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Who said the world of chess was boring!
June 7, 2006 2:39 AM   Subscribe

Chess queen triggers 'Gormallygate' Australian WIM (Women's International Master) Arianne Caoili, "the Anna Kournikova of chess" has sent the chess world into a spin with her salsa crazy antics. A love triangle between herself, British chess grandmaster Danny Gormally and the world's No. 3 player, Armenia's Levon Aronian turned ugly in a Turin nightclub during the World Chess Olympiad recently.
posted by kurtrudder (72 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Wasn't there a musical about this?
posted by mrbill at 2:47 AM on June 7, 2006


"Leave it Danny! He ain't worth it!"
[struggles to hold back 8 stone of pure chess beef]

It's quite hard not to feel sorry for another tragic retelling of the geek who thought he'd won he girl, then found all he had was a few emails and 17 annual hard-bound folders of Chess Monthly.
Underneath the military-grade sarcasm, I'm serious.
posted by NinjaTadpole at 3:05 AM on June 7, 2006


Queen takes Kings.
posted by homodigitalis at 3:07 AM on June 7, 2006


"the Anna Kournikova of chess"

Does that mean she looks like a vacant piglet and hasn't played a game in years?

I love this story, anyway. What next? 'Top physicist slaps Kate Moss in crack-fuelled rage after string theory slur'
posted by jack_mo at 3:12 AM on June 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


'Gormallygate'

I thought there had to be some sort of scandal or cover up for a story to be called a ...gate. This is just another drunken, socilally underdeveloped Englishman who was very sorry the next morning.
posted by beno at 3:13 AM on June 7, 2006


socially actually
posted by beno at 3:14 AM on June 7, 2006


Who amongst us, after a night on the beer, hasn't awoken to the horrible feeling that we've starred in our very own Far Side cartoon?

This is just another drunken, socilally underdeveloped Englishman

We prefer to call it tiddly and nuanced.
posted by veedubya at 3:52 AM on June 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


Jealousy affects geeks as geeks apparently are human 1. news at 11 2. movie in a month with hotter babe 3. que outrage 4. let's have a pizza ! 5. what's next ?
posted by elpapacito at 4:16 AM on June 7, 2006


profit!!
posted by NinjaTadpole at 4:26 AM on June 7, 2006


If only the nerd in question had the good sense to pine over the geeky cuteness and superior FIDE rating of Alexandra Kosteniuk (here pictured without her otherwise ubiquitous glasses), none of this would've ever happened.
posted by Makoto at 4:42 AM on June 7, 2006


Only one way to solve this.... Chess Boxing!!!

Two geeks enter... one geek leaves.
posted by PenDevil at 4:43 AM on June 7, 2006


As bizarre chess incidents go, those folks can't hold a candle to this guy.

I expect the second link to an Angelfire page to be borked shortly.
posted by TedW at 4:48 AM on June 7, 2006


Aronian's known as one of the funniest and least serious world class grandmasters. It's a shame someone started a fight with him.

And for the record, chess is only a geek pasttime in the West. At least in the US, there's a huge percentage of antisocial people. But in russia, and even moreso in the caucasus, it's different. Everybody knows how to play. Armenia won the olympiad too, by a wide margin.
posted by adzuki at 4:51 AM on June 7, 2006


Hot chess girls make me feel funny.
posted by quite unimportant at 4:52 AM on June 7, 2006


Let's not forget Carmen Kass (link goes to GIS for her name, all results SFW as of this posting), the supermodel who is also president of the Estonian Chess Federation.
posted by antifuse at 4:58 AM on June 7, 2006


Who amongst us, after a night on the beer, hasn't awoken to the horrible feeling that we've starred in our very own Far Side cartoon?

Greatest. Metaphor. Ever.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:12 AM on June 7, 2006


I think I'm related to Arianne, as we share the same last name. It really isn't too common a last name, unsurprisingly. Even second-cousins stay pretty close in Filipino families, but she'd be from my father's side, whom I haven't seen since I was 5 when my parents divorced.. I used to be so jealous whenever coming across anything regarding Arianne, because she seemed to have so much talent at something she loved.

