Game Blotter - A roundup of crimes, legal cases, and when "the law" gets involved with gamesAn inmate at the Dane County Jail in Madison, Wisconsin used a shiv made from a Scrabble game letter tray to threaten a deputy and lock him in a cell.

SCS Direct, publisher of the Humanity Hates Trump card game, is suing Cards Against Humanity for blocking the former’s Kickstarter project. According to SCS, the company made a number of changes to accommodate CAH but remaining at-contention is the black-and-white color scheme for cards.

The conflict over the Villains & Vigilantes RPG has finally been resolved with a settlement of the case that allows Jeff Dee and Jack Herman to publish the game while citing Scott Bizar as trademark owner.

Two class-action lawsuits were filed against Wizards of the Coast, claiming that Magic: The Gathering judges are employees entitled to wages, breaks, and other benefits. WOTC, of course, disagrees. Shortly thereafter, the company announced a restructuring of payments to participants in its professional tournaments, reducing Pro Tour appearance fees and increasing the prize pool for World Championships. A few thought the move might be connected to the lawsuits. Many thought it unfair, coming as it did in the middle of a season where players had already spent considerable money and effort trying to qualify for the payments. Just 2 days later, WOTC acknowledged the change a mistake and reversed its decision.

A former chairman of the Local Water Utilities Administration in Manila has been indicted for improperly funneling 1.5 million pesos to the National Chess Federation of the Philippines. The money was designated for a tournament but according to prosecutors, the utility had no business sponsoring such events. Instead, they say the gift was a result of the chairman’s personal connection to the organization, which had agreed to name the tournament in his honor.

Several FIDE-affiliated individuals and corporations, including Anatoly Karpov, David Kaplan, Chess Lane, Chess News Agency, and the late Bobby Fischer, have been mentioned in the Panama Papers. The Russian Chess Federation sent me an email to let me know that the Andrey Filatov mentioned was not its president.

FIDE has suspended the Ukranian Chess Federation for failing to pay the world body its fees for the Women’s World Championship held in Lviv. This prevents players associated with the Ukranian federation from participating in any tournament that leads to either the World Championship or Olympiads, and it means that their rating numbers have been removed from FIDE’s official rosters (and website).

Someone has been trying to con board game companies out of free copies, claiming games were stolen from his car and asking the companies to replace them. In fact, it appears that he may have never have owned them in the first place.

In Chongqing, China, a 6 year old boy died after falling from his family’s 21st floor apartment while his mother was out playing Mahjong.

Also in Chongqing, an 11 year old girl twice within 3 days lodged complaints with police that her father was too obsessed with Mahjong to stay home and take care of her. After the second time, she refused to go home with him and was picked up by an uncle. The father admitted that he enjoyed Mahjong and was hoping that his ex-wife would take the girl.

For the first time, Japan has granted work visas to e-sports professionals. Two video game players from Korea were awarded category 3 entertainment visas, the same given to professional athletes.

However, the Japanese magazine, BUBKA, criticized paid professional gamers and said that playing Magic: The Gathering is childish and Shogi a waste of time.

As I reported last month, a longstanding Chess group was told by mall management not to play any more in the food court of the Park Royal Shopping Centre in West Vancouver, British Columbia. Since then, local support, including a telephone call to mall management from West Vancouver’s mayor, an offer for alternative play space from a grocery store and a restaurant, and a planned a sit-in by a local church, has the mall backing off total eviction. A new designated Chess space will be provided in the mall, just not in the food court.

Not far away, in Sechelt, BC, another group of Chess players was evicted from the public restaurant of the private Sunshine Golf and Country Club.

Responding to an FBI probe of possible corruption in the New York City police department, two officials claimed that they paid a businessman back for travel expenses by purchasing him a $5,000 backgammon set.

Cellbrite, the Israel-based digital forensics company that helped the FBI crack the iPhone belonging to the attackers in San Bernardino, California, is actually a subsidiary of a Japanese company that makes Pachinko equipment.

