I got this chess federation off a bloke I know in London
He is, indeed, the only candidate, which prompts the thought that some posts would be better left unfilled if a suitable candidate can't be found, and the further thought that a less suitable candidate than Mr Woolgar might be hard to identify. I mean Tim Woolgar? Really?
Put the cost of the beer bitches on my tab, Dave
I suppose there would be some grounds for preferring a candidate who had some interest in chess as such, rather than someone whose sole interest in our game has been that it comprises part of the freak show which he organises for a living. But in the absence of any actual chessplaying candidate, it's not an absolute disqualification. How it's a qualification, though, I'm not quite sure. Perhaps he wishes to revamp the British Championships so that the games are accompanied by singers, hula-hoop girls and what are tastefully referred to as "beer bitches". Nice. Will Tim be promoting women's chess as well? Still, I suppose Mike Tindall and his mates might turn up.
This time next year, Rodney, we'll be in the Olympics
But why not, you say, appoint a man who has made such a success of chessboxing? Because, as this blog is occasionally obliged to observe, he hasn't. The major success of chessboxing has been in convincing so many gullible people in the media that has been a success, such that one part-time club and one or two shows a year (were there any at all in 2010?) has been reported as if it were a success story of Abba-type proportions. Thing is, the whole point of hype is that the hype is supposed to become reality. But here's Tim - after all this hype and all this time - still with his one part-time club and his one or two shows a year. So what's he got to offer us?
There's a cynical view that somebody who's convinced so many hacks that a Potemkin house is, in fact, a palace, might be just the man to market a niche product like ours: and who could object to a cynical view of marketing? But though it's a cynical view, it's not a very bright one, and there's at least two very good reasons why. The first is that given above, which is that hype which doesn't actually work isn't, in the end, very good hype. The second, which I'll expand upon below, is that if you have someone work for you whose skill is not in telling the truth, you can't be sure it isn't you he's going to fib to.
Did anybody say "total crap"?
This is a guy who makes things up. All the time. He holds a title he invented himself and a rating he invented himself: he invents titles and ratings all the time. He's going to try and get his freak show into the Olympics - and then, he isn't. He's applied to Sport England for recognition - except he hasn't. A well-known International Master is going to come to the club to try out chessboxing - except he isn't. His event - according to his sidekick - achieves "global media coverage on countless national TV networks". Except it obviously hasn't. And so on. This isn't an occasional inaccuracy or a slight tendency to exaggeration. It's a permanent policy of making things up in order to promote his private interests.
Is that what you want in a Director of Marketing? Is this somebody you can trust, do you think, to act in a proper way, and to do so in the interests of chess rather than his own? Is he going to use the role to publicise his own events? If he said he wouldn't, why would you believe him? How far can you believe anything that comes from somebody with such a casual attitude to facts?
You can call chessboxing tawdry, or you can call it a joke. You could call this appointment, if it occurs, tawdry, or you could call it a joke.
Or you could just not appoint this ludicrous individual.
I know, from long experience, that English chess can be a spivvy kind of world. A spivvy world in very many ways. But Tim Woolgar? That would really be a spiv too far.
[Thanks to Angus]