Eventually, I found my own calling, so I'm not that petty anymore. I never did find the courage though to contact her and find out how we're related. That said, I love the explanation for why the Bermuda Team runs the Bermuda Party.
posted by lotsofno at 5:16 AM on June 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


"Ambitions: Bullet a bunny."

What? Huh? Is she saying she wants to shoot wabbits, or is that some kind of euphemism I don't understand?
posted by verb at 5:19 AM on June 7, 2006


I for one salute the make up / make over-lords that make the girls looks plausibly stunning !
posted by elpapacito at 5:22 AM on June 7, 2006


I don't see you guys rating
The kind of mate I'm contemplating
I'd let you watch, I would invite you
But the queens we use
Would not excite you
posted by loquacious at 5:42 AM on June 7, 2006


A sordid and not-too-interesting story, but it brings up a burning question which (I'm relieved to see) lotsofno can answer: how do you pronounce Caoili?
posted by languagehat at 6:02 AM on June 7, 2006


I think it's pronounced 'to-tal babe'.
posted by horsewithnoname at 6:27 AM on June 7, 2006


jack_mo:

brilliant.
posted by tgrundke at 6:55 AM on June 7, 2006


There are actually a lot of hot female chess champions. It's like an open secret. Maybe nobody outside the chess world wants to believe that it's possible.
posted by bingo at 7:01 AM on June 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


checkmate
posted by beno at 7:44 AM on June 7, 2006


Apparently the Chess world hasn't caught up to the MySpace thing, yet.
posted by doctor_negative at 7:45 AM on June 7, 2006


Apparently bishops are her favorite pieces.
posted by MasonDixon at 7:57 AM on June 7, 2006


its a drag, its a bore, its really such a pity,
to be looking at the board, not looking at the city!
posted by joeblough at 8:23 AM on June 7, 2006


languagehat: All of my relatives pronounce it "ka-wee-lee." I pronounce it "kay-oh-lee."

Common mispronunciations include "ciao-lee," "kay-oily," and "chiquita banana." That last one was coined by a fifth grade classmate, a particularly cruel girl.
posted by lotsofno at 8:33 AM on June 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


Apparently, bingo.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:46 AM on June 7, 2006


Maybe nobody outside the chess world wants to believe that it's possible.

I want to believe, but I'm saddened that she comes off as just another pretty 19 year old flake.

And what jack_mo said. When someone's described as the "Kournikova of ____ ," I usually interpret that as "Not very good, except for marketing."
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:46 AM on June 7, 2006


Wait a minute:

WIM (Women's International Master)

Are there separate men's and women's ratings in chess? The linked article doesn't use that term, "Women's International Master". I don't normally follow the world of chess, so I really have no idea.

Why in the world would there be separate women's and men's rankings or leagues? Does a man's greater average height give him a better bird's eye view of the board? Maybe men get more practice annointing the purple-headed bishop?
posted by gurple at 9:30 AM on June 7, 2006



"Caoili had defected from Australia to the Philippines as a pre-teen"

What?!
posted by fluffycreature at 9:39 AM on June 7, 2006


It's hard to take seriously someone who lists "Pink Floyd album covers" among their favorite things.
posted by OmieWise at 9:41 AM on June 7, 2006


Why in the world would there be separate women's and men's rankings or leagues?

Obviously, when women are concentrating they lean over the board and their boobies knock over the pieces. It is felt that this is distracting on several levels, so they are placed solely with their own kind so the menfolk don't have to put up with the disruption.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 10:08 AM on June 7, 2006


Ahhhh, so that's the key to the famous "thin blouse / cold room defense".
posted by gurple at 10:17 AM on June 7, 2006


Thanks, lotsofno!
posted by languagehat at 10:20 AM on June 7, 2006


Nipple takes rook...a classic strategy.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 10:23 AM on June 7, 2006


I've found that there are in fact very attractive women with the same 'nerdy' social defect. Life can be difficult for them, unlike other nerds they are 'popular' with guys who want to bang them.

They'll date other nerds and the whole thing will end up like high school.
posted by delmoi at 10:25 AM on June 7, 2006


Arianne Caoili, "the Anna Kournikova of chess" has sent the chess world into a spin with her salsa crazy antics.

