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 Ilyumzhinov has withdrawn from all “legal, financial and business operations” only on a temporary basis.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.

Kirsan_IlyumzhinovTwo months ago, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, president of the World Chess Federation (FIDE), said that the United States should prosecute Gary Kasparov (his opponent in the last election) for corruption. It seems, however, that the U.S. government has other priorities. The Treasury Department has designated Ilyumzhinov a supporter of Assad’s government in Syria and imposed sanctions, including freezing all his U.S. assets and prohibiting U.S. citizens from transacting business with him.

Ilyumzhinov was among four individuals and six entities sanctioned. According to Treasury, he was designated for “materially assisting and acting for or on behalf of” the Government of Syria, the Central Bank of Syria, and other suspect individuals.

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov is no stranger to international controversy, having been a public supporter of Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi.

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Game Blotter - A roundup of crimes, legal cases, and when "the law" gets involved with gamesWhen a 19 year-old man man brandishing two knives burst in to a library Chess class for kids and threatened to kill everyone, instructor James Vernon first tried to talk him down. However, as one of the mothers started escorting the children out, the man lunged and stabbed Vernon in the hand. It was then that the 75 year-old’s basic army training from 50 years ago took over. He flipped the attacker over on to a table and subdued him until police arrived. None of the children were injured.

The body of a 22 year-old murder victim was dressed in a blue track-suit by his mother and propped up to play Dominoes at his own wake. The bizarre scene (pictured below) took place at the mother’s bar (also the location of his murder) in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico.

Playing Dominoes at His Own Wake

National news outlets made a big deal of a dice game shooting that left one dead and three injured on the campus of Tennessee State University. Other incidents of dice game violence that did not get such attention took place in Memphis, Nashville, Austin, and Wellston, Missouri. A dispute over a dice game also turned in to a deadly shooting in Pretoria, South Africa.

According to witnesses, police in Heingang, India attempted to break up a dice game by firing in to the crowd. Two people were injured.

Parents in Spenge, Germany attempted to paint a Mensch ärgere Dich nicht game board (similar to Ludo or Pachisi) on the playground of a local school. When they started running out of space, they kind-of twisted the board to make it fit. Neighbors noticed and called the police. Why? Because the reconfigured board looked like a Nazi swastika, which it is against-the-law to display in Germany.

A final ruling has been issued on the English Bridge Union’s request to have their favorite card game declared a sport, and the answer by the British court was no.

Some guy lost his $60,000 collection of Magic: The Gathering cards at New York Comic Con. The cards were found by a teenager, who considered keeping and selling them, but instead decided to find and return them to their rightful owner. This he accomplished by posting news of his find to Reddit. No crime involved at all—I just thought it nice to have a good news story here on the Blotter!

Newlyweds Nick and Aggie in Hutton, U.K. stashed £1,500 of gift vouchers in a Pictureka! board game box for safekeeping. [I think you know where this is going…] The problem was it didn’t take them long to forget about the vouchers and donate the game to a local charity shop. From there the game was picked up by a teacher and brought back to the Brentwood County High School for her students. The students discovered the vouchers and with a bit of modern detective work that included social media were eventually able to return them to their rightful owners.

Found in Helena, Montana, Poker chips and a Backgammon set. If they’re yours, contact the Helena Police Department, who have recovered them for safekeeping.

A teenager in Chosica, Peru was rushed to the hospital by her family for convulsions, foaming at the mouth, and calling to the devil. She claims she was possessed by the devil after playing with a Ouija board mobile phone app.

Having been found guilty of violating FIDE’s Code of Ethics, Garry Kasparov and Ignatius Leong were banned from holding any office in the organization for 2 years.

The Malaysian Chess Federation has postponed its “annual general meeting” for at least a year. Activist Peter Long laments the Federation’s many failures to promote Chess, while still requiring that members pay their membership fees.

Veteran Chess grandmaster Nigel Davies was so fed up with infighting at the English Chess Federation that he’s defected to play for Wales.

The U.S. Backgammon Federation declined to establish formal rules for decorum at tournaments.

