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Up Topic The Rybka Lounge / Computer Chess / An Open Letter to Cock de Gorter and the CSVN Board
- - By Harvey Williamson (*****) Date 2010-12-28 15:08

I was going to post the full text here but it will take to long to format for this forum so please read via the above link.
Parent - - By Uly (Gold) Date 2010-12-28 15:17

> it will take to long to format for this forum

Wow, 5 minutes is too much?


"For those of you wondering what the CSVN is, it is the Dutch Computer Chess Association. It has been organising Computer Chess events for around 30 years. See

An Open Letter to Cock de Gorter and the CSVN Board

Dear Cock & CSVN Board members,

When I got home from the 30th Dutch Open on the Monday the 1st thing I did was email your tournament director:

>Hi Jan,

>Thanks for a great tournament this year and for the website updates. I have put a thanks here

>Best Wishes,

I received a very nice reply. The last thing I was expecting to receive a few hours later was an email banning me from future tournaments. Jan as a board member must have known it was about to be sent. I thought the incident that is described below would be forgotten by both sides.

It is very sad that I have to write this letter. Someone I consider a friend has used a cracked version of a product sold by in an official tournament. Rather than apologising when confronted about the issue you constructed a way to ban me from the events you organise.

Let's start with a rewritten version of my post from 2nd December here is the unedited version. It starts with a quote from the email I received, from you, the day after the 30th Dutch Open:

>In the present situation the CSVN-board has no other option than to ask you not to attend CSVN-events in the future.

Cock de Gorter the Chairman of the CSVN board told me last week in Leiden that he had entered an, official, online tournament with a cracked copy of the latest Junior that was sent to him by a friend in Brazil. I was astounded by this. Surely members of the board of a Computer Chess Association should lead by example and not use cracked software? I told Cock that I was appalled by his actions. 1) As someone who is totally against the use of cracked commercial software. 2) As Junior is sold by 3) As a Sys op because the online tournament is being played there. Normally this would lead to sanctions being taken on Playchess. I decided just to say that the cracked version must not be used again.

The conversation took place over Dinner on Thursday evening before the Dutch Open tournament, in Leiden, began. In my opinion this has nothing to do with the board. It was a shame Cock's wife was there and that she felt insulted by the conversation I had with her husband, for that I apologise.

After making my feelings known Cock then contacted Mark to ask for a free Junior 12 licence. Mark replied that on this occasion he was not prepared to supply one. If he had asked before using the cracked version we would of course have supplied a licence.

Some emails were then exchanged between Mark, Amir and Cock. I was also cc'd. After a couple of days he was sent a free Junior licence, although we had not received an apology. I really thought that would be the end of the matter. I have had no conversation with the person concerned since this email exchange began.

Then to my surprise I receive an email banning me from CSVN events. An email that raises a couple of questions.

1) What has this got to do with the CSVN board at all? It certainly has nothing to do with the Leiden tournament. An individual who happens to be a board member used cracked software emailed to him by a friend in Brazil.

2) Were the board made fully aware of the facts before allowing this decision to be taken in their name? It now appears as if the entire board supports the use of cracked commercial Chess software. I am sure this is not true

After my original post the ban was lifted with no apology or admission that it had been an error. Mark, Amir and I have not received a sincere apology. I received an email with the words that I refer to as 'CockSpeak' that are just unbelievable waffle with no admission that he has made any error. The CSVN made it sound like they were doing me a favour by lifting the ban. Amir Ban asked you to state that the ban had been wrong and if you did this it would close the issue. The Board have not even bothered to reply to Amir.

>Let me reiterate my stand: If Harvey's  ban was not a mistake, then the amicable settlement reached with Cock is null and void, due to Cock's insincerity. If this situation stands, then my complaint of the CSVN chairman pirating my software also stands.

>best regards,

As it currently stands it appears that the CSVN board condone the use of cracked commercial software in official tournaments and that any one who dares challenge you on this issue risks being banned from the events you organise. My thanks to David Levy and others who have tried to make the CSVN see sense.

At the previous Leiden tournament Cock told Amir and me that he had received the then current version of Junior from a friend by email. He was pleased to report that he had been unable to crack that one. Six months later he got a working version of the latest, I presume both were from from the same friend in Brazil.

