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Wesley So vs Varuzhan Akobian
US Championships (2015)  ·  Tarrasch Defense: Two Knights Variation (D32)  ·  0-1
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Wesley So vs Varuzhan Akobian (2015)

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 9 OF 9 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Apr-21-15  Howard: Sorry, but I don't remember that one. One of my favorite tiffs between the two was when Barney became a foremen at Mr. Slate's quarry his first day on the job ONLY because he was Slate's nephew.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Tiggler: I like the analogy with Charley Brown's attempts to kick the football, when Lucy always pulls the ball away.
Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: ♔♕♖ Controversial So-Akobian Game Polling ♔♕♖

Do you think Chief Arbiter Tony Rich made the right decision in stopping the So-Akobian game in favor of GM Akobian?

Partial Official Returns:

NO (17 votes) = <bubuli55> <iking> <dunkenchess> <mcten> <jerry crus> <geniokov> <Cheskaholic> <Chesspiece> <Grob77> <maelith> <wagkanggamol> <paulegaevsky> <moronovich> <DrM> <mielyglory> <al.lex> <balolog>

YES (16 votes) = <wordfunph> <Sugardom> <MarkFinan> <Pulo Y Gata> <Pyke> <jamesmaskell> <dumbgai> <1300patzer> <gokusano> <epistle> <Alien Math> <bien pensant> <WinKing> <FSR> <plang> <edbermac>

Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: No, it was too severe. He had other penalties at his disposal, but went straight to the nuclear option.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Absentee: <RookFile: No, it was too severe. He had other penalties at his disposal, but went straight to the nuclear option.>

Straight after two warnings? If forfeiting the game is the nuclear option, then expulsion from the tournament is what? An extinction event?

Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: You put it well. He got to play more games after the forfeit. The forfeit was very bad, extinction from the tournament even worse. The forfeit wasn't necessary.

Forgotten in all of this is what Akobian complained about. He said he couldn't concentrate. We'll take him at his word for this, and also note that the position on the board after move 6 is one that he is very familiar with.

If you want to solve the problem Akobian complained about, you take the extraneous papers away from So, maybe take some time off his clock or something, but you let the game continue. Problem solved, now Akobian can concentrate. The game has not yet been spoiled.

I'm afraid that the referee had an agenda other than solving the problem Akobian complained about.

Apr-24-15  Hot Logic: I'll put my vote in as well. I think that the arbiter was justified in his decision.

It is So's responsibility to be aware of the rules - in this case ignorance is not an excuse, especially since he has been warned about this many times both on and off the board.

Apr-24-15  bobthebob: I think So should have gotten his bishop out first.

Maybe a note to himself about "develop your pieces!" would have helped.

Apr-24-15  bobthebob: <Rule 12.3 tells of the use of notes as being illegal. Surely, this has a reference of giving the perpetrator an unfair advantage over his opponent. This does not apply in the case at bar. They were encouragement notes>

If So thought the notes would have the effect of improving his performance, then it is giving him an advantage over an opponent who is not taking notes.

If So didn't think the notes would improve his performance, he wouldn't have taken any notes

Apr-26-15  lainulo: <I'm afraid that the referee had an agenda other than solving the problem Akobian complained about.>

he did not provide an answer to the problem...for there was none- the alleged distraction is purely imagined than real. Yet, he was either playing blind or too dumb to realize it. On the former, he and the midget have obviously developed a deep relationship thru the years..he gives his girlfriend a gift. As to the latter, maybe he reckoned its best to crack an egg with a sledgehammer than with a spoon. That left him with the shell for breakfast. What a buffoon.

May-24-15  lainulo:

<My instincts here is that quite probably he felt that he was being hassled by Tony Rich, and his continuous complaints that Wesley was doing such-and-such a thing, and that quite simply he merely wanted to play chess, concentrate on chess, and try to become the top player from the USA. He could easily be thinking that why does this arbiter keep whinging? It is not as if he is a strong player anyway.>

Wesley taunting rich?