I fail to see how this is in any of her fault.
posted by spazzm at 10:59 AM on June 7, 2006


Why in the world would there be separate women's and men's rankings or leagues? Does a man's greater average height give him a better bird's eye view of the board? Maybe men get more practice annointing the purple-headed bishop?

I know, it's a little gross, but I have a serious answer:

First, there aren't separate ratings, or separate leagues, but there are separate titles. Separate leagues actually existed until about 20 or 30 years ago -- which is absurd -- but women are still playing catch up, and the separate titles is part of that.

The question as to why there are separate titles at all is harder to answer. Probably there are a few reasons. One, because most people at the international level have been playing since childhood, and there are social pressures to conform to gender roles which are harder to ignore when you're young. You also have to train for it in a similar way that professional gymnasts train since childhood. And while it's okay for an 10 year old girl to seriously train to be a professional gymnast, it's a different thing to seriously train to be a professional chess player. It's "easier" for boys socially.

Google the Polgar sisters for an example of how girls can play when given the opportunity -- Judit Polgar's been in the top 10 in the world.

Two, there is a physical aspect to playing in tournaments, where you have to concentrate for 6 or 8 hours straight day after day. Stamina matters -- I myself am not sure if this gives men an advantage or not, but it's a thought.

Three, it could have something to do with the strength of eastern european players, considering that women's liberation there is not the same as in the states. They produce the better players, and so they produce fewer women at the same grandmaster level.
posted by adzuki at 11:15 AM on June 7, 2006


Are there separate men's and women's ratings in chess? The linked article doesn't use that term, "Women's International Master". I don't normally follow the world of chess, so I really have no idea.

First, "rating" is a technical term within chess, meaning a number used to evaluate one's performance over time. Men and women use the same rating system.

However, "Women's International Master" is a title, not a rating. There are separate women's titles, but no separate men's titles. That is, there is a "Women's International Master" (WIM) title, for which only women are eligible; it has somewhat lower requirements than the "International Master" (IM) title, for which both women and men are eligible. (And not just as a formality, either; there are many women who have earned the IM title, and a good number with the Grandmaster (GM) title.) There are no men's-only titles.

Whether there should be women's titles is a commonly debated issue in the chess world, with many players--men and women alike--on both sides of the issue.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:22 AM on June 7, 2006


Interesting, adzuki. I guess that's a tough situation for women right now in chess. It seems like giving women separate titles, while enforcing the idea that women don't play as well, would give women players more to shoot for, and maybe encourage more women in the game.

Are there gender-free titles, too? I.e., let's say that the next Gary Kasparov is a woman. Does she have to be content with a title that only ranks her against other women, or can she vie for a title against the guys?
posted by gurple at 11:23 AM on June 7, 2006


Oops, DevilsAdvocate answered my question.
posted by gurple at 11:24 AM on June 7, 2006


Gurple, keep in mind for a woman to earn a title, she has to complete against men and women for the rating to earn that title. She plays games as usual and earns her rating points just the same as men.

The difference is that a woman is eligible for more titles within the same ranking system. For instance, at 2300, she is eligible for both a "Fide master" title and a "Women's International Master" Title. The title ranks her against both men and women (and acutally there are per-tournament performance requirements call "norms" as well, so a WIM title is harder to achieve than a FM title). A WIM is in general a little bit stronger than a master. The title's aren't entirely separate.


Anyway, since Judit Polgar's been among the best in the world, there cannot be any doubts about the chess capabilities of women. The game is simply such that if you're not a master by the time you're 18, it's extremely unlikely you will be a world class player. It's more a question of training girls to play.

Susan Polgar (a different Polgar sister, the former world women's champion) has a chess school for girls, in Queens NYC, and is trying to do something to give girls the opportunity to make it to the international level. It will be interesting to see in 10 or 20 years if it has an effect.
posted by adzuki at 11:50 AM on June 7, 2006


I used to play in chess tournaments in my youth and I had the opportunity to play against a grandmaster in an exhibition game once. I was a fairly good player given my age and experience, but of course of comical amateur ability next to him.

You would think that chess, being so open ended, and so full of possibility, that anything could happen. That perhaps things could unfold in an unusual manner and give me an edge.

