Friday, January 14, 2011

Stories from beyond the board - Game throwing is cheating

The year was 1984 after I achieved my first IM norm (read about it here). I was playing a Swiss tournament in Singapore.  I had already collected a number of points and in the running for first place as well as picking up a final norm. When the final round pairings were published , everyone knew that I just required half a point in the last round. My final round opponent, Singapore's IM Tan Lian Ann , offered a draw perhaps thinking both sides had chances in the position. It was perfectly reasonable for him to expect a peaceful end to the game.

In the tournament were a number of Filipino players. From observations I determined that they were playing as a group. Basically they were fixing the games in favour of the one with the best chance of winning the highest prize. One of them was racing with me for the first prize.

If I drew it was a certainty that one of the Filipino would take clear first prize. I considered a safe draw to secure the IM title. But I felt victimized by the Filipino game throwing tactics. It was incredibly frustrating. I had to struggle every round (I played six Filipinos) while they could plan to draw or lose their games.

I refused the draw offer which kind of shocked my opponent. Instead I took a big risk. I sacrificed the exchange eventually  winning the game and tied for first with the Filipino and completed my title requirements.


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