A backpack with a sizeable collection of valuable Magic: The Gathering cards was stolen at Grand Prix New York. But police got a pic of the culprit off surveillance video.

Ax murder at a Dominoes game—except the murder wasn’t about the game but rather over a $50 lottery ticket.

A San Francisco police officer claimed that the man he arrested for carrying a gun was playing dice on the street, then ran when approached. Video from a nearby security camera shows otherwise.

Noticing a lack of professional affiliations for the female characters in Clue (A.K.A. Cluedo), while the male characters include a professor and a colonel, John Chaneski posted online a petition that asks Hasbro to change Mrs. White to Dr. White.

A con-man pretending to be the director of a provincial development committee in China would bet big at a Mahjong parlor to impress his potential marks. The thing is, the man forgot that his assumed identity was fake and started telling his family and police that he was part of the committee.

A Federal Circuit Court judge in Australia has ordered the Tiy Loy Mahjong club in Sydney to pay more than $50,000 in penalties and $400,000 in compensation for reducing a tea-server’s working hours after he filed a worker’s compensation claim for a leg injury.

A member of the Richmond City Council was caught playing Scrabble on their tablet during an important budget meeting.

One man stabbed another man to death during a dice game in Pretoria, South Africa.

The alleged perpetrator of a dice game shooting in Birmingham, Alabama is being charged with capital murder.

A group of people were playing dice indoors in Kansas City, Missouri, when several others burst in and started shooting. One of the players was hit in the head, another in the leg.

In Memphis, Tennessee, a man sitting on the front porch with his friend was hit by gunfire from two people who had just gotten out of a car arguing about a earlier dice game.

Police in Flint, Michigan arrested 16 people on drugs, guns, and illegal gambling charges after breaking up a dice game in the driveway of an vacant house.

In Vallejo, California, two men, impatient for a third to pay-up after a just-completed dice game, beat him and stole his car while he was on his way to a bank to withdraw money. Police didn’t have any trouble finding them, though. They had taken the car back to the hotel that was the scene of the game.

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Game Blotter - A roundup of crimes, legal cases, and when "the law" gets involved with gamesIn Kalispell, Montana, a man attacked people with bear spray, then stole a backpack containing chef’s knives, a “very expensive Dungeons & Dragons player’s guide and expensive card packs.” Later, he dumped the backpack and knives but kept the game stuff.

The owner of Battleground Games, a retail store in Modesto, was arrested for allegedly robbing 11 banks around Northern California. His father says he did it to shore up the failing business.

All the Rage Comics and Games in Festus, Missouri was burglarized overnight but the burglar was caught because he left behind his cell phone.

Researchers from Hebrew University and Ben Gurion University found that the winners in one game are more likely to cheat in subsequent games. Because the increased cheating occured in experiments where the winners of the first game were determined by performance but did not occur when winners were determined randomly, the researchers surmised that the cheating is the result of winners feeling that they deserved to win.

At a Chess tournament in Ukraine, one contestant’s trainer assaulted the pupil’s opponent during a game. What so upset the trainer that he would punch the opposing player? His pupil, who was the winner of last year’s tournament, had made a mistake and her opponent, rather than press for a quick victory, played a series of moves apparently designed to draw out the game.

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission is suing a man, saying that his habit of canceling trades within a second of placing them is illegal because in such cases he doesn’t intend to follow through in the first place. The man’s defense is that his experience as a competitive speed Chess player gives him exceptional reflexes and allows him to react at fantastic speeds.

A 60 year-old innocent bystander was shot and killed in South Memphis, Tennessee. Neighbors of the victim say the shooting began as an argument over a $2 dice game wager.

The website with exclusive rights to the Candidates Tournament recently taken place in Moscow (the event for selecting Magnus Carlsen’s challenger in the World Chess Championship) suffered a denial-of-service attack during broadcast of the first round. Then when other Chess websites began filling in with live coverage of the event, the rights holder began taking legal action against them.

