The Fabulous 00s: Player Freakouts

Players and Their Freakouts

I laughed my butt off at Vinay Bhat’s World Open blog where he describes NM Chris Williams freaking out and the deleterious effect on Vinay’s opponent, FM Thomas Bartell.  Well, of course, it’s not so funny for Bartell who blew a winning game during the Williams freakout.  Apparently Williams was quite a distance away yet still managed to ratchet up the volume level to a full scream and, typical of freakouts, sustained the yelling for a good, long, while.

It reminded me of the time I was playing much closer (the next board over) in Las Vegas from a player destined (bad luck for me) to freak out in the round, Jerry Hanken.  In both Bhat’s case and my case, the offending party would-not-shut-up.

The Infamous Hanken Freakout

Perhaps even more infamous since he’s a perennial officer in the ‘Chess Journalists of America’ – but here he made it impossible for me to … play chess.  I would think “Chess Journalists” would want to allow chess to occur.

[Event “National Open”]
[Site “Las Vegas, NV”]
[Date “2005.06.17”]
[Round “?”]
[White “Steigman, A.J..”]
[Black “Ginsburg, Mark”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[ECO “B23”]

Closed Sicilian

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 e6 3. Nge2 a6 4. a4 Nc6 5. g3 Nf6 6. Bg2 Be7 7. O-O d6 8. h3 O-O 9. d3 Qb6 Just for fun, I’m trying something unusual.

10. g4 Re8 11. Ng3 Bf8 12. Rb1 Nd7 13. g5 Qc7 14. f4 Nd4 15. Be3 b5 16. Nce2 Nxe2+ 17. Qxe2 bxa4 18. f5?! This is not good.  Correct is … not to do it!

18…Ne5 Black can also play simply 18…exf5 19. Nxf5 Ne5 with some edge.

19. Rf4?! White should clog things up with 19. f6! g6 20. h4 Bb7 21. h5 d5 22. Bf4 Bd6 23. Kh2 Rab8

19… exf5 20. exf5 Bb7 21. Rxa4 d5 22. Rh4 Nxd3 23. Rxh7?? This move is not even close to working. 23. Nf1 Nf4 24. Bxf4 Qxf4 25. Rxf4 Rxe2 26. Rf2 for better or worse white has to accept this sort of inferior ending.



23… g6?? Correct, of course, was 23… Qxg3.  This should have been very easy to find.  However, Jerry Hanken on the adjacent board had just resigned and was talking to himself loudly. I told him to be quiet and he would not.   He would NOT.  ARGHHHHH.   As my time ticked down, and Hanken kept up his monologue rant, I could not focus so I committed a blunder that could have turned the game around 360 degrees.  After the correct 23…Qxg3! 24. Qh5 Qxe3+ This position is an elementary forced mate. 25. Kh1 Nf2+ 26. Kg1 Nd1+ 27. Kh1 Qe1+ 28. Kh2 Bd6 mate. Oh my God. The simple fact that black’s bishop can go to d6 in all  lines, giving check, had escaped black’s attention during the Hanken nonsense.   A “Chess Journalist” should not make noises (talking to oneself, or snorting, or fake-coughing) to disrupt other players.  I don’t think it’s just me with this opinion.

24. fxg6 Qxg3 25. Rh8+?? White is also oblivious to the tactical possibilities, in all likelihood due to the Hanken noise machine next board, and mistakenly goes for the perpetual. If 25. gxf7!+ Kxh7 26. Qh5+ Kg7 27. fxe8=N+! Rxe8 28. Qh6+ Kf7 29. Qf6+ Kg8 30. Qg6+ and white wins.

25… Kg7 26. Rh7+ Kg8 1/2-1/2 Guess what.  NOW, Hanken was packing up his pieces and was preparing to leave the tournament hall docilely and silently. ARGHHHH.

A Happy Ending Freakout

At the 1981 Lone Pine tournament, Reshevsky offered a draw to Fedorowicz.  After letting his time tick down, Fedorowicz accepted.  Reshevsky then in a bald-faced absurd maneuver, denied he had made the offer. A massive multi-party (the players, witnesses, the TD) lengthy freakout ensued.  The TD, Kashdan, eliminated all the witnesses saying they were “friends of Reshevsky’s opponent” and upheld Reshevsky’s fabrication.   I am not too nostalgic for the “old days” when TDs engaged in rampant cheating and/or bogus pairings on behalf on their buddies.

The Lone Pine game continued and …. Sammy lost.  Frontier Justice meted out in Lone Pine, which happens to be in Death Valley!

Even more rare than player freakouts are lengthy, borderline hysterical, TD freakouts.  The only one I’ve witnessed belonged to excitable “colors don’t matter in my pairings” Weikel.

And Now It’s Your Turn

Readers, please send in your own freakout stories, particularly if they influenced your game or a game you were watching.

Poll Time!

Enough Unpleasantness, Time for Some Chess

What’s the best way to get rid of the bad taste of player antics?  Some blitz chess!

Here I am playing a Ghost.

