The Barbican 1996 and Slough 1997 Affairs

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Ben Purton
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Re: Bob Wade

Post by Ben Purton » Tue Jan 06, 2009 8:17 pm

I dont know much about Bob or the history of chess in 60,70,80's. So I guess Ill read the book!. But If you need me to contact Nigel Johnson for a view on Slough tournament I can, Im assuming he was running/there because he did most of the club work at this period.
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I would die happy if I beat Wood Green in the Eastman Cup final - Richmond LL captain.
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Re: Bob Wade

Post by John Upham » Tue Jan 06, 2009 8:21 pm

Ben Purton wrote:I dont know much about Bob or the history of chess in 60,70,80's. So I guess Ill read the book!. But If you need me to contact Nigel Johnson for a view on Slough tournament I can, Im assuming he was running/there because he did most of the club work at this period.

Ben,

Can you tell us about NJ and the "Spectacles Incident" at one of the BCF Annual Championships. I think it was one at Brighton. Perhaps you could ask him for details?
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Ben Purton
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Re: Bob Wade

Post by Ben Purton » Tue Jan 06, 2009 8:28 pm

Is it relevent to this book or just for common interest
I love sleep, I need 8 hours a day and about 10 at night - Bill Hicks
I would die happy if I beat Wood Green in the Eastman Cup final - Richmond LL captain.
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Paul McKeown
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Re: Bob Wade

Post by Paul McKeown » Tue Jan 13, 2009 6:58 pm

I have tracked down RGW's letter to FIDE regarding the incident at Slough in 1997, which helps clarify what happened. It is published in an edition of the Chess Arbiters Newsletter on the Chess Arbiters website. I reproduce it here, complete with some comments by the late Richard Furness in italics:
Arbiting Matters No. 13 Winter 1998, published on the Chess Arbiters Website, http://chessarbiters.co.uk/Arbiting_Matters.aspx, viewed 13 January 2009 wrote:This is a report on problems occurring at the board five game A Summerscale (Slough) v A Felsberger (SK Merkur Versicherungen Graz).

When I was called to the board from supervising another game, I found

1 Summerscale had stopped both clocks.

2 Summerscale had about one minute in which to play his next ten moves.

3 Felsberger had not written down any moves from move 23 onwards but had inserted dashes on his scoresheet [presumably for moves 23 to 30 inclusive - RAF].

5 Summerscale had asked emphatically more than once that Felsburger write the moves.

6 Mr Andrew P Smith, a 2255 player, who was stewarding the game on my behalf and writing a separate scoresheet, had requested Mr Felsburger to enter the moves.

Mr Felsburger, a 2375 player, is experienced enough to have understood that he was obliged to write the moves and not "blitz" his opponent. However he turned to his captain, Mr Peter Detter, apparently to ask for a translation. Mr Detter advised his player to "mark" the moves. This is incorrect advice. I could have awarded Mr Summerscale extra time on two counts.

I insisted that Mr Felsburger write his scoresheet up to date and he immediately started to do so - his clock was still stopped.

While Mr Felsburger was filling in his moves, his captain - without any authority - started Mr Summerscale's clock going, even though it was not Summerscale's turn to move! This is unacceptable behaviour. Penalty?

Mr Summerscale quickly stopped his clock, incidentally starting the Austrian club player's clock.
Mr Detter once again started the Slough player's clock. Again Mr Summerscale stopped his clock and started his opponents going.

This touching of the clock [by Detter - RAF] is not acceptable. I immediately asked Mr Detter to leave the playing room, and turned back to supervise the continuation of the game.
Then, apparently, Mr Detter, before stepping back from the game, prodded Mr Summerscale in the back and called him a "m... f...", a gross swearing expression. I write "apparently" as I did not see this incident, but there are reliable witnesses.

Felsburger's scoresheet was written up, the game continued and both players reached the time control.

Grandmaster Tony Miles, the Slough Club's captain, then presented me with a typed protest about Mr Detter's behaviour. I quietly presented this typed sheet to Mr Detter and asked him for his comments. Mr Detter, without reading it, ripped it up !

