Monday, February 25, 2008

Tournament Directing

This entry is dedicated to comments on Guy Hoffman's actions at the team tournament and the upcoming FIDE/USCF tournament in Milwaukee


  1. The following is a comment by Brad Rosen (Father of Eric Rosen) on Guy Hoffman after the USATN tournament

    Getting back to Milwaukee, unfortunately there was little frivolity or mirth in the air. That was due to the oversight and foaming at the mouth antics of its scrooge-like Tournament Director “G”uy Hoffman. Now, I appreciate that TDs need to maintain order and decorum in the tournament room… some of my best friends are tournament directors. But this Guy was out of control.

    About 15 minutes before Round One started, Chessmom64 was taking some pictures of the Team G squad, until she was rudely reprimanded by Hoffman, who, from across the room, began shouting at her that no recording devices were allowed in the tournament room. Give me a break?!

    But it gets worse. After Round 4, Chessdude finished his game, left the tournament room, and turned on his cell phone to call Chessmom and let her know that he was done. Chessdude then wandered back inside the tournament room, and soon thereafter Chessmom called back to see what he wanted for lunch. You got it—a cell phone went off in the tournament room.

    Now Chessdude is well aware of the gravity of a cell phone going off in a tourney room, which is a fairly frequent occurrence these days in tournament chess. He knew that since he forgot to turn it back off when he re-entered the tournament room, some penalty would be attached and he would have to take those lumps. The predetermined penalty for this particular infraction was to lose 45 minutes off his clock for the next game, so he would have just 45 minutes to make his first 30 moves rather than the standard 90 minutes. But he shouldn't have had to endure what followed---Hoffman going ballistic on him with a screaming rant. But that wasn’t enough. At the beginning of round 5 Hoffman saw it necessary to point him out in front of all of the tourney participants and further castigate and humiliate him.

    To boot, Chessdude had the black pieces (for the second game in a row), and was playing an opponent rated about 40 points higher. When the play began, Hoffman spent a good deal of time watching the game, apparently rooting for Chessdude’s demise on the board. But Eric didn’t cooperate, and ended up pulling out the victory.

    Now I realize the world of chess has it share of eccentric personalities. I am okay with quirky, zany and wacky, but I am not okay with mean-spirited, abusive and obnoxious, especially when a kid is involved, and to be candid – especially when it’s my kid…. Shame on you Guy Hoffman!

  2. That sounds like a real prick move on Guy Hoffmans part.

    Glad to hear the kid pulled off a victory.

  3. Maybe "chessdude" will remember to turn his cell phone off, instead of thinking (as his father probably endorses) that the rules do not apply to him. The distraction of a cell phone going off during a tournament adversely affects everyone. Public shaming is an excellent way to ensure that people follow the rules. I applaud Mr. Hoffman.

  4. How many people (FIDE and not-FIDE) are entered in the MCA event?

  5. Since there were no discounts for pre-entering, no one has officially entered.

    There is a lot of interest and at least 2 IMs and 1 FM have agreed to play.

    Current estimates on the total number of entries range from 40-80

  6. Oh wow! No pre-entries. So you're betting the farm that people show up.

    So you're on the hook for $950 ($800 is half of the advertised based on prize fund and you are guaranteeing first place) no matter how many people show up.

    So you need about 22 non-FIDE people to show up to break even on the prize fund alone.

    What happens if no FIDE rated players show up or only a few? People won't get paired properly to give them 3 games against a FIDE rated player so they could attempt at getting a 'rating norm' (as you call it).

    HAHA a GM is going to waste 2-days for a $300 first prize. What IM's are coming that aren't losers and can't make more than $300 in a single day?

    Was any thought put into this event?

  7. Well if there aren't enough FIDE players to get norms then there won't be any norms. simple as that.

    I don't think there will be many player coming to this event just to get FIDE norms.

  8. Because that was the premise of the entire tournament and tournament series -


    It's Official!

    1st MCA/SWCC FIDE FUTURITY March 8-9 Hales Corners, WI
    Have you ever wanted a FIDE rating? This is your chance!


    Running around, running his dumb mouth that he's running FIDE events for the regular player.

    Good thing I'm not going to drive down from St. Paul to play in this loser event.

  9. Well all one can do is give the players the opportunty to get a FIDE norm.

    It's not like you can force FIDE players to play.

    How do you suggest one get FIDE players to participate?

    I think you should come down anyway. If you don't get to play enough FIDE players you will at least get to play some strong players.

    I don't see any FIDE events in MN?

  10. Incent them to play. No entry fee for starters. Buy them lunch as well. Pay for some of their gas money. Maybe have it somewhere that there are a lot of FIDE rated players. How many are in southwest wisconsin anyways?

