90 000+ views of the Shake hand gambit declined

the video is the third most viewed sports video in youtube today

There is no question about it, chess is a very popular sport. The video of the game Nigel Short – Ivan Cheparinov from round 8 of the Corus 2008 chess tournament has received more than 90 000 hits in the last day. That gives it the third position for most viewed sports video in youtube.com, in front of spectacular sports achievements such as the fastest goal in the Spanish first division by Llorente. These numbers also make it one of the most (if not the most) ever viewed chess video. In only 24 hours it has equalized the numbers of chess videos that have been there for years. It has been linked by 31 000+ sites and blogs (according to youtube) and it has been reported to have appeared on TV in at least seven countries.

The video is also a good indicator of the visitors of chess websites today. The clear leader is dagbladet.no which sent 7000+ visitors (data is from 24:00 CET), followed by chessbase.com with 6611, chessdom.com with 5296, and origo.hu with 3998. Here are the awards by youtube:

#72 – Most Discussed (Today)

#6 – Most Discussed (Today) – Sports

#6 – Most Linked (Today)

#1 – Most Linked (Today) – Sports

#58 – Most Linked (This Week)

#5 – Most Linked (This Week) – Sports

#13 – Most Viewed (Today)

#3 – Most Viewed (Today) – Sports

#34 – Most Viewed (This Week) – Sports

#22 – Top Favorites (Today) – Sports

#23 – Top Rated (Today) – Sports

All these numbers are fantastic for Chessdom.com. In only one year the website has become one of the information leaders in chess. Our way has always followed the words of the ETCC 2007 CEO George Mastrokoukos, who says, “Chessdom.com makes a real difference in the field of objective and reliable chess reporting” However, what follows is the first subjective opinion on the site.

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The events in Corus B group

The round 8 game between Short and Cheparinov will have a significant impact on the chess world. As we foresaw a month ago, it is a bomb with a timer, ready to explode at any tournament. Our eyes were opened by Mr. David Jarret, who confirmed during the Anna Rudolf’s case development that shaking hands cannot be penalized, since it is a recommendation and not a rule. Only a week later, in an interview for a Bulgarian newspaper Mr. Danailov confirmed that there would be no shaking of hands in Topalov – Kramnik game. However, the bomb exploded a day before.

Who was right and who was wrong? It is a very difficult question to answer since the events involve moral, social, and legal issues. Starting with the moral issues, both players had their right. Mr. Short required a normal greeting while Mr. Cheparinov required a normal excuse for past actions of Short. The pride was stronger than their desire for an end of the conflict and neither Short has apologized nor Cheparinov greeted him. This same pride has been a central issue in many conflicts around the world and is totally a human trait, something that we do not like, but seems to be in our blood.

Short – Cheparinov game looks like a normal event on a personal level and a good theme for a Latin American soap opera movie. However, these two players were on the stage and the world was expecting their game. They were responsible in front of all of us, the chess fans, and they let their personal discussions to ruin round 8. Here the precedents go back to San Luis and the two players could have talked about them behind the stage. But Cheparinov publicly expressed his thoughts by not shaking hands with Short and provoked the reaction of the English GM.

The legal norms, however, were on the side of Cheparinov. His manager clearly stated David Jarret’s words immediately after the game, that Cheparinov is not obliged to shake hands and no penalty follows. Short had to know that, as he is a playing under FIDE rules, and his emotional storming out of the room was incorrect. The arbiter of the match also took the wrong decision and we had to see appeals committee in action.

Summing up the legal, social, and moral side of the story, the conclusion is logical. Both players carry responsibility for the accident, but non of them can be penalized under FIDE laws. Hopefully this case and the story of Anna Rudolf will lead to quick decisions and incorporation of stricter laws in chess. But even strict FIDE laws cannot help chess if Short, Cheparinov, and all the others on the stage do not behave as grown up people.

The role of chess media in the conflict

The worldwide media has to be congratulated for the reaction to the conflict this time. It is always the easiest (and most profitable) to take a side in an argument. However, this time everyone was down to Earth. The conflict has a long story and so many factors are involved that judging only from the actions in Corus will be a big mistake. The media did the right thing – the video was distributed around sites, the story was published, and blaming was kept on the lowest possible level. It is his majesty, the reader, who has the sole right to decide who is right and who is wrong.

The media is only responsible for carrying out the facts and Chessdom tried to do it’s best with minute by minute reports from the playing hall. Chessdom does not accept any outside influences. We have been blamed for being the site of the Greek Chess Federation during the ETCC, a Hungarian site during the Anna Rudolf scandal, the site of Danailov during the Mtel Masters, the site of Gorenje during Valjevo 2007. The Chessdom team can say loud and proud that all of the above is just gossip. We are 21 people from 14 countries and we are a global site without affiliations and secret connections. And we will keep on being independent, only faithful to you, the thousands of readers that visit us every day. Join us again tomorrow with the live commentary of Van Wely – Carlsen at 13:30 CET live on Chessdom.