After being the subject of internet derision, a town council in Singapore apologized for putting up posters that banned Chess in public areas.

The Park Royal Shopping Centre in West Vancouver, British Columbia has threatened to call police if people don’t stop playing Chess in the food court. The Chess players are an informal group but have been meeting at the mall for 50 years.

At the end of a meeting that saw people throwing chairs, a no-confidence vote (42-3) sent the entire board of Kenya Chess packing, or at least it was supposed to. The board continues to work on a planned tournament as if nothing happened, while the people elected to replace them are organizing a competing event.

A Chess program being run in a Jamaican prison is meant to teach inmates better decision-making.

Last year, Spin Master was found liable in U.S. federal court for a child who suffered brain damage after swallowing Aqua Dots beads. When ingested, the toy metabolized in to GHB (also known as the date rape drug). Now the company is suing the laboratories that had been contracted to test Aqua Dots for toxicity. Spin Master claims that instead of performing oral injection toxicity tests as they certified, the labs actually just doused test animals in corn oil in which the beads had been soaked.

Among the offenses that got some professional Japanese baseball players banned from the game was gambling on Mahjong.

Hasbro was named by the Ethisphere Institute as one of 2016’s world’s most ethical companies and by the Reputation Institute as one of the most reputable companies in the United States.

In St. Croix, a man got out of his car, approached a group playing Dominoes, and began shooting. Two of the players died. Another was wounded.

Police in Bologna, Italy believe that the shooting of a Chinese man derived from a 60,000 € Mahjong gambling debt. The perpetrator and alleged victim both claim that it was a result of a mistake made during a game.

A four-time convicted felon was arrested for shooting the person to whom he lost money in a Dothan, Alabama street dice game.

In Tuscaloosa, Alabama, police are searching for a man they claim shot another man during a dice game.

A man who tried to break up a fight over a dice game in Southeast Memphis was shot for his trouble and is now paralyzed. The man who allegedly shot him is under arrest.

A dice game shooting in St. Louis left two teenagers shot in the leg but in stable condition.

When a man collapsed with a heart attack while playing Dominoes at the Bold Arms pub in Southport, the bartender gave him CPR and another patron provided constant chest compressions until an ambulance arrived.

Newegg Patent Troll Hunters T ShirtGlobal Archery Products, which had claimed patents on foam-tipped LARP arrows, is dropping that element of its lawsuit against Mr. Jordan Gwyther, operator of Larping.org and reseller of LARP equipment. The company, however, continues to move forward with claims of trademark infringement.

According to Ars Technica, Global Archery decided to withdraw its patent claims after reviewing information on prior art provided by Gwyther’s attorneys. That prior art was a German patent for the arrows that Gwyther sells.

Another potential factor in Global Archery’s decision was the recent support lent to Gwyther’s case by internet retailer Newegg. Newegg has been active in the fight against so-called “patent trolls” and in this case contributed $10,000 to Gwyther’s legal defense and is selling troll-hunter t-shirts to raise additional funds.

While dropping the patent claims, Global Archery has also argued in defense of its position, pointing out that the company is an active producer of arrows and a supporter of the LARP community. The company, in fact, markets its products as a safe version of archery for families and promotes Archery Tag, a sport similar to paintball or laser-tag.

Among the issues at which the two parties remain at-odds is Global Archery’s assertion that Gwyther should not be permitted to target Global’s customers. The company takes the unusual position that by contacting Global’s customers and claiming “without proof” to have a better product, Gwyther is engaging in false advertising.

Global Archery also asserts a difficult claim of trademark infringement, citing Gwyther’s purchase of Google ads tied to the former company’s name being used as a search keyword.

To help with his defense of the case, Jordan Gwyther set up a GoFundMe page and posted a video plea to YouTube. Global Archery has taken issue with those actions as well and asked a judge for a gag order to prevent Gwyther from talking publicly about the dispute. And that’s where the Electronic Frontier Foundation joined the case. The organization submitted an amicus brief stating its belief that Gwyther has a First Amendment right to speak out.