Hasbro’s response to the lawsuit recently filed by FOX News anchor Harris Faulkner basically says that no one would reasonably connect the company’s toy to Ms. Faulkner, despite them sharing a name, because one is a human being and the other a toy hamster.

Five men from Saginaw, Michigan are facing up to five years in prison on illegal gambling charges for playing dice outside a home on the south side. They were caught by a special police detail funded by the Safe Neighborhoods Project of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Two men were given tickets for illegal gambling while playing Dominoes in Putnam Triangle in Brooklyn. According to the men ticketed, police had tried to break up the game earlier but backed off when the men asserted they weren’t doing anything wrong. Then when one gave the other some money to go to the nearby bodega, seven officers surrounded them and issued the summonses.

A witness in the murder trial of Badri Khvedelidze in Tralee, Ireland, testified in court that the victim and alleged perpetrator had gotten in to an argument over a game of Backgammon.

The accused murderers of teenager Becky Watts in Bristol, U.K. told the court they were playing Simpsons Monopoly on the evening of her death.

Game Blotter - A roundup of crimes, legal cases, and when "the law" gets involved with gamesNorth Korea has banned the sale of Mahjong games at street markets. The country has also organized a widespread program to train schoolteachers to combat socially undesirable behaviors, such as drugs, premarital sex, and gambling, among young people. The moves are in response to reports of increasing illegal activity among students. Middle schoolers in Hyesan city were caught engaging in “sexually immoral behavior” and 14 were arrested for playing Mahjong.

Officials in Kobe, Japan, concerned about fueling gambling addiction among the elderly, have banned Mahjong from senior centers. An ordinance, passed unanimously by the Kobe Municipal Assembly, prohibits Mahjong, slot machines, and any games that use “pseudo currency” at public daycare centers for retirees.

A major cheating scandal has rocked the world of Bridge and it involves some of the highest ranked players around the globe. Three national teams, Israel, Monaco, and Germany, withdrew from Bridge’s most important international tournament, the Bermuda Bowl (which is running right now in Chennai, India), after evidence was made public that some players had improperly signaled their partners during games at past events. Major tournaments attempt to prevent such cheating by erecting a screen across the table between partners, as well as underneath to prevent signalling by foot contact (for an example, see the image below). Individuals studying videos on YouTube, however, allege that Lotan Fisher and Ron Schwartz, who play for Israel, traded signals by the position of their bid cards as they passed them through the screen. Fulvio Fantoni and Claudio Nunes, Italians who play for Monaco and are ranked number 1 and number 2 in the world, allegedly signaled through the orientation of their cards as they placed them down on the table. The two players from Germany were not discovered but admitted their cheating and resigned.

Bridge tournament screens

A camera in a pendant under his shirt, a transceiver under his armpit, and Morse code—that’s how Arcangelo Ricciardi was cheating at the Imperia Chess Festival in Italy. The event’s arbiters became suspicious when Ricciardi never rose from his chair, kept his thumb constantly wedged in his armpit, “batted his eyelids in the most unnatural way”, and performed way better than expected for his 51,366th ranking. They asked him to remove his shirt but he refused. Then they sent him through a metal detector, which registered positive. Ricciardi claimed the pendant and box in his armpit were good-luck charms.

In Changde, China, a man was arrested by police for cheating at Mahjong using special contact lenses. The man would arrange to meet people online, reserve a Mahjong room in advance, and switch out the room’s playing pieces with pieces of his own. On the backs of his tiles were marks only visible with the lenses. Before his arrest, the scheme had netted the man more than 200,000 yuan.

Ian Nepomniachtchi appealed his loss in the tiebreak game of the FIDE World Cup, claiming that his opponent, Hikaru Nakamura, had “broken the basic chess rules” by castling on move five with two hands. Though arbiters acknowledged missing the illegal move, they also pointed out that Nepomniachtchi should have stopped the clock at the time. They also refused to grant the appeal, which is not surprising given that at most they probably would have given Nakamura a warning anyway. On his part, Nakamura blamed the mistake on being used to playing by U.S. rules, which do allow castling with two hands.