How should such a series of incidents be handled? I examined the rules. I took my time. I allowed the players to continue. I attended to other games.

Mr Summerscale's clock reached the third hour after his move 43. This technical loss coincided with my decision to award the game to Slough on account of Mr Detter's unacceptable behaviour.

I would have preferred, if it had been possible, for the team and not the player, to be penalised by one point.

I am sending a copy of this report to the FIDE Rating Officer, Lausanne, suggesting that Summerscale - Felsburger be not entered as a loss, but perhaps even as a win for Felsburger.

I enclose a copy of a letter of protest from Mr Detter. In my opinion it fails to tackle the crucial points.

Robert G Wade, Arbiter
I will reproduce some further material later this evening.

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Re: Bob Wade

Post by Paul McKeown » Tue Jan 13, 2009 11:32 pm

As promised earlier, I will now post more material from the Chess Arbiters website regarding the Slough affair of 1997, again with some comments by the late Richard Furness in italics:
Arbiting Matters No. 13 Winter 1998, published on the Chess Arbiters Website, http://chessarbiters.co.uk/Arbiting_Matters.aspx, viewed 13 January 2009 wrote:the findings of the Appeal Committee were set-out as follows.

"The committee concludes that

a) Mr Felsberger made the first error in not obeying Article 8.1 of the Laws of Chess [each player is required to record his own moves and those of his opponent move after move - RAF].

b) Mr Summerscale made the second error in not obeying Article 6.12(b) (A player may stop the clocks in order to seek the arbiter's assistance) and Article 12.5. [It is forbidden to distract or annoy the opponent in any manner whatsoever - RAF].

c) the arbiter made the third error for not ensuring that Mr Felsberger's clock was running while he brought his scoresheet up-to-date according to Article 8.5.

d) the Austrian captain made the fourth error by repeated interference in a game in progress contrary to Tournament Rules C.O6 page 7 V "The role of the captain".

At a certain moment the captain of Slough, Mr Miles, protested in written form. Based on this protest the arbiter decided to award the game to Mr. Summerscale on account of Mr Detter's unacceptable behaviour.

Against this decision of the arbiter Mr Detter protested in written form.

The committee concludes that the fifth error was made by the organiser of the event in not arranging the formation of an Appeals Committee according to D.IV page 5 - Section 4.41 of the FIDE Handbook. The fact that the captains, the arbiter and the organisers overlooked this, is understandable. If there had been an Appeals Committee the problem could be solved immediately.

The committee likes to point out that an absolutely correct ruling is not easy to decide, but the committee wishes to express the opinion, that the decision of the arbiter to award the game to Mr Summerscale is not correct. The only error made by Mr Felsberger is not recording the moves [eight times ! - RAF] and at the moment the arbiter told him to record the moves he did so. Such an error occurs many times, but as far as the committee knows, the game was never declared lost for the player who did not obey Article 8.1 and Article 12.7 [... persistently refuses to comply with the Laws ... - RAF].

Also the misconduct of the captain of Merkur is not sufficient reason to take such an extreme decision. Also the arbiter has this opinion. In his report he wrote: "I would have preferred, if it had been possible, for the team and not the player, to be penalised by one point. "

The committee decides:

1. The result of the game Summerscale-Felsberger is 0-1.

2. For the next round in the 1997 Europe Cup competition and for the following two years, it is forbidden for Mr Detter to act as a captain in the Europe Club Cup Competition."
Again I will post some more material about this in a little while.