He beat me blindfolded. Literally. The man wore a blindfold and beat me. Beat is not the word. Trounced. Destroyed. Decimated. All while destroying about 10 of my teammates. So he played a dozen games, perfectly, blindfolded. Simultaneously. When you are 14 and cocky and you see a cerebral display of that magnitude, it helps you reorient yourself.

That is when I began to think that chess is not quite so open and free-form at all. There are a finite number of moves at every point.
Computer chess games have been exploiting this for years. However, given the leaps and bounds that processing power has increased the last few years, coupled with better understanding of parallel processing, I feel we may only be a few years away from an unbeatable "algorithm" for chess, where computers discover it but humans could memorize it, therefore making chess into simply a more complex tic-tac-toe.

Or, you know, maybe not.
posted by Ynoxas at 11:52 AM on June 7, 2006


e4
posted by ozomatli at 12:02 PM on June 7, 2006


”I have other ambitions which will not be listed due to their dangerous and radical nature, unfit for this site! Hahaha.”

Dead givaway right there
posted by Smedleyman at 12:11 PM on June 7, 2006


I get my kicks above the waistline, sunshine. Thank God I'm only watching the game...controlling it.
posted by sluglicker at 12:21 PM on June 7, 2006


World Chess Beauty Contest Top 10.
posted by shoepal at 12:22 PM on June 7, 2006


The World Chess Beauty Contest pics are all toos mall.

”I have other ambitions which will not be listed due to their dangerous and radical nature, unfit for this site! Hahaha.”

Dead givaway right there


Not to mention her MSN handle "venus_n_furs".
posted by kenko at 12:37 PM on June 7, 2006


How sad to see what used to be a model of decorum and tranquility become like any other sport...
posted by graymouser at 12:42 PM on June 7, 2006


Queen to Rook 6. Checkmate. I think...

Milk and cookies kept you awake again, eh, Sebastian? Got a brainstorm?
posted by loquacious at 12:51 PM on June 7, 2006


How many women -- articulate women
With something to shout about --
Spend their time
Playing a game in which silence is golden
And speaking a crime?


I was the only girl in my chess club in high school. I learned from my father & older brother, but they didn't really enjoy playing me because I was so far behind in skill level, so I didn't get much chance to practice.
posted by witchstone at 12:52 PM on June 7, 2006


As long as we've moved away from the Anna Kournikova portion of the discussion, here's what I think is the most recent Mefi thread on women and chess. And I just finished Birth of the Chess Queen, an excellent monograph that has been unfortunately and unwisely expanded to book length. But a few pretty cool factoids in there - did you know that "the Vizier," the piece that the queen replaced around 1000 A.D., is still on the board to this day among observant muslims?
posted by soyjoy at 1:21 PM on June 7, 2006


Mr. Tyrell? I...I brought a friend.
posted by sluglicker at 1:25 PM on June 7, 2006


Ah, well. A fire that burns twice as brightly only burns half as long.

I feel we may only be a few years away from an unbeatable "algorithm" for chess, where computers discover it but humans could memorize it, therefore making chess into simply a more complex tic-tac-toe.


I don't think so. Tic-tac-toe can only go on for a certain amount of moves. While each position in chess implies a finite number of choices for the next move, there are still not a finite number of games. There is always room for another variation
posted by bingo at 3:39 PM on June 7, 2006


.
posted by bingo at 3:39 PM on June 7, 2006


A slight derail:

I get a bit bored with the slagging off of Anna Kournikova. Sure, she gets (and got) press that had nothing to do with her tennis ability, but to denounce her as a talentless hack (which is becoming what she "stands for" in the popular mind) is absurd. She was ranked #1 in women's doubles tennis (and as high as #8 in singles) for a reason. No, she wasn't as good as Serena Williams or Steffi Graff, but even if she'd been as ugly as the back of a bus she'd have been well known for her accomplishments. There was a time when there were only seven women in the world who were demonstrably better tennis players than her: what did any famous model you've ever heard of ever do that took that much talent and dedication?
posted by yoink at 3:39 PM on June 7, 2006


She was ranked #1 in women's doubles tennis (and as high as #8 in singles) for a reason.