  11. Notwithstanding the fact that there is not an additional registration fee at the door, if a chess player intends to play in the March 8-9 FIDE event in Milwaukee, please send an e-mail or call Chris to let him know you will be playing. It will save a lot of time the morning of the tournament to have an idea of who is going to show up and already have them logged into the computer database. Thanks.

  12. Allow me to respond to Anonymous #3

    As my post makes quite clear neither Chessdude nor myself think for a moment that rules do not apply. The do apply, they should apply, and they did apply.

    I think the cell phone going off in this instance comes under the heading of an honest mistake. Accordingly, a TD has no right or authority to attempt to shame or humiliate a participant, and to suggest otherwise is pretty off the wall to say the least.

    So A#3, if you want to continue the discussion, you can do so by contacting me at, and let this blog return to the serious work of getting Ivan to 2000....

  13. Yes listen to Robin and tell Chris if you are going to be there by email.

    He needs to be able to calculate his losses as early as possible and potentially not show up if his losses are too high.

    It's not like the USCF can do anything to him. His TD status is still expired and he's not an affiliate.

  14. Wow, isn't this too many anonymous postings?!

    On the issue of the first three postings, Guy Hoffman knows the rules and is objective when it comes to making his rulings. However, the is no denying that he comes off as unreasonable at times. What may be bordeline acceptable at a local Union South event, crosses that line when it comes a National Event.

    On the FIDE tournament in Milwaukee, I encourage people to participate. It's a rare opportunity that should be supported. On a personal note, I (along with a couple friends with FIDE ratings) cannot play as it would be "too much chess" with the US Closed Qualifier in Tulsa at the end of March. However, Dave Penkalski told me that he is considering a come-back and might play in the FIDE event. Usually people wait till the last moment, but they do show up! :-)

    Alex Betaneli

  15. Alex,

    I suggest you get another TD if you plan to bid for this event again.

    I perspnally know several players who would not attend if he was the TD.

    IL Chess Player

  16. I recommend only one person from each category show up so they can get 50% of the guaranteed prize fund and the event suffers the biggest loss possible.

    Chess Player from IA

  17. The player in question is a seminal tournament player, on the road to being a master. He knows the ramifications of a cellphone ringing.

    Guy Hoffman on the other hand is a TOOL. He went over the top. You should be ashamed of yourself Hoffman if you read this, but at least you got your rocks off by beating up on little children.

  18. Chess Players: I understand if a chess player does not wish to play in a certain chess event. However, be aware (and I am sure we are all aware) that chess events in the Midwest do not draw the quantity of players like the East/West Coast. So I do not understand all the negative comments suggesting that chess events do terrible and that other chess players do not play in certain events. Those of us who play chess in the Midwest need to support the chess scene and not post negative comments about it.

  19. midwest players don't play because they get discouraged by idiot organizers like chris who can't organizer his way out of a paper bag.

    he needs to repeat what he did many many moons ago and close down operations.

  20. And you need to shut your mouth!!!

  21. what would be cool is if we took bets on how much chris will lose on this event.

  22. How about bets on the number of particpants:

    I say 40

  23. That seems like a rather draconian cell phone penalty. Most tournaments I play in run by the CCA, Marshall Chess Club or Chess Center of NY have same penalty. 1/2 your time or up to 10 minutes for first offense. Forfeit for second offense.

    There is no need to berate and humilate the player any further. It's humiliating enough when everyone looks up at the offender with dagger eyes. I know because it happened to me when I got a new cell phone, and didn't know how to silence it correctly. It's even more humilating when you're a very active TD and and the TD running the event sees that it's you that he's giving the penalty to.

  24. Before I say what I want to say, I must first THANK all the TDs who work hard to make the tournaments which allow us to play.

    However, some of them really think that they are 'favoring' us in allowing to play and they are the 'boss in the room'. Guy is a long time player in the circuit and conducts many tournaments. But he really needs to learn how to behave in tough situation. I was also offended so many times for his act.

    He is lucky, that he got away with harrassing someone. Do that to me and trust me, I would sue him.

  25. Guy Hoffman is now equal to the USCF molester Sam Sloan. Welcome to infamy toughguy.

  26. why knock C.B.'s tournament? A different time control, still USCF rated with the novelty of the meaningless fide thing. Nice chance to play I think.

    If Guy Hoffman is the TD though, or any way affliated, that sucks. Stay home toughguy!

  27. I agree with Alex here, way too many paper tigers hiding out behind anonymous titles.

    Perhaps Alex made a mistake in hiring Guy to be a chief TD. I can't blame him for wanting to keep the TD local. I have worked with Guy before, and while he is an interesting character, I wouldn't personally hire him.

    The ruling he made was bad. 10 minutes would have been sufficient. Did he make any announcements regarding cell phone infractions during his announcements? To further embarrass and berate a kid is unacceptable!