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Re: Bob Wade

Post by Paul McKeown » Wed Jan 14, 2009 1:24 am

The incident reached the pages of the main national newspapers. Arbiting Matters provides the following quotes:
Arbiting Matters No. 13 Winter 1998, published on the Chess Arbiters Website, http://chessarbiters.co.uk/Arbiting_Matters.aspx, viewed 13 January 2009 wrote:"Unchecked temper tips chess chief overboard" - THE TIMES
"Swearing and pushing end Cup game" - THE DAILY TELEGRAPH
"Rough moves are simply not chess" - THE GUARDIAN
Arbiting Matters No. 13 Winter 1998, published on the Chess Arbiters Website, http://chessarbiters.co.uk/Arbiting_Matters.aspx, viewed 13 January 2009 wrote:Alan Hamilton wrote in THE TIMES (26th September) "Chess players will be familiar with the Sicilian Defence, but the Austrian Attack is an entirely new gambit. Imagine a European Cup tie in which the away team's manager tears up the referee's yellow card, tampers with his watch, offers physical abuse to a home player, and stomps off the field shouting profanities at the opposition, and all this when his own side are winning.

The match was an England-Austria European qualifier, but there was no football involved; it happened on the cerebral and traditionally level playing field of chess."
Last edited by Paul McKeown on Wed Jan 14, 2009 1:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Bob Wade

Post by Paul McKeown » Wed Jan 14, 2009 1:27 am

Richard Furness made some further comments about the affair in Arbiting Matters:
Arbiting Matters No. 13 Winter 1998, published on the Chess Arbiters Website, http://chessarbiters.co.uk/Arbiting_Matters.aspx, viewed 13 January 2009 wrote:My thanks to Bob Wade for supplying the two reports - RAF. I am interested in the detail of the findings and not surprised at the decision to award the game to Mr Felsburger, but the repeated offences by Mr Detter seem to have been marginalised.

What about, the fourth error being Detter's incorrect advice to his player, the fifth error his starting of Summerscale's clock, the sixth error again starting Summerscale's clock, the seventh error his punching Summerscale in the back, the eighth error his obscenity, the ninth error his tearing-up of the protest from Miles?

Simply banning him from being captain is no punishment whatsoever. Assuming spectators can attend matches, he can be captain in all but name at every match. If there are banks in Graz, someone must be laughing all the way to his!
Arbiting Matters No. 13 Winter 1998, published on the Chess Arbiters Website, http://chessarbiters.co.uk/Arbiting_Matters.aspx, viewed 13 January 2009 wrote:The issue is one of "blitzing" and as such it is deserving of close study since as arbiters we all have to deal with such behaviour at some time or another.
Arbiting Matters No. 13 Winter 1998, published on the Chess Arbiters Website, http://chessarbiters.co.uk/Arbiting_Matters.aspx, viewed 13 January 2009 wrote:For a major dispute – as this undoubtedly was – there was surprisingly little disagreement about what happened. In addition to the newspapers mentioned above I can add Jon Speelman in THE OBSERVER and Tony Kosten who was playing on the adjacent board. All are in agreement. The Austrian club does not seem to dispute the events, it simply ignores them.

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Re: Bob Wade

Post by Paul McKeown » Wed Jan 14, 2009 3:22 am

I think I have sufficient material on this affair to draw my own tentative conclusions:

Point 1 — Aaron Summerscale

From the testimony available, Aaron Summerscale was the blameless victim in this affair. That the European Chess Union Appeals Committee saw fit to invoke Article 6.12(b) and Article 12.5 seems at first sight bonkers. What else should AS have done? He stopped the clock and waited for the arbiter to sort the matter out. How is that distracting the opponent?

The answer must lie in the Appeal written by Peter Detter, the Merkur Graz captain, to the ECU. I do not have that testimony available — does anyone have the text of the Appeal letter from Detter to the ECU?

I have appended the report which appeared in the Wienerzeitung, complete with the full text of John van der Wiel's letter (rant) to this posting. My current assumption is that Detter's appeal must have been similar in tone to the Austrian newspaper report. It is, of course, a fair question as to how much that testimony should be given credence.



Point 2 — Alfred Felsburger

The Merkur Graz player, Alfred Felsburger, had "blitzed" AS from move 23 to move 30. He had not recorded his moves during that time, merely marked moves made by dashes. He had been asked repeatedly to do so by both AS and by Andrew P Smith, the assistant arbiter, but repeatedly failed to comply with this requirement.

