A humble request

GM Shankland
Dec 30, 2013, 11:18 PM |

When I was 14, I did some volunteer work directing tournaments at my local chess club. It was quite taxing work, and directing tournaments with 30 players was quite difficult- I can only imagine the challenge facing those who direct large tournaments. That being said, I have a couple suggestions I would like to put forth to all organizers.


1. Start the rounds on time. This is really important- if the room is empty, it is the players' fault for not being there, and they can suffer the consequences for missing the mostly unimportant announcements and losing time off their clock. Zero tolerance seems harsh, but it may be the only solution if people just continue to show up late with no punishment or time advantage for their opponent. When one player shows up on time to the game and their opponent is late, still in his room preparing, but he does not lose any time off his clock because the round has not started, the tournament is punishing the well behaved professionals and rewarding those who don't have the common courtesy to show up on time with extra time to prepare.


2. If two well established Grandmasters incorrectly report their result in the penultimate round, intentionally or not, thus leading to a last minute pairing change on the top boards in the last round of a very big money tournament and ruining everyone's preparation, they should be kicked out of the tournament and banned for a long time.

"Changing Published Pairings

The pairings once published shall not be changed unless two players have to play the second time."


So maybe the pairings never should have been changed anyway...

On a lighter note, seeing that this is a chess blog, I would like to share a story from the recently concluded North American Open. Scrolling back two months, I made a friendly wager with IM Marc Esserman on the Herman-Naroditsky game in the US Chess League. I bet him that if black wins on move 33, he has to play into the Ruy Lopez in his next black game against me, and if white won on move 48 (if memory serves), I have to accept his Morra Gambit.




What are you, clairvoyant or some gizmo? Well no, just a lucky guess. And this guy turns out to be much, much more than some small town sheriff...


Returning to the wager, Marc Esserman is many things, one of them being a man of honor who keeps his word and pays off his bets. Yesterday I played white against him in round 8 of the North American Open, and he abandoned his usual Najdorf to keep his word.