Wednesday, October 8, 2008

What is a state champion?

The headline from the Google Alert-chess reads: Hilton Head High senior wins state chess event. Reading further I found: Hilton Head Island High School senior Rade Musulin tied for first place in the state chess championship. Rade, 17, competed over the weekend in the event ...
Before clicking on the link, I thought to myself, "That's strange. I just checked out the crosstables after Inga Gurevich called and I saw that IM Kurill Kuderinov finished clear first." Then I had another thought, maybe the young man tied for the first resident of the great state of South Carolina, always first in the hearts of a true Southerner. I then surfed on over to the SCCA website (a fine one, I might add, which puts the GCA site to shame), and found the sole state champion is NM Philipp Lamby, who although born in Aachen, Germany, currently teaches and does research at the University of South Carolina. "How can that be?" I asked myself.
Upon reading the story on the website, I found the answer. It says, "He tied in the amateur category."
That is the problem when a completely separate tournament is held in conjunction with a title event. This young fellow did not win a state championship; he tied for first place in a tournament for weaker players, not ready for prime time, held in conjunction with the SOUTH CAROLINA STATE CHAMPIONSHIP!
I can understand why the people of Hilton Head would be proud of their native son, but to call him a "state champion" is not only confusing, but it cheapens the title for the player who actually holds the title of CHAMPION OF THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA!
This Saturday the House will hold a G/45 one day event. The GCA , in it's wisdom, has decided to call the winner the "state champion." I assume the winner will be known as the G/45 champion of the state of Georgia. If so, it would only seem to cheapen the actual title of Georgia State Champion, obtained at what is now referred to as a "standard" time control. Was any thought given to that fact? Was there any discussion before it was decided to call the winner of this particular G/45 the state champion? If someone, such as the new IM, Kurill Kuderinov, happens to win 4-0 and there is a six way tie at 3-1 among Georgians, does that mean we will have six MORE state champions (to go with the three who tied at the actual State Championship)?


poke smotter said...

Smoke pot

Anonymous said...

I'd like to generally agree with you on your concerns about cheapening the word "Champion", but I'd also like to hear the GCA's side of the story before jumping to any conclusions. I have read Mulfish's response at, but woulod like very much to read something more "official". Does the GCA board post minutes or announcements or press releases anywhere? I have spent a little time looking, but not enough to know it isn't there.

Charles Gowing
occasional u1400 player at the House of Pain

Mulfish said...

I also agree with Mike's concerns about cheapening of the word champion with regard to the Hilton Head player.

Minutes of the GCA Board meetings have not been published as long as I've been a member (2001). If they were, however, you would find no reference to the G/45 event, because it was never discussed in a GCA meeting. The discussions I referred to occurred via e-mail. I'd have to check, but I don't recall anyone expressing any concerns about the House using "Georgia" in the event name. I can't speak for anyone else, but I never considered the possibility that anyone would consider this an official GCA state championship event. And in a way, we could say no one did. Mike brought the issue up, but he argued AGAINST the idea that it was a legitimate state title would be conferred on the winner.

Since I've been here, I've never seen a state title event run by anyone other than the GCA.

This reminds me of an amusing misuse of "Championship" in an event title at the ACC. Each year the house runs the Atlanta Chess Center Championship. I (in jest) told David Spinks that I expected free entry, because the ACC website at the time listed entry into the club championship as a benefit of membership. They have subsequently closed that particular loophole.