Let me introduce the score for the game here, which I obtained from Mark Crowther of TWIC:

European Club Cup Qualifying Group 3 — Slough
21 Sept. 1997
Slough - Merkur Graz
Rd. 3 (final), Bd. 6
Summerscale, Aaron (2420) - Felsberger, Alfred (2375)
English Opening [A30]

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. Nc3 b6 4. g3 Bb7 5. Bg2 e6 6. 0–0 a6 7. Re1 d6 8. e4 Be7 9. d4 cxd4 10. Nxd4 Qc7 11. Be3 0–0 12. Rc1 Nbd7 13. f4 Rac8 14. b3 Rfe8 15. Bf2 Bf8 16. h3 g6 17. Nde2 Qb8 18. g4 b5 19. Ng3 h6 20. cxb5 axb5 21. Nxb5 Rxc1 22. Qxc1 Rc8 23. Qd1 Ba6 24. Nd4 e5 25. Nde2 d5 26. g5 exf4 27. gxf6 fxg3 28. Bxg3 Bxe2 29. Bxb8 Bxd1 30. Rxd1 Rxb8 31. exd5 Nxf6 32. Bf1 Ne4 33. Kg2 Rc8 34. Bc4 Kg7 35. a4 Bb4 36. Rd4 f5 37. Bb5 Bc5 38. Rd3 Kf6 39. a5 Ke5 40. Bc4 g5 41. a6 h5 42. Rd1 g4 43. Rb1 f4

MC then appends the following text to the score, "At this point Summerscale allowed his clock to run for an hour without moving."

At the point that AF began to blitz AS (move 23), AS had an extra pawn, but Black would appear to have had adequate dynamic compensation for the material. It is possible that AS played inaccurately during his moves 24 - 27, but I am not qualified to make that judgement, certainly not without carrying out a great deal of analysis. It is clear, though that AS blundered with his 28th move, 28. Bxg3, which loses a piece to the simple tactic of removing the guard; 28. Nxg3 was, instead, necessary.

A salient question is: Would Aaron Summerscale have committed this blunder if his opponent had not blatantly been breaking the laws of chess? A blunder can after all be born out of frustration.

I would like to know if other readers of this thread think it reasonable to consider the evidence of the scoresheet (which was presented after all to the ECU) and to consider whether AS might have blundered if his opponent had not been blitzing.



Point 3 — Peter Detter

The Austrian team captain Peter Detter behaved in a way that would have earned him a lengthy touch-line ban in a sport such as football.

i) PD advised his player, AF, to "mark" the moves, contrary to the request of the arbiter and contrary to the laws of chess.
ii) PD twice started AS's clock whilst AF was completing his score; he did this without authority. Worse still, it was not AS's turn to move – and he was already very short of time.
iii) PD subjected AS to a physical and verbal onslaught
iv) PD tore up the letter of protest written by Tony Miles, the Slough team captain

My view of this is that if a team captain or a player were to behave so badly, then they might expect their team to be docked penalty points or even to be banned from the competition, for two reasons:
i) such behaviour brings the game into disrepute
ii) it breaks the contract between the organisers and the participants requiring standards be upheld

Does that seem unreasonable to the readers of this thread - I am interested in other opinions?




Point 4 — Bob Wade

Bob made some mistakes:
i) He did not start AF's clock, whilst requiring him to complete his scoresheet. This was pointed out by the ECU Appeals Committee
ii) He did not award AS extra time, which he ought to have been awarded due to his opponent having blitzed him. This was pointed out by RGW himself. It is moot point, though, whether, by move 30, this would have made any difference to the result of the game, the damage having already been done
iii) He did not dock AF time — surely as AF had gained time by failing to record his moves this would have been a reasonable sanction
iv) He felt sorry for the Austrian, Felsburger, and requested that he not lose IRL points, despite losing the game. Unfortunately, this was merely treated as a sign of weakness and an implicit acknowledgement of fault. A harder nosed individual would not have relented in this fashion, taking instead the view that Felsburger's behaviour merited the punishment; that Bob relented may well have swung the Appeals Committee.

