jueves, 3 de marzo de 2011

Father and daughter play (and win) rookies tournament under false names

Father and daughter play (and win) under false namesRecently a father and his daughter entered an under 1700 tournament in New Zealand under false names, and duly finished first and second. No great harm was done (their combined prize was $55, or about 40 Euros) but in the Oceania chess scene it’s the story of the day.

Source: Chess Vibes

On the website of the Hamilton Chess Club in New Zealand, the organizer of a small club tournament writes:
At great expense to the Hamilton Chess Club management, two strong chess players were secretly imported from Europe to test the resolve and current skill level of the Waikato juniors and beginners on 20th Feb. Lara Stock (wgm) and her father Michael Stock (2200+) cleverly kept their relationship, ages – she was over 18 – and identities secret (by using false names) and both convincingly blitzed the field of up and coming but unsuspecting budding chess enthusiasts. We all enjoyed the lessons learned – both on and off the chess board, of honesty and integrity or what happens when there is a lack of it. Stay tuned for the next secret mission of the management – we may be able to exhume Bobby Fischer yet!
The tone of this small post already reveals that the organizer hasn’t taken the situation too seriously (and probably rightly so). However, in an attempt to learn from it, he also posted the story at two forums: Chess Chat and and OZChess, where it’s being debated heavily.
Later, on the OZChess forum the organizer mentioned the names of the couple.
OK, its show and tell time. It turns out the couple are Father and Daughter and have used their real names at another location in NZ, and previous posters are well on the right path. They are Lara Stock (CRO) and Michael Stock (GER). She is a WGM and her federation is Croatia, he is rated over 2200 and belongs to the German Federation.
As this small report of the Gap Chess Club in Brisbane, Australia shows, Michael and Lara Stock have apparently been travelling through Australia and New Zealand for a while. It also appears that they’ve tried to enter other weak tournaments as well.
Earlier today Chessbase also reported on the story. They decided not to mention the names. However, we must say that the girl in the photo does look a lot like the Lara Stock that has featured in two Chessbase articles:
Lara Stock in May 2006 – Photo Andreas Albers/Chessbase Lara Stock in September 2007 – Photo Scacchierando/Chessbase Unidentified girl winning an under 1700 tournament – Photo HCC

In the second article, Lara is the main subject, for defeating two GMs at the International Chess Festival in Trieste (Italy) in 2007. According to her rating history, she hasn’t played much since, which is confirmed by a search in our chess games database.
So who knows, it might well be Michael and Lara. And who knows, she might have lost her interest in competitive chess, but likes to shuffle the pieces here and there while travelling through Australia and New Zealand. Not a big deal so far.
However, they must know that there, they’re easily the strongest players in many small tournaments. And with entry fees for them totalling $25 and winning $55, it wasn’t about the money. Why not mention your real name, and just participate for fun? Strange.

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