Tough Competition

Competing at the professional level is tough. Athletes grab onto anything that will give them an edge over their opponent, however tiny. Second place is never desired, for who will remember anyone who placed second in a competitive sport event ? The obsession for winning at all cost is dangerous for if one is not careful, it can drive that obsession a step further into something dreadful – cheating. People don’t realize that cheating in professional sports is like tightrope walking. If you fall, it is likely that your career is over and you might not have a second show.

High Tech Cheating

Although I am not playing chess as I used to, I keep track of Philippine chess events on the web. Just lately, while browsing the web for the games of our young super grandmaster Wesley So, I chanced upon an article about the Iranian player who was ousted at the Dubai Open for cheating. What ? In chess for godsakes ? How ? Well, it turned out that some wise crack who was watching and analyzing the game from somewhere was texting him the best move ! Perhaps he had an accomplice watching the game live who relayed the moves to someone somewhere who was analyzing the game on a supercomputer πŸ™‚ The Iranian player managed to notch good wins until he faced a Chinese player who was wary of his moves, both mental and physical and wondered why he was checking his cell phone during the game. He complained to the arbiters who unraveled the sinister operation and disqualified the player from the tournament.

Unholy Alliance

Golf is one game with the most weird and confusing rules, perhaps the one sport on the planet that has the thickest rule book. Just lately, at the Canadian Women’s Open in Winnipeg, two Korean players were disqualified for “conspiring to cheat”. At the 18th and last hole of the first day of the 4 day tournament, both ladies went for the green on their second shot. One ball landed on the green and the other on the sand bunker. Players are required to mark their balls for easy identification. The player who hit first from the bunker realized that she had her partner’s ball but kept mum about it after a conversation with her Korean partner. She obviously wanted to avoid a 2 stroke penalty for playing the wrong ball. Her partner continued to putt the ball even though it wasn’t hers. At this point her partner became an instant accomplice, likewise guilty of 2 stroke penalty for putting the wrong ball. All these were happening without the knowledge of the third player in the flight who was non Korean. The Korean players told their caddies to shut up. The short end of the story was the caddies who mostly are former pros or even tour players in minor leagues moonlighting as caddies didn’t buy the idea and reported the incident. The 2 Korean golfers were disqualified from the event. They might even face suspension.

Harming the Opponent

This would be the lowest form of cheating, a criminal offence at that. Remember that 1994 incident where skater Nancy Kerrigan was clubbed in the knees by an assailant to prevent her from competing in the qualifying for the U.S. Olympic skating team ? It turned out that the malevolent act was engineered by her peer, fellow skater Tonya Harding who wanted her eliminated from the team. She paid someone to break her legs so she can’t skate in the eliminations. Talk about envy to the max and obsession to make it to the team at all cost, even to the point of harming your fellow player. It is the ugliest form of cheating, an act that could land someone in jail and result in disqualification from the sport for life.


On Facebook

Facebook is an awesome social networking tool, perhaps the best in the cyberworld. It allows you to connect with long lost relatives and friends and gives you up to date status of their lives – their whereabouts, jobs, pursuits, families. It also allows to give you a glimpse of their private lives – their homes, photos of families and friends, life changing events included. I don’t have a Facebook account myself – oh well, I actually did create one, anonymous like my blog which I had never used. My wife and my daughter have their respective accounts and it is amazing how my long lost relatives managed to touch base with me through them. The convergence is stunning. Although I don’t communicate with them directly, the fact that they see me in the photos, they comment and say hello to me which I truly appreciate. The younger ones sync up with my daughter and the bond between the new generation is established albeit virtual. The steady stream of photos I see on their walls, profiles and albums given that they are dispersed all over the globe are just a pleasure to read.

Like any great system there is always a downside. I am not even talking about the inherent security risks to people’s privacy in this post. Let’s talk about the simple and obvious ones. We have heard of people getting in trouble because of Facebook. I read a story about an employee who requested to work from home for a week because of her sick child only to be fired when her boss checked her Facebook account and found that she was busy updating it rather than working. My wife’s officemate told her that she is thinking about closing her Facebook account because of the many requests for donations to churches and community events. A friend of mine told me that she accepted the friend request of a godchild in Pinas only to find out that her long lost inaanak, which she hasn’t seen since she left the country decades ago, now in her twenties, wanted a loan for no compelling reason. Not content that no response means a no, her inaanak sent her more than 10 emails asking why she has not responded. Frankly, I can’t even remember most of my inaanaks back in Pinas, their names and how they look 😯 I haven’t seen them for eons. Β If it was me, they would get the reply – “who are you anyway? πŸ˜† Facebook is great when you don’t over expose yourself. When you keep it simple and informative and adhere with the proper decorum of respecting people’s privacy, it is like great tool and a great game.