It might also be thought that Bob made an error in delaying making decisions, but this was understandable given that other games were taking place that needed observing. Moreover, it was clear that at this point he was considering a technical null already — as he himself stated he needed to mull things over in his own mind. A technical null is an unusual and severe penalty — and as such should not be contemplated on the spur of the moment.





Point 5 — The Technical Null

The laws of chess allow an arbiter to award a loss for severe infringements. Leaving the question of the behaviour of the Austrian team captain aside, the question then is whether the Austrian player's behaviour was such as to merit such a punishment.

To me it seems that this is certainly possible. After all he had, move after move, deliberately refused to abide by the laws of chess, despite being requested so to do, both by his opponent and by the assistant arbiter. It could certainly be argued that this provocation was an external cause of his opponent's blunder on move 28. And to argue that his team captain had instructed him to record moves completed with dashes, is irrelevant: he has a duty to know the laws of chess himself and to ignore any requests to set them aside.

What do other's think?




Point 6 — The Decision of the ECU Appeals Committee

... should surely have been to exclude Merkur Graz from the competition.

Or am I wrong?





Appendix
Schacharchiv der Wienerzeitung: Artikel#: 431 vom 21.09.1997 wrote:Einen skandalösen Verlauf nahm die vom 19. bis 21. September in Slough, nahe London gelegen, ausgetragene Vorrunde zum Europacup für Vereinsmannschaften. Nachdem sich der Veranstalter, Slough CC, und der österreichische Meister Merkur Graz das Finale jeweils souverän erreicht hatten, mußte die Entscheidung um den Aufstieg im Finale Slough gg. Merkur Graz fallen.

In der alles entscheidenden Partie am 6. Brett zwischen GM Summerscal und FM Felsberger waren beide Spieler in großer Zeitnot. In dieser Phase, Summerscale hatte in bereits aussichtsloser Lage nur noch weniger als 1 Minute, Felsberger noch etwa 6½ Minuten auf der Uhr, begann der Grazer die Züge zu markieren, anstatt sie zu notieren. Der Engländer, dessen Nerven offenbar dem Druck, für das Ausscheiden seines Klubs verantwortlich zu sein, nicht standhielten, begann den Grazer anzuschreien, daß dieser die Züge nur markierte, anstatt sie - wie es die Regeln erfordern - mitzuschreiben. Über den weiteren Verlauf gibt es divergierende Aussagen. Festzustehen scheint jedoch, daß IS Robert Wade völlig überfordert agierte und ihm haarsträubende Fehler (wollen wir es so nennen) unterlaufen sind. Nachdem er vorerst den Sieg Felsbergers am Partieformular mit seiner Unterschrift beglaubigt hatte, gab er später dem Druck seiner Landsleute nach und strafverifizierte die für die Grazer am Brestt glatt gewonnene Partie wegen "schlechten Benehmens" des Grazer Mannschaftskapitäns zugunsten von Slough. Auch lehnter er die von den Grazern geforderte Einberufung eines Schiedsgerichts, wie es die Ausschreibung für Streitfälle vorsieht, kategorisch ab. Ein in der noch jungen Geschichte des Europacups für Vereinsmannschaften wohl noch nie dagewesener Skandal (Siehe hierzu den unabhängigen Bericht des holländischen Mannschaftskapitäns GM John van der Wiel im Anhang).
The full text of the JvdW letter is appended to the report in the Wienerzeitung:
IGM John van der Wiel
[... Contact details deleted ...]

An: Herrn Stubenvoll
[... Contact details deleted ...]

Leiden, 24. September 1997

Betrifft: Vorkommnisse bei der Vorrunde zum Europacup für Vereinsmeisterschaft, Gruppe 3 in Slough (London) 1997.Darstellung aus der Sicht des SV Panfox Breda, Niederlande.

