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Wesley So vs Varuzhan Akobian
US Championship (2015), St Louis, MO USA, rd 9, Apr-10
Tarrasch Defense: Two Knights Variation (D32)  ·  0-1



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Wesley So vs Varuzhan Akobian (2015)

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 9 OF 9 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jun-15-15  epistle: We are grateful to you, Oh Wesley So, because you do not charge us anything for watching your games--

Wesley So: Thank you to all my friends and supporters here. Your encouragement is important to me and despite the insinuations of my haters, I am not ungrateful for it. This work is hard and the sacrifices are heavy but knowing there are a handful of my own countrymen who want me to succeed helps a lot. Those who insist I am “ungrateful” because I keep moving forward (yes I know who you are and that you poke around in here every day) try and understand something. When an institution, a government, a school, a private investor, has “given” me something, they have not done it out of love for me. They have compensated me in order to secure a service for themselves. It is a business exchange not a marriage. And unless it is slavery both parties must benefit. When one party no longer feels a benefit, that party goes their own way. That is not ingratitude that is common sense.

Playing chess is a game for you. For me it is business. If you want to support my games I appreciate it. I am not always as good as I want to be and I can take criticism of my game, I don’t mind that. Don’t think though, that allows you to treat me as your personal punching bag. I invest thousands of hours and a lot of money on improving my skills. You watch my games for free. It seems to me it’s you who should be more grateful.

To the rest of you who try to keep order here, Thank you. I am about to start a heavy run of matches. I will try my best to do well. Your kind words of support and your prayers can help make it happen.>

Page 7140 of So page. He invests a lot for his games. We watch them for free. It is us who should be grateful.

Jul-17-15  lakshashishu: Why is this included in Akobian's notable games.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <lakshashishu: Why is this included in Akobian's notable games.>

A criterion for inclusion--perhaps the only one, but I do not know--is the number of users who have a game which is either won or drawn by the player in question in a personal collection. Even if one thousand users were to include this gem, it would therefore not make it as one of So's notable games.

Jul-18-15  lakshashishu: < perfidious:
A criterion for inclusion--perhaps the only one, but I do not know--is the number of users who have a game which is either won or drawn by the player in question in a personal collection. Even if one thousand users were to include this gem, it would therefore not make it as one of So's notable games.>
This gem is too good to ignore for some people:)
But sign of disrespect to Akobian,Imagine this Judit Polgar vs Kasparov, 1994 included in Kasparov's notable games.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Polgar-Kasparov appears in 26 collections and does not even make the list of notable games--most impressive.
Aug-21-15  wordfunph: the controversial "Scoresheet Akobian Defence 5...Nc6 Variation"
Oct-05-15  akshat02: wesley would have won this
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <<akshat02> wesley would have won this>

Most definitely, given that he has a won position after 6.dxc5. It says so on his notes.

Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: From April 12, 2015:

<As the entire chess world knows, Wesley So was recently forfeited for writing <<<notes to himself>>> during his games at the U.S. Championship. The purpose of this blog post is to give my view of what should have happened. There were three major parties in this incident, Wesley So, Tony Rich and Varuzhan Akobian and I think that all three of them should have acted differently.

Let’s take a look at the most obvious offender in this case: Wesley So

What should Wesley have done differently? This one is pretty obvious. Once he was warned that he could be forfeited if he continued taking notes, he should have stopped taking notes completely.

Instead he decided that he could take notes on the non-official notation sheet. This is definitely an odd way of thinking, but I suppose it’s not completely out of the realm of possibility for Wesley to believe it. However for someone to be 2700+ FIDE rated and to not take the precaution of asking the tournament director if this very similar action might be okay…let’s just say it’s a bit strange.

So at the end of the day, it’s the irresponsible actions of Wesley that lead to the events that followed and put all of the other parties in a very awkward and difficult situation. When people are placed into strange situations and faced with tough choices, sometimes not everyone is going to love the choices that result.