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Card Game Rules Not Patentable

US-CourtOfAppeals-FederalCircuit-SealA federal appeals court has ruled against the patent application for a wagering card game, determining that the game’s rules are only an “abstract idea” and that the inclusion of shuffling and dealing physical playing cards falls short of an “inventive concept”. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit sided with the original patent examiner, who found that “a new set of rules for playing a card game… qualifies as an abstract idea” and is therefore not eligible for a patent.

In its decision, however, the panel of judges did add:

That is not to say that all inventions in the gaming arts would be foreclosed from patent protection… We could envisage, for example, claims directed to conducting a game using a new or original deck of cards potentially surviving [review].

[via Patently-O]

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Game Blotter

Game Blotter - A roundup of crimes, legal cases, and when "the law" gets involved with gamesExpecting to find an illegal gambling operation, Thai military police raiding a Pattaya Bridge club and arrested 32 people, mostly retirees, for illegal possession of playing cards. According to a 1935 law in Thailand, it is illegal to be in possession of more than 120 playing cards at a time. After intervention by the president of the Thai Bridge League, those arrested were released on bail.

A Melbourne, Australia court found a Chinese national, Long Sang Cheuk, guilty of smuggling methamphetamine in to the country packed in a bunch of board games. Unbeknownst to the board game shop that received the games, $6 million of the drug was hidden in 11 boxes. Staff, however, became suspicious and contacted police when Cheuk approached the store about acquiring the entire shipment.

A 59 year-old man in China who had a medical condition requiring a constant IV drip, nevertheless was playing Mahjong virtually nonstop for the new year holiday… up until, that is, he drew a particularly lucky hand and dropped dead from the excitement.

One man in Tobyhanna Township, Pennsylvania was arrested for punching and choking another man with whom he was arguing over a board game. Police charged the assailant with assault, harassment, and criminal mischief but did not name the game.

Someone stole $4,000 in cash and Magic: The Gathering cards from the Let’s Play! Cafe game store and video-game arcade in Monroe, Washington. The owners of the shop believe the thief hid in the store when they closed up for the night.

While an exclusivity deal with the Seminole Tribe of Florida awaits legislature approval, the state has begun trying to close down Poker rooms at parimutuel locations, such as horse and dog tracks. One business that runs some of these rooms, Elevated LLC, however, is fighting back in court. The company is seeking an injunction to stop the state, arguing that the deal with the Seminole Tribe applies only to house-financed card games, while the subject Poker rooms host “designated-player games” (in which players wager against each other).

The Maryland state legislature has begun the process of legalizing certain small-stakes card games. The House of Delegates voted unanimously to permit gambling on cards and Mahjong, in private homes and senior residential facilities, among people with a prior social relationship, where the house takes no cut and charges no entry fee, up to a limit of $500 per day.

A man suspected of shooting three Park County, Colorado sheriff’s deputies has a history with the law. Twenty-one years ago he was arrested for shooting and killing his opponent in a Chess game.

There were dice game shootings in Hammond, Louisiana and Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  No one died in either incident.

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Game Blotter

Game Blotter - A roundup of crimes, legal cases, and when "the law" gets involved with gamesA statement made in 2014 by Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Abdullah, the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, declaring Chess forbidden received a wave of sudden internet attention this past month. In answering a question on his regular television show, the Sheik had said that Chess is a waste of time, promotes conflict between players, and encourages gambling. However, subsequent announcements by the Saudi Chess Association indicate that the group has had no trouble receiving official recognition or organizing events.

The sheikh was also apparently unaware of Marottichal, India, where Chess, played actively by 90 percent of the population, was the tool that helped break the village of its addition to cheap booze.

