October 01, 2008

The BanzayFish scandal - Scene I (Introduction)

I like fiction and drama, I enjoy a good thriller movie (especially when gun fighting is limited), I have spent a lot of hours playing Sherlock Holmes last week, I got inspired from your comments to the previous article I wrote and I decided to recite you the story of BanzayFish as if it is a movie script. My files are overloaded with e-mails and links and all little things that I discovered and my mind is full of emotions and ideas mixed with sarcasm (?!). I am not going to reveal everything I know right from the beginning. Be patient. You waited for 12 years before you see another World Championship Match; I am not going to torture you for such a long time.
Here we go!

The storyboard

We have a correspondence chess site where players use nicknames to login. Users have a choice either to keep their personal data hidden or to show to the other members their name and chess title, if any. Now this handle, BanzayFish as well as another handle, ZorMaster, do not hide their data. The first one belongs to a strong titled woman player, who for the purposes of the script has the name Marta, the other one belongs to a young lady, numero uno in her category whom we may call Kerstine.
It is important to distinguish between the handles and real persons. We all know that, don’t we? The parents who have young children and believe that their children are mature enough to use Internet without supervision, always instruct them not to trust their e-friends, because these virtual friends might not be what they say they are. You get the picture, right? Why do you neglect to follow this advice when you play chess here in Playchess.de, huh?
This is the reason why I have reserved the leading role of my scenario for you, pour vous, für Sie, per voi, para usted, para você, voor joo …

Scene I

You played an Internet game against BanzayFish, you knew that Marta was a very strong player, it is a challenge to play known and strong players, you read theory and game bases again and again so that you get out of the opening phase with an equal position. Then in move 23, she accompanied her move with an insult and an accusation that you cheat with a computer. Her words were so sharp that you got angry, you sent a complaint to Thomas but you received no reply (you should know that Thomas works eight days a week, because he has a family to feed and a greedy server that sucks all his money). You were angry for a week, then you calmed down and then…
Your local chess club invited Marta for a theory seminar and a simul with all club members. (I am going to read your thoughts in the comment section, so I jump directly to the big event.)
You meet Marta for the first time. After the appropriate introduction of the special guest the seminar begins. You are impressed. She speaks slowly, she expresses with clarity and you didn’t miss her thoughts even when she dived deeply into a position without moving the pieces on the big chessboard behind her. She was gentle and answered all the questions from the audience, even the more stupid ones.
During the simul you can’t take your eyes off her. As she walks from board to board you observe her pose, her face, her look, and at the same time you think of the insults she addressed to you during your Internet game. You followed the same opening but she chose a different variation. You wanted to remind her of your virtual match but you didn’t try. When the simul was over, you had a chance to speak to her, but in the end you hesitated. You returned home with doubts and questions left unanswered.

Scene I – variation

Now the leading character is not you, but him. (I prefer a male character for the purpose of the variation) He is a young man, his parents were divorced when he was fourteen, he recently failed a university exam or his employer asked him impolitely to be more productive, he is eager to conquer the world and feels cheated because the struggle is harder than he thought. Well, this lad is a very good chess player although not in a national level. He always returns to chess and finds happiness, because chess is the only activity that keeps his mind in discipline and harmony, so he played chess almost everywhere, (the park, local club, Internet) and anytime (work breaks, afternoon, before he goes to bed). Now he is the one who played a game against BanzayFish and faced the sharp insults, he also played against Marta at the local club’s simul exhibition. He made the same observation as you did, but he could not control his anger during the game. Perhaps earlier he visited a coffee shop (sorry, in my mind the story takes place somewhere in the Netherlands) and that was the main reason for his confusion. When everything was over he approached her and then…
You understand that he need not do something crazy to get busted and find himself in an uncomfortable situation in front of an impatient police officer who asks and asks and asks. Just addressing to her the same insults that he read one night on his computer screen is enough to get him into trouble.
Ask yourselves what happened when Marta denied that she plays Internet chess, that she ever e-met him, that she wrote such dirty words to him?

Do you get the picture?

This is the beginning of “the BanzayFish scandal”. Just the beginning…

Many thanks to the playchess.de member who inspired Scene I :-)

Posted by Michalis Kaloumenos at October 1, 2008 11:04 PM

thrilling !

Posted by: gambitfan at October 1, 2008 11:24 PM

the first chapter makes me long for more, even if it reminds me of a bizarre chess opening :-)

Posted by: ulibear at October 3, 2008 03:37 PM

GAL, I'm sure she would have ripped him there in public.....unless someone else was using her computer to destroy her so s/he could have her math department job or promotion. Having taught math in an American University this is possible.

Posted by: Tanis at October 4, 2008 01:47 AM

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