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June 12, 2006

King's Bishop to Queen 3, Punches Knight

Checking up on last week's news . . . .

In a continuing effort to prove to the world that chess masters are not a bunch of bespectacled geeky guys who can't get a date, we now have Gormallygate (with photos, for those of you who came here just for the photos). [UPDATE: Now that Blogger's photo upload seems to work again, I'm including the photo here.]

There's making moves in chess and making moves in night clubs - and you wouldn't think the two would involve the same players.

Think again. To the staid world of chess comes ... Gormallygate.

And at the centre of it is teenage Australian chess champion Arianne Caoili, dubbed "the Anna Kournikova of chess".

British chess grandmaster Danny Gormally had reportedly been seeing and emailing her.

But when he saw her dancing with the world's No. 3 player, Armenia's Levon Aronian, in a Turin nightclub during the World Chess Olympiad he made a move with his fist.
Arianne's coach, Graeme Gardiner, describes the background to this fight:
The trio were at the Bermuda party, which is a regular event at the World Chess Olympiad.

"[The Bermuda party] is always organised by the Bermuda team because they are one of the world's worst teams but they run the best party," said Graeme Gardiner, a former Australian Chess Federation president who has coached Arianne since she was five years old.

"She's a 19-year-old, very attractive girl. She's probably got the guys queuing up for her. As far as I'm aware in this incident she was an innocent party in the sense that she was merely having a dance at the Bermuda Party."

Gormally subsequently left the Olympiad early of his own volition.

Now he might face action from the game's ruling body for the incident, which has sparked a feud between the English and Armenian teams.
So with these chess guys getting violent, do you think we'd have a kiss-and-make-up ending? Do you think there'd at least be a West Side Story ending? Can't we all just get along? Not exactly; there was more fighting to come. But the ending was at least amusing.
Gormally and Beardsworth apologised to the Armenian delegation and their star player the morning after the incident but, while the apologies were being accepted, some of Aronian's teammates waded in with their fists.

Once they were told that Gormally had already said sorry, the Armenians apologised for their retaliatory attack.

"It was all very friendly," Mr Beardsworth said.
All very friendly? Well, as they say, "With friends like that, who needs enemies?"