Derrick Maddox, an inmate of Fayette County Prison (Pennsylvania), is facing charges for theft of candy bars and assault with a Chess piece. When his fellow inmate initially refused to hand over the candy, Maddox allegedly punched the man twice in the ribs and then forced him to insert a Chess piece in to his rectum. According to Pittsburgh CBS affiliate KDKA TV, “Police reviewed surveillance footage of the incident, in which the victim can be seen leaving his cell and walking uncomfortably with a wide stance.”

Eagle-Gryphon Games and Martin Wallace have settled their dispute over the rights to the board game, Brass. The publisher has sold off its entire print run and a new version of the game will be produced by Roxley Games.

Playing dice for drinks is a tradition at bars in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. And that tradition includes playing against the bartender. So when the owners of three bars decided to put a stop to the games at their establishments—because their employees were getting distracted and drunk and losing money—locals were very upset. In fact, the uproar was so fierce that bar dice was allowed back in just 3 days later.

Hasbro has been sued by Font Brothers for using their Generation B font, as well as distributing it and directing others to use it, on My Little Pony products without a license.

A man in Guyana found himself in trouble with the law after kicking another man who wouldn’t play Dominoes with him

There appears to be some dispute over whether the next World Chess Championship will take place in the United States. The head of the Russian Chess Federation says no, presumably because the United State government instituted sanctions against FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. Agon Limited, the company under contract with the World Chess Federation to run the event, says yes.

A cat-shaped mummy-like figure made of toilet paper was found in Chess Park in DeLand, Florida. Police are investigating and have increased patrols. The West Volusia Beacon promises to update the story when more information becomes available.

Iran’s highest ranked Chess grandmaster, Ehsan Ghaem-Maghami, refused to play against Yuliya Shvayger of Israel in the Basel Schachfestival tournament in Switzerland. According to Iran’s MEHR News Agency, Ghaem-Maghami “rejected the existence of the Zionist state to announce to the world the voice of justice and support for the oppressed people of Palestine.” The tournament’s organizers disqualified him from the remainder of the event.

Pat’s Games in Austin, Texas was broken in to and had $75,000 worth of Magic: The Gathering cards stolen. The owners of the store believe the thieves are Magic players because they knew exactly where to go to grab the most valuable product in the store.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office has rejected Electronic Arts’ request to register a trademark for its upcoming video game, Unravel, indicating that the name had the potential to cause confusion in the marketplace with SimplyFun’s Beary’s Unravel.

An attempt was made to oust the board of the Singapore Chess Federation. Some say the effort was motivated by international politics. Others say the board, made up of Chess-parents, not players, is not qualified. In any case, it was rejected by a 60 percent majority vote of the membership, which vote may have been influenced by the fact that membership renewals were rejected at the meeting.

Six men in Lake Charles, Louisiana are under arrest, accused of organizing a dice game only so that they could rob other people who came to play.

Disco choreographer Deney Terrio and Hasbro have settled their dispute over claims that the latter’s Vinnie Terrio toy violates the choreographer’s publicity rights by copying his signature dance move, the finger point made famous by John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever.

The Boardroom, a board game cafe under construction in Kingston upon Hull, was able to secure an alcohol license despite the objection of locals.

Two gunmen robbed a group playing Dominoes in Tortola, British Virgin Islands.

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Game Blotter - A roundup of crimes, legal cases, and when "the law" gets involved with gamesApparently, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Andrey Filatov, Russian billionaire and president of the Russian Chess Federation, of purchasing oil from the Islamic State. I admit that I didn’t know this until I received an email from the Russian Chess Federation calling the accusation “misleading” and warning that “any attempt to further disseminate this misleading information will have legal implications.” Now I know, and so do you.

In an unusual move for the modern world of competitive Chess, the Ukrainian Chess Federation has decided to withhold from publication games played at the Ukrainian Championship. Why might they be doing this? Possibly because member and Women’s World Chess Champion Mariya Muzychuk will be defending her title in March against Hou Yifan and at the highest levels of Chess, preparation for tournaments involves studying the past games of your opponents.

