22 December 2017

Dirty Mind Games

How often does chess grab mainstream headlines twice in one month for different stories? Two weeks ago on Video Friday we had AlphaZero and A New Style of Chess. For this edition we have a controversial World Championship logo (and video).

Chess.com Founders React to World Chess Logo (5:24) • 'Among the most excited by the World Championship 2018 logo were Chess.com's founders, Erik (CEO) and Jay (CTO). Jay and Erik decided to take a shot at playing a game as depicted by the new World Chess logo, and were captivated by the tremendous spirit generated by this unique chess-playing position.'

The description warned,

NOTE: This was meant purely as a silly joke to show how ridiculous the new World Chess Championship logo is. This is not meant to offend or be taken seriously as any kind of political or moral statement. It is just for comedy. Enjoy (or don't)!

The controversial nature of the subject was further underscored by two standard, non-routine warnings: 'Age-restricted video (requested by uploader)' and 'Comments are disabled for this video'. An accompanying story on Chess.com, Chess.com Founders Explore World Chess Logo, started,

The new world chess championship logo revealed this week for next year's London match has drawn strong reactions from chess fans and the general public.

After a slew of mostly vulgar comments that were far more inappropriate than either the logo or the video, Chess.com's CEO Erik shut them down:-

I regret having to post this AGAIN, but ok, I will: This is obviously a SATIRE/JOKE to show how uncomfortable and impractical the World Chess Championship logo is. It is not meant to be offensive. It is meant to be silly - just like the logo. There is nothing more to it.

I will now be locking the comments since we have some incredibly upset people. It's almost like we have two different sides here in the comments section, locked in a psychological battle of words, but who's feelings are getting uncomfortably close to each other...

Happy Holidays! Now go enjoy some chess!

Another story on the same site, World Chess Championship 'Kama Sutra' Logo Goes Viral, this one from Chess.com's Peter Doggers, embedded a half-dozen tweets plus a video statement from Ilya Merenzon, CEO of Agon/WorldChess, who said,

We love the logo very much. Don't worry if you feel it's a little bit controversial and you don't want, let's say, your kids to see it. It's not going to be a logo used in this place; it's going to be something different and this one is just limited editions. But again, collectors are loving it and we hope you'll love it too and also we appreciate the fact that chess is in the news in design media.

Chess.com's CEO Erik closed the comments on that story with,

I guess this is one more post that got out of control. Many people have been offended, and many people have been offended at other people's offendedness, and many people are offended by the fact that they could not find something to be offended about. And now I'm offended that we can't have interesting things happen in this world without people taking it to the extremes. So now I'm locking these comments.

Finally, Chess.com's Mike Klein issued another story, The Top 10 Chess News Stories Of 2017, saying,

After this story was written and before publication, the "suggestive" world championship logo was announced, which surely would have made the list, and which shows that this interesting year is not yet over!

Has a World Chess Championship ever generated this much attention a year before the match and months before even knowing who both players will be?

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