Monday, November 14, 2011


These days TESTING is required to be even a local TD, at least every 3 years I was told.

The test questions can be quite tricky. You only need 80% correct to pass, but it is not necessarily an easy 80%.

I am reading the 5th edition USCF Rulebook which is monstrously large... 370 pages.

There's already been a slew of changes or additions which came AFTER the 5th edition. I haven't read those yet and probably won't. Hopefully, they are for the MORE advanced tests!

In general the authors Tim Just and Daniel Burg have done an amazing job if they aren't in the bughouse by now. Constantly keeping track of "claimant" and "opponent" must've been a daunting task and I wouldn't want to see their original EDITS!

The index probably has most of the information (for looking something up) but often only ONE word is used to describe a situation. If it is a problem in pairings don't look for "troubleshooting" or "problems," you won't find those, you better go to Pairings and then go through nearly three columns of indented subheads! There are many examples of this.

Speaking of Subheads, wow! Whoever did the typography for this book has absolutely NO imagination. The MAIN heads and variations are in bold, which is OK, but when it comes to indexing, nothing. Here's the DEAL with indexing a book like this and even computer manuals (which also often do a lousy job): make sure your READER can find what he or she is looking for. If you have to twist your arm or your pen a little more, so be it. For example, FORFEIT. The index has "double" and "non-appearance." Okay, that's fine and true. But then there are "reporting forfeits," "writing the info on a WALL CHART," or "on PAIRING CARDS." That's twice as many entries as formerly and probably there could be several more. The indexer has to be a TYPE of mind-reader. This is one of the big failings of computer manuals too--if you aren't thinking o the exact word the author is, you waste a lot of time trying to figure out what word (if any) the author used to describe a particular item/issue.

There are professional indexers and I suspect they are of varying degrees of competency, like anything else. The design/layout programs CAN do some of this work IF your brain can keep track of ALL the possibilities, and one will reach a point where it most likely can't. When I created the 20 page index for Purdy's My Search for Chess Perfection, I couldn't be more happy than when it was completed! Ideally it's good to do an index outline.

There are extremely FEW illustrations in the book, which makes reading incredibly tiring.

A few rule things are not what they USED to be, so you have to read carefully and understand slowly because the questions can be tricky, or, in my opinion, "incomplete." For example, annoying or harassing an opponent; there are various penalties and remedies. In one instance it was stated that White kept offering Black a draw. What is "kept?" I think most of us would say, "repeatedly and not just 2-3 times but many, many times." The Director gets called in and rules that White is a ninny. (I would have warned him and then forfeited his ass if he kept it up.) Then White APPEALS the Director's decision!! (Stall tactic.) I realize that in the past (maybe still) there were directors who took NO account of extraneous situations and made dumb rulings, but the director should be able to say, "Look bozo, I warned you not once but twice about annoying your opponent. If he thinks the situation merits a draw, let him offer it to you. In the meantime, You are fired!"

It's precisely because of people who are late, don't show, rude, have improper equipment, don't understand the basic laws, play with their pieces, etc. that books like this are so fat! There is not even a place where the authors say, "All things being equal," or "Common sense dictates..." because there are, unfortunately, a lot of people out there with NO common sense. They are, bluntly, pains in the asses. They should be banned from civilization, not just tournament rooms. Some of them are the higher-rated players who are there for the money/prestige only and will go for ANY edge they can get. (See next paragraph.)

Mr. Coolio
In 1988 I played in the US Open in Boston. EVERY set on the 100 tables were of the standard club variety. In the rulebook it states that organizers have the right to do this. But my opponent, a well-known master, took it upon himself to dump a bunch of broken wooden pieces onto the board and then ask, "Is it OK if we use my set?" He also had the white pieces (he doesn't even get choice of equipment). He was a total ass. Being outrated and not wanting to cause a scene (my girlfriend was there), I said it was OK though I was burning with fury inside. He got crushed in under 30 moves and I loved every minute of it. Sometimes you can push people too far. Years later, on the other side of the country, he tried his intimidation stuff on a different subject with me, that time he didn't get away with it.

If this rule book was put into a Graphic Comic book format, it would be 10X easier to understand and a visual aid is worth a ton. As much as I admire the work the authors have done to get this book out, it will create migraines faster than dealing with cheapskates!


PS: There are many who read this blog, as I've mentioned before, and who are not registered. When someone makes a comment, especially a comment that is totally in error because of lack of information, or they can't read, it isn't easy to respond to them because they have no email address listed. I suspect some do that on purpose because they like to LET fly with some brain dead remark and KNOW you can't reply and show them the places where their "thinking" was ...

I read CNN online a lot and I am always astounded (no more) about the replies to an article they get. Often there are comments with absolutely NOTHING to back their assertion. I really do hope these people do not vote for anything or body or we are really in trouble next year. When Steve Jobs passed away, it seemed like everyone who didn't know him in any way, and who hated Apple, wrote in. Incendiary, lunatic comments. Hoping Apple fails. This company in the US employs tens of thousands of people and these mental midgets are hoping it fails!? They missed the bus and hope everyone else does too.

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