I watched the Republican debate and was really impressed! Ron Paul seems intelligent, consistent, reasonable -- I don't happen to agree with him on the evils of government, but it's so nice to see a Republican who isn't anti-intellectual and who doesn't pander to religious extremists, that I'm a fan. Gary Johnson also seems like a sane, thoughtful, competent person. Rick Santorum seems like an asshole; Hermann Cain seems like a lightweight, and Tim Pawlenty was right in the middle until it was revealed that he borrowed millions of dollars from school districts and then refused to pay it back. That makes him an asshole.
Did everyone read Melinda Matthew's article about high school nationals? In which she describes how, when she was working for the USCF as a volunteer tournament director, that she catches Sunil Weeramantry cheating in the last round, that he goes crazy and curses her out, she tells the entire TD staff, and they do nothing at all, don't even ask him to leave the floor. How unbelievable is this?
My plague allusions (if that’s the proper literary term) reached an interesting conclusion when I incurred the wrath of...well, a figure who probably comes closest to being deified in the scholastic chess world: a chess coach.
Round 7 began innocuously with a phone call from Tom Nelson asking if I could score-keep in the Championship section. I donned my blue apron and raced to assist.
As the round progressed, a man came to my table repeatedly to lean over my shoulder and, without asking, to examine the score sheets. Because I thought he was not directly affiliated with a school, I allowed him to look. But I finally gave into my suspicions and asked if he was a coach, which he affirmed as he reached to take the score sheets from me.
I had been instructed: No coaches at the scoring table. So I took back the score sheets, placed my hands on top of them, and told him I couldn’t allow him any more access unless all the other coaches were allowed access as well.
That’s when the fireworks began.
This coach instantly exploded, heaping his vituperative rage on me personally and insultingly. Fortunately for me, the tournament’s professional staff took note of our ongoing confrontation, questioned everyone involved and rallied to my side, vehement in their unified censure of the coach’s actions and behavior.
And here I am going to hop on my soapbox. This coach, with his prima donna attitude and inconsiderate treatment, is sending a powerful, negatively-charged message to his team. Coaches, above all, should hold themselves to the highest standard, one that includes good sportsmanship and consideration to others, both on and off the boards. No one – not a coach, not anyone – has the given right to demand special dispensation or, especially, to belittle and demean others when they don’t get their way. By feeling entitled to publicly berate a volunteer, this coach set a very poor example to his team and to the other players who witnessed the noisy proceedings – and his disturbing behavior.
Even if this coach could help Nicky achieve 200 rating points in one week, I would never, ever let Nicky anywhere near such a person, because ultimately, how people live their lives and how they treat others far supersedes mercurial ratings or tournament results. Hyper-competitiveness will never trump simple human decency in my rulebook.
The coach began his tirade by asking huffily if I knew who he was. My answer: No, and I really don’t care, because now I know exactly what he is.
End of rant.
In case it's unclear, the reason coaches can't have access to the last round results of other players isthey also have the right to advise players who ask in the last round whether or not a draw helps the team. If some coaches can see all the results and the rest cannot, you're giving one team a huge edge. Notice that Hunter was half a point behind Bronx Science going into the last round; 3 Hunter players took somewhat surprising draws against lower rated opponents, and Hunter won by half a point.
What to me is the most amazing is not that they let him cheat, but that they let him verbally assault a female volunteer and mother, and she complains about it, and they agree, yet nobody says or does anything. Two hours later, he's up on stage, representing the USCF, giving out the Scholar-Chessplayer Awards. sick.