Though some contestants were unhappy about it, Chicken Hands were permitted at the World Series of Mahjong. A Chicken Hand is a winning hand of tiles that doesn’t score any points. Claiming a Chicken Hand is seen by many as an unsportsmanlike spoiler move—cutting short a round while other players work to complete more valuable hands—and thus it’s frowned upon, if not outright banned, in many traditional environments.

Police were called to a home in West Jordan, Utah when a 15 year-old boy threatened his mother with a machete during a board game. The machete was a Christmas gift.

Gaioz Nigalidze of Georgia has been stripped of his grandmaster title and banned from Chess for 3 years by the World Chess Federation. Mr. Nigalidze was found cheating in a bathroom stall with a smatphone running a Chess app at the Dubai Chess Open. These sanctions represent the first actions taken by FIDE’s Anti-Cheating Committee.

A court in Bulgaria has overturned the Bulgarian Chess Federation’s sanctions against GM Kiril Georgiev and ordered the organization to compensate Mr. Georgiev for his financial losses. The Federation had previously banned the grandmaster for 3 years after he made public statements calling it a “money laundering machine“.

The president of the Bulgarian Chess Federation, Silvio Danailov also lost his personal appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport regarding FIDE action on another matter. FIDE’s Ethics Commission had taken up a complaint against Danailov by the European Chess Union. He contested the Commission’s jurisdiction on the matter but CAS has found for FIDE.

While officials in Kobe, Japan recently banned Mahjong from senior centers, in Yokohama there’s a center named “Las Vegas” where seniors are encouraged to gamble in the hopes that the stimulation will ward off dementia.

The leader of a group in Southern China caught using hidden cameras to cheat at Mahjong and swindle opponents out of 120 million yuan ($18 million) was sentenced to life in prison.

Hasbro and Reuben Klamer are both countersuing Lorraine Markham, who claims her husband invented The Game of Life and that the pair have been sublicensing the property without authorization. Hasbro and Klamer assert that Bill Markham was only paid to help make a prototype board and that his widow has no continuing rights.

Winning Moves’ business practice of selling board spaces on localized editions of Monopoly continues to rub people in Melbourne, Australia the wrong way. I previously reported that some were calling it a “shakedown“. Now others are expressing concern over an apparent deal that’s put a tram token in the game, has Public Transport Victoria sponsoring the four railway spaces, and has Winning Moves wrapping a PTV train in Monopoly advertising.

Jen Eyster, a “full blooded German”, has a Kickstarter project to make a “Nazi history monopoly“. She acknowledges that the game is not licensed by Hasbro.

Andre Diament, a Chess grandmaster from Brazil who studies and plays for the Chess team of Webster University in St. Louis, has been charged with endangering the welfare of a child. Diament allegedly paid his 6 year old son $40 to drink two shots of sake. Though the charge is a misdemeanor, Diament has apparently fled back to Brazil, at least that is what his wife claims. In the meantime, she has filed for divorce and an order of protection.

reySomeone purchased a Star Wars action figure that their local Walmart had put out before its official release date. Excited about their find, they posted a picture of it online (this particular picture to the left, in fact), which picture was then copied and posted by other Star Wars fans, blogs, and news sites. Either Hasbro or a contractor acting on behalf of Lucasfilm responded to this outpouring of fan eagerness by issuing DMCA takedown notices and threatening lawsuits unless the “screen shot[s] of an unreleased figurine for Star Wars: Force Awakens” were removed.

According to the European Union Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market, the EU toy and games industry loses €1.4 billion in sales each year due to manufacturing infringement of intellectual property rights. Put another way, 12.3 percent of toy and game sales are counterfeit.

Pie Face games stocked by B&M Bargains stores in the U.K. were found by Hasbro to be counterfeits. After being notified by the company, the stores withdrew them from the shelves.

A group of parents is suing Mattel, claiming that Hello Barbie dolls record the conversations of children who have not yet signed up for an account and of children who are unaware and just happen to be standing nearby.

