Reports | March 04, 2011 0:14

Father and daughter play (and win) rookies tournament under false names

Recently a father and his daughter entered an under 1700 tournament in New Zealand under false names, and duly finished first and second. No great harm was done (their combined prize was $55, or about 40 Euros) but in the Oceania chess scene it's the story of the day.

On the website of the Hamilton Chess Club in New Zealand, the organizer of a small club tournament writes:

At great expense to the Hamilton Chess Club management, two strong chess players were secretly imported from Europe to test the resolve and current skill level of the Waikato juniors and beginners on 20th Feb. Lara Stock (wgm) and her father Michael Stock (2200+) cleverly kept their relationship, ages - she was over 18 - and identities secret (by using false names) and both convincingly blitzed the field of up and coming but unsuspecting budding chess enthusiasts. We all enjoyed the lessons learned - both on and off the chess board, of honesty and integrity or what happens when there is a lack of it. Stay tuned for the next secret mission of the management - we may be able to exhume Bobby Fischer yet!

The tone of this small post already reveals that the organizer hasn't taken the situation too seriously (and probably rightly so). However, in an attempt to learn from it, he also posted the story at two forums: Chess Chat and OZChess, where it's being debated heavily. Later, on the OZChess forum the organizer mentioned the names of the couple.

OK, its show and tell time. It turns out the couple are Father and Daughter and have used their real names at another location in NZ, and previous posters are well on the right path. They are Lara Stock (CRO) and Michael Stock (GER). She is a WGM and her federation is Croatia, he is rated over 2200 and belongs to the German Federation.

As this small report of the Gap Chess Club in Brisbane, Australia shows, Michael and Lara Stock have apparently been travelling through Australia and New Zealand for a while. It also appears that they've tried to enter other weak tournaments as well. Earlier today Chessbase also reported on the story. They decided not to mention the names. However, we must say that the girl in the photo does look a lot like the Lara Stock that has featured in two Chessbase articles:

Lara Stock in May 2006 - Photo Andreas Albers/Chessbase Lara Stock in September 2007 - Photo Scacchierando/Chessbase Unidentified girl winning an under 1700 tournament - Photo HCC


In the second article, Lara is the main subject, for defeating two GMs at the International Chess Festival in Trieste (Italy) in 2007. According to her rating history, she hasn't played much since, which is confirmed by a search in our chess games database. So who knows, it might well be Michael and Lara. And who knows, she might have lost her interest in competitive chess, but likes to shuffle the pieces here and there while travelling through Australia and New Zealand. Not a big deal so far. However, they must know that there, they're easily the strongest players in many small tournaments. And with entry fees for them totalling $25 and winning $55, it wasn't about the money. Why not mention your real name, and just participate for fun? Strange.

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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of ChessVibes.com, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.

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Comments

Inkly's picture

I pay money excepting to get X. I get Y. You argue that Y is more valuable than X. I say that is your value system not mine, do not try to impose it on me, I paid for X, and you fraudulently substituted Y.

X is a tournament of players rated about my level.
Y is a chance to play a much stronger player.

If I sign up to play in an U1800 section and Carlsen butts in to dust me off in 18 moves, am I supposed to "enjoy" it for some reason?

Delinquncy's picture

Inkly, what you say is truly obvious and obviously true. There exist class sections in tournaments for a reason. If I enter the U1800 section rather than the open section,, well, I've done so because I want to play guys near my own rating. The organizers offer such sections because the majority of players desire and demand them.

Men of a more leisurely moral development seem not to care about such self-evident certitudes.

Mac's picture

You still get a thumbs down.
1 4 3

leigh's picture

"it will be restricted to players under 1700 NZCF rating" copied from http://hamiltonchess.net/events/rookies-shield/

Does the father and daughter have the NZCF rating? NO!!!

Their ratings are FIDE rating!

What were their NZCF ratings? Unrated!

What's wrong the unrated players played in a tournment for the players under 1700 NZCF rating?

Tell me!!! Please

leigh's picture

"Lara Stock (born 26 May 1992)" from Wiki.
"Update 05/03/2011" from hamiltonchess.

What does it mean? This means that Lara was under 18 when she joined the tournment.

What's wrong? Tell me, Please!

Lothar's picture

Please check your calculations again.