Zu den Ereignissen an Brett 6 im Match Slough gg. Merkur Graz (die Einzelheiten dürfen als bekannt vorausgesetzt werden) wäre unseres Erachtens nur folgende Reaktion angebracht gewesen: Eine Verwarnung des Merkur-Kapitäns sowie eine Zeitgutschrift von einigen Minuten für den englischen Spieler. Theoretisch ist es zwar möglich, schlechtes Benehmen eines Teamkapitäns mit einem Partieverlust zu ahnden, doch ist eine solche Maßnahme nur bei Extremfällen anzuwenden, wovon aber hier keine Rede sein konnte. Die Engländer fingen erst von Strafen zu reden an als die Partie an Brett 6 längst weitergespielt und verloren war (hat man unter Protest weitergespielt? Hat Summerscale aufgegeben? Falls nein, bzw. ja, scheint uns Slough überhaupt keine Rechte mehr zu haben!) und klar wurde, daß Slough das Match verliert. Zeitkompensation hätte auch nicht mehr geholfen, denn der Österreicher hatte eine Mehrfigur und glatte Gewinnstellung. Kann man einem Spieler, der nichts besonderes falsch gemacht hat (die englische Meinung, daß er nicht mit seinem Kapitän sprechen darf, teilen wir nicht. Das ist durchaus üblich und, wenn er nicht versteht, was sein Gegner auf Englisch schreit, soll er dann nach einem Dolmetsch rufen?) einfach den Gewinnpunkt abnehmen? Nicht ohne besonders gewichtige Gründe, die es unseres Erachtens jedoch nicht gab. Die Engländer hätten höchstens einen (u.E. chancenlosen) Protest einbringen können. Was in Slough passiert ist, der Qualifikation des Heimteams durch den Schiedsrichter nachzuhelfen, finden wir nahezu kriminell.

Wir empfehlen daher Hauptschiedsrichter Robert Wade, der sich die letzten Jahre bereits wiederholt als völlig inkompetent erwiesen, und in Slough das Geschehen mit einer massiven Fehlentscheidung beeinflußt hat, zu suspendieren und dem SK Merkur Versicherungen Graz den verdienten Sieg zuzusprechen.

John van der Wiel e.h.

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Re: Bob Wade

Post by Paul McKeown » Wed Jan 14, 2009 3:38 pm

Paul McKeown wrote: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 managed to look at Kingpin whilst round at Richard James's last week; nothing reported there.

Still looking for Einar Gausel's newspaper column which reported on the event. Can anyone help, please? A truly independent source would be most valuable.

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Re: The Barbican 1996 and Slough 1997 Affairs

Post by Paul McKeown » Fri Jan 30, 2009 2:12 am

I have split this topic from the original Bob Wade thread, as it was somewhat dominating that thread, whilst other, perhaps more interesting, aspects of Bob's life were getting pushed into the background.


For the sake of reference, I quote the original post I put to the Bob Wade thread, which led to this one starting:
Paul McKeown wrote:Hello. I have been working with Bob Wade for several years on a biography of the man. Despite his large library, many things have still escaped me. To start with, I would like to properly document his work with FIDE. Can anyone help me with the following:
a) FIDE minutes or correspondence in the period 1948 - 1953 dealing with the re-entry of the three German states (BRD, DDR, Saarland) into FIDE following the war; Bob wrote a report on the subject for FIDE, does anyone still have a copy? Does anyone have access to German newspaper reports on Bob's travels through Germany in 1949 - 50 - I have a few, but would be very happy to receive more.
b) FIDE minutes or correspondence in the period 1948 - 1953 dealing with the reconciliation of the FIDE and Soviet codexes; Bob was on the sub-committee dealing with this important matter, as, of course was BH Wood. BH Wood wrote a fair bit about the subject in Chess and Bob also wrote a little in Chess, BCM, New Zealand Chess Player and Canadian Chess Chat. BH Wood's comments on the Rumens/Mabbs affair (March 20th 1958, pp. 174 - 176) give some insight into one of the positions that Bob took, but the topic is of course much wider than just that.
c) FIDE minutes or correspondence in the period 1948 - 1953 dealing with the awarding of GM and IM titles. Bob was again on the committee. Are there minutes or other close sources regarding the General Assembly which awarded Bob, on Soviet proposal, the IM title?
d) FIDE minutes or correspondence dealing with why NZ left FIDE in 1953.

