Friday, 14 November 2008

The legend of 'Craig'

Before I started this blog I used to provide Olympiad coverage via the Canberra chess email list. That was a much more personal affair, as most of the readers new me directly, and as a result I was probably more 'familiar' with what I wrote.
One of the regular features of that coverage was the 'Craig Skehan Moment of the Day', which chronicled the adventures of the PNG board 4. To understand the background, you need to realise that Craig is an exceptionally part time player, with the possible unique achievement of playing no other rated chess other than the 5 Olympiads he has taken part in. Craig's other record is that he has played more games at the Olympiad without a win than any other player in history (Unfortunately for PNG the second player on this list is Allan Luga, who was supposed to be our board 4 this time, but didn't make it).
Amongst the lower ranked teams the legend of Craig has started to grow, with members of other teams accosting me at the venue and assuring me that 'Craig must win a game at this Olympiad'. 'Against you?' I ask. 'Well not against us' is the usual reply. Indeed Craig is now so famous that like Madonna and Snoopy, he is now known simply by his first name. At our match yesterday the PNG team was listed as Fancy, Press, Jones and 'Craig'. And after the match he was signing autographs for German school children.
But sadly I'm not going to continue the 'moment of the day' feature, as this blog now has a wider readership (Hi to the Alwoodley CC and the Yorkshire Chess Association!). But I'll leave you with a small taste of what you're missing.
However on the train trip from Berlin we were sitting with various members of the German Olympiad Team No 2 when the subject of the World Championship Match in Bonn came up. "World Championship Match" said Craig. "Is Kasparov still world champion? he continued. "No" came the straight reply. "Then who is?" he continued. At this point the Germans could not contain themselves any longer and dissolved into a fit of giggling.


Denis Jessop said...

Actually Craig has 7 rated games but no rating on the ACF Master Rating list. He played those at Canberra Chess Club some years ago (maybe 6 or so) and I was the arbiter for the event(s).

Denis J

Anonymous said...

He wouldn't be the worst player there by any means. Some of the games have finished in less than 10 moves.

TrueFiendish said...

Had to laugh when viewing round 2. Craig moved a rook to d8, not noticing that it could simply be taken by a bishop. The exchange lost. Four moves later he made a move not noticing that his other rook, now itself on d8, could be taken by the white queen for free.