    On the topic of Chris B, I think what he is doing is great, and there is a learning curve, so maybe the quality of the first couple of events will be weak. Hopefully he will hire quality people to run it, and get an affiliate so it can be submitted.


  28. It's weird that so many chess players seem incapable of following a simple rule (turn your cell phone off while in the tournament room and while games are in session), and get offended when a TD enforces said rule. Boo hoo, he yelled at me. Well apparently having the rule clearly stated wasn't enough, so now maybe the shaming will reinforce the obvious - keep your cell phone off. It's really simple. I especially like the internet tough guy who would "sue" Mr. Hoffman if he was dumb enough to leave his cell phone on and got called on it. Ok. I'd love to watch that one on Judge Judy.

    Here's a great way to avoid drama - turn your cell phone off.

  29. have you heard of truth in advertising?

    have you heard of deceptive advertising?

    chris is advertising to 'come get your fide' rating but statistically it would be impossible if a low number of fide rated players shows up.

    there are laws against deceptive advertising. i hope chris knows them well.

    Chess Player in IA

  30. I do agree that the comment about suing Guy if he was called on a cell phone infraction was moronic.

    Is it so strange that a player who calls home in between rounds might forget to turn it off or on silent? Why don't you just make a delegate motion to kick any player in the nuts who has their cell phone ring during a game ? It was an honest error, he took his penalty, that should be the end of it.

    When I direct, and other good TDs direct, we make the announcement to check your cell phones before each round starts. Did Guy do this?

    And about Chris FIDE event, you have a very broad interpretation of false advertising. If you play all FIDE rated players and lose every game, you won't get a rating either. Is that Chris's fault too? Bill Goichberg has the top few sections of his events FIDE rated too. Is he false advertising too if you don't play enough FIDE players at the Chicago Open?

  31. Yes repeated announcements were made about the cell phone policy

  32. The policy was that you lose half your remaining time if your cell phone goes off.

    But in chessdude's case he had finished his game and was a spectator, so I don't think it was right to apply the "lose half the time" rule for his next round?

  33. I agree-- boo hoo for all tourney players who get yelled at by TD Hoffman when they brake rules.

    And boo hoo for those same players when they are forced to watch TD Hoffman making out with his bride of frankenstein look alike girlfriend when they return to the tournament room after taking a leek.

  34. Was this policy announced in pre-tournament advertising in Chess Life?

    If not then I doubt the USCF would back Goofball Guy on the use of this deviation.

    I would suggest that the parents of the player file an ethics complaint against Goofball Guy and mention his inappropriate behavior around children when he's making out with his bride of frankenstein she-beast.

  35. glennpan it is not a broad interpretation of false advertising.

    dumbass chris has been running around southern wisconsin and northern illinois telling people if you want to get fide rated come to his tournament.

    his blog is all about people getting fide rating and how in his tournaments you can get one.

    its one thing to say the section of a cca event is fide rated and offers the chance to get fide rated, its another what he did.

  36. hmmmmmmm

    how is chris doing getting out of his paper bag ?

    I hope he escapes before his big chess event !

    Be shocked if an IM shows up for a $300 first prize !

    Stamnov the slave will show up of course so he can win some money then go gamble it away

  37. If you do not want to play then spare Chris. He is doing it for the love of the game. I am a FIDE rated player and will help him by playing. Stop all the B..S.. Someday everyone will be benefit for this kind of tournament.
    See you at the tournament.

    it will be like a mushroom growing and growing and growing go go MCA.

  38. chris did too many mushrooms before organzing this tournament. it will flop and he will go down the drain, yet again.

  39. Can you give some examples of Chris failures?

    Maybe he learnt from them?

    Let's see what happens this w-end.

    Some people will have to eat their words?

  40. I would like to ask all the nay sayers.

    When was the last time you put up your own money for the betermant of chess?

    I thought as much. NEVER!

  41. Hey all you dumb peole who are saying the stupid stuff!! Why don't you shut your mouth and do something positive for chess. Maybe you should study some chess instead of wasting your time putting down this tournament and the people organizing it. You all could probably use the studying time any way!!

  42. What I had an issue was that my last round opponent smelled like defecation to put it politely.

    His entire team knew that this was true. I was playing on board one, and the board two players moved accross the room.

    To me, this was much more of a distraction than the cell phone issue.

    One of the parents of a girl team b player from Kansas City was kicked out of the playing room right after the first round announcement for his alarm beeping even though the phone was off.

    Anyway, I played the last round with my shirt over my nose.

    Anyway, I respect all TDs. What a job.

    I think TDs should be firm but friendly.

