The Barbican 1996 and Slough 1997 Affairs

Historical knowledge and information regarding our great game.
Sean Hewitt

The Barbican 1996 and Slough 1997 Affairs

Post by Sean Hewitt » Fri Dec 19, 2008 11:05 pm

Paul McKeown wrote: Information regarding the Slough 1997 controversy.
Some of us are too young to know what this is!

Simon Spivack
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Re: Bob Wade

Post by Simon Spivack » Sat Dec 20, 2008 8:37 am

Sean Hewitt wrote:
Paul McKeown wrote: Information regarding the Slough 1997 controversy.
Some of us are too young to know what this is!
Publicly going over this may start WWIII!
As I remarked to Bob Wade at the time. It appears that a captain can behave as badly as he wants without any meaningful sanction being applied.

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Re: Bob Wade

Post by Paul McKeown » Sat Dec 20, 2008 1:05 pm

Publicly going over this may start WWIII!
As I remarked to Bob Wade at the time. It appears that a captain can behave as badly as he wants without any meaningful sanction being applied.
It may well start a war, but I feel it would not be doing Bob justice, if I failed to deal with this properly. As anyone who knew Bob well knows, Bob was not the sort to carry a grudge - he might lose his rag, but he always forgave and forgot - however, with the Slough EC 1997 affair, he was still angry years later and thought that he had been badly done by.

He particularly did not like the insinuation that he had dealt with the incident partially; he felt his honour as an arbiter had been slandered. He believed that the truth of the matter was that the Austrian captain's behaviour was scandalous and that, although his ruling to award the match to the English team was an extreme sanction, it was the only reasonable one to take in the face of such a breach of sportsmanship. He believed that John van der Wiel's damning report was simply a deliberate hatchet job and that van der Wiel simply supported the Austrians, as van der Wiel's wife was Austrian (and from Graz to boot - can anyone confirm where Borek was from?). He felt that the ECU was itself not unbiased, as Jungwirth (president) and Stubenvoll (tournament director) were also Austrian and that Geurt Gijssen was only to happy to engineer a verdict against Bob, as they simply did not get on and it was easy for Gijssen to accept van der Wiel's testimony without question.

I would like to set the record straight for Bob - I know there were independent accounts - and it would seem that Gausel's newspaper column is the best known of those. If anyone can lay his or her hands on it, then I would be delighted. I know it would have pleased Bob. Don't think, though, that if the facts do turn out against Bob, that I will slander anyone. I will simply report the truth.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Bob Wade

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Dec 20, 2008 1:36 pm

and it would seem that Gausel's newspaper column
A bit of Google came up with Hans Ree's account

http://www.chesscafe.com/text/hans16.txt

Being told to write the moves down with more than 5 minutes on the clock does seem to enrage some players. We had a case in one of the local leagues a couple of years ago. In that instance, the match captain did not support the player, unlike the Austrians.

Paul McKeown
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Re: Bob Wade

Post by Paul McKeown » Sat Dec 20, 2008 2:13 pm

Yes - I've seen Hans Ree's report before - and like all of his writing it seems fair. However, it cannot be seen as a primary source, as he wasn't present at Slough....

Simon Spivack
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Re: Bob Wade

Post by Simon Spivack » Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:02 pm

Paul McKeown wrote:
Publicly going over this may start WWIII!
As I remarked to Bob Wade at the time. It appears that a captain can behave as badly as he wants without any meaningful sanction being applied.
It may well start a war, but I feel it would not be doing Bob justice, if I failed to deal with this properly. As anyone who knew Bob well knows, Bob was not the sort to carry a grudge - he might lose his rag, but he always forgave and forgot - however, with the Slough EC 1997 affair, he was still angry years later and thought that he had been badly done by.

He particularly did not like the insinuation that he had dealt with the incident partially; he felt his honour as an arbiter had been slandered. He believed that the truth of the matter was that the Austrian captain's behaviour was scandalous and that, although his ruling to award the match to the English team was an extreme sanction, it was the only reasonable one to take in the face of such a breach of sportsmanship. He believed that John van der Wiel's damning report was simply a deliberate hatchet job and that van der Wiel simply supported the Austrians, as van der Wiel's wife was Austrian (and from Graz to boot - can anyone confirm where Borek was from?). He felt that the ECU was itself not unbiased, as Jungwirth (president) and Stubenvoll (tournament director) were also Austrian and that Geurt Gijssen was only to happy to engineer a verdict against Bob, as they simply did not get on and it was easy for Gijssen to accept van der Wiel's testimony without question.

