the yin of the zin. In summary: Nice to have unified title, too bad Anand is boring. The FIDE knock-out events were jokes. My 1993 FIDE title match with Karpov was a joke. Kasparov caused problems but at least he put butts in the seats. We're all waiting for Carlsen to take over and save us. Ilyumzhinov is a crook with poor listening skills. It was a pity Bessel Kok didn't win the FIDE presidency. The new Dutch players couldn't carry my wine supply. van Wely is a joke.

Edward Labate would like the world to know the result of the legal brouhaha he got into with sleazebag (my word, not Labate's, whose words are far stronger) Ed Trice. This was related to the "61 Memorable Games" Fischer ripoff book I called shenanigans on last December.

From the "more things change..." sub-dept. comes an amusing report on originality-challenged UK GM Ray Keene, once again in the pages of Private Eye. It's gotten to the point that you feel left out if Keene hasn't swiped some of your material over the years. Geoff Chandler brings the goods at the Chess Edinburgh site and links to bonus info at the Streatham & Brixton Chess Club site.


hehe. Respect to Timman for not giving a damn.

Absolutely superb the Timman interview, many many thanks Mig.
It shows that, contrary to the popular belief, at least some chessplayers can indeed think.
Now Timman becomes a must read, along with the collection of Donner-essays, for getting the larger picture on chess.

Timman on playing his bogus WC-match with Karpov:

"I never understood the criticism. I was not to blame, was I?"

15 years later Timman should acknowledge that by playing that match he was legitimizing FIDE's claim on the world title. Maybe he should lay of the wine, because it's clouding his judgment for too long now. What a fossil, yeez!

Jan's good stuff. He's surprisingly subdued in most of his New In Chess columns.

Yah, it's sad, if understandable, that most have to be out of the picture and with nothing to lose before they become so outspoken. (To be fair, Timman was a frequent exception even in his prime.) That's why Garry was so entertaining and valuable -- as well as such a lightning rod / wrecking ball. The outspoken guys bring attention but also make sponsors nervous. The quiet ones fail to generate the attention that would attract sponsors in the first place. Something of a catch-22.

The big pro sports tolerate, even encourage, their rogue stars because they know who the fans come to see. But if one of these stars goes against the good of the sport there is a massive structure to slap them down and keep them in line. In chess, the structure is so rickety and corrupt it has no credibility, usually less than the top players.

Anyway, I hope Timman's wrong about Anand's potential as unified world champion. I agree the adorable Carlsen will probably shake things up a bit if and when he takes the title. But if properly handled I see no reason the affable Anand can't get more mainstream sponsorship for himself and for his events.

Timman ain't no fossil, and of course he wasn't to blame, nor are the hundreds of GMs and IMs who took part in FIDE cycles after Kasparov's departure. He'd come heartbreakingly close to getting through against Short, so it was another chance against an old rival. There would have been plenty of others lined up to take his place if he'd turned it down, so why not? He's an honest drunk and if he won I bet he'd never call himself the undisputed world champion. He and Kasparov always disliked each other, so an eventual showdown would have drawn some heat.

Timman was outspoken long before Kasparov appeared on the world stage, and his New In Chess column wasn't as subdued back then. Plus he'd do a drink-and-dial interview about once a year with Ree or Dirk and just let rip. In one such interview he described meeting up with Kasparov in a dream and concluded with: "My final thought was 'you are a bastard.'"

His drinking-with-Tal stories were amazing too...so Mig's right on the money here: Timman's the good stuff, my kinda fossil.

I found your summary hilarious. Nice job. Thanks.

Well, 'tis The Daily Dirt afterall, eh? Now that's what we need Mig...more of the real deal even if it is Dirt. This kind of stuff by you will get all of the rats out of the holes. The classic metaphor is pour enough water in the holes and the rats will come out. Water being Truth, of course. Pour on Brother!

Sidebar: Chess is not headed for the Sideshow of the NBA, NFL and MLB is it?!? I just cannot imagine Garry with his anti Magnus tattoo for a generational showdown. Are Nike sweatbands next? I noticed we came thisclose to cheerleaders at Bonn. (Girls in sashes ain't there for chess theory.) Namaste Anand!

Is the Keene material from _Private Eye_ available on the Internet?

All I could find on Private Eye website is a "Plagiaristic Penguin strikes again in world of chess" reference in "Street of Shame"...

[The mag isn't easy to find in the US, outside major cities.]

"It is a disadvantage that Anand and Kramnik with the numbers 5 and 6 of the FIDE world rankings to play. It undermines the credibility of this match."