In Canberra, Australia, a man was convicted of indecent acts with his neighbor’s child after playing the board game, Trouble, where the loser was required to strip.

In Pontiac, Michigan, a man is facing felony murder charges for allegedly shooting one of the players in a home dice game he was attempting to rob.

In Oxford, Mississippi, a man was arrested for robbing at gunpoint another man, with whom he himself was shooting dice. A Jefferson City, Missouri man is also under arrest for armed robbery of a dice game. His weapon of choice was two kitchen knives.

Someone was shot during a dice game in Baltimore. No one’s been arrested yet.

Two Miami men playing Dominoes on the front porch were shot in a drive-by. Both survived and are in stable condition.

When one of a group of teenagers playing Dominoes in Natchez, Mississippi became board with the game, he started playing with his gun. Unfortunately, it went off, hitting one of his fellows and killing him.

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China Gamifies Compliant Citizenship

ChinaThere are reports coming out of China of a new personal credit rating-like system, optional for now but mandatory as of 2020, designed to evaluate individuals’ allegiance and conformity. Developed by tech giants Tencent and Alibaba, Sesame Credit assigns participants a score between 350 and 950 based on purchases, as well as other activity. So for example, repeating online an official government announcement might raise one’s score, while posting about politics or mentioning a sensitive historical event would lower it. Ordering work uniforms or appliances might raise it, while importing foreign entertainment would lower it.

The gamification of social compliance, however, doesn’t end there. A person’s score is affected not only by their own activity but also by the activity of their friends and contacts. Find someone’s dragging you down with their independence? Perhaps its best to cut them off.

And the impact of one’s Sesame Credit score, too, may be no small matter. With a high-enough score, a person might qualify for a personal loan without collateral or for a foreign travel permit. Sanctions for a low score, on the other hand, might include limitations on internet use and exclusion from certain jobs.

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Kirsan_IlyumzhinovFinding himself the subject of sanctions by the United States for alleged support of the government in Syria, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, President of FIDE, made the surprise move this week of relinquishing most of his authority to his deputy, Georgios Makropoulos.

According to an announcement, however, by the World Chess Federation, Mr. Ilyumzhinov has withdrawn from all “legal, financial and business operations” only on a temporary basis. Speaking with the Russian Chess Federation, the colorful FIDE leader called the accusations “ridiculous”.

My conscience is clean, and I am absolutely sure that I am right. Moreover, in response to the sanctions by some bureaucrats, unknown for now, I decided to make a gift to the real chess fans in the United States. Along with the World Chess Championship, their country will also host the World Rapid and Blitz Championships among men and women as well as the largest children’s tournament. We also declared the year 2016 a Year of Chess in the United States.

Meanwhile, Mr. Ilyumzhinov also revealed plans to sue the U.S. government for $50 billion, an amount he claims approximates his “moral and financial damage.”

Game Blotter - A roundup of crimes, legal cases, and when "the law" gets involved with gamesA man who was kicked out of a Branson, Missouri Monopoly tournament last year for unsportsmanlike like conduct was asked in advance of this year’s tournament not to return. Nevertheless, dedicated as he was to the game, he showed up anyway and then attacked some of the attendees when he was refused entry. Police were called in [there’s just no way to say this without it sounding like a joke] and he was taken directly to jail. He’s now facing charges for third-degree assault (three counts), disturbing the peace, and trespassing.

For a Philadelphia school’s dress-as-a-board-game Halloween celebration, a middle school dean and history teacher attempted a costume of Colonel Mustard from Clue. He carried a jar of mustard and around his neck wore a noose from which was suspended an image of the game character. Some, however, found the teacher’s dress-up offensive, saying it was suggestive of racially-based lynchings.

Police in Altamonte Springs, Florida broke up a game of Mahjong, after which managers of the condominium clubhouse that was the site of the game told the players, a group of retired women ages 87-95, not to return. Later, when the women were able to demonstrate that Florida law specifically permits “penny-ante” gambling, they were welcomed back.

