The Last Word

Oct 12, 2009, 8:22 AM |

Mr McDonald, in his last post on the KCA forum (, has been gracious enough to give me the last word on this subject; I will take it. The reason USCF has a rulebook is so there will be standardized rules for all players. In one of the first tournaments I entered, my first road tournament, held in Savannah, Ga, the director, a curmudgeonly character, paired the top rated player with the second highest rated player, and #3 with #4, etc. The players protested vehemently. The director answered by saying, "I'm the director and this is how I direct!" We have rules so a director cannot arbitrarily and capriciously make up the rules as he goes along.

Mr McDonald has tried to make this a 'point-counterpoint' between him and me. This is not the case. In chess, when there is a disagreement between two players concerning the merit of a particular move, they analyze the position in order to try and obtain the 'truth'.
If a player from Louisville, used to taking off five minutes from his clock and not writing down the moves went to play at the Atlanta Chess and Game Center and asked to be allowed to do exactly that, he would be laughed right out of the House!
I took the time to send emails to my friend IM John Donaldson, director of the Mechanic's Chess Club, and Steve Immitt, one of the preeminent TDs in the country, in order to ascertain the 'truth'. This is the response from IMJD:
Hi Michael,

I remember Steven from a tournament of his I played in over twenty years ago. Please say hi.

At the Mechanics' everyone must keep score. We do allow Monroi's but only one player has ever used one. At $350 a pop I don't see them becoming standard issue.

The next one is from Mr Immitt:
I agree with you 100% That wouldn't work at the Marshall Club.
Players must keep score unless

1. They are small children who may not know how to write;
2. They have a physical disability preventing them from writing;
3. They are observing a religious restriction (Sabbath).
Steve Immitt
Max Roberts has played in two of my small tournaments. He is not yet six years old and cannot write, yet. If his opponent insisted Max be forced to write down the moves, I would insist he have his head examined! I believe that is what the rulebook means when it says a director must use 'judgement'.
In the last round of the Meijers tournament on May 25, I faced the 2-0 Paul Pollitt II, having a score of 1-1. I had met Paul earlier when I saw him playing 5-minute chess, and playing very well, I might add, at the Heine Bros coffee shop behind Carmichael's Bookstore. I was the reason Paul decided to come to play at Meijers. We sat down to play and he was not taking score. I told him it was the rule. Paul had previously played in a rated USCF tournament and, judging from how well he played speed chess, was no beginner. I won the game and Chris Bush came up and thanked me, which I found somewhat disconcerting.
Paul did not come back and I wondered why. I knew he had mentioned he worked strange hours, and would have to play with little or no sleep, but still...
Many weeks later I encountered Paul and his wife, once again at the Heine Bros Coffee. He greeted me very warmly, introducing me to his wife. I asked him why he had not returned to the Monday night tournament and was relieved when he told me he just did not have time for chess. I asked him if keeping score had bothered him, and he said, "Not as much as your moves!" We spent some time discussing chess before they had to leave, with him telling me he hoped to play again, time permitting. I have not seen him since, but hope to see him in the future.
I would like to add a comment left on the BaconLOG by my friend, a former student, Ed Parks, with whom I have an ongoing chess game:
Parx said...
I can't believe people actually pay 300+ dollars for a handheld chess computer game that has no game. It just tracks the moves. The technology will be downgraded to an iPhone app, then to Android (for google phones, etc), then to all phones, and the tidal wave of technology will necessitate some acceptance of the electronic scoresheet. I say, within 18 months. October 8, 2009 5:54 AM