A Tale of Two Tournaments

The following is an amazing report of the July 3 tournament written by the event organizer, Sahan Karunaratne! You can also watch FM Mark Plotkin’s livestream of the bullet tournament here!

Two mysterious characters descended on Hart House’s online tournaments this week. During the blitz tournament, upon asking for “Mr. Plotkin” and claiming to be children the two players wreaked havoc over the board. What was terrible was that they were somehow rated below 1200, with one of them being rated 900. There were some cries in the chat that the players were underrated. However, being a welcoming and positive club, it was naturally assumed that the two were merely using old accounts. Accounts which were reflective of their blitz rating in the past. Perhaps FM Plotkin had been teaching them in his spare time?

Then the bullet tournament started and the situation became suspicious. Mark Plotkin was edged out and trailing in the first part of the tourney. Then he fell, well behind. Not too mention both players were rated in their 700’s in bullet. 1900 points under Plotkin. Checking their accounts revealed that they had created the accounts on the day of the tournament, and had subsequently lost all of their games to get their ratings as low as possible. A quick check of their games revealed early resignations.

It became a story of Mark Plotkin triumphing against two unknown entities. Eventually when he found his rhythm he crushed all competition with berserking blows. At the end of the tournament he had a berserk rate of 100% with 148 points to show for it. The two individuals with their vain attempt at humour trailing in a distant second and third.

What these individuals don’t seem to realize is that many members of the club look at their online rating to gauge improvement. This can play a pivotal role to keep them motivated to play chess. Their sole target, Mark Plotkin, was the only person who didn’t stand to lose much.

Everyone else particularly the weaker players were obviously disheartened. That is not to say
that Plotkin was entirely happy, as can be seen on his stream. We take this behaviour very seriously. Multiple members have reported these two to lichess. However, it has made us question the value of hosting rated tournaments. That being said, for now I can see that rated tournaments add an additional layer of competition and so we shall continue our trend of having rated tournaments. I hope to see you all (with your proper ratings) next week!