Anand and Kramnik are widely regarded as the top two active players in the world based on their past performances and achievements. Their FIDE rankings as of the moment do not mean anything. To dull the luster of such a competition between these two chess titans with such a disrespectful remark smacks of a child seeking attention.

Yah, I didn't get that either. Your reason is on the money, and with the top players so tightly bunched together it's mostly about your last event anyway. Anand started the match as number 5 and finished as #2, for example. I think he'd actually be listed #1 if FIDE came out with the list now since he's played more games than Topalov and FIDE rounds to the nearest digit. But Topalov's playing the Olympiad, so he'll break the virtual tie one way or another.

It's obviously primus enter pares these days and likely to remain so for a while. That's good because it puts the importance back on the world championship title and winning when it matters most. I.e. Morozevich could score a few more +6 results and jump up to 2830 and it wouldn't change the fact he didn't pull it off in Mexico City when it counted most.

NOW we're back to the Mig we all know and love! The Daily Dirt just hit overdrive! Wow, didn't know there was that much dirt out there to be had. I wonder how Ed's celebrating...

Don't forget to mention the two sleazebags recently identified in an USCF lawsuit.


Mig : "It's obviously primus enter pares these days and likely to remain so for a while. That's good because it puts the importance back on the world championship title.."

I think that Timman is quite right that it makes the title less important if none of the players is the dominant player on the chess stage(ELO).

It was Botvinnik who originated your "primus inter pares" observation about his period and, not surprisingly, he also played the less interesting WCh matches in history (those with Smyslov and Petrosian--Tal was something else due his age and style and the same would have been now a Carlsen-Kramnik in Bonn instead of the Anand-Kramnik).

The same lack of tension and interest of "primus inter pares" matches is reflected by the fact that the money-prize is split equal, implicitly admitting the lack of objective dominance.
In effect doing such thing inadvertently confesses that the match doesn't prove anything about the players, we all know that they are equal in strenght.
The match proves at most that in this particular moment of the match one of them was in better form : hence money prize are to be split equal as deserved, as it should be between equal players.
Such matches between "twin brothers" are not of much interest, except for the relatives of the actual players (and some devoted fans).

The full quote from Timman makes clear what he has in mind :

Timman :

"It is a disadvantage that Anand and Kramnik with the numbers 5 and 6 of the FIDE world rankings to play. It undermines the credibility of this match. I also find it strange that she prizes of a half million parts, which is very unusual for a World Cup match. "

Little of that makes any sense. If we already knew who was stronger they wouldn't have to play at all. We have the rating list to keep track of progress (up and down) and a general hierarchy. The rating list has become, ha ha, overrated.

A match between evenly-matched players is the most interesting kind, of course. Quite the opposite of proving nothing, it proves everything that matters most. It's winning under maximum pressure head to head against a top rival, *especially* an equal.

The 50-50 prize fund split was idiotic. It's been done before and just turns the prize fund into appearance fees. M-Tel abolishing the prize fund for fees was similarly bizarre.

Wow, i just spent an hour reading up the Ed Trice / 61 Mem. Games saga.

Reminds me of a movie I saw starring Richard Gere, called 'The Hoax'.

The Ed Trice emails published on Labate's site had stark similarities, including mysterious phone calls, cryptic hand-written notes, and the good old 'he invited me to his private residence'.

Good stuff!

> Little of that makes any sense. If we already knew who was stronger they wouldn't have to play at all. >

Timman's point, and mine in my post, was that we already knew that none was clearly stronger than the other (and another 5-6 GMs).
The equally-split prize fund only acknowledged that even before match started. Hence the lack of "credibility" for the winner of the match be seen as "clearly the best of world"..the winner is still "one of the 5-6 players of the world"

> Little of that makes any sense. If we already knew who was stronger they wouldn't have to play at all. >

"I don’t know if you can say it’s my title. In 2000 my title had value because I was the best in the world. In my book, Kramnik’s title expired no later than 2002. He had to defend his title and did not. More importantly, I won a few tournaments in a row in 2001 and he failed to perform at the highest level, to prove he was the best in the world. This meant expiration by higher standards." (GK)

Jan Timman's ability to speak accurately about the merits of his own World Chess Championship match is a refreshing alternative to a lot of self-serving assertions by many others.

Mostly his opinions resemble Truth.

I disagree with one point. Kramnik and Anand are the top players. Both have been over 2800, and have been in the top ten many years. Only two others have broke the 2800 barrier. One is retired, and the other can win only to the horror of the chess world because of his corrupt manager. Anand's decisive victory in this match should secure the title against all doubt.