Party number 2 Tournament Director Tony Rich

In my belief, one of the major responsibilities of a tournament director is to be as invisible as possible. Sometimes this will remain impossible due to the actions of the players. In this case we have a player who made a few minor rules violations, and Tony was correct to respond. However the one situation that should be a last resort, is to actually forfeit a player for a rules violation that does nothing to threaten the integrity of the game. Yes it may have to come to this eventually, but you should definitely make every effort to make this a last resort.

Did Tony try to leave this as a last resort penalty? The obvious answer is no. There are a ton of intermediate steps that could have been taken before a forfeit win was awarded to Wesley’s opponent. Tony was definitely in a difficult and unprecedented situation, one that no tournament director should be expected to face in such a high level tournament. However I wish that Tony didn’t threaten to forfeit him for a future violation, so that he could have felt more comfortable first taking one of the more intermediate steps such as a 10-15 minute time penalty. FIDE rules completely allow for this type of in between penalty, and for a violation that’s so harmless it would have been a completely reasonable option. If Wesley still didn’t get the idea after a time penalty then okay, go ahead and forfeit him, but please penalize him with something tangible first. Instead this moment has become the focal point of attention for the entire Championship.

Party number 3: Varuzhan Akobian

Varuzhan was Wesley’s opponent and was well within bounds to inform the tournament director that Wesley was note-taking. However what I really would have liked to see, was for Var to not simply roll over and accept a forfeit win in 6 moves. If I was in his place I would ask the director to please allow the game to continue, and to perhaps impose a less severe penalty instead.

I am pretty sure that the majority of players would accept the win, so I wouldn’t go biting off Var’s head over something like this. Taking the win seems self serving, but it’s the opposite that’s true. To behave in an over the top sporting manner in a situation like this, that is what people remember, and that’s what’s going to increase your reputation and make people want to help you as much as possible. Also it’s just a nice thing to do to a fellow chess player and a friend.

Sure, Var gets a point in the standings and ends up with some extra money, but he squandered an opportunity to potentially achieve more. He probably won’t notice losing anything tangible from this, but let’s say he fought for Wesley instead. A lot of people would have seen and noticed this. Random opportunities would come up in the future, and people might remember this hypothetical selfless act and Akobian’s name would end up on the tip of their tongue. Var is going to be active in the chess world for a long time, and this one moment could have really helped him in a lot more ways than one single 6 move forfeit win will help him. And who knows, maybe Var would have won the game anyway>

May-12-16  whiteshark: <6.dxc5!

<NOVELTY: 6...dxc5>> What???? ٩(͡๏̯͡๏)۶

Games Like W So vs Akobian, 2015

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: I see. Well, in the good old days, you used to be able to write the times down with brackets, and one of our club players does that (in the club games where rules are "commonsense" variants of FIDE rules.

But the obsession with rules is like rugby and the Olympics, I never take any interest in any sport now as they are rule bound and everyone is obsessed with counting gold medals etc

But it is sad when chess is like this with officials making rules to give themselves power and so on. What a pity. For trivia, and morons running chess tournaments and so on (it is all for kudos and power), the ruination of what could have been a great game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: I wouldn't try for a win this way, regardless. But I am not Akobian. I have allowed an opponent to take a move back. He proceeded to win the game even though I won a piece (but we agreed a draw). I played a game where we used to have a break for a coffee or tea etc at our club, I knew and my opponent I had a winning line. He expressed his disappointment in this so much that I deliberately played an inferior move on resumption to give him a chance. He won. <Benzol> Couldn't understand it at the time.

I also offered a draw to a young (but strong) player who is now over 2200. He didn't accept but did when I said to look again: he saw the threat of a N fork which would have easily won for me. Admittedly it was an unrated game.

Now I have done similar things online...omitted to take pieces, made deliberately unsound sacrifices, sometimes when I have been winning a lot of times against certain players...and so on.

Of course, mostly I don't.