Given his most recent display of vindictiveness, this is not a remote possibility.

May-24-15  bien pensant: Well he may have that. But in this case it was more likely just arrogance.
Jun-15-15  epistle: We are grateful to you, Oh Wesley So, because you do not charge us anything for watching your games--

Wesley So: Thank you to all my friends and supporters here. Your encouragement is important to me and despite the insinuations of my haters, I am not ungrateful for it. This work is hard and the sacrifices are heavy but knowing there are a handful of my own countrymen who want me to succeed helps a lot. Those who insist I am ďungratefulĒ because I keep moving forward (yes I know who you are and that you poke around in here every day) try and understand something. When an institution, a government, a school, a private investor, has ďgivenĒ me something, they have not done it out of love for me. They have compensated me in order to secure a service for themselves. It is a business exchange not a marriage. And unless it is slavery both parties must benefit. When one party no longer feels a benefit, that party goes their own way. That is not ingratitude that is common sense.

Playing chess is a game for you. For me it is business. If you want to support my games I appreciate it. I am not always as good as I want to be and I can take criticism of my game, I donít mind that. Donít think though, that allows you to treat me as your personal punching bag. I invest thousands of hours and a lot of money on improving my skills. You watch my games for free. It seems to me itís you who should be more grateful.

To the rest of you who try to keep order here, Thank you. I am about to start a heavy run of matches. I will try my best to do well. Your kind words of support and your prayers can help make it happen.>

Page 7140 of So page. He invests a lot for his games. We watch them for free. It is us who should be grateful.

Jul-17-15  lakshashishu: Why is this included in Akobian's notable games.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <lakshashishu: Why is this included in Akobian's notable games.>

A criterion for inclusion--perhaps the only one, but I do not know--is the number of users who have a game which is either won or drawn by the player in question in a personal collection. Even if one thousand users were to include this gem, it would therefore not make it as one of So's notable games.

Jul-18-15  lakshashishu: < perfidious:
A criterion for inclusion--perhaps the only one, but I do not know--is the number of users who have a game which is either won or drawn by the player in question in a personal collection. Even if one thousand users were to include this gem, it would therefore not make it as one of So's notable games.>
This gem is too good to ignore for some people:)
But sign of disrespect to Akobian,Imagine this Judit Polgar vs Kasparov, 1994 included in Kasparov's notable games.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Polgar-Kasparov appears in 26 collections and does not even make the list of notable games--most impressive.
Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: the controversial "Scoresheet Akobian Defence 5...Nc6 Variation"
Oct-05-15  akshat02: wesley would have won this
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <<akshat02> wesley would have won this>

Most definitely, given that he has a won position after 6.dxc5. It says so on his notes.

Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: From April 12, 2015:

<As the entire chess world knows, Wesley So was recently forfeited for writing <<<notes to himself>>> during his games at the U.S. Championship. The purpose of this blog post is to give my view of what should have happened. There were three major parties in this incident, Wesley So, Tony Rich and Varuzhan Akobian and I think that all three of them should have acted differently.

Letís take a look at the most obvious offender in this case: Wesley So

What should Wesley have done differently? This one is pretty obvious. Once he was warned that he could be forfeited if he continued taking notes, he should have stopped taking notes completely.

Instead he decided that he could take notes on the non-official notation sheet. This is definitely an odd way of thinking, but I suppose itís not completely out of the realm of possibility for Wesley to believe it. However for someone to be 2700+ FIDE rated and to not take the precaution of asking the tournament director if this very similar action might be okayÖletís just say itís a bit strange.

So at the end of the day, itís the irresponsible actions of Wesley that lead to the events that followed and put all of the other parties in a very awkward and difficult situation. When people are placed into strange situations and faced with tough choices, sometimes not everyone is going to love the choices that result.