Well, the was is not insignificant in that sentence - I think it's the fact that she's presented as a tennis star when she doesn't play tennis that causes folk to slag her off.
posted by jack_mo at 4:02 PM on June 7, 2006


yoink, get with the program.
Women are not allowed, on pain of attracting scorn and derision from the world in general and other women in particular, to be both attractive and skilled.

Pick one, or face the wrath of the Sisterhood Of Enforced Equality.

(No, I'm not a woman, but I've seen this happen to my sisters. Like clockwork, it is.)
posted by spazzm at 4:11 PM on June 7, 2006


WIM (Women's International Master)

Such a convoluted term for an international mistress.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:10 PM on June 7, 2006


c5

and I'm off to bed, so someone else will have to continue against ozomatli or whover else takes white's next move.
posted by simcd at 5:24 PM on June 7, 2006


When you lose a blindfold game it's pretty much for the same reasons as losing a non-blindfold game - luck aside (which happens) it's because your strategy or calculation was worse than the other guy's (or gal's).

Playing blindfold isn't as hard as you might think - bear in mind that in a game, all possible positions apart from the current one have to be visualised anyway - remembering and visualising the current position is only an extension of that.

For those who are interested, the master of blindfold chess was an American called Harry Pillsbury.

Of course, the main disadvantage of playing blindfold is that you can only imagine the loveliness of players like Arianne Caoili.
posted by Shinkicker at 6:11 PM on June 7, 2006


c3
posted by sluglicker at 6:32 PM on June 7, 2006



I don't think so. Tic-tac-toe can only go on for a certain amount of moves. While each position in chess implies a finite number of choices for the next move, there are still not a finite number of games. There is always room for another variation


Hm.
There are a finite set of discrete pieces, moves, rules and squares. From that follows that there is a finite number of possible configurations of the board+pieces. Add to that the rule that any position may not be repeated more than a given number of times before the game ends in a draw, and you get a game that is finite.

There are a finite number of possible chess games.

But you are right from a practical viewpoint, as the number of possible games is so large it might as well be infinite.
posted by spazzm at 10:17 PM on June 7, 2006


Allow me to clarify my last point:
Even though a chess game may, in theory, continue forever it will sooner or later reach a state it has already reached before.
Therefore, even if the number of moves are infinite, the number of possible game states are finite.

Since the options open to a player are directly dependent on the state alone, a chess program that knows the best move for any state would be of finite size.
posted by spazzm at 10:24 PM on June 7, 2006


Nc6
posted by quite unimportant at 5:15 AM on June 8, 2006


(looks to me like Aurelie Dacalor was swizzed out of about 9 places)
posted by NinjaTadpole at 8:43 AM on June 8, 2006


I think it's the fact that she's presented as a tennis star when she doesn't play tennis that causes folk to slag her off.

So you really think a few forgotten "former's" is the reason that she has become shorthand for "person who succeeded on looks alone despite being a talentless hack"? Find me a retired tennis player who isn't still referred to as a "tennis player" by journalists who want to situate that person in the reader's mind ("Boris Becker, German tennis great,...").

Well, no. She was getting slagged off as a talentless hack when she was playing ("why do we have to see so much coverage of Kournikova, let's wait till she actually wins something, shall we").

Kournikova is just the latest victim of our culture's complete inability to sort out what it thinks about beauty and sexual attractiveness. We're fascinated by it, but we think that those (especially women) who profit from it are implicitly whores.

Shorter: sex makes us crazy.
posted by yoink at 9:59 AM on June 8, 2006


Anna Kournikova is so perfect that she almost makes me believe that we are divine creations of an intelligent designer.

Almost.

She is a genetic freak is what she is, and I (and many red-blooded males) just happen to find her particular brand of freakishness rather attractive.

And she was a very, very good singles tennis player. She was a champion doubles player. I've never understood the Anna K hate either.

God she is pretty though.
posted by Ynoxas at 1:29 PM on June 8, 2006


Actually, one of the "cheats" for computer chess engines is to build a database of endgames because the number of states required is reasonable. Likewise, you can build a database of known opening states, sorted by their theoretical and actual performance.

However, once you get into the middlegame, the number of potential states explodes to a huge volume. (\derail)
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:50 PM on June 8, 2006


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