Archive for the ‘2015 U.S. Chess Championship’ Category

So Much to Learn: An Important Lesson from the 2015 U.S. Chess Championship

April 13, 2015
Wesley So alone at the board(photo by: Lennart Ootes, Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis)

Wesley So alone at the board(photo by: Lennart Ootes, Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis)

In case you missed it, the world of chess was stunned on the tenth of April when Grandmaster Wesley So was forfeited in round nine of the 2015 U.S. Chess Championship after being caught “note taking.” Wesley, who is currently ranked number 8 in the world by FIDE, had already been warned twice in his previous games that his habit of writing notes during the game was a violation of the FIDE Laws of Chess. Below is a copy of the rules 21 Year-Old Wesley So was caught violating:

Article 12: The conduct of the players

  1. During play the players are forbidden to make use of any notes, sources of information or advice, or analyse on another chessboard
  2. Without the permission of the arbiter a player is forbidden to have a mobile phone or other electronic means of communication in the playing venue, unless they are completely switched off. If any such device produces a sound, the player shall lose the game. The opponent shall win. However, if the opponent cannot win the game by any series of legal moves, his score shall be a draw.
  3. Smoking is permitted only in the section of the venue designated by the arbiter
12.4 The scoresheet shall be used only for recording the moves, the times of the clocks, the offers of a draw, and matters relating to a claim and other relevant data.
12.5 Players who have finished their games shall be considered to be spectators.
12.6 It is forbidden to distract or annoy the opponent in any manner whatsoever. This includes unreasonable claims, unreasonable offers of a draw or the introduction of a source of noise into the playing area.
12.7 Infraction of any part of Articles 12.1 to 12.6 shall lead to penalties in accordance with Article 13.4.
12.8 Persistent refusal by a player to comply with the Laws of Chess shall be penalised by loss of the game. The arbiter shall decide the score of the opponent.

When asked about his behavior during the round, Wesley first claimed that he did not realize he was breaking the rules.


However, several witnesses immediately came forward to discredit this claim.

After it became apparent that he knew it was against the rules, Wesley proceeded by blaming his earlier losses and cavalier disregard for the rules on “personal problems” in his family. According to the family he now lives with, So’s biological family and former coaches “conspired to destroy” his chances at the U.S. Chess Championship(an assertion that Wesley So has yet to contradict.)

Regardless of what other pressure Wesley may or may not have been under, the blame for intentionally violating the rules of chess has to be attributed to the player who committed the crime. At 21 years of age, Wesley So apparently lacks the maturity to own up to his own mistakes. Playing by the rules and taking responsibility for your own failures may not make you a grandmaster… but these qualities are prerequisites of adulthood.

For more on the rule violation by Wesley So which result in his forfeit loss to Varuzhan Akobian, please watch the thorough explanation that occurred during the live boradcast of the 2015 U.S. Chess Championship:

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