But these are professionals, I am not and never will be. So I don't think Akobian is in the firing line. The notes would be upsetting if I thought there was some gain (again I am trying to imagine how I would react but I suppose not being in the equivalent situation, makes it difficult....

Well I came here as I thought there was an interesting game and in a way it was!

Sep-30-16  breakbad: incredible game from the master So
Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: "Insane puzzle": try to find a justification for the idiotic rule against note-taking. Granted, it would be possible to take notes noisily with a very scratchy pen and with distracting gestures, but that should be covered by a general rule against noise-making and distracting gestures. After all, even breathing can be done in any very distracting and noisy manner, that's no reason to prohibit breathing!
Apr-04-17  wordfunph: "Playing chess is a game for you. For me it is business. If you want to support my games I appreciate it. I am not always as good as I want to be and I can take criticism of my game, I don’t mind that. Don’t think though, that allows you to treat me as your personal punching bag. I invest thousands of hours and a lot of money on improving my skills. You watch my games for free. It seems to me it’s you who should be more grateful."

- Wesley So

Apr-04-17  iking: move on ...
Apr-04-17  iking: Wesley So vs Varuzhan Akobian
"So Much the Better" (game of the day Oct-05-16) US Chess Championships (2016) · French Defense: Rubinstein Variation. Kasparov Attack (C10) · 1-0

24. Bh7!

click for larger view

what a reversal of outcome.


Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: <wordfunph: "Playing chess is a game for you. For me it is business. If you want to support my games I appreciate it. I am not always as good as I want to be and I can take criticism of my game, I don’t mind that. Don’t think though, that allows you to treat me as your personal punching bag"> I hope you didn't quote that for my sake, I was obviously supporting So. I think it's stupid they stopped the game because he took notes.
Apr-04-17  iking: they can't move on .... hatred reign in their hearts.
Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: <iking: they can't move on .... hatred reign in their hearts.> What on earth are you talking about? I wasn't even involved in the earlier discussion so I can hardly "move on" and forget about the great interplanetary war. "Hatred reigns in my heart" because I criticize an unfair rule in the defense of a great chessplayer? On the contrary, I was motivated by compassion. You are really scary!
Aug-24-17  shishio71: Silly question, but that writing on the score sheet - was that just So writing the time on Akobian's clock? If so, I thought that was legal under USCF Rule 20C or FIDE 12.4. I know there's more to the whole scenario than that, but just wondering
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: The photo above is misleading because it implies, as several posters have believed, that So was forfeited because he wrote down Akobian's clock time on his scoresheet. And that was not the case. So was forfeited because he repeatedly wrote down notes to himself on a separate scoresheet or piece of paper kept behind the writing tablet in spite of being warned not to do that in previous rounds, and told that if he did that again he would be forfeited. He did and he was.

It would be best if there was a photo of both the game scoresheet and the separate scoresheet/piece of paper where he wrote the notes to himself but there doesn't appear to be one. Instead, there is a photo of another one of So's scoresheets from an earlier tournament which is often shown, but that photo has no bearing on this game or tournament. Both photos can be seen here,, along with some other commentary.

The opinion of Greg Shahade is interesting but that's just his opinion, and it has no more importance or relevance than mine or yours. I've stated my opinions on this matter before and I will not do so again. I will say that Greg is the older brother of Jennifer Shahade who might have been a chess24 commentator for the event.

Here is a video documenting some of his recent accomplishments, some of the facts about the situation, and how the FIDE rules of chess apply, even though it shows the (in my opinion) the irrelevant photo from the earlier tournament:

But it includes a quote by So as to what he did and why. You can form your own conclusions.

Apr-28-18  whiteshark: Outrageous protesters outside the playing hall after the forfeit. Only security hindered them from entering the playing venue...

Can you spot the misspelling on the protest sign here: ??

<How low can ... >

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <whiteshark> Excellent point. Obviously <VARGO> was intended.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Messiah: Terrible!
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