    Ken Fee Kansas City
    PS. My USAM North report is at

  43. OK anonymous people:

    Grow a set of balls and reveal yourselves! You are cowards who do nothing and are selfish and foolish and childish. I never promised a FIDE rating. I am organizing the opportunity that YOU can earn one. No promises because it is ultimately up to you. And I can't control chessplayers, it's like herding cats. No one will ever take chess seriously, until we take ourselves seriously. And many comments involve you spending my money. Spend your own, oh wait, you won't lift a finger to help anyone else or even just play! I have more strength than all of you combined. Lastly, there is a team behind this event, not just me, but I can take the heat, bring it on. Afterall you words are meaningless and your actions are nonexistant.

  44. OK anonymous people:

    Grow a set of balls and reveal yourselves! You are cowards who do nothing and are selfish and foolish and childish. I never promised a FIDE rating. I am organizing the opportunity that YOU can earn one. No promises because it is ultimately up to you. And I can't control chessplayers, it's like herding cats. No one will ever take chess seriously, until we take ourselves seriously. And many comments involve you spending my money. Spend your own, oh wait, you won't lift a finger to help anyone else or even just play! I have more strength than all of you combined. Lastly, there is a team behind this event, not just me, but I can take the heat, bring it on. Afterall you words are meaningless and your actions are nonexistant.

  45. Chris has found his way out of the paper bag.

    You said "No promises because it is ultimately up to you" but this is only a partial truth - if you can't 'herd' the chess players with FIDE ratings to give us the chance then the chance doesn't exist.

    Give us the names of the pre-registrations and who has FIDE ratings. Let us see what the ratio is.

    Use some more sense in organizing your events. Best you go back into chess retirement.

  46. "No one will ever take chess seriously, until we take ourselves seriously....I have more strength than all of you combined."

    Hm, sounds like people have concerns because they DO take chess seriously. And I generally expect that chest-thumping comment to come from 10-yr old 1800s, not grown men.

  47. Chris is not a grown man so the comment is correct.

    Chris has just learned how to get out of a paper bag.

    The event will be a disaster. I hope many people show up to watch so they can deliver the stare of shame to Chris for organizing a horrible tournament

  48. As the assistant tournament director for the Team tournament, Guy's actions were not over the top as some have claimed. Did he make an example of the person with the cell phone? Yes. Was it warranted? Yes.
    Also, it wasn't a screaming rant. I was standing right next to them.
    It was a louder than normal announcement meant to remind others that there were consequences for breaking the rules.
    We make multiple announcements at every tournament and yet people still leave their phones on. We post notes on full sized sheets of paper all around the tournament area to turn the devices off. What more do we need to do to get it through to players and parents???
    At a previous event, a phone rang during a fourth round game. Guy forfeited the game. The offending person happened to be Guy's girlfriend.
    When players and spectators stop being idiots, Guy will cease being a jerk.
    If anyone wants to converse further, Ivan has my e-mail address.

    Jerry Noel,
    Senior Tournament Director,
    Wisconsin Chess Ass'n.
    WCA Tour Statistician

  49. Now that I have had a chance to examine this blog further, I wonder why I even bother being a tournament director. I read all the vitriol aimed at Guy and Chris Baumgartner penned by anonomous people and wonder what has been said about me? :(
    Every year I contemplate quitting only to be begged to continue. I have Mike Selig in Appleton calling me weekly BEGGING me to direct the Northeastern next year for him. Otherwise, he will not hold the event.
    A few years ago, I directed so many tournaments, that I won my class in the WCA tour and only played one event. Now, I am down to two events or less.
    I am grateful for the people such as Ivan, Alex, and Neil Gleason that make my efforts worth the hassles (for now).

  50. There is no reason to get upset, only repond to constructive critisism, ignore the rest.

    Two points, I was there as well and I don't think Guy responded properly especially towards a kid.

    The kid made a mistake and he paid the penalty. There was no reason to raise voices or stand by the game, further intimidating the kid.

    The rule was not clear. If the phone goes of while playing you lose half the time, but what if your game was finished and you were a spectator? Where was it stated that you lose half the time from the next round.

    What if this happend in the last round, do you lose half the time from the next time you play in a "Guy H." tournament?

  51. Why don't you just turn off your cell phones and not worry about this happening. You have no right to complain about Guy when you didn't turn off your cell phone.

  52. Anon 1/27/2009 5:22 PM ,

    Please read the comment before yours.

  53. Next time instead of making an example of the idiot, I will deduct time from ALL the clocks of that players on that team. After all, it was a TEAM event.
    In fact I will do that at this years state scholastic team event. It is the responsibility of the team members to police their own, so if one does something really stupid, all will be penalized!

    Answer this: how many times do we have to announce the policy, post by every door, post in tournament room and in hallway before people finally get the hint that electronic devices are not allowed????????????????????