Lothar's picture

Didn't the diabolical femme fatale also lie about her age to enter the U18 competition?

Jonathan O'Connor's picture

I don't go on the Playchess server very often, but I did play Steve in a couple of 5 minute games, and his id was either sgiddins or stevegiddins. Either way, he wasn't trying to hide his id.

Roger Moore's picture

dont forget the Hamilton Chess Club Rapid this weekend on Saturday the 13th
with free entry and international publicity for Woman Grandmasters !

http://doubleroo.blogspot.com/2011/03/rookies-cup-raider.html

Septimus's picture

Who cares? She is good looking and that is all that matters. We need more ladies in revealing clothing sit at chess boards.

leigh's picture

yes, that's what a chess man think! Great!

Nima's picture

No thanks. I have enough problems concentrating as it is.

Mac's picture

This Story could have ended MUCH worse !
The unsuspecting chess club players /.. victims - are lucky to be alive : )

R.Mutt's picture

It is surprising that this hardened criminal let herself be photographed...

Bert de Bruut's picture

Why taint your name forever for a lousy € 40? Incomprehisible.

noyb's picture

Maybe he's on the run from the law?! Strange story.

Arjon's picture

Why does this article exist?

Sander's picture

I agree, man, the chess front is quiet lately, from these articles to 'stolen' chess programs...I

I wanna see chess by the big guns!

Nothing personal Peter,chessicly its just cucumbertime, not your fault.

S2's picture

i wanna see the big guns as well!

Solomon's picture

Even if the reason for doing this makes no sense, isn't there some rule against using a false identity to play in a chess tournament? Are there no penalties? Bizzare!

Steve Giddins's picture

Not sure why you take such fraud lightly - I took a rather harder line in my blog entry http://stevegiddins.blogspot.com/2011/03/tournament-raider.html.
However little money they made, it is fraud. Why do we want such people involved in chess at all? Off with their heads!

Sam's picture

about time Steve Giddins gave his FM title back as his rating is now 2188 well below FM level, is this fraud ? Perhaps his pretending to be a chess author could be called fraud, arent there enough bad books out there already ? Some very nasty comments toward the young girl from Steve Giddins on his blog, perhaps he should receive a life ban, as do we want such a person involved in chess at all ?

S2's picture

Giddin's books are usually quite good. I don't agree with him on this but it's a little childish to attack him like this.

hikaru's picture

Not to much Giddins attacks on Bogdan Lalic which he later had to withdraw.

leigh's picture

Wow, What a wonderful story!
To think, sometimes a local, small club try to invite higher rated players with no-entry-fee and the players would take the prize for sure. All club members are happy for their coming.
The father and daughter created an interesting story for us. Why should we blame them?
If they come to the club i go to, I would say: welcome again!

Dave's picture

she is rated 2350 and is only 19. so my question is, why is the world did she stop playing rated FIDE events 4 years ago? If she played against people at her own level she might be 2500 by now. If she just wanted to beat up on weaker players she could simply play online. I don't get it.

Brian Lafferty's picture

Cheating is cheating. They took other players' winnings by an act of fraud.

leigh's picture

what a narrow minded guy!

Simon's picture

The silly thing is her rating is within a couple of points of the top two active players in NZ [1] . She probably could have emailed just about any club and offered to turn up and do a simil or enter a tournament and they would have waved her entry fees and possible given her a little bit of appearance money (at least as much as she won in hamilton).

I'm in a small tournament this weekend [2] and the father has shown up and said he (at least) is interested in entering. They may get shy though.

[1] Of the two higher, Chandler is semi-retired and Wang plays in the US.

[2] http://www.aucklandchesscentre.co.nz/acc-weekender

hatsekidosie's picture

O, I hussle like that all the time. I travel the world and play all the local tournaments I come across. In fact, I am much worse a fraud: I not only pretend to be lower rated than I am, I in fact play rubbish in these tounaments, just so they will not suspect me being a world class grand master: I go for the consolation prize. No one has ever noticed my genius. How about that for a cunning scam?

