To whom is she referring?

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Paul McKeown
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To whom is she referring?

Post by Paul McKeown » Mon Mar 01, 2021 2:38 am

In Chess Bitch, Chapter 11 Playing for America, Jennifer Shahade writes:
Not all of my memories from Olympiads are positive. In the 2002 event (held in Bled, Slovenia), in addition to playing, I was writing about the Olympiad for Chess Life (the national chess magazine). I wanted to interview two of the top young Russian male players in the world, both of whom had been heralded as possible future world champions. I was nervous, especially because one seemed particularly cool—he had big blue eyes, dreadlocks and wore black leather. I was already familiar with his games, one of which had impressed me so much that I showed it to the junior high team I coached back in Brooklyn. ("That game was hot," said one of my students, "can I have a copy?") I approached him at the hotel's dining room and was pleased that he consented immediately to an interview. He wanted to do it right then and there, over dinner where his teammate, the other young grandmaster, was also eating.

It was the most disturbing interview I have ever conducted. One declared that he hated journalists, hated New York, and became annoyed when I asked him about his training routine. His teammate had even worse things to say. America was a horrible place, he said, because the rape laws were stricter than in Russia, where he was used to raping women who are 'too ashamed to go to the police.' He proceeded to use words like lesbian, fat, and stupid to describe American women. As we left the dining hall, one of them asked me to join him and some friends for drinks later that night, as if their outrageous comments were part of a charming routine. I declined. Later, I found out that the two men were bragging to their teammates about how much they upset me with their sexist, anti-American insults.

(*) Shahade, Jennifer, Chess Bitch: women in the ultimate intellectual sport, Siles Press, 2005, ISBN 1-890085-09-X. The passage quoted can be found on p. 217 in this edition.

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: To whom is she referring?

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Mon Mar 01, 2021 4:29 am

The Russia team that year was Kasparov, Grischuk, Khalifman, Morozevich, Svidler, Rublevsky.

Paul Cooksey
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Re: To whom is she referring?

Post by Paul Cooksey » Mon Mar 01, 2021 7:14 am

The first named player is clearly Grischuk, who had dreadlocks in his youth. The second description could have been any of the others except Kasparov. There was a rumour about who it was a few years ago, but as I always say, if I decide to libel someone I will do it on twitter rather than here.

I am inclined to give Grischuk some benefit of the doubt, that attempted humour was lost in translation. I imagine the other player was trying to be funny too, but I find those comments impossible to condone.

Joseph Conlon
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Re: To whom is she referring?

Post by Joseph Conlon » Mon Mar 01, 2021 8:11 am

As for the first player, I have to say there seems nothing bad at all about disliking journalists, disliking New York or not wanting to reveal training methods.

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JustinHorton
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Re: To whom is she referring?

Post by JustinHorton » Mon Mar 01, 2021 8:30 am

Well, there may well be something wrong with "disliking journalists" as a generalisation, especially as the word used was "hated".
Paul Cooksey wrote:
Mon Mar 01, 2021 7:14 am
The second description could have been any of the others except Kasparov.
Think it might count out a couple of others too.
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

Mick Norris
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Re: To whom is she referring?

Post by Mick Norris » Mon Mar 01, 2021 9:24 am

Grischuk (born 1983), Morozevich (1977), Svidler (1976), Rublevsky (1974) but maybe not Khalifman (1966)?
Any postings on here represent my personal views and should not be taken as representative of the Manchester Chess Federation www.manchesterchess.co.uk

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JustinHorton
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Re: To whom is she referring?

Post by JustinHorton » Mon Mar 01, 2021 9:43 am

Also I am not convinced all the middle three in that list were "heralded as possible future world champions".
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

David Sedgwick
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Re: To whom is she referring?

Post by David Sedgwick » Mon Mar 01, 2021 10:03 am

"I wanted to interview two of the top young Russian male players in the world ..."