Back in 2014, when Garry Kasparov, former World Chess Champion, was campaigning for the presidency of FIDE, a contract he signed with the organization’s then General Secretary, Ignatius Leong, to deliver votes was the subject of some heated debate. Now, FIDE’s Ethics Commission has found Mr. Kasparov and Mr. Leong guilty of violating the organization’s Code of Ethics, specifically section 2.1, which prohibits “any consideration or bribe with a view of influencing the result in a game of chess or election into FIDE office.” The Commission has not yet determined a penalty, though in the meantime, FIDE’s president, and Kasparov’s opponent in that election, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, has suggested that the United States government should prosecute Kasparov for corruption. FIDE’s Executive Board, crediting Ilyumzhinov’s management, has suggested that he run for President of the scandal-ridden FIFA.

Robbers broke in to a Hong Kong Mahjong parlor after closing, tied up its security guard, and stole safes containing HK$1.2 million. One ex-employee has been arrested but the remaining culprits, and the money, remain at-large. Robbery of a Mahjong parlor is unusual as most are understood to be run by the triads.

Former Indonesian Youth and Sports Minister Andi Mallarangeng, who is serving a 4 year prison term for accepting bribes, is writing a book on Dominoes strategy.

Countdown, a grocery store chain in New Zealand, is giving out the same Pixar collectible dominoes that Woolworths did in Australia. The premium has been so popular that adult customers have been swearing at children and shoving them out of the way to get at ones they want.

Police in Port Maria, Jamaica organized a Dominoes tournament as a way of establishing closer ties with the community.

The owner of KSL Toys in Northern Ireland was given a 5 year sentence for smuggling drugs inside of robotic fish he was importing from China.

The Supreme Court of India has declared that individuals can not be charged with gambling for playing Rummy for stakes because Rummy is a game of skill rather than a game of chance.

Wealthy Irish businessman, John P. McManus, has sued the United States government to recover $5.22 million dollars of gambling winnings withheld by the IRS. Though his attorney couldn’t recall if McManus had won it playing Backgammon or Poker, he’s certain that a 1997 treaty between the United States and Ireland exempts the money ($17.4 million in total) from taxation.

This would have been the fifth year for Larkin Jones’ unofficial Pokemon-fan party at PAX if it weren’t for a lawsuit by the Pokemon Company. Though he cancelled this year’s party and refunded attendees ticket purchases (the funds from which every year went entirely to pay for the party), the Pokemon Company still demands that he pay $5,400 within 45 days.

French artist Marcel Duchamp carved a set of Chess pieces in 1918 in Argentina. The set was thought to have been lost, with only photographs remaining. More recently, Scott Kildall and Bryan Cera in the United States used those photographs to develop 3D models of the Chess pieces and then uploaded the models to Thingverse for anyone to print for themselves. Duchamp’s heirs, however, sent the pair a cease and desist letter, asserting copyright to the Chess pieces under French law. Though Kildall and Cera dispute the claim, rather than fight it, they simply added mustaches to the models of each piece.

Harris Faulkner, an anchor for Fox News, is suing Hasbro for $5 million over a plastic toy hamster the company named “Harris Faulkner”. The toy is no longer being made but Faulkner (the person) claims that Hasbro “willfully and wrongfully appropriated Faulkner’s unique and valuable name and distinctive persona for its own financial gain.”

The inventor of the military action-figure concept, which Hasbro turned in to GI Joe, is also suing the company. Stan Weston claims that Hasbro has failed to pay him any of the royalties it promised in 1963 (and which he claims add up to $40-50 million). Weston acknowledges that he accepted an upfront cash payment of $100,000 in lieu of larger royalty payments but asserts that Hassenfeld Brothers Inc. (now Hasbro) made an oral agreement to pay him a smaller royalty in addition. Complicating the case is the fact that neither Weston or Hasbro have the original written contract.

Police in Hong Kong recently raided three illegal gambling dens over the course of 2 days. When they arrived at the first, an apartment, gamblers formed a “human wall” in an attempt to block their entrance.

In the U.K., the sponsors of an Exeter-local Monopoly allege that retailers in nearby but rival Plymoth are colluding to ban the game from retail.

