There is an old saying that any publicity is good publicity. Whether this is true, I don't know, but it certainly gets tested semi-regularly by chess players. The latest such publicity-causing person is GM Vladislav Tkachiev, who got his name in the newspapers by turning up drunk to a game in the Kolkata Open, falling asleep, and eventually losing on time.
This has, like so many other notable chess stories, been picked up on by the good folk at the English Chess Forum, and there has subsequently been a lively debate on the subject.
What's quite clear is that Tkachiev's own personal reputation has not exactly been enhanced by this episode, and he's probably going to find it harder to get conditions to play in tournaments in the future. (Unless, that is, some organizer decides that a GM who may concede stupid points by falling asleep might be a good person to invite in the hope that he'll do this against a norm-seeker. It's possible.)
What's less clear is the effect on chess in general. Does the association of our game with alcohol help it or hurt it? Is it better for us to be the subject of no news stories, or ones that show our players in bad lights?
I don't know the answers to these questions. Perhaps you may.
Happy New Year!
2 months ago