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31 Responses

  1. That player cheating in a chess tournament was quite gusty. What was he thinking ? As for the lady golfers, that’s a definite no-no. They could be suspended for years for conniving to cheat.

    Facebook is definitely not the place to make new friends. It is where you connect with existing friends or friends of your friends πŸ˜‰ That’s where people run the risk, by accepting strangers.

    • He should have imbedded a microphone in his skull to be more effective πŸ™‚ Golf is an honor system game. You could lose your win even after the game is over if a discrepancy is discovered.

      It is best to put out your account as viewable by friends only for optimum safety.

  2. That Nancy Kerrigan incident is news to me. Gosh, whoever did that cruel to a fellow skater thing deserved to be jailed. That is criminal !

    I can’t stand Facebook myself. There are lots of people who are in it just to show off.

    • Agree. In this case Tonya Harding wasn’t jailed but did a community service but was fined heavily ($160,000).

      LOL.. that’s true. They like to show off their new houses and new cars to friends πŸ™‚

  3. ~ ‘Tis my opinion every man cheats in his own way, and he is only honest who is not discovered ~
    Susannah Centlivre

    I am quite amazed to see the success of Facebook. I never knew I had so many friends πŸ˜‰

    • on that quote, I could say amen … hehe πŸ˜‰

      It is a huge success that almost every significant business website nowadays also maintain a Facebook version.

      Last month I was following Wesley So on the Young Grandmasters Tournament in Amsterdam online – meaning moves are shown using Java graphics and audience are free to analyze the game using the tournament website’s Facebook account… lol.. so many so called “experts” were commenting on the next move, most of them , if not all Pinoys who are fans of Wesley.. they confused the heck out of me πŸ˜‰ At one point, people were challenging each other if they disagreed with the proposed move – what is your chess rating ? What is your experience in chess ? haha .. Facebook is amazing I agree πŸ˜†

  4. At least the cheating in those games that you mentioned were individually done and not institutionalized or sanctioned by its own government. It wasn’t too long ago when the US accused the eastern bloc countries (East Germany for one) of cheating because their women athletes were suspiciously more muscular and heftier, indicating use of steroids. Here in Pinas, there was this case that was exposed by sportswriter Al Mendoza, not too long ago, of age-fixing in the country’s boy’s baseball team. The team was supposed to represent the country in the little league world baseball series but was disqualified when it was found that some of the players were actually over aged (the right age is 9 -12). That team was from Zamboanga and guess what, even the mayor was in on it.

    As for Facebook, I do have an account but it’s mostly to connect with friends, cousins and of course, blog buddies.

    • I remember that Little League world championship game televised from Pennsylvannia. Man, I was cheering for the Pinoy team all the way until the end. Now that was a real disappointment when they got disqualified days after winning because players were alledgely overaged and reportedly some of the players weren’t from Zamboanga. That was a big downer for our sport.

      Good for you. I’m staying out of Facebook forever I think πŸ™‚ My wife carries me on her Facebook – that is good enough for me . I laready have a hard time maintaining my blog πŸ˜‰

  5. Its funny that there’s a lot of craziness in women’s figure skating of all things. Did you hear about Nicole Bobek being part of a crystal meth ring?

    I’m surprised they allowed cellphones at the chess tournament. That seems like such an obvious way to cheat.

    • It’s probably because figure skating is art and sport in one package and draws one heck of a crowd in exhibitions and competitions. I also heard that marquee skaters get great endorsement money from sponsors.