I would like to set the record straight for Bob - I know there were independent accounts - and it would seem that Gausel's newspaper column is the best known of those. If anyone can lay his or her hands on it, then I would be delighted. I know it would have pleased Bob. Don't think, though, that if the facts do turn out against Bob, that I will slander anyone. I will simply report the truth.
At the time Bob did consider taking this further within FIDE, apparently there was a higher committee that could have overturned what was clearly a very poor decision. He decided not to as he thought it might be damaging to the game, whose interests were uppermost in his mind. He certainly was angry though.

The issue of a captain's behaviour is a serious one. In my opinion an arbiter ought to have the power to deduct game points, from half up to the total number at stake in a match, from a team's total if a non-playing captain behaves outrageously. The points being deducted abstractly, i.e. not from any specific game. This could lead to strange match scores, but that seems a small price to me.

I know, respect and like Aaron Summerscale, if he says he was hit on the back, then I believe him. I accept that it is not sufficient to listen to just one side of an argument, but even if one disregards this testimony, a captain wilfully starting the clocks, behaving aggressively and swearing should not be tolerated. In my view game point(s) should have been deducted. The appeal committee appeared to have accepted that the captain had misbehaved, their chosen punishment of him was a joke.

Jonathan Rogers
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Re: Bob Wade

Post by Jonathan Rogers » Wed Dec 31, 2008 10:46 pm

Paul

On the subject of Slough 1997, I think that an incident at Barbican 1996 has some relevance. Barbican were also hosting a ECC qualifier (in those days, eight teams in each qualifier played knockout matches, but two of them and not just one, qualified for the finals) and also asked Bob to be the Chief Arbiter.

On the finish of day one then, there were four winners due to play semi-finals, and three of them were very strong: Clichy, Kazan and Panfox (a Dutch team with Loek van Wely ludicrously playing above Adams, and Van der Wiel was on board 4) whilst the other team, from Luxembourg, was hopeless and had only won its match on default (this happened all the time and was probably the main reason why qualifiers were dropped). But the semi-final draw was only to be made at the end of play on the first day at 8pm (it was not fixed in advance).

So, among the three strong teams, of course they were each hoping to play Luxembourg and to be sure to qualify from the group, whatever might happen in the Final. But the matches finished well before 8pm, and Bob decided to get on with it and to draw the lots for the semi-final before 8pm and without all the team captains being informed. So obviously the two strong teams which ended up playing each other, and not Luxembourg, were very unhappy when they learnt they had been paired together in their absence and wanted the draw to be done again - long arguments ensued, though in the end the original draw stood.

The two teams playing each other were Panfox and Kazan: Panfox lost and thus was the only one of the strongest teams not to qualify. and the same van der wiel wrote a report on the event (I think that the rules required someone not from the hosting team to write a report for the ECC, though how that person was chosen I do not know). Van der Wiel was apparently very critical of the fuss which had been unnecessarily caused over the semi-final draw. Of course it was his team which felt it had lost out due to the pairings (Gary Kenworthy was more directly involved and may remember more details).

Anyway, I have no idea whether vdw was biased in the Slough affair because of the nationality of his wife. But I think you might bear in mind that he was writing a report about a qualifier held in Britain in which the chief arbiter did something controversial for the second year running, and he had possibly already lost confidence in Bob after the first such incident.

All very unfair, needless to say - the Barbican error was minor and there was probably no error at all at Slough.

Paul McKeown
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Re: Bob Wade

Post by Paul McKeown » Thu Jan 01, 2009 9:33 am

Jonathan - thanks for this - I knew that there must be some background to this, as JvdW wrote (letter to Stubenvoll, September 24 1997):
... Hauptschiedsrichter Robert Wade, der sich die letzten Jahre bereits wiederholt als völlig inkompetent erwiesen, ...
which is pretty strong and obviously refers to something that had happened previously.

