Porn to Queen Four

Chesscheesecake
I don’t know much about the heady world of international chess. But I do know it doesn’t need an Anna Kournikova. No sport does. During her brief period of trying to play tennis, Kournikova grabbed headlines and sponsorship dollars, turning her matches into a sideshow, and failed to win one singles title. So the fuss over Australian Arianne Caoili seems a little unfortunate, because what the Kournikova label actually means is that she’s a laughing stock.

It’s not a particularly reasonable comparison, either. All that the newspapers have to go on is that she’s ranked a mere seventh in a fairly lame Internet Chess Beauties competition. (How lame? Its founders write “Fortunately, we, who believe that chess can be not only serious and tiresome work but also just fun, are not two few, indeed!” Sound like real party guys.) A “respectable seventh”, the Herald article calls it. Boy, talk about drawing a long bow. Bobby Fischer’s probably eighth.

Of course, no-one’s actually suggesting that Caoili is going to start raking in Kournikova-like income – let’s not forget she was the highest-paid sportswoman in the world, depressingly for any sportswoman who, unlike Kournikova, is great at their sport. She seems like a precocious girl, who’s also more than a little naive – her website, which will presumably be relaunched with heaps of attractive shots now the media’s interested, displays a fairly charming lack of self-awareness. For instance, her ‘thoughts’ page, which she claims is reserved for “random craziness” and which will surely disappear as soon as she hires a PR agent:



Socks: Why do socks have to be paired? What has society done to make anyone who doesn’t wear the same paired sock on each foot feel guilty? Why can’t we wear odd paired socks without the traditional, high class fashion police gasping out of shock? (Sorry, Arianne, Edmund Capon got there first.)

Dwarfs: Sensitive little souls they are.

Breathing: Why is it that we can’t eat through our nose, but we can eat and breathe through our mouth? We don’t eat and breath through the bottom, I think this is a blessing. Is this a good point, or not really?

Not really, Arianne. But it’s better than the one about ‘dwarfs’, who are particularly sensitive about being called that.

She’s also whacked up a few singing samples, just in case she gets any visits from record producers who might be interested in signing chess starlets who can sing a natty version of ‘Over The Rainbow’.

Let’s face it – the reason everyone’s interested in Caoili is not because they’re swooning over her. It’s because her story’s become an internet phenomenon to snigger at. Because the idea of chess having any kind of glamour babe is a contradiction in terms. It’s a bit like dubbing someone the Pamela Anderson of librarians.

All this, though, was before yesterday’s story, though. Now, the main reason everyone’s giggling is that two chess players fought over her. In other words, there was a nerdfight. Specifically, 30-year-old Danny Gormally punched 24-year-old Levon Aronion at the Chess Olympics. And if that wasn’t funny enough, both guys have glasses. Brilliant. Come on, guys, there’s no need to resort to violence. Settle it like men – with a chessboard.

But really, who’d fight over the Anna Kournikova of chess? Winning would make you – shudder – the Enrique Iglesias of chess. Although according to the Herald-Sun, he’s the David Beckham of chess. Which is even more wishful thinking than calling her daughter the sport’s Kournikova. Where’s the evidence of Aronion’s sarongs or difficulty stringing a sentence together?

Of course, this incident – which may lead to disciplinary action for Gormally, another hilarious notion – was an instant checkmate as one of those ‘quirky’ stories that media organisations love to add a ‘lighter side’ to the generally dreary news. And when it’s about a pretty girl, they get to chuck in a cheesecake photo. Check out the Hun‘s, which puts the usually-reliable SMH‘s one to shame.

Let’s hope Caoili enjoys her 15 minutes of fame, and that she doesn’t suffer under the delusion she’ll have many more. Sure, Kournikova hung around for years, but she got shots of her underwear on TV all the time. Whereas the best Arianne can hope for, probably, is a follow-up piece when she hook ups with Aronion. Unless she isn’t next attacked by a sensitive dwarf next time, irate about being patronised on her website. That’d be a lighter-side-of double-whammy.

Okay, onto the next quirky internet story. Has that three-armed Chinese baby done anything interesting lately? Forget Arianne already, he’s just had one of them cut off!

Dominic Knight

Photo taken from Caoili’s website

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