I ran across an old Blog post of several years ago where someone asked the question about the predominant use of pseudonyms in chess blogs and why bloggers often don’t give any clue to their identity. Good question!
One reply said anonymity was most likely directly related to ego. Some chess players love to pontificate online about how great a player they are or their recent conquests and remain anonymous so those claims can go unchecked. At the same time the poster asked the question “Does it matter who I am? Does that change the value of the advice? Does it make the advice less useful?” Or. I might add does it make the blog any less interesting? Another poster commented most people are not honest with themselves and the public concerning their results and their self-training methods and as a result are not willing to identify themselves.
So I got to thinking about why I don’t reveal my real name on this Blog. The truth is nobody who reads this Blog is probably going to remember me from my OTB or postal days of 30 years ago and any ratings I had back then are so obsolete as to be meaningless. Thus those old ratings are irrelevant. Even my official US/ICCF, Queen Alice and Chessworld ratings are meaningless in these days of chess engines…even less meaningless than they were back in the day when there were no computers; nobody took postal ratings seriously even then. I remember one OTB tournament that advertised free entry to Grandmasters and when a Correspondence GM tried to enter for free, he was refused. CC GM titles weren’t “real.”
I’m not selling anything, so any advice I may give here works because I followed it at one time or another myself. It’s not stuff I thought up on my own anyway. Most advice I give has been culled from guys like CJS Purdy, Ken Smith and others who are far more qualified to give it than I am. But, like I said, I know it works. I haven’t actually studied chess for 20 years and most of the stuff I post here isn’t instructional anyway. It’s just stuff I find interesting.
The names I post under are the names I use on the Internet so anybody can look up my games and results if they were really that interested. They could also check my games with Fritz if they are interested in checking for engine use and quality, but so far, I haven’t come across anybody that interested!
Safety and security is also an issue I suppose. In all the years I played postal chess against people who had my home address, including many opponents who were incarcerated, I never had one show up at my door. There was one strange case of a letter from some teenager I never heard of asking me if I was willing to give him chess lessons and asking about fees. I had no idea of how he got my name or address, but wasn’t interested in giving him any lessons. But these days the Internet is different. Some people I’ve witnessed in action on the Internet are scary! Of course most of it is meaningless trash talk, but you never know. After all my first Blog was hacked and you have to be pretty desperate to hack an insignificant Blog like this one.
Anyway, the purpose of this Blog is, as I noted in my first post, to keep me from drinking coffee at McDonald’s in the mornings. It gives me something to do and like all my anonymous chess games on the Internet, nobody cares about my real name.
Also even giving a “real” name doesn’t mean anything. A few years ago one Internet site had had an IM playing and posting. He was discovered to be a fraud and got kicked off the site. Then there was the case of a certain GM who kept popping up on several sites, had his own website, and eventually became the owner of one site. He was a fraud. I know because he asked me to become a moderator on his site and during the course of several pm’s it became clear to me he wasn’t the GM he was claiming to be, so I refused. I’ve been accused of being a highly rated correspondence player…not so. One guy even asked if I was the well-known CC player John C. Knudsen! That was laugh; I’m not.