Oct 12, 2008, 6:40 AM |

   I  play a wide variety of games online.Some brief,some daily and all with vigor and enthusiasm.Above all else,the one thing I try to bring to each game, is a sense  of sportsmanship,a statement of fair play.At  most sites I encounter the occasional jerk,I think that's to be expected especially when you consider the anonymity that players can hide behind.Cheaters,poor sports,all round miscreants of the virtual gaming world rarely bother me.That was until yesterday,when I encountered the first  such boob,at

   When I first arrived,ratings and averages weren't very high on my priority list,remembering how to avoid simple traps and such took up most of my attention.The limited stats page of the basic membership didn't hold much interest,and so my stats soared and sunk,mostly in the wrong direction.

  Then i decided i was ready to enter a tournament,to my chagrin,first my low rating,then my lack of completed games,kept me on the sidelines.Finally the planets aligned and the chess Gods made it possible for me to enter  my first tourney.Well my rating soared,a couple of wins versus players  200 rating points  my senior,put me right in the mix.I'd found my comfort zone,small tournaments of 12 to 20 guys allowed us more interaction,  therefore friendships began to develop.

  I'm by nature a very curious kind of guy,  in no time i had amassed a growing list of friends, from five continents.After tournaments games were finished,challenges started being issued to and fro.more games more friends and a  soaring average time per move statistic.This still didn't concern me,7hrs per move wasn't bad,considering I had three days.Then i was invited by a friend to join-in a tournament that he was hosting.I quickly responded, yes ,count me in i thought to myself as the rsvp travelled at mach-10 down the Internet highway,then just as fast the answer.The maximum time per move allowed in this  tournament:three hours.I Quickly head for my complete statistics page of a silver membership holder.Once there I locate my number....6hrs49mins it reads.damn.

My statistics had a significant influence on my new-found area  of enjoyment.A short note,explaining my dilemma,resulted in a change of entrance requirements.My friends desire to include me had given me, a not so small bloating of pride.This was accompanied with a feeling of embarrassment towards this inflated statistic.Shortly after,another invite,from another friend, to another tournament.Vanity precluded another note begging exception.This average time per move had to lowered,lowered significantly,and with a quickness.But how??

   I thought that the best way to achieve my desired level was  to make my moves,as quickly as possible.To play in real time,or as close to it  as I could get.But who to play against?Then it came to me,If i issue a blank challenge,the opponent will not only be eager to play,but will also be currently online.So this was the method i choose to lower this pesky stat.

   The first couple of games went without a problem,I explained early what I  was trying to do,and my opponents were only to happy to help.I asked only that when wwe mutually decided to call it a night,that I wouldn't be left with my  clock ticking and my average going up.

    I don't recall exact numbers,but three games over two sessions,had lowered my average over 45 minutes.I was pleased,to say the least.One of these guys had even sent a friendship request.This was accompanied with a rematch game.I graciously accepted both.

    I haven't  been suspicious of anyone being dishonest on this site,the very nature of the game and its rich heritage tends to assure a morally just assemblage.Yet there was something about this person that gave me pause.He had won the first game,and at the beginning of the rematch I reminded him, of my motivation for playing these challenges.he reassured me of his willingness to help out .That session saw about ten moves each and when the clock read 2am I told my opponent that this would be my last move and to please wait til i was online to resume,he agreed.

      The next time i logged on,there to my total amazement was our game,stating in bright red font "my move"I typed a quick reminder as to my need to not have a move left while I'm offline.i also reminded him that he had agreed to it ,that it was the only reason that the game was started.So again we stop at the end of the session.another reminder.&another I retire for the night confident that the oversight he had related would not happen again.

        Now I tend to want to trust a person at his word,and that is exactly why this individual was able to continue to put me at ease when we stopped at the end of our next session.But when I next logged on to see , this so called friend had done again what we had agreed would not occur, that my patience was exhausted.he had made a move minutes after i logged off.

      Somewhat  perplexed i sent a blunt note ,stating in no uncertain terms what i thought of his behaviour,offering a draw at the  same time and made my move.his reply was to the affect of F---you,and if you don't to finish this game then you can resign.he had managed to get his rating above mine,so if he accepted the draw it would have dropped,By now I was totally aware of this persons motivations,he was going to get the best possible numbers posted at any  length necessary.

        after carefully weighing my options i decided to do the following:

     I resigned our game,sent him a good sportsman trophy*(my most prized)and attached the following note."If you continue to treat the players on this site in the manner that you have shown here,you will miss your opportunity at what i feel is one of the best brotherhoods available online today"

      so if your reading this blog now my friend i hope that you have changed your ways,one day we will run into each other im sure,this time i'll be prepared to show you the same good natured sportsmanship that has been synonymous with chess for my lifetime and many generations before.i wish you good luck