All of these may be present in Czechoslovak journals from the time, which I don't have access to. Anyone?

e) Details of Bob's introduction of the ban on smoking in the 1980's when he was on the Rules Commission.
f) When was Bob made secretary of the Rules Commission? 1989?
g) Information regarding the Slough 1997 controversy. Does anyone have access to Einar Gausel's Norwegian (and hence independent) newspaper report on the incident. I have John Saunder's (teletext), Mark Crowther's (TWIC), John van der Wiel's and the Wienerzeitung reports and the ECU decision about this, but I have a feeling that Gausel's report will be the only truly and fair-minded independent report. Bob was still angry about the affair ten years later and muttered darkly about many things, including the hidden, but perhaps highly relevant fact that van der Wiel's wife, Jutta Borek, was an Austrian. Was Borek from Graz?

Anyway - enough for a first posting. Any help would be very welcome!

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Re: The Barbican 1996 and Slough 1997 Affairs

Post by Martin Crichton » Tue Jul 21, 2009 4:15 pm

The Slough 1997 affair was a most interesting affair indeed.... I shall enlighten those reading this post this eve some time when I return home from work later. I was the main witness! I came across this forum / discussion by chance.
there were many participants and villians in this affair...
Adams, Miles, Wade, Speelman, Summerscale and his opponent and that infamous Austrian captain all participated or had an input into the outcome of the result on that memorable day in varying degrees.
I shall try to recollect events on that day as best I can.....

ok I am home now.....well as I best recollect that particular weekend there was a nasty rail crash on the paddington line not far from slough....as it happened there were was a local (to me back home) team from Cork playing that weekend also (Douglas) so I went along as a spectator (very few there) to see how some of my old chess colleagues and rivals were getting on against much tougher opposition.... I knew most of the Slough players too but not very well... not sure if I had maybe played a few games at that time for the Slough 2nd or 3rd team...anyway....back to the chess....

The Slough team were playing the Austrian team in the last round and the winner would progress to the finals of the European team championships..... My friend Nigel Johnson was the Slough captain and main sponsor of the Slough team although I had only known Nigel for about a year os so back then.

I shall basically give the bigger picture here as most readers may only be partially aware of 1 specific incident which received a lot of attention at the time as I recall.

Slough were odds on favourites to win the match and outgraded their Austrian opponents by about 200+ points on most boards (the top 5-6 boards) I can't remember but I think they were 8 board matches....(Anything I remember specifically I will highlight in bold.)