As a means of prompting discussion about the refugee crises in Europe, a Danish television talk show suggested the existence of a board game about blocking refugees from entering the country.

Police in Torrance, California have arrested youth Chess coach, Michael Angelo Purcell Sr., and charged him with multiple counts of child sexual abuse. The charges relate to two girls, one under the age of 14, the other under 11, both of whom were receiving Chess lessons from Purcell.

In Sussex, UK, a man was sentenced to 14 years in prison for playing strip card games with young girls.

A tree limb fell on top of some people playing Backgammon in Bryant Park in New York City.

Back on August 9th, four men allegedly beat up and robbed a man they believed was cheating at a game of dice in Hoboken, New Jersey. It’s taken a month but police have finally arrested all four.

In Peoria, Illinois, a man claims an angry mobbed chased him from a dice game to his apartment and then broke down his door. Yet he claims not to know why they were angry.

There were also dice game shootings in Centralia, Illinois; Hammond, Louisiana (with injury to a bystander); and Memphis, Tennessee (where one of the players was killed for winning).

It’s no surprise, then, that neighbors are concerned about dice games taking place in front of a community of homes for foster children in Chicago. Despite attempts by police to catch people playing, the games continue.

Game Blotter

Game Blotter - A roundup of crimes, legal cases, and when "the law" gets involved with gamesWhile a Washington state court was busy entering a default judgement against the no-show owners of an allegedly fraudulent playing-cards Kickstarter project and ordering them to pay $55,000 in restitution, legal fees, and penalties, those owners were busy delivering the promised product.

Police in Zillah, Washington were concerned that a package left outside a post office and labeled “take me” might have been a bomb. Army personnel they called in for assistance x-rayed the package and found a deck of cards and a board game. I wonder which it was?

A judge in Wisconsin agreed that Poker is mostly a game of skill. Nevertheless, citing a 1964 case that specifically found Poker to be gambling, he ruled against those who sought to have it declared legal in the state.

In the ongoing dispute over rights to the Villains & Vigilantes RPG, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed both the lower court’s decision to side with the creators on their copyright claim and its decision to side with Fantasy Games Unlimited on claims of defamation and commercial disparagement. The Appeals Court, however, sent the case back to the District Court to address the matter of damages on the copyright claim.

A roleplaying game supplement, Tournament of Rapists, posted on DriveThruRPG was found by a number of people online to be offensive. Though products are not screened before they are posted, and the item was eventually removed from the store, statements by the CEO of OneBookshelf were such that some have called for other companies to remove their products in protest.

Hasbro is sponsoring a program in Pawtucket, Rhode Island (home of the company’s headquarters) that aims to prevent bullying in all 17 local public schools.

A cybersecurity specialist has found some risks with the way FIDE’s website stores passwords and other personal information.

An actual security breach at DriveThruRPG affects only those who made credit card purchases during a recent 1 month period.

A man who would set up a table a play cards at various spots around Newburgh, New York was shot and killed while being robbed at one of his games.

Gunmen got out of two cars in Pittsburgh and shot up a street dice game. One player was killed, three injured.

Someone got out of a car to interrupt a man playing Dominoes in front of his home in Pompano Beach, Florida. Apparently the discussion that ensued did not go well because the first man went back to his car, took out a gun, and returned to shoot and kill the one playing Dominoes.

It was one of the players at a dice game in Peoria, Illinois that shot and killed another.

Two teens, one 19 years old and a known gang-member, were playing dice on the street in the North Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago when they were shot and killed.

Two people were shot, one of them dead, during a dice game in Memphis. It’s unclear who shot them.

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Shooting Averted at Pokemon World Championships

Pokemon Guns

Two men from Iowa, 27 year-old James Stumbo and 18 year-old Kevin Norton, have been arrested by police in Boston on various firearm related charges. After making violent threats against attendees on Facebook, the two were stopped from entering the Pokemon World Championships on Friday. A subsequent search of their car turned up a 12-gauge shotgun, an AR-15 rifle, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, and a hunting knife.

