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  1. #1
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    A challenge for forensic historians

    Wanted. A forensic archivist.

    I had occasion last night to read the list of winners engraved on the Harold Mercer Cup. This Cup was first presented by Dr. Robert Steiner, and re-presented annually to the Junior Chess Champion of Australia.
    The inaugural winner was in 1949 and simple arithmetic explains why the Cup is looking a bit weather-beaten.
    Closer inspection revealed a number of anomalies that warrant forensic investigation (as this is what we do in June in Melbourne, between football games). I will list the winners and describe a few challenges along the way.
    The first column reads
    1949 W. Levick NSW
    1950 J.S. Purdy NSW
    1951 J. Hortovanyi SA
    1952 M. Brown NSW
    1953 D. Robson Vic
    1954 J. Hortovanyi SA
    1955 A.M. Irving SA
    1956 J. Ferguson SA
    1957 D Rudd SA
    1958 R. Klinger NSW
    1959 P.D. Lay NSW
    1960 T. Hay NSW
    1961 W. Alexander NSW
    1962 M. Fuller NSW
    1963 W. Kerr Vic
    1964 W. Kerr Vic
    1965 M. Woodhams WA
    1966 A. Pope WA
    We pause here for question #1. Explain the high correlation between winners (to date) and States.
    1967 N. Craske SA
    1968 J. Hendry NSW
    1969 A. Sauran NSW
    1970 A. Koelle Vic
    1971 G. Melrose NSW
    1972 R. Bartnick Vic
    1973 W.Jordan Vic
    1975 Ian Rogers Vic
    A second pause, to ask two questions
    Q#2 What happened in 1974?
    Q#3 Why does Ian Rogers get the full first name engraved, contrary to all the previous?
    By the way, this is the end of the first column on the Cup.
    Now to column two.
    1974 D. Dick NSW
    1977 D. Farrell NSW
    D. Johansen Vic
    Q#4 What happened in 1976.And you have probably figured out the engraving error for Q#2.
    1978 M. Smith Vic
    1979 S. Kerr NSW
    1980 S. Solomon Vic
    1981 R. Casse SA
    1982 P. Broekhuese NSW
    1983 K. Hornung SA
    1984 P. Evans Qld
    1985 T. Reilly NSW
    1986 S. Hill NSW
    1987 C. Davis NSW
    1988 Lee Johnson NSW
    1989 P. Cotton NSW
    1990 N. Speck SA
    1991 Lee Jones NSW
    1992 Trevor Tao SA
    1993 J.P. Wallace NSW
    1994 R.L. Curtis NSW
    1995 Charles Pizzato Qld
    #@$%^&*(^)$#_(*^%$#@!
    1996 David Cordover Vic
    Q#5. You eyes did not deceive you. Truly, there is a line of engraver’s scratch-out marks just before the 1996 winner. How can these be explained?
    1997 Max Leskiewicz
    1998 Geoff Saw Vic
    And here the lists finish; probably due to space considerations. The next names appear on shields nailed to the base of the trophy.
    1999 David Smerdon
    2000 Justin Tan
    2001 Zhao Zong-Yuan
    2002 Kuan-Kuan Tian
    2003 Tomek Raj
    2004 Denis Bourmistrov
    Notice what has happened. We have dropped the State reference even though the shields give a lot of space. Q#6. Why?
    There you have it. A little challenge for the forensic historians.

    starter
    Last edited by ursogr8; 02-06-2004 at 09:46 PM.

  2. #2
    CC Candidate Master jeffrei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by starter
    #@$%^&*(^)$#_(*^%$#@!
    1996 David Cordover Vic
    Q#5. You eyes did not deceive you. Truly, there is a line of engraver’s scratch-out marks just before the 1996 winner. How can these be explained?

    Notice what has happened. We have dropped the State reference even though the shields give a lot of space. Q#6. Why?
    Q2: Maybe Rogers won it twice?

    Q5: I'm pretty sure this is right: when Max Leskiewicz got the trophy David Cordover's name wasn't yet engraved on it, and so the original engraving skipped from 1995 Charles Pizzato to 1997 Max Leskiewicz. This was later rectified. [It does look funny, though, as if some irate player/administrator couldn't handle the fact that DC won and went at the trophy with a screwdriver.] Nice Qld-Vic pattern going there for a while, but it got obliterated by that very strong pack of kids coming out of NSW.

