[ExI] Chess Player Behavior (was: Unfrendly AI is a mistaken idea.)

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Sat Jun 9 02:37:01 UTC 2007

Spike writes

>> bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Christopher Healey
>> Do chess opponents at tournaments conduct themselves in ways that they
>> hope might psyche out their opponent?  In my observations, hell yes.  And
>> these ways are not explicitly excluded in the rules of chess... -Chris
> Chris, that Hollywood stuff is probably seen down in the Cs and Ds.  More
> skilled and disciplined players know to play the board, not the man.

It is certainly true that Hollywood and common culture vastly
overemphasize players trying to "psych" each other out, and
players playing certain moves for psychological advantage.

They do, I agree, tend to play the board. Of course since
detailed considerations are beyond the ken of most (and
wouldn't make good TV anyway), it's natural for everyone
to emphasize the more easily graspable and more universal
emotional aspects.

However, I came to believe that I personally *underestimate*
how much of that stuff is going on. In one tournament I had to
play Peter Biyasis (I think that that is how his name was spelled).

As the game began, I asked "Uh, how do you spell your
name?"  He snarled back "SPELL IT ANY WAY YOU

Anyway, he was a very strong player 2400 or 2500 player
and he won our game. As we were going over it, he seemed
like a reasonable guy.  So when we were done, I asked him
why he had reacted so poorly to my innocent question. He
replied that some people deliberately tried to unsettle him
by blantantly miswriting his name on their scoresheet.

I quietly nodded, but thought to myself "This guy is really
paranoid".  Later in the day I was talking to the current
California State champion (I think that we were playing each
other or had just finished) and were discussing various
things.  I started to mention this funny incident to him,
but as soon as I started, he interrupted with a laugh and
said "Biyassis!  Him, hah!  You know, I deliberately
misspelled his name 'Biyass' on my scoresheet---I think it
really upsets him".


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