Peter Giannatos's picture

Ohh no 55 Euro!! What will the U1700 players in New Zealand do without all that cash!??!?! Their entry fee covered their "free" lesson. =]

Peter Giannatos's picture

Ohh no 40 Euro!! What will the U1700 players in New Zealand do without all that cash!??!?! Their entry fee covered their "free" lesson. =]

R.Mutt's picture

There is also the rumour that a twelve-year-old in Clermont-Ferrand violated the touch-move rule. Will chessvibes send a reporter?

Bud's picture

What a shame!!
Unforgivable! (provided it's a true story)

phil's picture

Rumor has it they inquired to play at the Auckland Chess Centre on Saturday and Sunday. See http://closetgrandmaster.blogspot.com/2011/03/foreigners-scam-nz-tournam...

noone's picture

Maybe they have money troubles or they are just very greedy. Or maybe they just love chess so much they have to participate in every tournament lol. But anyway 40 euros is a good prize to see some titties.

Clifford's picture

A correction - their combined prize was more than $55 - $55 was their combined profit after entry fees, etc.

Dave's picture

I don't know, maybe this is all just a publicity stunt to promote chess. It's a scandel and a mystery involving a beautiful young female chess player! I must admit I did not know who she was before this, but now i do. Maybe she is making a point about the size of the prize money. Playing chess at the top level or even near it is more of a burden for most players. If some incentive were given to intermediate players, if they had a chance to win some sort of real money, chess would become very popular, very fast. Being invited to "big money" tournaments for players at her level and above is sometimes a political matter, and sometimes random.

test's picture

This is not the first time I have heard stories like this from organizers of open tournaments. (Rated players trying to play in the unrated section or in a lower section than they should.)

It illustrates imo how there will always be people who will cheat whenever or however they can, even if there is little or nothing at stake. Which should make you wonder what happens when there is a lot (of money) at stake.

Live and learn. Ask proper identification.

But even then; what do you do when somebody has a (high) national rating but no FIDE rating? National ratings are not always so easy to find.

Also: organizers of big open tournaments with rating categories should always check the rating of EVERY participant; I highly doubt they all do that.

Mac's picture

you get a thumbs down for 'imo' .. lazy text messenger talk.

test's picture

A sentence starts with a capital. Too lazy? Thumbs down!

PS: To be honest I didn't like it either but I added it to accentuate that it was just my opinion and not an established fact even though it should be obvious as what I write here cannot be but my opinion. I was trying to anticipate the nitpickers. ;) As to the abbreviation: we use them all the time and I have no problem with them as long as they are common knowledge, language is not written in stone; it evolves, get with the times. ;)

Anthony's picture

much ado about nothing......... When does Linares start?

Seth's picture

From what I've heard, it doesn't start. :(

Z's picture

These idiots also showed up at the Melbourne Chess Club, and tried to play our allegro under false ratings. (The Grand Prize is usually 40-50 dollars, not that they'd have won it anyway)

After somebody found an old rating for the guy around 1900, he practically started a fight and was pushed out kicking and screaming like a lunatic!

John's picture

its a stretch to call the event she played in a tournament.
http://hamiltonchess.weebly.com/round-1-results.html

Her and her dad were the only real chess players there and the event was fun unrated speed event for patzers.

The http://hamiltonchess.weebly.com/round-1-results.html

How much appearance fee would you paid to get a stunning Women's Grandmaster to turn up to your event ?
Note Hamilton Chess Club paid nothing for this

The organizer Scott Humphreys (1663 Fide) has decided to internationally vilified this poor young girl for a bit of self promotion

Z's picture

That is absolute nonsense- these people have behaved like pigs all accross the southern hemisphere and will continue to do so- beware!

leigh's picture

Z: your behave doesn't like a pig. what you posted here is not nonsense.

henrik mortensen's picture

The DAD behaved so badly in Melbourne Chessclub at one of the saturday allegro tournaments that I supposed he was from Rostock... They left after only two rounds...

henrik mortensen's picture

@ Z

It seems to be that we were there at the same time... You are completely right.

middlewave's picture

The girl should indeed be Lara Stock, the similarity is too great. But I can 100% verify that the father is for sure Mr Stock, whom I have met on a number of occasions and who hasn't changed at all since the last time I saw him, in 2007. Having had the dubious pleasure of experiencing his conduct in a couple of World Youth Chess Championships in the past (in my capacity of Deputy Chief Arbiter and member of the organizing team), I have to mention that he is the definition of "troublemaker". Oh well.

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