I could write a lot more but will end with some quotes from the emails that have been exchanged. Everyone of them is totally damming of Cock and the board.  I think it is fair to say that Cock has brought his office into disrepute. Every email he has written about this matter suggests he has done no wrong. I guess he is above the rules that apply to everybody else. As things, currently, stand Hiarcs will not enter any CSVN tournaments again. I suspect the same is true for Junior.

Here are some examples of CockSpeak:

>In following years there were complaints from other people in Leiden. I succeeded to keep you playing with Hiarcs nevertheless. That was not without discussion in our board.

I asked for clarification of any complaints made against me at leiden. I am still to receive a reply.

>Any personal relation stops after one party doubts the other's integrity, which was very much the case here.

Not sure what I am supposed to do when someone steals a product I am involved with selling.

>We were waiting for an apology, which did not come.

An apology for what? Sorry I was wrong to rightly accuse you of using an illegal cracked version of Junior?

>In this case Online Masters started and I had a working copy of Junior. Among the participants were all commercial programs, like Rybka, Hiarcs, Fritz, Shredder, Sjeng, Naum.

No Junior.....

>During the tournament I could replace Junior easy. After that destroy the old version.

As you are someone above the law this is fine......

>My special position makes it impossible to ask for anything and once offered something, I cannot accept

Unless my friend in Brazil emails it to me....

This next one is not CockSpeak but written by a senior member of the Rybka team:

>With increasing amazement I have been reading the mails coming into my mailbox, regarding the use of illegal software by the CSVN chairman and the banning of mr. Harvey Williamson of team Hiarcs from the Leiden tournament. I have read all the arguments presented here and I can only come to the conclusion that I fully support the views of David Levy, Mark Uniacke and Amir Ban.

>Furthermore, I want to explain to you why I quitted my membership of the CSVN in 2009: it was because of an article in a 2009 Computerschaak issue, in which the CSVN chairman accused Rybka of being a 'possible Fruit clone', while in the same article providing links of programs like Strelka. Apparently the new moral is: to accuse without giving proof, and write about programs of very dubious origin, without giving any explanation to the CSVN members how controversial these programs were (and still are). In 2010 nothing has changed in this respect, BTW.

>According to me, the CSVN is skating on very thin ice here. There are programmers trying to make a living out of computer chess, whose existence are threatened by the very same Strelka's and Belka's the CSVN chairman is writing about. Furthermore, team Hiarcs is always present in the CSVN tournaments (sacrificing precious time and money to be in Leiden), not only scoring good results, but also making this tournament to a success. Without these programs you don't have a tournament, I hope you realise that.

Back to the CockSpeak:

>The Board never wrote the ban was not justified.

>We are glad You gave us the necessary reasons to lift the ban.

So it is still all my fault?

This was sent by Amir Ban:

>While Harvey, Mark and I were thinking we had a complaint with Cock and were generously settling the matter, we were unaware that it was supposedly we who insulted Cock by doubting his integrity, and he was, allegedly, waiting for an apology. I don't understand how it is possible to admit to doing things and expressing regret while at the same time being insulted by the (true) allegation, nor is my intelligence sufficient to understand how one can accept an amicable settlement with gratitude while at the same time waiting for the other side to apologize (for what?) and even taking steps with you gentlemen to take punitive action.

>The amicable settlement is, of course, null and void if Cock was secretly harboring complaints and plotting against us when reaching it.

>Furthermore I personally feel used and a victim of fraud by extending free copies and forgiveness under such circumstances.

And this one from Mark Uniacke:

>At all times I have acted in good faith with you and I am disappointed you did not apologise and I am totally shocked by this ban on Harvey. This whole situation would never have arisen if you had not used a pirated copy of Deep Junior, if you had simply asked Amir or I for a complimentary version before you chose to use a pirated copy you would of received it. Therefore, I think that you only have yourself to blame for this as hard as that might be for you to accept.

>Given the facts as I see them I believe the banning of Harvey is without foundation, unfair and totally unacceptable and an abuse of your position as Chairman of the CSVN.