And on the subject of Geurt Gijssen, it is only fair to point out that he wrote the following warm tribute in his column in http://www.chesscafe.com (December 17 2008):
I received the sad news that Bob Wade passed away at the age of eighty-seven. He played his last tournament in London in August. When I was young I read about his exploits as a chess player, and he was the arbiter in many important chess events. I met him in 1993 when I was the organizer of the first part of the match Karpov – Timman, played in The Netherlands in three different cities: Zwolle, Arnhem, and Amsterdam. He was the only member of the Appeals Committee and Bob was always present watching the games in the playing hall. He gave me invaluable advice about all elements of the match venues. It was very clear that he was an experienced chess player and arbiter, and I learned many things from him. May he rest in peace.

Paul McKeown
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Re: Bob Wade

Post by Paul McKeown » Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:56 pm

1. Does anyone have Schaaknieuws for 1996 and 1997?
1a. If so, does JvdW write anything about the incidents at the Barbican 1996 and Slough 1997?

2. Does anyone have NiC for 1996 and 1997?
2a. Is anything written on the subject? By whom?

3. Does anyone have Schaakend Nederland for 1996 and 1997?
3a. Is anything written on the subject? By whom?

4. Any Norwegians reading this? Do any Norwegian chess magazines for 1997 deal with the Slough incident? What do they say, who wrote what?

Paul McKeown
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Re: Bob Wade

Post by Paul McKeown » Thu Jan 01, 2009 4:14 pm

John,

Reading BCM Vol. 116 No. 11 November 1996 pp. 595-600, the issues regarding the draw seem rather trivial. The competition itself seems to have been predestined to fail with a very uneven entry, Reykjavik having withdrawn and been replaced by Guildford and then Koeln Porz having withdrawn on the eve of competition to be replaced by a Wood Green team, whose only function was to give the visiting teams a game, as the Wood Green results were treated as byes to the next round whatever happened.

Were the rules regarding the draw laid down in advance? I would have thought so, but would like confirmation of that if possible. If the rules regarding the draw were laid down in advance, then complaints about the draw being made at random cannot be laid at the hand of RGW.

As for holding the draw for the second round at 6:30 p.m. rather than 8:00 p.m., arguing the toss about that just seems ridiculous and the Appeals Committee rejected the complaints.

[Bob probably had an urgent appointment to listen to the All Blacks on his radio anyway! :wink: ]

Can anyone else shed more light on this incident in Slough 1996?

btw. is there an easy way to create accents in this web app?

Jonathan Rogers
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Re: Bob Wade

Post by Jonathan Rogers » Fri Jan 02, 2009 7:04 pm

Paul

I don't have much to add to my previous post other than that the only person you are likely to find with a better memory of Barbican 1996 is Gary or John McAllister.

I can say that the time of 8pm for the draw was advertised in the bulletin; whether Barbican (the organisers) chose this time or whether it was a daft ECC rule I do not know. I think (though am not 100% sure) that Bob knew about it, and that people did try to dissuade Bob from doing it earlier - remember that the problem was not so much the different time in itself but rather that the captains of some of the affected teams did not know about it and so had not had the opportunity to see for themselves that it was done properly. And why was that so important? Because (a) chess players are suspicious, especially if they play for Kazan (don't get me started on Kazan - Barbican/Barbican 4NCL has encountered them three times now and each time there has been a "story"), (b) they are anxious to retain sponsors - and a sponsor might be displeased at his team failing even to reach the finals, and (c) just to complete the cocktail, there was a virtually guaranteed path to the finals for whomever would be drawn to play Luxembourg. Bob didn't really "get" this.

Of course the appeal was rightly objected. No one could, and no one did, say that there was anything dishonest and untoward about the fact that the draw was done in semi-private - it was not as though it was an English team being secretly paired with Luxembourg (thank heavens!!). But still the appeal happened because they were anxious to try it on - they would probably not have bothered had the fourth team been the anticipated team from Cologne instead of Luxembourg.

Still, it was an avoidable mess and probably the real consequences, as we have noted, were to be felt in Slough 1997.

Paul McKeown
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Re: Bob Wade

Post by Paul McKeown » Mon Jan 05, 2009 3:04 pm

John,

Thank you for the time you haven taken to deal with this. It would be fair to say that the incident regarding holding the second round draw early at the Barbican was, of itself, trivial, but left a hostage for fortune, would it?