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Game Blotter - A roundup of crimes, legal cases, and when "the law" gets involved with gamesThe widow of the inventor of The Game of Life has filed suit in federal court against Rueben Klamer, Linkletter Holdings, and Hasbro claiming that the defendants improperly sublicensed a television show, gambling machines, and other uses of her late husband’s invention without permission.

Koneru Humpy, the top woman Chess player in India, made her complaints about the competence of the arbiters in the recent Commonwealth Championship publicly. The All India Chess Federation (AICF) apparently didn’t like that, so they filed a complaint against her with FIDE’s Ethics Commission.

Elsewhere in India, the Tamil Nadu Braille Chess Association wants a quota of government jobs set aside for people who are visually impaired and excel at a sport, including Chess.

The World Chess Museum in St. Louis has prevailed in its trademark dispute with the World Chess Federation of Las Vegas (not to be confused with FIDE, the World Chess Federation based in Athens). The St. Louis museum claimed rights related to a World Chess Hall of Fame, a trademark for which it registered in 2002 based on a deal with FIDE. The Las Vegas organization announced plans for a World Chess Federation Hall of Fame in 2011. A default judgement found for the World Chess Museum after the World Chess Federation failed to identify a new attorney by the required deadline.

A senior center in Muncie, Indiana was notified by the Indiana Gaming Commission that its weekly Euchre games were illegal gambling. The events charged $2.50 to play and handed out small prizes like fruit or cookies. Not that the Commission had ever intended to pursue the matter further but the Governor got involved anyway and ordered them not to.

Russia is considering the legalization of online Poker as a way of funding sports, including Chess.

Russia, however, still maintains a fondness for the soviet practice of rewriting history books. A volume meant to recount the history of the Spartak Chess club leaves out its most famous and successful member, who’s also a vocal opponent of President Vladimir Putin, former world champion Garry Kasparov.

In the Philippines, an off-duty police officer decided to settle an argument over a dice game with an M16 rifle. He shot four of the other players, killing one.

Peter Long alleges that the current administration of the Malaysian Chess Federation is attempting to rig the vote by delaying the next election and suspending several unsupportive state federations for non-payment of dues, even though they were never sent invoices.

Panini has managed a limited registration for the trademark “LIMITED” as it applies to trading cards.

A report by China Labor Watch (CLW) claims that workers in the Jingyu Toy Products factory, which makes toys for Hasbro and Mattel, are underpaid and forced to work extended hours.

Someone has designed a print-and-play war game as satirical commentary on the belief of some that exercises by the U.S. military are disguising an invasion of Texas.

With the legalization of marijuana in Calorado, a retired dentist has designed a roll-and-move activity board game, Pass the Grass, that includes such instructions as, “Take One Hit”.

New Zealand customs officers have found methamphetamine stuffed in toys and Mahjong sets by smugglers.

New charges were filed against an Ohio Chess coach after a second girl came forward with claims of sexual misconduct.

A ring of pedophiles were convicted in a U.K. court for using children as prizes for card games.

Another man in the U.K. has confessed to molesting three minor girls over a period of many years. One of the ways he convinced them to cooperate was to play with them a board game, then when he won choose the “touching game” to play next.

Four itinerant hucksters were arrested in South Carolina after inviting the local chief of police to play their rigged gambling game in a store parking lot. They called their game “Backgammon” even though, as a game of dropping balls in little holes, it looked nothing like the board game.

Police in Osaka, Japan arrested a couple for running a card-and-dice-game gambling operation out of a hotel room. The police accused the couple of being members of organized crime.

In Hong Kong, police raided an operation that served as a massage parlor and Mahjong club but was licensed for neither.

Four men in Shenzhen, China are in court facing charges for rigging games of Mahjong to cheat five multimillionaires out of 120 million yuan. The group allegedly rigged an apartment with high-tech surveillance and communication equipment, and were running the operation from a nearby building with game-analyzing computer software.

A high-level Chess player in the U.K., who had quit his government job to concentrate on the game, killed himself because of inconsistent performance.

Three men were stabbed outside a London Chess club. All three were taken to the hospital before police arrived at the scene.

One man was killed and others wounded in a dice-game shooting in Washington, D.C.

