Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The page of innocence?

Ask and ye shall receive.

Towards the end of February, I asked Silvio Danailov about Andrew Paulson's allegation that Danailov had spent time in prison.

In March I asked Ali Yazici, who had also been putting the allegation about, what evidence he had to support it. He referred me to a mysterious "Lucy", which turned out to be a pet name for Danailov himself.

So this month, I asked again, not coincidentally on a day when I knew that "Lucy" happened to be visiting London.

As a result, I have been passed the documents that you can read lower down this entry.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Blue or Red Pill? XXIX

Black to play
Rizvi - JMGB, Surrey League 2010

Well that’s 13 posts in already. 25% of the way through the project is perhaps not a bad time to review progress made so far. In truth, I’m having a bit of a crisis of confidence and am not hugely convinced that I’m making much progress.

Actually I’m wondering if players of my strength should even be trying to get a handle on this exchange sacrificing business.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Brixton Byways: 1. Earnest Endeavours

Eighteen months or so ago we strolled around Streatham, Brixton and thereabouts plotting its chess history. Now we return to the task in this post and ensuing series, but this time with a specific focus: the history of the Brixton half of Streatham and Brixton Chess Club. And to be more specific still: its history during its first few decades, from its inception to the end of the 19th Century. Yes, the 19th. It's a narrow focus, and it will be an intensive investigation.

Not that we'll completely neglect the origins of the Streatham half. New evidence about this has only recently emerged, and the accepted wisdom down at the Club  - viz. that Streatham CC appeared only after the First World War, and amalgamated with Brixton CC just after the Second - now needs drastic revision. We'll get on to that in a few weeks time, so watch this space.

In this account of the early history of Brixton CC (and the Streatham bit too, when we get to it) we are not trying (as we did in Streatham Strolls) to document the many well-known chess-historical figures who were "blow-ins" passing through the area, or who, while living hereabouts, played their chess in the main elsewhere (probably in one of the big city clubs) and perhaps at a more exalted level (e.g. Isidor Gunsberg, Henry Bird). We will be looking here at local talent, our home grown variety: Brixtonians brought up and chessed, maybe within the purview of the Town Hall (though it wasn't built until 1906) and who loyally supported their local club through the thick and the thin.
Edwardian Brixton - now with Town Hall (from here)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Jail time

Meanwhile, back at chess politics, poisonous though they be - what is the truth about Silvio Danailov and the prison term he's alleged to have served?

Readers will recall Andrew Paulson's remarkable statement written to justify his campaign for the seupty Presidency of the European Chess Union. It was notable for a series of attacks, of varying degrees of reasonableness, on Nigel Short and a similar series of defences, of varying degrees of unreasonableness, of Zurab Azmaiparashvili. But it also included two serious and important allegations against Silvio Danailov.

If these did not stand out to everybody, this is in part down to Paulson himself, who neither knows a good allegation from a bad one*, nor is a particular master of the art of précis. Nevertheless, they caught other eyes than mine and not long afterwards an interview appeared on Chessdom repeating the allegations.

The interview, a very interesting one too, went through the second of these allegations, the alleged soliciting of a bribe, in some detail, right down to the cuisine in the restaurant on a corner of the Plaza de España in Madrid where Danailov and Paulson had a meeting. (I am familiar with the Plaza de España, but not, alas, the restaurant.) We awaited more information about the first allegation, the prison sentence.

Since then, however, there has been only silence on the matter. Which is particularly odd, since the Chessdom piece was titled "Part 1" and more was promised shortly.

Following weeks? We've had six of them so far.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Those who do not learn from history

Ain't it hard when you discover that
He really wasn't where it's at
Let us suppose, for an optimistic moment, that we take an opportunity presented by the departure of Andrew Paulsen, whatever we think of that departure and the process by which it was reached.

We're not going to, of course, but let us suppose it anyway.

Suppose we recognise that there are some serious problems of political and organisational culture within the English Chess Federation. Suppose we understand that the disasters of the past thirty months or so haven't been accidental, but have arisen out of the structure, the priorities and the modes of behaviour which have developed within that organisation. Suppose we accept that we need to identify them in order to change them.

Wouldn't that be a thing?

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Secrets and lies

It's been, what, just a couple of months since the coup against Andrew Paulson at the English Chess Federation and I don't suppose there's been two more tawdry, disreputable, disgraceful months in the entire history of the organisation.

We've had conspiracy, we've had claims of conspiracy. We've had back-stabbing, we've had elected officials removed without elections. We've had claims, we've had counter-claims. And it all adds up to two tawdry, disreputable, disgraceful months. I could also say poisonous. I could also say a lot of other things.

My personal Disgust-O-Meter long since went into the red zone. Conspiracy and deceit tend to have that effect on me.

Anyway, the latest ridiculous event in this lamentable series, at the date of writing, is the resignation of the Non-Executive Director Sean Hewitt. What has led to Mr Hewitt resigning, when normally he is more concerned with bringing about the resignation of other people? Frankly any reader who hasn't followed this saga is suffering from a particularly happy form of ignorance. But, very very briefly - and yet in more detail than it merits - it revolves around this document, produced by Phil Ehr, so-far-surviving CEO of the ECF.

Tell you what though, I'll leave it until after the fold. And if I were you I wouldn't bother with it. The sun is shining. You're better off going for a walk instead.

It's raining, you say? You're better off going for a walk instead.

It's snowing, there's a force nine gale and there are swarms of giant vampire bats blotting out the sky? You're better off going for a walk instead.

Monday, April 07, 2014

ISE Monday: Vlad takes on f6

White to play
Kramnik - Illescas, Linares 1994

I’m carrying on with a couple of recent themes today: rook takes piece on bishop three (Collector’s Item) and what counts as an ISE (An ISE by Any Other Name).