KOMPAS.com – Indonesian online chess newbie Dadang Subur recently caused a stir on cyberspace, after he beat highly ranked chess master Levy Rozman on the Chess.com online gaming platform. But instead of winning accolades, his feat got him banned from the website.
Dadang’s son Ali Akbar said he took on Levy on Tuesday. “My father played a Ranked Match [on Chess.com] before he went to bed,” he recalled to KompasTekno days later on WhatsApp on Thursday, March 4.
“He was just happy that his opponent was ranked as a GM [Grand Master], FM [Fide Master] or IM [International Master], so he had no idea whom he was up against,”. The matchup also seemed natural, as Levy is a Chess.com IM with an ELO of 2,400, while Dadang’s ELO is 2,300.
Using the online handle ‘Dewa_Kipas’, Dadang beat Rozman, who played under the name ‘GothamChess’, in under five minutes. The win did not go unnoticed by chess buffs, including those on a Reddit website subforum dedicated to the game.
Ali pointed out that Dadang, through his account Dewa_Kipas, became attacked by other Chess.com users.
Getting the heat
“The attacks went directly to the inbox of my father’s Chess.com account. They included statements such as ‘erase your account before it is too late’ or ‘you damned cheat’. They also accused [Dadang] of using cheat codes,” he asserted.
“Since they went directly to Chess.com’s inbox, I concluded that [Dadang’s] account was blocked after reports [by Rozman’s fans], many of whom are Twitch users who saw their match on real time.”
Neither Ali nor Dadang, a former Indonesian professional chess player who was a contender in the country’s annual National Sports Week [PON], reckoned on Levy’s considerable online presence.
Aside from showing his games live on Twitch and YouTube, the Grand Master ranked Levy’s handle GothamChess has more than 346 thousand followers on Twitch and over 19 thousand followers on Chess.com.
In contrast, Dadang’s Chess.com account Dewa_Kipas has eight followers and no title, though he has an ELO of 2,300. However, this belied his phenomenal rise in the apps since he joined Chess.com on February 12.
“The average [Chess.com] user would take a few months to raise their ELO from 800 to 1,200. My father raised his ELO from 800 to 2,300 in three weeks because of intensive game play.” Dadang played 332 games on Chess.com, garnering 232 wins, 90 losses, and 10 ties.
Ali viewed the blocking of his father’s account as unacceptable, on grounds that it reflected bullying by a “major Chess.com account with many followers against a minor account.” He added that Dadang started playing on Chess.com on his advice.
“As it turned out, [Dadang] was hooked [on Chess.com], particularly on Ranked Matches where he got to play against professionals, including Levy,” said Ali.
Chess.com and GothamChess’ responses
However, Chess.com denied that the blocking of the Dadang’s account Dewa_Kipas was caused by reports from other players.
“We would never ever ever ever close an account based on any number of reports from @GothamChess or any other creator or their community. All closures are made by the fair play team after careful review in accordance with our fair play policy,” Chess.com said on its Twitter account.
Ali asserted that he contacted Chess.com and Levy to follow up the blocking of his father’s account. He added that both parties agreed to delete all posts related to the controversy as a first step.
Backlash from Indonesia
Ali also apologized to Levy, after Indonesian netizens bombarded him with fiery insults following the controversy. Though Levy locked his Twitter and YouTube accounts since the brouhaha, it does not stop the backlash from Indonesia.
Nonetheless, Ali felt no regrets from Chess.com’s decision to block his father’s account. “My father can live a calmer life, now that he took a break from online chess. He was so obsessed with raising his ELO that he forgot to eat and sleep,” he said.
“The blocking seemed like a reminder [to Dadang] to stop playing.” Ali added that his father has no plans to reactivate the account.
(Writers: Bill Clinten, Wahyunanda Kusuma Pertiwi | Editors: Yudha Pratomo, Reska K. Nistanto)
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