After a long period of mutual hostility, a man in Hong Kong caught up with his enemy in a storefront Mahjong game and, as other players watched, stabbed him to death while shouting, “Great fun.” The murderer has since been found guilty and sentenced to life in prison.

The IRS has denied 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit status to GameHearts, an organization that promotes sobriety among alcoholics by providing a recreational outlet with Magic: The Gathering. The IRS’s reasoning seems to focus on the fact that Magic is a commercial product and therefore while GameHearts does serve a charitable purpose, it also serves a commercial purpose. This no matter that there exists 501(c)(3)-approved sports sobriety organizations despite the fact that sports equipment is also sold by companies for profit.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman asked the state Supreme Court to shut down fantasy sports leagues operated by FanDuel, DraftKings, and Yahoo, claiming they are illegal gambling. In defending its service as skill-based (and therefore not gambling as defined by New York law), DraftKings’ attorney pointed to the AG’s own previous statement that less than 11 percent of participants are regular winners. “That doesn’t happen when players cannot influence the outcome.”

A group of people playing dice by the side of the road during the Diwali festival in Imphal, India were struck by a speeding car. Six people were killed and six more seriously injured.

Gail Gygax, widow of the late Gary Gygax, has settled a trademark dispute with TSR, Inc. over the name of the latter’s publication, Gygax Magazine. The agreement between the parties has the Gail C. Gygax Revocable Trust licencing the Gygax Magazine trademark to TSR on a non-exclusive basis. Apparently unhappy with the resolution, Luke and Ernie Gygax, sons of Gary Gygax by a previous marriage, have resigned from their positions TSR (which, to be clear, is not the same company founded by their father).

In Pawtucket, Rhode Island, a thief was caught on surveillance video stealing off a man’s doorstep packages from Amazon containing the Walking Dead and Firefly board games ordered as Christmas presents for his kids.

Responding to a major cheating scandal in the world of Bridge—a scandal that implicated some of the game’s highest-ranked players—the World Bridge Federation is instituting new procedures for receiving and investigating complaints of unethical behavior. In general, judgments and sanctions will remain the responsibility of national and zonal organizations. However, a new secure website will allow the WBF to record allegations and collect data, and a panel of experts will advise the High Level Players Commission as it investigates.

An investigation by the organization China Labor Watch found significant problems with working conditions at toy factories manufacturing products for Mattel, Hasbro, Jakks Pacific, and other companies. In response, Green America has launched a campaign asking Hasbro and Disney to take action.

The practice of the Trinidad & Tobago government of prioritizing disadvantaged youth over accomplished and ranked players for grants to travel to international Chess tournaments has some complaining.

Some in Melbourne, Australia find Winning Moves’ practice of selling sponsorships for Monopoly board spaces inappropriate, calling it a “shakedown”. As if creating localized Monopoly games was a public service rather than a business venture?

VTech, maker of electronic learning toys for kids, suffered a data breach. The security of customer profiles was compromised but payment information, including credit card numbers, was not.

A game of Trivial Pursuit with the family of a long-passed close friend, triggered an elderly woman’s memory about how her friend had been a spy for the British during World War II—a double-agent, in fact. Seeing as her friend was no longer alive and the war was more than 50 years over, she figured it was about time to let the family in on the secret.

A man was shot and killed after getting in to an argument with another man during a game of Dominoes in Oakland, California. Police are not sure whether the argument was about the game or another matter.

Facing charges for sexual contact with minors, a man in Maine wrote notes of apology to his victims and then stored those notes in a box for the board game Sorry.

Three men have been charged with murder and robbery for allegedly shooting and killing two other men, and wounding two more, in an argument over a dice game in Indianapolis.

In Little Rock, Arkansas, a man who declined to gamble on a dice game was robbed instead.

According to police in Milwaukee, a man who recently shot and killed another did it in revenge for losing money in an earlier dice game.

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