Monday, January 7, 2008
An Uplifting Story and a Horror Story
A poor married couple in Turkey change their mind about having an abortion and give birth to a rising chess star. From The Turkish Daily News Monday January 7, 2008 Gülizar Öztürk was convinced that she should not have a third baby when she was pregnant with Kübra. Just on the road to the doctor to get abortion, she and her husband Durak had a change of heart. They got out of the minibus and returned to their single-room house, the house that Kübra was brought up in. Kübra Öztürk's life changed drastically in 1998 when she was in the second grade in Ankara's Kayaş Elementary School. After the foundation of a chess club in the area, chess teacher İslam Osmanoğlu scouted for talent in schools, and that was when Kübra was marked for her talent. Eight months after she started playing, Osmanoğlu took her to her first tournament, the World Championship in Spain, where Kübra finished 44th. “When I took the 44th spot, I felt that there was something weird,” recalled Öztürk. “I was an eight-year-old playing with 10-year-olds!” It became “weirder” when she finished third in age-10 category in the Turkey championship the following year, when she was nine. After 1999, she clinched six titles in Turkey, and in the last two years, she has won two European titles. Rest of story. ****************************************************************************** When I checked my "chess" email addy this morning (I usually don't check it over the weekends) I found a press release from Chessdom.com. Evidently it was sent to everyone who has anything to do with chess - bloggers, website owners, etc. So, I'm sure that by now, it's been heavily reported by bloggers and (I assume) chess news websites. Still, I'm reporting it, as an example of a chess horror story. All of the following was reported at Chessdom.com. Unfortunately, none of the stories seem to have dates on them, but since I received the press release email on January 6, 2008, I assume the story(ies) was/were released on and since that date: Ugly story at Vandoeuvre Open false accusations, refusal of shaking hands, and ridiculous behavior by players IM Oleg Krivonosov, GM Vladimir Lazarev and IM Ilmars Starostits make accusations of cheating against Anna Rudolf Interview with Anna Rudolf Interview given after Vandoeuvre Open, where she earned WGM and IM norms They know I'm going to play on the Cappelle-la-Grande Open, so Krivonosov promised to accuse me there as well. The tournament hasn't even started and I'm already cheating! There's an update today (tonight) at Chessdom: Anna Rudolf's Case Update Personally, I don't care about a player refusing to shake hands with another player. There may be issues of personal hygiene involved, for instance (I sure wouldn't shake hands with some of the male players I've seen photos of, YECH - and everyone knows according to published surveys that most men don't bother to wash their hands after using the washroom). FIDE, after making some noises in the direction of propriety, probably won't make a big issue of this "non-shaking of hands" in Ms. Rudolf's case because, frankly, FIDE doesn't give a rat's butt about the rank and file players or the people who write about them. Hell, FIDE doesn't care about its bread and butter players, the "super GMs". Why would it do anything for Ms. Rudolf? The issue that I think has so far not been adequately addressed is the fact that an accusation of cheating can be made with inpunity and WITH NO EVIDENCE. The player who makes the accusation with no evidence to support the accusation gets away with it, and the player who is accused evidently has no recourse, but has to suffer through the slander, slurs, and ongoing suspicion every time he or she plays a good game! This has nothing to do with male and female players, per se, but it has everything to do with deliberate manipulative, vicious behavior on the part of the accuser. The psychological impact of an accusation of cheating against an innocent player is devasting. For the record, Anna Rudolf who plays under the Hungarian flag, has an ELO of 2273. She finished in 9th place in this tournament, with 6.0, after losing the last game (Round 9), to one of her accusers, IM Starostits. Just take a look at the draws that were given out among the top five or six players in the final crosstable. I'm no expert, but it looks to me as if the "old boys' club" was at work to block out Anna Rudolf from finishing in the top ranks. The fact is, without his win over Anna Rudolf in Round 9, IM Starostits would have ended up with either 5.5 (if he lost) or 6 points (if he drew), and Anna Rudolf would have finished ahead of him in the final standings, with either 7 (if she won) or 6.5 points (if she drew). In the hardscrabble world of the tournament circuit where so many no-name IMs are trying to make a living competing for a limited pool of prize money, why NOT accuse an opponent of cheating? What does an accuser have to lose by such behavior in the present climate? NOTHING. Those girlie men chess players - can't take a whupping by a woman. Geez!