"More importantly, I won a few tournaments in a row in 2001 and he failed to perform at the highest level, to prove he was the best in the world. This meant expiration by higher standards." (GK)

Kasparov rightly says that by winning a WCh-match one has not won a prize as it happens a tournament win or a title as "the winner of that match" or "winner of that tournament",

he has won 2 related things :

1.the right from now on to demand (expect) from everyone else in chess to acknowledge him as the better player (the dominant player)
2.the obligation to confirm, to prove, that this is true by high-performances in the future tournaments.

If not about about deciding who is (or who wants/claims to be respected as) the dominant player the whole issue of WCh is a joke

Congratulations to Ed L!! You deserve a good long rest and don't let the bas**** grind you down any more.

And if Aghast's link is right, Polgar is no different from many of the others in the USCF crowd. She was told not to get into the mud with the pigs because no-one would be able to tell her apart from them, but she jumped into politics anyway and as it turns out it seems she was already one of them even before jumping in?

And after all these years Keene is still an obfuscating little bullying thief. How is it that Keene is still able to find work in the chess world? Doesn't chess have any self-respect? If you want chess to be more like a sport, let's forget drug testing. Instead let's figuratively tar and feather cheaters and crooks like sports did to some of their players. Sure, we'd end up with most of the FIDE heads gone as well as Keene, Polgar and Truong, but surely that has to be a win-win situation.

I agree. And it's remarkable that the practice of WCC seconds' selling their team preparation to the enemy camp is not properly called "Keening" since the pivotal moment in '78 when Karpov instantly replied to Korchnoi's Pirc novelty in the final game at Baguio City.

Perhaps also the practice of hindsight-editing and gun-jumping in chess annotation could be called "Polgarity".

"Anand is boring" Wow! Why didn't Timman win the World Title himself? Nobody stopped him. We all know how interesting players were the previous World Champions like Petrosian who frequently played 10-12 move draws. You have a player who won it fair and square and nobody stopped other "interesting players" from winning the WC.

Morozevich! Hmm... how many times have we seen him outplay (irrespective of the result of the game) somebody like Anand, Topa or Kramnik (or even Leko & Aronian) in a chess game. He is good for the rest of the players and score tons of rating points against sub-2700 players but he simply does not belong to the same league as Anand, Topa & Kramnik.

Speaking of Kramnik, (though I am not a big fan of him), everybody knows his results in tournaments prior to his 2000 WC match against GK. He was clearly no. 2 at that time and was even matching Kasparov which enabled him to equal GK in rating at 2809. Although, he could not really keep up the same level of performance post-2000, we all know he is still belongs to the elites.

Carlsen definitely belongs at the top, but objectively speaking, he still has to show that he can remain there and be consistent like Anand and Kramnik who have been at the top for more than a decade now and professional Chess is not easy (so many prodigies came but could not make it to the throne)

Totally agree with James Stripes' point that

"Jan Timman's ability to speak accurately about the merits of his own World Chess Championship match is a refreshing alternative to a lot of self-serving assertions by many others."

I don't know which of the computer translated comments I like more:

"Anand never occurs in the foreground."


"Kasparov FIDE just wanted to blow up, but his behavior was very inconsistent.He was a projectile caused. ".

Well, a case can be made Anand occured in the foreground in Bonn :)

Doesn't chess have any self-respect?
No. It doesn't and neither do a lot of players. GMs will take any sponsor's shilling, no matter how dirty the origins. Principles take a back seat to the pressing need to pay the ills. Who can afford morality?

Well I think he means that Anand is quiet, polite and uncontroversial; not becoming involved in issues or drawing media attention, not that his play is boring. Say what you like about Kasparov but he was certainly involved in everything- perhaps not in a good way of course. Apparently Timman prefers this. Can people stop mentioning how they see Morozevich as some kind of great-but-at-the-same-time-inferior player. The man has nothing to prove and is the last person who deserves this negative image. Just enjoy his always entertaining chess.

> Kasparov .. was certainly involved in >everything- perhaps not in a good way of course. >Apparently Timman prefers this.

Garry was not shy to remember everyone that he was simply the best, a real world champ .
An ungracious 'shut up or put up' attitude and one very unsensitive to the notoriously delicate and gracious souls of the GMs.
It earned him many enemies but it also forced him to work hard and play high each game so as to back his egomania with accordingly mega-play and mega-results.

Morozevich has a reputation of being full of himself when it comes to his talents (for beating 2600's and nothing more).

As Mig states, you can find a scan of the Private Eye article as this site: http://www.chessedinburgh.co.uk/chandlerarticle.php?ChandID=301

More in scandal dept:

Kirsan apparently is reneging on his public pledge to gaurantee the funds for the Kamsky - Topalov match in Lvov.