Information about F-Ghost(GM) (Last disconnected Tue Jul 28 2009 12:36):

rating [need] win  loss  draw total   best
Bullet          2405  [8]   195   169    21   385   2430 (19-Feb-2001)
Blitz           2923  [8]  1210  1095   272  2577   2981 (18-Nov-2000)
5-minute        2402        295   192    62   549   2515 (04-May-2008)

1: Born 1976 in USSR
2: Lost the way and perished in 2002 in BiH
3: —————————————
4: Kosovo je Srbija

[Event “ICC 5 Min Blitz”]
[Date “2009.07.28”]
[White “GM F-Ghost”]
[Black “Aries2”]

[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “B40”]
[EventDate “2008.09.18”]
[EventType “blitz”]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. c3 d5 4. e5 d4 5. Bb5+ Bd7 6. Qe2 Nc6 7. O-O Nge7 8. Na3 Ng6 9. Qe4 a6 10. Bd3 Qc7 11. Re1 b5 12. h4 c4 13. Bf1 d3
Well, this attempt cutting the board in two is very optimistic, and demands a careful white reaction.

14. b3?! A little slow.  Faster is 14. h5! Bxa3 15. hxg6 Bc5 16. b4 Be7 17. a4 Rb8 with white initiative.

Time to Go Loco

Time to Go Loco

14… Ngxe5? Too frisky.  I was trying to emulate a classic brilliancy, Sax-Ljubojevic London 1980.  I recommend to the readers that they play over the Sax-Ljubojevic game; it is astounding. Better was the sane and very nice 14… Bc5! 15. bxc4 Qb6! (excellent tactics!) 16. Re3 Bxe3 17. dxe3 Qc5  and black is very happy.

15. Nxe5 f5 16. Qf3 Nxe5 17. Qxa8+ 17. Rxe5! puts an end to black’s fantasies.

17…Kf7 18. Rxe5 Qxe5 19. Qb7? Here although the path is getting a little harder, 19. Qf3 Bd6 20. g3 Rc8 21. bxc4 bxc4 22. Qf4! and white wins.  With the text, white presents black with an unexpected chance. Now, it’s quiz time. What do I do?

19…Ke8 WRONG.

The spectacular correct move is 19… Bd6!! 20. Qxd7+ Kf6  and black is assured of at least a draw!  Not so incredible, since white’s entire queenside force is ‘asleep’.  The line continues 21. g3 Bc5! and feast your eyes on the tableau:

Black's Tiny Army Fights Successfully

Black's Tiny Army Fights Successfully

Position after 21…Bc5! (Analysis).  Black has at least a draw!

22. Qc6 Qxg3+ 23. Qg2 Bxf2+ 24. Kh1 Qxh4+ 25. Qh3 Qe4+ 26. Kh2 and now black can play aggressively with 26… g5  or force an immediate draw with 26… Ba7 27. bxc4 Bb8+ 28. Kg1 Ba7+.   It’s amazing how black’s well-coordinated, but TINY army, saves the day and even preserves winning chances!

20. bxc4 Bd6 21. g3 The simple 21. Bxd3! winning demonstrates how bad black’s 19th was.

21…f4 22. Qf3 Rf8 23. g4! Effective enough.

23…Ke7 24. Bxd3 Bc6 25. Qxc6 f3 26. Qb7+ Kd8 27. Kf1 Qh2 28. Ke1 Bg3 29. fxg3 f2+ 30. Kd1 f1=Q+ 31. Bxf1 Rxf1+ 32. Kc2 Qxg3 33. Qb8+

HAHAHAHA.  Since black has seconds left and will lose on time in any event, white moves his queen en-prise.  A classical Naka taunt. 🙂

33…Ke7 34. Qxg3 1-0

And for More Humor: CNN Text Scroll Gaffes

For those who can’t get enough humor, I went to lunch today at PF Chang.  The TV overhead was tuned to CNN at a very low volume but it had a text scroll at the time (presumably for hard of hearing viewers).  Amusingly the text scroll made some mistakes that almost made sense in the context of the story, but not quite.

First, CNN was running a story on Pres. Obama addressing the AARP on health care reform.  According to the text scroll, Obama told the AARP audience, “I know hell care is not working for you.  I know I have to fix hell care.  I know we have big problems with hell care.”   That one drew some yucks.  The next story up:  quarterback Michael Vick was reinstated into the NFL after a long jail stint for dog fighting.  The text scroll kept saying “Victory Dogs…”  …. “Victory Dogs”…. the story was actually trying to say “Vick’s dogs.”

Playing The Oddball

The following poll starts to measure your oddball experiences.

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2 Responses to “The Fabulous 00s: Player Freakouts”

  1. fluffybunnyfeet Says:

    Sigh. Yet another VOH (Victim Of Hanken). We should order jackets…

  2. Scourge Says:

    I think the fondest memories of many are the times that Little Sammy stormed out of the tournament hall, crimson-faced, in defeat. I’d love to hear the hear “The Fed”‘s account of that game.

    I believe not too long ago, in Iceland, Ivan Sokolov said to Korchnoi, “just because you are old does not give you the right to be an Arschloch.” (I use the German term for no particular reason).

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