I understand that the competition was ruined by withdrawals; essentially one team would get a bye each round (the Wood Green team was "filler"; its points didn't count), which was always going to have a strong impact in a 3 round knock-out. It might have made sense to seed the pairings of the first round, so that the strongest teams had equal chances to qualify, but if the rules specified a random pairing, then changing the rules at the last minute would undoubtedly have given someone or other reason to protest about being treated unfairly - or just protest because they could - as well.

I understand what you mean about Bob not getting it; it struck me strongly, when talking with him at length about various incidents in his life, that he sometimes could be naive in dealing with people who weighted their own interests above those of chess in general.

Gary, would you mean Gary Kenworthy?

And by the way, for readers of this thread, a fun game:

[Event "European Club Cup Qualifier Group 3"]
[Site "London"]
[Date "1996.09.06"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Rogers, Jonathan"]
[Black "Van der Wiel, John TH"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "A41"]
[WhiteElo "2300"]
[BlackElo "2535"]
1. d4 d6 2. Nf3 Bg4 3. g3 Bxf3 4. exf3 c6 5. Bg2 g6 6. O-O Bg7 7. Re1 h5 8. c3
h4 9. Bg5 hxg3 10. hxg3 Bh6 11. f4 Kf8 12. Nd2 Nd7 13. Ne4 d5 14. Bxh6+ Nxh6
15. Ng5 Nf6 16. Qd3 Qd7 17. Re2 Nf5 18. Rae1 Re8 19. c4 dxc4 20. Qxc4 e6 21.
Qc5+ Kg7 22. Qxa7 Ra8 23. Qc5 Rxa2 24. Rxe6 fxe6 25. Nxe6+ Kh7 26. Bh3 Qd6 27.
Qc4 Qd5 28. Qb4 c5 29. Qb6 Re8 30. Qc7+ Re7 31. Ng5+ Kg8 32. Rxe7 Ra1+ 33. Bf1
Nxe7 34. Qxe7 Qc4 35. Qd8+ Kg7 36. Qe7+ Kg8 37. Qd8+ Kg7 38. Qc7+ Kg8 39. Qb8+
Kg7 40. Qxb7+ Kh8 41. Qb8+ Kg7 42. Qa7+ Rxa7 43. Bxc4 cxd4 44. Ne6+ Kh6 45.
Nxd4 1/2-1/2

Who's afraid of the big bad wolf? Not Jonathan Rogers, that's for sure!

Richard James
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Re: Bob Wade

Post by Richard James » Mon Jan 05, 2009 9:06 pm

Paul

You're welcome to come round and consult my library whenever you want (as long as I'm in at the time). I also have the NiC years you were after, although I couldn't find anything on the incidents concerning RGW.


Richard

Jonathan Rogers
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Re: Bob Wade

Post by Jonathan Rogers » Mon Jan 05, 2009 11:35 pm

Hi Paul

Yes, I meant to refer to Gary Kenworthy. You are right to say that the qualifier was ruined by the withdrawal of Cologne. The trouble was that they had been paired with Luxembourg before they withdrew and their substitute (Wood Green) had to take their place directly - meaning that, since Wood Green was not an official entrant, Luxembourg had an official bye into the semis, despite being the weakest team in the whole event. In other words ECC rules regarded the first round draw as fixed in advance and it was not possible to change it even when there was ample time to do so and common sense required it - but it required the semi-final draw to be done at the last possible minute! Obviously absurd and it was this unfortunate combination which caused the incident (because it only happened on account of Luxembourg making the semis in the first place).

There were always withdrawals in these qualifiers. In fact I never heard of one where all eight teams played as originally intended. Happily we are now rid of them.

Yes, I think RGW's error was trivial but as you say a hostage to fortune. You may be right to suggest that he had difficulties in anticipating suspicious attitudes and otherwise reprehensible behaviour of others.

Yes, I was "up for it" v Van der wiel. In fact the game ended with perpetual check around move 38 - I had missed that i could continue with Qa7+,which would have led to the variation ending in Nxd4 (so it is not just the games of Alekhine where this happens!). I would have been winning if I had reached that position, I think. Oh well ....

Paul McKeown
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Re: Bob Wade

Post by Paul McKeown » Tue Jan 06, 2009 1:35 am

Regarding the Barbican 1996 and Slough 1997 incidents, does anyone have copies of Kingpin for those dates? Does Kingpin have anything to say about it?

I used to have a complete collection of Kingpin, but gave it away when I moved house... :(
I have always thought its satire excellent - and incidentally its chess, too!

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