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Former Chess Official Scoffs at Media Notion That Game Is Racist

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When asked to appear on a radio show to discuss the proposition that racism is prevalent in the game of chess because the white side traditionally moves first, former Australian chess representative John Adams became furious.

Adams, now an economist, tweeted that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation had invited him to discuss the proposition that having the white side move first might trigger feelings of racism and could spur a change in the game’s rules.

The idea triggered some tweets instead. Adams declined the interview offer, according to Yahoo. In a tweet, he made it clear he wasn’t interested in discussing the “irrelevant” topic with ABC.

“I just received a phone call from an ABC Sydney based producer seeking a comment about the game of chess! The ABC have taken the view that chess is RACIST given that white always go first! They are seeking comment from a chess official as to whether the rules of chess need to be altered!” he tweeted.

“Trust the taxpayer funded national broadcaster to apply ideological Marxist frameworks to anything & everything in Australia! With all the drama resulting from COVID-19, I am amazed that the ABC is broadcasting on irrelevant topics!”

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Adams tweeted that he was happy to see former star player Garry Kasparov “take aim” at ABC over “their nonsense.”

ABC Radio Sydney host James Valentine later said the idea was to have a discussion, not brand chess as racist, according to Yahoo.

Kevin Bonham, a member of the Australian Chess Federation committee who appeared in Adams’ place, explained that the concept of having white move first was developed in the mid-19th century as a way of standardizing the international sport.

“In 19th century the player who had the right to go first could choose which colour they went first with, but analysts for some time had been publishing games as if white moved first whether this was actually true or not,” Bonham wrote on an internet chess forum, according to Yahoo.

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“There are benefits to standardizing it, in terms of things like publishing diagrams of the chessboard, because when you … play with black moving first, it effectively mirror-images which way round you have your pieces,” he added on the show.

Bonham said white and black do not represent races.

“The pieces themselves don’t represent racial teams, they just represent the sort of combatants in a battle wearing different coloured uniforms if you want,” he said.

Many on Twitter thought raising the issue was absurd.

For the casual chess player, Bonham said, either color can go first.

“The funny thing is that at social to even lower club level, having white or black makes zero difference to average results,” he said, according to the Australian outlet OverSixty.

“The advantage starts kicking in around middling club level and becomes stronger at the highest levels.”

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Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack can be reached at jackwritings1@gmail.com.
Location
New York City
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Foreign Policy, Military & Defense Issues




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