Party number 2 Tournament Director Tony Rich

In my belief, one of the major responsibilities of a tournament director is to be as invisible as possible. Sometimes this will remain impossible due to the actions of the players. In this case we have a player who made a few minor rules violations, and Tony was correct to respond. However the one situation that should be a last resort, is to actually forfeit a player for a rules violation that does nothing to threaten the integrity of the game. Yes it may have to come to this eventually, but you should definitely make every effort to make this a last resort.

Did Tony try to leave this as a last resort penalty? The obvious answer is no. There are a ton of intermediate steps that could have been taken before a forfeit win was awarded to Wesleyís opponent. Tony was definitely in a difficult and unprecedented situation, one that no tournament director should be expected to face in such a high level tournament. However I wish that Tony didnít threaten to forfeit him for a future violation, so that he could have felt more comfortable first taking one of the more intermediate steps such as a 10-15 minute time penalty. FIDE rules completely allow for this type of in between penalty, and for a violation thatís so harmless it would have been a completely reasonable option. If Wesley still didnít get the idea after a time penalty then okay, go ahead and forfeit him, but please penalize him with something tangible first. Instead this moment has become the focal point of attention for the entire Championship.

Party number 3: Varuzhan Akobian

Varuzhan was Wesleyís opponent and was well within bounds to inform the tournament director that Wesley was note-taking. However what I really would have liked to see, was for Var to not simply roll over and accept a forfeit win in 6 moves. If I was in his place I would ask the director to please allow the game to continue, and to perhaps impose a less severe penalty instead.

I am pretty sure that the majority of players would accept the win, so I wouldnít go biting off Varís head over something like this. Taking the win seems self serving, but itís the opposite thatís true. To behave in an over the top sporting manner in a situation like this, that is what people remember, and thatís whatís going to increase your reputation and make people want to help you as much as possible. Also itís just a nice thing to do to a fellow chess player and a friend.

Sure, Var gets a point in the standings and ends up with some extra money, but he squandered an opportunity to potentially achieve more. He probably wonít notice losing anything tangible from this, but letís say he fought for Wesley instead. A lot of people would have seen and noticed this. Random opportunities would come up in the future, and people might remember this hypothetical selfless act and Akobianís name would end up on the tip of their tongue. Var is going to be active in the chess world for a long time, and this one moment could have really helped him in a lot more ways than one single 6 move forfeit win will help him. And who knows, maybe Var would have won the game anyway>

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <6.dxc5!

<NOVELTY: 6...dxc5>> What???? ٩(͡๏̯͡๏)۶

Games Like W So vs Akobian, 2015

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: I see. Well, in the good old days, you used to be able to write the times down with brackets, and one of our club players does that (in the club games where rules are "commonsense" variants of FIDE rules.

But the obsession with rules is like rugby and the Olympics, I never take any interest in any sport now as they are rule bound and everyone is obsessed with counting gold medals etc

But it is sad when chess is like this with officials making rules to give themselves power and so on. What a pity. For trivia, and morons running chess tournaments and so on (it is all for kudos and power), the ruination of what could have been a great game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: I wouldn't try for a win this way, regardless. But I am not Akobian. I have allowed an opponent to take a move back. He proceeded to win the game even though I won a piece (but we agreed a draw). I played a game where we used to have a break for a coffee or tea etc at our club, I knew and my opponent I had a winning line. He expressed his disappointment in this so much that I deliberately played an inferior move on resumption to give him a chance. He won. <Benzol> Couldn't understand it at the time.

I also offered a draw to a young (but strong) player who is now over 2200. He didn't accept but did when I said to look again: he saw the threat of a N fork which would have easily won for me. Admittedly it was an unrated game.

Now I have done similar things online...omitted to take pieces, made deliberately unsound sacrifices, sometimes when I have been winning a lot of times against certain players...and so on.

Of course, mostly I don't.

But these are professionals, I am not and never will be. So I don't think Akobian is in the firing line. The notes would be upsetting if I thought there was some gain (again I am trying to imagine how I would react but I suppose not being in the equivalent situation, makes it difficult....

Well I came here as I thought there was an interesting game and in a way it was!

Sep-30-16  breakbad: incredible game from the master So
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