I did not know this.
I probably should have, and when I looked up the Black Friday case - and it's a doozy - it certainly rang bells. If I played poker, I'm sure the name Isai Scheinberg would have meant something to me. But as it is, it was only last week that I learned that one of our major chess tournaments is sponsored by a man who is wanted in the US, on very serious charges involving very large sums of money.
In fact I've been exceptionally slow on this, because Mr Scheinberg has been sponsoring the tournament, either directly or through his one-time company PokerStars, every year since 2014.
On the run
But if did not know this, a lot of other people probably did. And if they did, they presumably didn't think the charges against Mr Scheinberg were of any importance at all. Nothing in which the chess-watching public might be interested. Nothing that ought to preclude him from sponsoring a chess event.
Which is pretty revealing, as statements of values go.
I wondered what the position was of Chess.com, co-sponsors of the event last year. Last week I sent a message to their CEO, Erik Allebest
Dear Erikbut as of writing, I'm yet to receive a response. So whether Chess.com didn't know, or didn't care, is something I'm yet to determine.
Hi, My name's Justin Horton and I write the chess blog Lost On Time. I have a question for you.
I notice that in 2016, Chess.com were co-sponsors of the Isle of Man international with the Scheinberg family. .
At the time, were you aware that Isai Scheinberg was on the run from the US on serious charges relating to financial crime?
All the best
The same is not true, though, of the local organisation. On Thursday I phoned Alan Ormsby, who has been organiser of the tournament for four years, about Mr Scheinberg. I asked whether he was aware that Mr Scheinberg was on the run from the US on serious financial charges.
Mr Ormsby said - quite properly - that those were my words and not his, but also observed that if you looked up Mr Scheinberg's name on the internet, anybody could see for themselves. This is perfectly true.
I asked Mr Ormsby whether he had been aware since the beginning of Mr Scheinberg's legal status. He replied that the information had been in the public domain since 2012, which is also true. So I asked him whether he considered that Mr Scheinberg was a suitable person to be the sponsor of a major chess tournament.
At that point, Mr Ormsby said he would prefer to bring the conversation to a close.
So he did. I guess there was nothing much he could say in the circumstances.
But perhaps it would have been better to have that conversation a long time ago.