Sunday 19 April 2015

Stolen laptop halts play

This weeks Street Chess tournament came to an unusual end, when the theft of the tournament laptop prevented the tournament from continuing after 5 rounds.
For those unfamiliar with the format (or terrain) of Street Chess, it is a weekly rapidplay tournament, played outdoors in the centre of Canberra. It has been running for over 20 years in this location, and the only similar incident I can recall occurred 15 years ago, when a mobile phone was taking.
As for the details, I (the tournament organiser) was a victim of my own carelessness. I had announced the pairings and then left the laptop on the table. Engaged in a friendly game with a casual player, I failed to notice that someone had came into the tournament area (over a barrier) and after wandering about for a while, had grabbed the laptop, and left the area (once again climbing the low barrier). When I finished my game, I turned around to see the laptop gone.
After ascertaining I had not simply misplaced it, the police were called, but by this stage the laptop was long gone. The players taking part in the event were very understanding, and agreed to halt the tournament at this point, also forgoing any potential prize money due to then.
The theft itself was picked up on CCTV at the venue, including a clear shot of the persons face. It is now in the hands of the police, although I would be (pleasantly) surprised if the laptop is recovered. While most of the data is backed up elsewhere, one thing that is not recoverable (at this point), are the tournament records since early March. So while Street Chess has been a regular contributor the the ACF Quickplay rating list (possibly the biggest contributor), it looks like that this quarters events will not be rated.


Elliott said...

I am more than willing to participate in a fund raising effort to buy a new laptop.
If this is the case please message me on chess chat or face book!
Cheers and good luck!
Elliott Renzies

Jim said...

Sorry to read about that, Shaun. You are likely to be very annoyed with yourself but it isn't something you would expect with a number of familiar people around in a relatively confined space.

A laptop can easily be replaced as you know. The worst aspect I guess is the loss of the tournament records.

Shaun Press said...

Yes Jim. But still carelessness on my part. Ironically the week before Arjang Assadi asked me why I left the laptop on the table, when someone could just come by and take it (NB he did not take it to teach me a lesson!)
Elliot, a few people have offered, but I've collected enough entry fees over the years to easily afford a replacement. But thank you for the offer.

Chris Skulte said...

Sorry to hear Shaun. :( I am still looking forward to my first street chess. I will make it one day!

Anonymous said...

Can't even play a game of chess these days without the threat of thievery.

Unknown said...

Sorry to hear about that Shawn! Hope you get the laptop back..with the tournament records