>In the present circumstances Hiarcs will not be competing again in CSVN events until and unless the situation is resolved.

On the 26th December Mark emailed the CSVN board one final time:

>I would like to make some points to the CSVN Board as follows:

>1) At no time whatsoever has Cock ever apologised to either Amir or myself for using a cracked version of Deep Junior 12.

>2) We have not seen a statement from Cock or the CSVN Board that the ban was unjust and incorrect. Indeed Cock wrote on the 7th Dec "The Board never wrote the ban was not justified."  Clearly adding fuel to the fire, this strongly implies that Cock and CSVN board believe the ban was justified. Since the ban was based on the wrongful actions of its chairman the CSVN Board need to state that the ban was wrong and not justified.

>3) The wronged party (Harvey) should be unconditionally apologised to, a partial apology prepended by an "if" is hardly fitting.

>The fact the CSVN Board has ignored these points and the emails from Amir is in my opinion disgraceful.

>I hope this email will not be ignored and I would like the CSVN Board to respond to the points made above and I sincerely hope the CSVN Board has the courage to act honourably and finally resolve this issue as a matter of urgency.

A reply was received from Cock:

>The Board closed the matter as you know. Point 1) however is directed directly to me as a person, so I will answer this.

>I thought the matter of using a copied version of Junior was ended by my explanation and your and Amir's olive branche which was accepted gratefully. Nevertheless: I apologise to you and Amir for playing once with an copied original version of Junior.

Amir then replied to Cock and the board:

>The problem is that the "olive branch" was not "accepted gracefully" but at that you were plotting against Harvey at the same time. This has been explained to you. I understand you would like to see that matter closed but it takes two to tango. Your apology cannot be accepted until you retract Harvey's ban. As things stand, I cannot participate in your future events, whether personally or by representative.

> I find it odd and somewhat ridiculous that you would personally answer messages to the CSVN board that concern you intimately. Nor does it add to your credibility to claim "the matter is closed" when it clearly isn't. Does your board actually support you on any of this?

> You have now escalated an embarrassment into a full-scale outrage, and dragged your entire organization into it, to the extent that it seriously reflects on its reputation. With respect, aren't there any responsible adults on your board?

I will end with the voice of reason President of the ICGA IM David Levy:

>Hi Harvey,

>I have tried for one last time to persuade Cock that he should apologize properly and answer your and Amir's questions but to no avail.

>I give up!



With this open letter I now call upon Cock and the CSVN to publish the apologies that are due. My ban should be fully retracted.

Harvey Williamson
28th Dec 2010

Comments and replies to this post are welcome. However we will moderate to keep the thread on-topic."

Parent - By Harvey Williamson (*****) Date 2010-12-28 15:24

> Wow, 5 minutes is too much?

Would have taken me a lot longer but thanks!
Parent - - By Vempele (Silver) Date 2010-12-28 15:25
I think the [c] tag should be renamed [o] for obnoxious.
Parent - By Uly (Gold) Date 2010-12-28 15:36
Or we should get an alternative way to make text different without needing to make it worse than CAPS LOCK. It's "c=mark", presumably the technology exists that would allow the text to be colored green with something like [c=green].
Parent - By Nelson Hernandez (Gold) Date 2010-12-28 16:03
A vivid illustration of how all organizations, no matter how large or small, ancient or new, are composed of fallible individuals.

I remember a time not long ago when commercial entities and tournament organizers were armed with daggers.  Now they are armed with unsheathed swords!
Parent - - By Fulcrum2000 (****) Date 2010-12-28 16:45
Hello Harvey,

You are aware we are now hearing the story from one side only, but if there is no 'catch' in the story I have to admit this was a very strange and inexcusable action of Cock. I feel ashamed of my fellow countryman :sad:
Parent - - By Harvey Williamson (*****) Date 2010-12-28 16:48
It is an open letter I have sent them a link to the post on the Hiarcs forum they are free to reply, something they now refuse to do to Mark Amir or me. If people like David Levy are prepared to take sides, is it one sided?
Parent - - By Fulcrum2000 (****) Date 2010-12-28 17:04
It's sad indeed. Did you talk with Hans about it, as he is now also involved in CSVN (for the magazine only, but still)?.
Parent - - By Harvey Williamson (*****) Date 2010-12-28 17:06
Hans is not a board member but was cc'd most of the emails. I have absolutely no issues with him.
Parent - - By Fulcrum2000 (****) Date 2010-12-28 17:10
I know, that's why I asked, maybe Hans can help you with some inside information to remove Cock from his throne.