      Same here, unless the cheating chess player presses an abbreviated dialing button on his cell to send an SOS message for a reply to an opponent’s move. He was probably not looking at his cell for every move and seeks help only for difficult ones. I can only speculate πŸ˜‰

  6. I have facebook account. But it’s dormant, hahahaha. Makulit lang ang mga relatives, kelangan daw magreconnect throught that. πŸ˜‰

    • It’s a great way to connect with people you know. A buddy of mine opened a Facebook account so he can reconnect with high school friends from his province for a possible reunion. I think nothing beats Facebook when it comes to organizing reunions πŸ˜‰

  7. Sports is not what it once was. Because of the multi-milliion “reward” that awaits the winner, some resort to cheating just to have that extra edge to beat the competition. In a sport where a fraction of a second matters, it’s a plus to have an extra ace up your sleeve. Foul and dirty, but we observed these on prestigious events such as the Olympics, Formula One, Tour de France, World Series etc. and so on.

    But IMO, the worst cheating is when you let your own team down by deleberately lossing a game just like the allege “fixing” by some Pakistani players in their cricket match against England. That’s tantamount to treason.

    • Nowadays endorsement from sponsors can give more money to atheles than their winnings or contracts from their clubs. Tiger Woods at one point got $80M from endorsements and $10M from his winnings. That’s why athletes want to be on top of the heap or make it to the team so they can make a name for themselves. I heard that the lowest ranked players in the PGA tour gets paid $1,000 a week to play the golf clubs of the sponsor company πŸ˜‰

      Game fixing and letting your country down is outright treason. It calls for a lifetime ban from the sport IMO 😦

  8. there’s this guy that called in sick but on his fb’s wall it says he’s at the ballgame! – he got fired.

    so many stories – some horror- about fb. i am still into it. it gave me a venue to reconnect with my cousins and old pals. i’m loving it so far – to the dismay of my hubs. he said i wasn’t content on blogging, i still had to do fb!

    • ouch… that’s a real silly way of losing a job 😦

      Well, you have 2 blogs and now FB… that will keep you really busy ! But as long as you enjoy it go for it. It’s therapeutic πŸ™‚

  9. Anna Kournikova comes to mind who had the dreaded disease: secondinitis.

    These two koreans certainly were not smart; if you cheat, you should just keep it to yourself; telling your caddies to keep quiet was just dumb. They should be banned for life.

    Maim your opponent to claim victory; then brag about it.
    There are just evil people on earth…and prisons are full of it where they actually belong, hehe….

    Not a fan of facebook. Wifey is a member…so excited the first time, now; it’s hibernating.

    The end result of that Little League fiasco was something I never expected. Regardless of the noypis ages, all of them were outweighted by the even taller gringos. I still think they were the outright champions even to this day. I’d like to have a team again and let’s call them “Da Manila Folders”, hehe…..

    .

    • whatever happened to Kournikova ? Has she retired ? At least one win would have been nice . But hey she made a ton of money through endorsements πŸ˜‰

      True, those little leaguers were dwarfed by their opponents but heck, they were small but strong because they’re gurang na hehe πŸ˜†

  10. cheating in chess? grabe! but i was surprised to hear that you can bring your mobile phone while playing

    facebook – i don’t use facebook much. i just look at the first page of the ffeds, then close the tab. hehe. people would tell me that this and this is happening to someone and i’m like how did you know.. from facebook. i really don’t use my facebook. hehe.

    • I bet they’re tightening up on the rules of the tournament these days 😯

      Aren’t you on Multiply and Blogger already ? Adding FB will be a stretch for you πŸ˜‰

  11. hay naku @ bw, in my short stint at event organizing, i realized that sports brings out the best and the worst in people. πŸ™‚

    • I can appreciate that. Let’s not talk about professional sports. Some people have too much pride chicken – they can’t simply play for the fun of it .

  12. okay ah chess na nga dinadaya pa! alam mo when i tell people athlete ako nung high school walang naniniwala! haha

  13. online cheating in chess? that’s expected. i’ve had sleepless nights when i was a teenager after a game i’ve lost but i should’ve won due to a stupid blunder. happened so many times 😦

    • and… it sticks to your mind after the game.. you can also replay the game from start to finish from memory to analyze where you’ve gone wrong πŸ˜‰

  14. Great site, though I would love to see some more media! – Great post anyway, Cheers!

  15. A truly beneficial publish by you my good friend. We have bookmarked this web page and can are available back again following several days to verify for almost any new posts that you just make.

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