    Q6: Perhaps the assumption was that all future winners would be from NSW? :p [Frankly, a quite reasonable assumption given the huge strength differential between NSW juniors and juniors from other states]

    I could add a few more questions, like:

    Q7: Why does the trophy have a huge dent in it? It looks like someone's attacked it with a tennis racquet. When did that happen and who was responsible?

    Q8: Why can't we get a new one? Not that I think fancy trophies are all that important, but it might be useful for newspaper photos and the like to have something better to display.
    Last edited by jeffrei; 02-06-2004 at 10:48 PM.

  3. #3
    Reader in Slood Dynamics Rincewind's Avatar
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    Regarding your questions

    #1 Not sure what you mean but there is a noticable absence of banana-benders.

    #2 I think you answer this later. 1974 must have been missed out and added later. This might have been because they couldn't decide to engrave Chandler's name or not (see below).

    #3 Not sure probably because it is a short name and the engraver did as he was told, without looking at the previous entries.

    #4 Now this is the interesting one...

    It's interesting to compare your post with the Aust Junior Champions List from the AF Website. http://www.auschess.org.au/acfrec.htm

    When you compare the engravings with the record from the ACF website you will notice that there is a one year discrepency up until 1976. (The year IR was the junior champion). After that it is in synch. Not sure of the reason behind this but it could have to do with the tournament moving from December/January timeframe to something more in the contained in the whole year. Anyone know if this happened?

    Another interesting discrepancy is Farrell seems to be mispelt on the ACF website (unless the winner was Fardell then the trophy is wrong), and according to the website the 1975 Title was held by Chandler and Dick. Whereas the trophy just has Dick. I assume this has something to do with Chandler's nationality. But I thought that might also preclude him from the ACF website (can't be Australian Junior Champion, if you're not Australian).

    #5 seems to have been adequately explained by Jeffrei, however why they didn't just engrave it out of order is puzzling since there has been precident to do so.

    #6 Is another interesting one. Probably linked to the increased comfort level that Australians have with the idea of federation. Hence a diminishing importantance placed on statehood. Or maybe because once one Queenslander won it, it didn't matter any more.
    So einfach wie möglich, aber nicht einfacher - Albert Einstein

  4. #4
    Illuminati Bill Gletsos's Avatar
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    It appears the years on the ACF web site are correct and incorrect on the trophy.

    e.g.
    1968 was held in Adelaide from Jan 3rd and won by Noel Craske.
    1971 was won by Arthur Koelle.
    1972 was held in Sydney and won by Greg Melrose.
    1973 was held in Adelaide from Jan 9th and was won by Robert Bartnik
    1974 was held in Brisbane and won by Bill Jordan.
    1975 was held in Tasmania and actually won by Murray Chandler and another NZ Kai Jensen was second. The title was won by David Dick who finished 3rd..
    1976 was held in Victoria and won by Ian Rogers.
    1977 was held in Perth and was jointly won by Darryl Johansen and Dan Fardell.
    1978 was held in Ipswich and won by M.Smith.

    All the above comes from Chess In Australia magazines.

  5. #5
    Reader in Slood Dynamics Rincewind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Gletsos
    It appears the years on the ACF web site are correct and incorrect on the trophy.

    e.g.
    1968 was held in Adelaide from Jan 3rd and won by Noel Craske.
    1971 was won by Arthur Koelle.
    1972 was held in Sydney and won by Greg Melrose.
    1973 was held in Adelaide from Jan 9th and was won by Robert Bartnik
    1974 was held in Brisbane and won by Bill Jordan.
    1975 was held in Tasmania and actually won by Murray Chandler and another NZ Kai Jensen was second. The title was won by David Dick who finished 3rd..
    1976 was held in Victoria and won by Ian Rogers.
    1977 was held in Perth and was jointly won by Darryl Johansen and Dan Fardell.
    1978 was held in Ipswich and won by M.Smith.

    All the above comes from Chess In Australia magazines.
    Thanks for info. Do you have timing details on the events post 1976?

    Is the trophy engraved incorrectly for Fardell or has the Starter's pistol gone off half-cocked?

