The First Move

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  • The First Move

    The First Move

    June 23, 2020

    ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) asks listeners to consider if chess is RACIST because white goes first - and the extraordinary question they asked a champion about the rules

    By LEVI PARSONS for Daily Mail Australia

    A former member of the Australian Chess Federation has blasted the ABC for preparing to hold a debate about whether the game is racist.

    John Adams says ABC is wasting tax payer money by holding radio debate about whether chess is racist.

    John Adams, 38, claims a radio producer from the publicly-funded broadcaster phoned to ask if he would take part in Wednesday's discussion focusing on why the white side always gets to go first under the rules of the strategy game.

    Astonished by the request, Mr Adams took to Twitter shortly after to scold the ABC for wasting taxpayer's money on 'irrelevant topics!'

    'The ABC have taken the view that chess is RACIST given that white always goes first!' he posted.

    'They are seeking comment from a chess official as to whether the rules of chess need to be altered!

    'Trust the taxpayer funded national broadcaster to apply ideological Marxist frameworks to anything and everything in Australia!'

    But Mr Adams says bringing the game of chess into discussions of structural racism is a bridge too far.

    'With all the drama resulting from COVID-19, I am amazed that the ABC is broadcasting on irrelevant topics!' he said.

    Hundreds of outraged Twitter users also took aim at the public broadcaster for entertaining the idea that the strategy game is racist.

    While Mr Adams has refused to take part in the debate, Australian chess expert Kevin Bonham is set to discuss the matter on James Valentine's afternoon program on ABC Sydney.

    'The funny thing is that at social to even lower club level, having white or black makes zero difference to average results,' he said.

    'The advantage starts kicking in around middling club level and becomes stronger at the highest levels.'

  • #2
    Maybe this will cause a chain reaction in which Balanced Marseillais Chess will become the new standard... White still goes first, but then Black gets 2 moves, then White gets 2 moves, etc.


    • #3
      I think that we should simply trot out the refutation of the Van Goom Gambit.


      • #4
        Originally posted by Vlad Drkulec View Post
        I think that we should simply trot out the refutation of the Van Goom Gambit.
        Seems kinda dark (wasn't that "refutation" him being shot?!)


        • #5
          The First Move

          June 25, 2020

          A clarification and a comment from the English Chess Forum:

          This of course was a right wing media beat up (Disclaimer. I know John Adams)

          He was asked by ABC Radio to talk about whether chess was racist because white moves first. But instead of simply saying "No" and giving an informed reason why, instead took to twitter to criticise the ABC for asking the question in the first place. This then excited the Murdoch media in Australia (who intensely dislike the ABC), which I suspect was what John wanted in the first place.

          As with most media coverage of chess there is a lot they get wrong. Adams isn't a "Master", although he did win an Under 1600 (U/125) event I organised a few years back. He was also the Australian Chess Federation Treasurer for a year, but was let go after failing to produce accounts and attend the AGM.

          So while outside of chess this is being treated as the normal "Political Correctness gone mad" story, the truth is instead one media organisation slagging off another media organisation. You would think the Murdoch Press wouldn't be wasting their time and money on such a trivial issue, but there you go.

          shaun press at

          and an apt comment on first move by Kevin Thurlow in the same thread:

          "Board games have all sorts of rules to determine who goes first."

          I'm told Terra Mystica says last one to do any gardening goes first.


          • #6
            The First Move

            June 26, 2020

            Garry Kasparov (Tweet) - If you are worried that the game of chess is racist, please take up Go, where black moves first, instead of looking foolish by wasting taxpayer money at a state broadcaster to "investigate" it!