The Laura Ross, Igor Khmelnitsky, Olga Sagalchik incident cannot be swept under the rug

On 12 Aug 2002 20:37:10 -0700, (Igor K) wrote:

>My response for this b.s. ended up as a separate post. I hope the link >below works, otherwise, use search feature if interested in reading >it.


>IM Igor Khmelnitsky > >P.S. I appreciate all the positive comments >

The issue here is not the honesty and integrity of IM Igor Khmelnitsky.
Laura Ross
Laura Ross

The issue is that America's most promising and talented 13-year-old chess player, Laura Ross, has been deprived on the opportunity to play in the US Championship because of the events of the last day of the US Open.

Laura Ross is the highest rated US player aged 13 of either sex. She is not only higher rated than the other girls. She is higher rated than the boys, too. She is the only girl in the USA who is higher rated than any boy in her age group.

IM Igor Khmelnitsky says that he notified tournament officials that he was withdrawing in three different ways: He told Assistant TD Joan Schlich (wife of Ernie Schlich, a frequent poster to this group) that he was withdrawing, he wrote that he was withdrawing on the results sheet, and he called the TD room a half hour before the next round was to be played and informed somebody there that he had withdrawn.

More than that, he writes that he did not even know that he had been paired against Olga Sagalchik and that by forfeiting his game against her he guaranteed that she would play in the US Championship and that Laura Ross would not get to play in the US Championship.

This is an important issue which cannot simply be dropped and forgotten. In 1999, Dr. Joe Wagner earned his 15 minutes of fame by winning on forfeit in the last round of the US Open, thereby winning the Class B prize of several thousand dollars. The fame thus earned propelled him into being elected to the USCF Executive Board two weeks ago.

However, that case involved just money. That issue could have been rectified merely upon payment of money. The Laura Ross-Olga Sagalchik matter involves much more than just money. The right to play in the US Championship by a 13-year-old player who is the same age as Bobby Fischer when he first qualified for the US Championship has far greater long term impact than any payment of money could resolve.

The problem here cannot be easily resolved. We cannot simply order that Olga Sagalchik play her game against Igor Khmelnitsky, because we know what would happen. Igor Khmelnitsky, being 352 points higher rated, would either win or draw, and therefore, Laura Ross would get into the US Championship and Olga Sagalchik would be expelled from the US Championship, which, of course, would be unfair to Olga Sagalchik.

Therefore, We need to get to the bottom of this and affix the blame and perhaps even the punishment for this incident.

Sam Sloan

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