I guess the economic hard times are hitting Kirsan's pilfered funds as well.

These sort of comments about ratings have been refuted endless times - players with similar ratings are of similar strengths. there are of course trends which can indicate decline or rise. For example it may well be that Wang Yue will be a top 5 player very soon . Of course Morozovich is very close in strength to Anand and Kramnik. Incidentally he beat Kramnik in the lst 2 classical games they played.

Parsnips-beating mere 2600s- yup any of us can do that in his sleep, of course. It's those 2700s that get us.

Moro is becoming more "solid", it is natural that as he grows older his style changes. The essential madness that is Moro remains unchanged but I think he has grown stronger. the old comments on only beating 2600s are outdated.

"These sort of comments about ratings have been refuted endless times - players with similar ratings are of similar strengths."

Doesn't every chess club have one guy who always fattens up his ratings beating the weakies and who always gets knocked back down when he plays the top guys?

John...I just read about your run-in with Keene aka The Penguin at the Brain Games match. Shameful behaviour on his part.

Thanks, John.
Mig didn't originally post the link; it was subsequently added.

Moro to reach 2830 rating?As always,Mig is trying to be funny.Moro's realistic strenght when playing against guys in Top 10 is around 2750.Proved many times.He's already somewhere near his peak which I estimated to be 2790.As concerns collecting rating points on the next chess olympiad keep your eyes on Topalov and Carlsen (especially Carlsen).

The point is that Moro has neared 2800 several times mostly be beating people not in the top 10, or even the top 20. There is no personal peak because ratings are slowly but surely rising at the top. With the general increase in ratings, you can now have a 2730-average tournament without anyone in the top 10 participating. Moro has won such events with +5 scores before. That he consistently underperforms with mediocre results in supertournaments is well known.

Carlsen benefits from being an elite player on a relatively weak team. He's rated 200 points higher than second board Agdestein. Carlsen will likely face significantly weaker opposition than the elite players on the top teams. Bulgaria has made strong medal runs even without Topalov and is a contending team with him. Great he's playing. I wish all the top guys were there. Pity about Anand. Again.

The paragraph about Labate and Trice is one paragraph more than either of them deserve.

Mig,there IS a personal chess rating peak if you use normed rating calculation scheme (like J.Sonas did on chessmetrics)

Of course there is in hindsight, but we're talking about the future of players who are still active and fairly young. If you'd taken Ivanchuk's normed peak five years ago you would have said he'd never make 2800 either. Until mid-2005 his previous highest rating was 2740 back in 1998. And he's eight years older than Morozevich. Considering the general upward movement of the pack it would be an anomaly if there aren't at least five players over 2800 in five years, probably less.

"BTP | November 5, 2008 2:47 PM | Reply
The paragraph about Labate and Trice is one paragraph more than either of them deserve."


Really?! How would you have reacted Pal? Use the Maxwell Smart Defense?

"Ignore them and hope they go away!!"

I hesitantly suggest, Mr Labate, that your explication of your recent legal affairs, as provided by your link, may possibly not coincide fully with the dictates of good taste.

Speaking of Chuky rated 2740 (in 1998) and Chuky rated 2780 today,I'm quite certain that "Chuky 2008" would beat "Chuky 1998".There is so called the "rating inflation" thing,but the major cause of that isn't something strange about the way the rating is calculated.One of the cause is that there more and more guys who play objectively better chess!In 1975. R.J.Fischer was ~2780 ELO,more than 100 points ahead of his closest rivals.But do you have any doubts that Chuky 2008. would beat Fischer 1975.?
My point: ratings toward top exhibits nonlinear phenomenon.There are more and more guys who play objectively at 2700 level,but 2800 mark cross very few.I expect it would take dozens of years to have 10 guys above 2800.

Good Taste?!?! Give me a break! I'm trying to defend myself against one of the biggest liars/scammers/conman in the history of chess, and I'm supposed to worry about presentation as if I'm submitting my 'paper' to a peer review journal?! Judge Woodroof was more than satsifed now, wasn't he!!!


Again, I ask...How would you have reacted when being accused of perpetrating the biggest chess publishing scam of the last 500 years, against arguably the greatest chess player of the last 500 years?? You think you would value style equally with substance, when the entire chess world has been told YOU are such monumental fraud??

I guess you also believe the Maxwell Smart Defense?

"Ignore them and hope they go away!!"

We'll return to the Daily Dirt in a few moments; we need to pause to allow Mr Edward Labate to towel off his website lest we drown in the blood of his anger.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on November 3, 2008 12:13 PM.

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