Well, if we are to wade through every mound of bullshit that Tim Woolgar and his cronies have left for us, we will certainly need Wellington boots, so let us content ourselves with a look at last Saturday's line-up.
Costello and Sazhin, who were due to meet last Saturday, have both been in the chessboxing racket for quite a while now, and Costello was in Wired magazine last year telling yet another gullible hack the usual cobblers:
Lennox Lewis is a great chess player; the Klitschko brothers are even better.How good you have to be, to be "even better" than "great", perhaps only Mr Costello can tell us: perhaps he could tell us how good "highly-rated" is, too, since we are told that both he and Mr Sazhin are "highly-rated chess players in their own right".
Maybe, maybe not: indeed "how highly-rated?" is not a more pertinent question than "rated
by whom?" since Mr Costello does not appear to presently have either an English or an international rating.
Nor can I find an international rating for Mr Sazhin although remarkably enough he does possess a Wikipedia page which gives his Elo rating as 1911. Source unknown.
Perhaps Mr Sazhin's page requires updating, since 1911 is a good deal less than 2000, which is a shame since the press release claims that
with five fighters rated above 2000 Elo this is the highest quality chesboxing (sic) line-up ever assembledmaking it hard for us to include Mr S among that famous five.
So who can they be? I seem to have played this particular course at least once before but if you will indulge me on this additional occasion, I have to inform you that having run the players' names through the appropriate resource, I have found, not five, but only one meeting the aforementioned description.
We got the numbers
Where the other four are to come from, Lord only knows: even the ECF database (a resource with which Tim Woolgar is presumably familiar, being, ludicrously, Marketing Director of that organisation) offers us only Mike Botteley as a plausible candidate, his ECF of 170 just making it above 2000 if we convert to Elo. Not that that actually makes it an Elo grade, of course, but as it doubles our score, who's quibbling?
Mike Botteley is a master of calculation
Who knows? Maybe they play chess under other names. Or maybe their rankings come from some other source that I'm unaware of. Or maybe, like so much else about the chessboxing circus, some clown just made them up.
One assumes that this circus will carry on a while yet, as there is never likely to be any shortage of hacks of dubious reputation to give it publicity. And naturally this writer is not under the impression that the general public gives a monkey's about Elo ratings - either what they are, or whether or not some impresario wants to make them up.
But it is curious, is it not, that this fast-growing sport, this potential candidate for Olympic status, does not in fact grow more quickly? Not that the hacks notice this, but it's basically the same people, in the same places, with the same old cobblers accompanying it. Only the names of the hacks sometimes change.
Chessboxing: it's a bit of a dog
Not that having the same old characters and the same old story is an impediment to success. Sometimes it can be quite the opposite. Until we grow up.
[Mike Botteley photo: Ray Morris-Hill]
[Famous Five photo: Daily Vile]