I remember Slough had Adams , Miles, Speelman, Summerscale, and I think others included Wells and Houska,J...apologies for not remembering the full team. I was walking around and watching other games also. I remember Adams's game was over quickly (Nigel was a bit peeved that he seemed to make peace so quickly with a player a few hundred points below him... I think I might have been too if I forked out a grand a game or did Nige get him for £750 a game back then... either way I don't think Adams worked particularly hard for his money that day (Authors opinion only)... Next to finish was Miles.... I was watching that game and Miles's opponent was graded approx 2300 about 250 FIDE points below Miles's. That game was less than 20 moves? (maybe only 16-17?) and Miles was black but I remember after Miles offered a draw (the position was quite sharp some resemblances to a sicilian dragon v a queen pawn opening from white if that makes sense?) Miles said to his opponent that he did not like playing those positions as black
And there was another draw shortly after that on one of the higher boards so 3 quick draws from Sloughs elite players...no wonder poor Nigel felt short changed lol.
But before we get the the specific incident that got all the publicity perhaps I shoud draw attention to the biggest villian from a purely chess point of view on the day. The often brilliant but sometimes enigmatic Jon Speelman!
I was of course watching Speelman's game quite closely because he had a fantastic position against his opponent very exciting to watch and without a doubt Speelman was giving a masterclass to his opponent... I was in awe a little.. I was wondering what Speelmans next move was going to be at various points in his game...it was a pleasure to watch.... I was there at the critical point when Speelman had several choices to win.. it was merely a question of which way is best? who knows what was going through Speelmans mind at the time? only Speelman can answer that however what unfolded was that Speelman obviously suffered a moment of temporary insanity and sacrificed his queen (no doubt he had seen a beautiful finish in his mind) but I was perplexed.... ok I am only a 2000 player but even so...hmmm obviously it was a deep move much deeper than a mere mortal like me could see so I waited to see his opponents replies....hmmm 2 moves later Speelman resigned....oops oh dear lol..... so it was left to the lower boards to decide the outcome of the match... and let me tell you readers...it was not looking good.... Summerscale was playing on board 6 or 7 against a player rated below 2300 perhaps below 2250? and he looked busted but looked like a lot of play left in his game but the outcome never looked in doubt so long as his opponent didn't pull a Speelman!...anyway I drifted off to watch some of the other games.
As the time limit was approaching I came back to look at the games where players were in timetrouble and I was about 2-3 feet away from Summerscale and he had only a few minutes left on his clock and was totally lost but obviously playing on out of inertia (as you do sometimes)
This is the actual incident as I (the only witness apart from the Austrian team captain) recall. Summerscale's opponent did something a little naughty (whether he was intentionally hustling Summerscale or merely caught up in the occasion (he was moments away from a GM scalp) I can not say. He played a few moves (forced sequence) without writing down his moves after each move. Summerscale quite correctly pointed out that his opponent must write down the moves and as I recall pressed his opponents clock until his opponent had written down his move. At this point the Austrian team captain interferred with the game. He (the Austrian team captain) took great offence at the fact that Summerscale pressed his opponents clock when it was Summerscales move (which technically it was not as his opponent had not written down the moves he made). He (the Austrian team captain) immediately pressed Summerscales clock , knelt beside him, put his hand on Summerscales back and wispered something in a hostile tone in Summerscales ear which I could not hear but which ended with the words... you m.other f.ucker (which I did hear). Summerscale was obviously disturbed but somehow managed to compose himself and finsh the game... he resigned a few moves later... the outcome of the game had never been in doubt. At this point Miles and others came around to enquire what had happened and Summerscale told them. The FIDE arbriter Bob Wade was not present in the playing hall .
Miles almost ran out to find Bob Wade. Bob was doing paperwork in another room off some passage way away from the playing hall. Out of curiousity I did wander after Miles to see what was going on.
Miles was protesting vigiously to Bob Wade.... Maybe 30-40 minutes later I recall passing Bob again and I do remember hearing Miles telling Bob..he must make a decision there and then on the day.

All of this happened away from the playing hall and it would be perfectly understandable for the Austrian players to think there was some sort of colusion going on between Miles and Bob Wade....
I understand subsequently (as I went home shortly after that) that Bob made a ruling in favour of the Slough team and awarded a win in that game to Summerscale? I read subsequently that his ruling was overturned and the original result of the game stood.
The Austrian captain's behaviour was dispicable but I do not see how one could penalise Summerscale's opponent for the lunatic behaviour of his team captain. (I understand that Austrian captain got a 2 or 5 year ban afterwards? too lenient in my opinion)) It was a most unsavoury incident and put a real dampener on an already sour day from Slough's perspective.

Most likely this could have been prevented had an Arbiter with prescence and Authority been in attendance at the board at the time. At no point then or after did Bob Wade or anyone ask me did I see what happened. One must remember that even then in 1997 Bob was a feeble old man and probably not the best choice to control a Preliminary European team tournament on his own.

Sorry Nigel (if you ever read this but....) At the end of the day the best team on the day won.
Member of "the strongest amateur chess club in London" (Cavendish)

my views are not representative of any clubs or organisations.

Paul McKeown
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Re: The Barbican 1996 and Slough 1997 Affairs

Post by Paul McKeown » Wed Jul 22, 2009 9:05 am

Thanks for this Martin.
Good to see you last night, sorry we couldn't talk!
Paul.

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