Thinking about it, I should probably not be typing this on a public board, but Hans is old and wise enough to see if he can or cannot help here :twisted:
Parent - - By Harvey Williamson (*****) Date 2010-12-28 17:11
Yes he is a good guy and a friend of mine. However i do not think it is appropriate to share the conversations I have had with him about this matter.
Parent - By Fulcrum2000 (****) Date 2010-12-28 17:16
No, you don't have to share them, just add them to the dossier of this case. It might come in handy later... :grin:
Parent - By Ricky (***) Date 2010-12-28 19:23
Harvey, it is a sad situation and I hope, they will do you right. Also, a different situation, the post about clones, Testo is in a sad situation also, see    By Testo   Date 2010-12-28 10:31.

Nobody will be able to stop the clonner or people doing wrong, simmilar to gun bans, it only hurt the people that follow the law. the other ones, simply don't care.

Our chess community, feels like we that do the right things are the one that feel the pain.

Let all of us just enjoy the game that we all love.

Best regards,

Parent - - By M ANSARI (*****) Date 2010-12-28 21:18
Wow ... that really seems strange.  However my understanding of the post is that Cock mentioned that he did not use a cracked version, but rather a copy of an original and paid for version.  If so then this is not so bad as it is for an official tournament, and it can be explained as a logistics necessity rather than piracy.  However if this is untrue and it was actually a cracked copy or pirated copy, then that is incredibly idiotic by a senior member of an organization that is supposed to be protecting the hard work of the authors it is inviting to its tournaments.  One of the litmus tests to a persons integrity is his willingness to admit when he is wrong and to take appropriate actions to right this wrong.  Some people are simply not capable of apologizing or admitting that they have erred ... it simply doesn't fit into their fantasy of being "perfect".
Parent - - By Harvey Williamson (*****) Date 2010-12-28 21:19
If you believe for 1 minute the copy is in anyway legit ask him for details. I guess the version was perhaps paid for once who knows how many it was circulated to and I do not see why that makes it any better.
Parent - - By M ANSARI (*****) Date 2010-12-28 21:35
I was thinking more along the lines that the Brazilian guy was a first generation owner of an original version.  I don't have J12 so I don't know if it has protection ... I am assuming not.  I mean if I know that there is a tournament where Rybka is playing and somehow they were missing a Rybka version there and Rybka was one of the official participants, I would not think that emailing a copy of the original engine which I bought to participate in the tourney would be a problem ... rather it would be more of overcoming a logistics hurdle.  Obviously if the engine was protected and it was cracked and then sent, or it was picked up from a pirate site ... then that would be totally different.
Parent - - By Harvey Williamson (*****) Date 2010-12-28 21:39 Edited 2010-12-28 21:57
yes it has protection so he would have to supply your PERSONAL key as well. If you send someone Rybka as a team member that is ok as long as Vas gives you permission to do that otherwise you should not.
Parent - By M ANSARI (*****) Date 2010-12-29 05:03
Yes of course ... it does seem that all was not kosher.  That is just wrong on so many levels, especially when you consider that the person doing that is one of the major people organizing the tournament!
Parent - - By Loboestepario (****) Date 2010-12-28 21:44
Does the Junior license say it should not be copied without author's permission or something along those lines?
If it does then it was an illegal copy.
What I don't understand yet is how the Junior team can allow his representative/operator to use an illegal copy of their engine? Does the Junior license allow users to play in tournaments representing the Junior brand?
Parent - By Harvey Williamson (*****) Date 2010-12-28 21:46
For that you will have to ask the organisers of the CSS Masters tournament. They told me if they knew it was a cracked version it would not have been allowed. However they did not doubt the credentials of the user comcerned.
Up Topic The Rybka Lounge / Computer Chess / An Open Letter to Cock de Gorter and the CSVN Board

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