It's not clear to me that that necessarily refers to members of the Russian team. Other leading Russian GMs would probably have been in Bled.

Joseph Conlon
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Re: To whom is she referring?

Post by Joseph Conlon » Mon Mar 01, 2021 10:16 am

Well, I take the colloquial spoken 'I hate X' as more meaning 'I dislike X'. I think its reasonable to like the idea of a free press, and also dislike (or fear, or hate) journalists if you can feel they can only harm you (and will, if It gets them a story). Its not my own attitude but I think it in the spectrum of reasonable opinions.

On reflection, there's something more I dislike about this extract. Suggesting that someone is a serial rapist is a (very) serious matter. The article makes this suggestion - not quite identifying the suggestion to a unique individual who can defend their reputation with a libel action, but to a small enough number that it does a very good job of throwing mud and making it stick. Furthermore, the point is not well corroborated - anyone willing to announce this at dinner to a journalist they had never met before has probably said this elsewhere (and presumably a good journalist can track this down). So to me this feels like the nastier form of gossip column - willing to wound, but afraid to strike.

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JustinHorton
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Re: To whom is she referring?

Post by JustinHorton » Mon Mar 01, 2021 10:43 am

It's a woman reporting some really unpleasant sexist attitudes. What should she have done instead?
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

Geoff Chandler
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Re: To whom is she referring?

Post by Geoff Chandler » Mon Mar 01, 2021 3:04 pm

"It's a woman reporting some really unpleasant sexist attitudes."

...either not realising these two clowns were having a cheap laugh at her expense or knowing they
were and using it to show this is the kind of nonsense female reporters sometimes have to put up with.

Nobody would say such a thing to a 'Chess Life' reporter (and brag about it after wards) unless they
were trying to be smart-assed outdoing each other with bravado (the American, New York insults came
just one year after 9/11 so these were they designed to shock.)

She should have named them, then their stupid remarks would have followed them around forever like Fischer's Knight
odds to any female player. These two young fools would have been forced into an apology for their 'jokes ' in bad taste.

To them most likely gags at the dinner table, I'd cut them some slack because of their age.
High spirited idiots trying to impress a lady. I think they should work on their chat up lines.

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: To whom is she referring?

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Mon Mar 01, 2021 3:06 pm

JustinHorton wrote:
Mon Mar 01, 2021 9:43 am
Also I am not convinced all the middle three in that list were "heralded as possible future world champions".
Both Svidler and Moro almost certainly were in their junior days, and of course the former at least had a few decent cracks at it.
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

Paul McKeown
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Re: To whom is she referring?

Post by Paul McKeown » Mon Mar 01, 2021 8:40 pm

Geoff Chandler wrote:
Mon Mar 01, 2021 3:04 pm
Nobody would say such a thing to a 'Chess Life' reporter (and brag about it after wards) unless they
were trying to be smart-assed outdoing each other with bravado (the American, New York insults came
just one year after 9/11 so these were they designed to shock.)

She should have named them, then their stupid remarks would have followed them around forever like Fischer's Knight
odds to any female player. These two young fools would have been forced into an apology for their 'jokes ' in bad taste.
I think Geoff has nailed it. When I read this (again, third time I've read the book) my instant reaction was (and I hope Carl forgives the language) "pair of gobshites."

Reg Clucas
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Re: To whom is she referring?

Post by Reg Clucas » Tue Mar 02, 2021 2:46 pm

I believe Rublevsky (in later life) has form when it comes to upsetting women, i.e. the Russian women's team when he was their captain (specifically the Kosintseva sisters) although I suppose he would hardly be considered as 'young' at the time of that Olympiad.

dejan_lekic
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Re: To whom is she referring?

Post by dejan_lekic » Tue Mar 02, 2021 3:02 pm

What else do you expect from a book with title starting with "Chess Bitch"?? Clearly the aim is to attract the audience with "wild", "sexist" stories...

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