    There is still a question then as to why Murray's name appears on the ACF's Honours Board.
    So einfach wie möglich, aber nicht einfacher - Albert Einstein

  6. #6
    Illuminati Bill Gletsos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Cox
    Thanks for info. Do you have timing details on the events post 1976?
    As far as I can tell the ones from 71-76 were all held in January and not the previous december.
    I just checked an old Chess Bulletin (official organ of the NSWCA) back prior to CIA for Feb 1963 and it notes the 1963 event was held in Brisbane in January and was won by Max Fuller.
    When I have more time I will look back thru old Chess World mags as well.
    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Cox
    Is the trophy engraved incorrectly for Fardell or has the Starter's pistol gone off half-cocked?
    I would assume the trophy is wrong unless starter made a typing error.

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Cox
    There is still a question then as to why Murray's name appears on the ACF's Honours Board.
    I would assume thats just a mistake. CIA makes it clear that Dick was the champion. The other two were ineligible.
    Last edited by Bill Gletsos; 03-06-2004 at 01:10 AM.

  7. #7
    Reader in Slood Dynamics Rincewind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Gletsos
    I would assume thats just a mistake. CIA makes it clear that Dick was the champion. The other two were ineligible.
    I've mentioned this to the webmaster via email. By coincidence, he is also a former Aust. Junior Champion.
    So einfach wie möglich, aber nicht einfacher - Albert Einstein

  8. #8
    CC Candidate Master boardumb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffrei

    I could add a few more questions, like:

    Q7: Why does the trophy have a huge dent in it? It looks like someone's attacked it with a tennis racquet. When did that happen and who was responsible?
    oooh, me. me!
    i believe it had nothing to do with a bluish creature with white nightcap and stockings.

    the year may or may not have been 6661.

    scary? i think end of days may have been a quite sucky movie.

  9. #9
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    Raking over the clues.

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Cox
    Regarding your questions

    #1 Not sure what you mean but there is a noticable absence of banana-benders.
    Baz
    I will phrase this better.
    Notice that the trophy is often won in consecutive years by different players from the same State (up to the line I drew in the data). I was musing that perhaps the hosting was allocated to a State for consecutive years (in those early trophy days) and hence increased the chances of that State's participants winning in the following year.
    I guess we might need a list of venues to answer this one?

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Cox


    #6 Is another interesting one. Probably linked to the increased comfort level that Australians have with the idea of federation. Hence a diminishing importance placed on statehood.
    I think we should get an answer from the ACF on this change, if what you surmise is true.


    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Cox
    Or maybe because once one Queenslander won it, it didn't matter any more.
    A classic line Baz.

    But you had better duck for cover from those guys who hate being left off the map.


    starter
    Last edited by ursogr8; 03-06-2004 at 08:20 AM.

  10. #10
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    Check the spelling please Denis.

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Cox

    Is the trophy engraved incorrectly for Fardell or has the Starter's pistol gone off half-cocked?
    Baz
    I admit to the barrel being a bit bent, but not to firing half-cocked.

    We need Denis to examine the trophy and report back whether I have misread Farrell for Fardell. (Fardell. Doesn't have anything to do with sheep does it?)
    Denis, are you there?

    starter

  11. #11
    CC International Master Brian_Jones's Avatar
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    possible typo by Starter?

    1988 is Lee Jones (not Lee Johnson)

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian_Jones
    1988 is Lee Jones (not Lee Johnson)
    Thanks Brian
    I will check if I can get to see the trophy again.
    starter

  13. #13
    CC Candidate Master jeffrei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by boardumb
    oooh, me. me!
    i believe it had something to do with a bluish creature with white nightcap and stockings.

    the year may or may not have been 6661.

    scary? i think end of days may have been a quite sucky movie.
    Hot dog! We have a wiener! Mr Boardumb is dead right...well done yaar!
    Last edited by jeffrei; 03-06-2004 at 10:54 AM.

  14. #14
    CC Grandmaster Alan Shore's Avatar
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    Since we're on the topic of Australian Junior Champs, I remember being told one year when Jonathan Sarfati was playing.. I think he actually won the tournament yet was rendered inelegible since he was currently living in New Zealand (despite being born in Australia). Instead the title went to someone living in Australia that was born in England! (I don't remember the guy's name).

    Am I the only one who thinks Sarfati was hard done by?
    "I can't go back to yesterday because I was a different person then."
    - White Queen, Alice through the Looking-Glass

  15. #15
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    While on Junior Champions, I had it from 2 sources a couple of years ago that Adam Hanieh won the 1989 Australian Junior champs, but as the ACF webpage had P Cotton I thought they were both just wrong. Can anyone tell me though whether Adam Hanieh did ever win a title, especially in 1989. I would be interested in clearing this very slight mystery up.
    Scott

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