Shootings resulted in deaths at dice games in Tamil NaduD.C., Detroit, Brooklyn, and Fort Worth. Shootings without death occurred in Orange Mound, TennesseeNatchez, Mississippi, and Henderson, Kentucky In another Detroit shooting, when a car drove by a house where people were playing dice on the front porch, someone inside opened fire, killing a 1 year old boy with the group outside. Accusations of cheating during a dice game in Chicago led to a shootout between friends and family members the next day, where one was killed. Another dice game dispute in Pontiac, Michigan led to a drive-by shootout between a man in his 30s and a 14 year old boy. Though bullets passed through neighbors homes, no one was injured. Dice game violence in Staten Island, New York involved the use of a broken bottle of Hennessy cognac.

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Game Blotter - A roundup of crimes, legal cases, and when "the law" gets involved with gamesIn Tuscaloosa, Alabama a bystander was shot in the leg for “talking too loud and disrupting the dice game.” Yeah, disturbing gamers during a game. Definitely a no no!

Security officers at London’s Heathrow Airport confiscated a board game being played by two kids. They said that the word game, Pass the Bomb Junior, was a security risk because of its grenade-styled timer device.

The U.S. Open Chess Championship, scheduled for August in Phoenix, has sparked the ire of an Arizona Poker advocate. The man, who has previously been arrested for running a Poker room, claims that state authorities are being inconsistent with the enforcement of the law. He says that Poker is as much a game of skill as Chess. So if Poker rooms that charge fees and award prizes are illegal, a Chess tournament that charges fees and awards prizes should also be illegal.

In Ft. Pierce, Florida a man was celebrating his 51st birthday by gathering with friends to play Dominoes. The group was outside playing, in the driveway of his home, when they were approached by four teenagers armed with five handguns and robbed of their cash and jewelry. The man’s extensive home surveillance system caught video of the whole incident.

A Houston group was playing Dominoes inside when two people broke in to the home to rob them. One of the players was shot dead.

Another home invasion occurred in Oakland, California, where a dozen people playing Mahjong in the basement were bound, gagged, blindfolded, and robbed by two men wielding guns. Supposedly, the players were all friends. But then how the robbers know where to hit? Did they just get lucky?

Back to Dominoes… A 73 year old in West Palm Beach, Florida hit his neighbor in the head with a pot, allegedly because that neighbor made an illegal move in a Dominoes game.

In Virginia, a man who’s $8,000 collection of Magic: The Gathering cards was stolen from his car, reached out to local players and game shop owners, asking them to be on the lookout for the thieves. The effort paid off. When the thieves attempted to fence the cards at one store, the owner directed them to another and also warned police, who arrested them outside.

FIDE appears to be siding with Mihaela Sandu, suggesting that the accusations of cheating levied against her during the European Women’s Chess Championship were unsubstantiated and a “witch hunt”. FIDE’s Anti-Cheating Committee promises an investigation.

With recent increased attention to the Confederate flag, it appears that Amazon, in removing confederate flag products from its website, also (at least temporarily) removed some Civil War board games.

A prototype Osama bin Laden action figure and a prototype terrorism-themed Chutes & Ladders board game, both produced at the behest of the Central Intelligence Agency, were recently sold at auction for $6,250 and $625, respectively.

The first Aqua Dots lawsuit to go to trial has resulted in a verdict for the plaintiff. Spin Master and Moose Enterprise were found liable for the toy that when ingested metabolized in to GHB (also known as the date rape drug). The two companies were ordered by a U.S. federal court jury in Phoenix to pay $435,000 to the family of a child that suffered brain damage after swallowing Aqua Dots beads.

Hasbro caught some flack for advertising its Jurassic World dinosaur toys as male, when according to the story the dinosaurs are female. Hasbro claims that it was an accident.

Two police officers were assaulted while trying to break up a dice game on a street corner in the Bronx. One of the officers suffered a broken nose and a fractured eye socket, the other a fractured jaw. Ten people were arrested.

The city of Vicksburg, Mississippi is planning to keep $10,000 that police seized when responding to a shooting at a dice game.

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