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On the popularity (yes popularity) of Cheater_1 and Lenny_Bongcloud
We all love us some Lenny_Bongcloud, don't we? His entertaining posts, his way of spelling, the persona he adopts and this now ubiquitous style of play have all contributed to making King Lenny one of the most popular characters on Chess.com.
We all loathe Cheater_1, don't we? His inflammatory posts, his hyperbolic claims, his unmittigated arrogence have all contributed to making this self-professed Cheater one of the most despised personalities on Chess.com.
You'd think it were knight and day (achem), I mean a night and day difference between these two characters, but I was musing as to why they would have an effect on us at all, as chessplayers, and I've come to some interesting conclusions that I thought I would share with you, because the reason for their popularity is similar insofar as they play upon the chessplayer's psyche. Let's have a look, my friend Lenny first.
Who else on this site can boast their own Appreciation Society (thanks to StacyBearden!)? It is an interesting choice of word – appreciation. What is it that we appreciate about Lenny? It's that, because of his seeming oblivious to the standard rules of a chess game (he subverts them, changes the goal altogether – to get his king onto the back rank rather than mate his opponent) he allows the rest of us to relax a little by proxy; he actually allows us a persona into which we can sublimate our own “chess stress” - through his seeming levity and disregard of ratings, we too can take chess a little less seriously, we are reminded that it is a game again through his example. As chessplayers, it is very easy for us to get wrapped up in the excessively competitve spirit of the whole thing – war on the chess board, ranks, ratings, titles, improvement, blunders... why, for it all one might imaging that all chess players are instinctive sadomasochists, prone to beating themself up over their losses and driven by a zealous need to win. This is why Lenny's presence on the site is so quickly “appreciated”, and one can tell the happy elation players feel as they post in Lenny threads, devising whole Ernesto Boungcloud mythologies and discussing imaginary refutations – it makes light of chess for a little while – and when someone is visiting the threads in between their moves (in the zone of “chess stress”) this provides a measure of relief, levity and camaraderie. It is effortless to like Lenny, because he is not in competition with us, he is absolutely no threat at all – just a happy fellow doing his thing, and around such a benignly likable character societies of appreciation can form.
Cheater_1 on the other hand is seemingly precicely the opposite. However much he achieves it (and I'm satirizing his writing style in my use of capitals briefly here), he seems intent on projecting MENACE. He is an ADMITTED CHEATER, and he doesn't even APOLOGIZE FOR IT. He claims, on countless occasions to be a CHESSGOD, you're in HIS COURT NOW and SO ON AND SO FORTH. Now of course, the lengthy posts he makes are understandibly met with all sorts of scorn and objuration from posters, pages upon pages of insults and hate filled diatribes. Now first off, you'd think people were new to the internet that they don't understand what a troll is. Let's just say for the sake of argument that Cheater_1 has in fact never cheated in his life (some facts that people like Talfan noticed about Cheater's supposed processing power and what others pointed out about his use of a gameboy attest to this fact), which could be quite likely. He is, if we gently apply Occam's Razor, likely an internet troll. Now, how do internet trolls work? They draw attention to themselves by hitting on some kind of sore spot, and what better sore spot to prey upon than the fear of online cheating on a site of online chessplayers?
Now, if we're even to just remain there, where Cheater_1 is a troll, I have to say that he's very successful at it. I thought I might collect all of the anti-cheater_1 posts into one blog, so you can all see the vile and vitrol he draws out of you. It's not pretty, otherwise gentlemanly people suddenly see fit to post such nastiness as if it in some way defeats them. Now here's the surprising turn, whereby I assert that Cheater_1 in some way satisfies the same chess anxiety that Lenny also sublimates. And I want you to pretend something incredibly bizarre – imagine for a second that Cheater_1 is benevolent in some sense.
We all know that it is a preoccupation with every player of online chess that the possibility that the person they're playing against is cheating: that the proliferation of threads dedicated to the topic is on every chess site message board so legion proves this. It is clearly something that worries online chessplayers – it is a source of fear and anxiety.
Now imagine that, instead of fearing some nebulous no-one, some amorphous cheating possibility, that all online cheaters mysertiously coallesced into a single person. And then let's say that this cheater then came onto a site and posted a very vivid account of their “evils”, and claimed to be the very god of cheating, the single most important cheater of the last decade.
So there you are, imbetween moves, staring at the thread, and you go to post. Suddenly you have an object upon which to vent your frustrations, to sublimate your anger, to focus all of your suspicions about the times you've been cheated upon onto one online persona. I'm reminded of the Carl Panzram quote “I wish you all had one neck, and I had my hands on it.” - maybe this is what Cheater_1 supplies to the people that slander him – a cathartic release from being able to disperse their frustrations about internet cheating out onto someone who openly takes responsibility for it.
Or maybe my liberal arts degree just means I can't even look at a resturant menu without deconstructing it.
In any case, I'm sure you've all noticed that the “Hot Topics” list has been drying up faster than an oasis in a desert since the launch of Live Chess. That's too bad. Hopefully things will return to normal. We have lots of excellent posters who help keep things lively between moves – guys like StacyBearden, King William, silentfilmstar13, alabastercrashes and girls like Neneko and Batgirl... all supplying great content. So in the end of things, I'm not saying I'm defending what Cheater_1 claims to represent, but I'm saying that he has decided to occupy a very interesting subject-position in the overall scheme of things, and if you're one of those people who has counter-flamed him, maybe you should realize that you're part of the Cheater_1 Appreciation Society – because he gave you the opportunity to feel superior to all cheaters for a little while.
Often, whoever shouts loudest will be most heard.
It pains to believe that chess.com might be lowered to a pathetic mainstream type culture, but all evidence is pointing towards it trending in that direction.
Chess on Jerry Springer.
Jerry gave me quite a game.
"if you're one of those people who has counter-flamed him, maybe you should realize that you're part of the Cheater_1 Appreciation Society – because he gave you the opportunity to feel superior to all cheaters for a little while."
I believe Cheater_1 must get his kicks by having us flame him. This is exactly the reason i won't comment about that waste of life degenerate pig in my posts.
Good post =)
But can u guys atleast give some more not-so-hard-to-understand words plz, not everyone here has english as first language, like me.
I'm sure it was an excellent post though :)
Score 1 for cheater_1...
Rael, Lenny, and Cheater are all the same person. Erik hired him to keep the forums interesting. =D
Interesting. how did you come up with conculsion since Rael is a young man, Lenny is an old hippie and only God knows what the hell Cheater is?
^I doubt that Lenny is old. I am willing to bet he is under 25.