It was on Tuesday, November 29th, 2005, during the first
15 minutes of the Fred Wilson’s Chess Fm show, that a dear friend and
colleague inadvertently exposed my secret identity. Fred read Matt Traynor’s
open letter about the recent Kramnik, Topalov and FIDE debacle. Now I know
how outed CIA agent Valerie Plame felt when journalists Robert Novak and
Judith Miller blew Valerie’s cover. I sat stunned when Fred Wilson uttered
the following words: “I would like to read a letter that appeared in Chess
Today on Sunday November 20th. It was written by Matt Traynor,
who was Hangin on ICC."
Upon hearing these words I felt like I was kicked in the stomach. At
first I tried to deny this claim. I was unsure how to deal with my secret
identity being blown. I was unsure about how other super heroes could exist
with their true identities being known. As far as I know, no super heroes’
cover has ever been blown. It has long been rumored that Superman is a mild
mannered reporter for the Daily Planet and that Batman is a mild mannered,
I’ve known for years the true identities of both
Superman and Batman. I could have been bitter and blown their secret
identities. However, I decided to follow the lead of fellow award winning,
journalist Bob Woodward, who decided to keep Valerie Plame’s identity a
secret. I could have continued to deny my secret identity, but I thought
why not blaze a new trail and make it easier for other super heroes to come
out of their closets and expose their true identities.
I knew that Valerie
Plame was going to retire because her cover was blown. I also felt that I
might have to retire from chess. However, I thought that even though my
cover was blown, I could fall back on my super powers. I decided go to
forward knowing that everyone knows that Chess Super Hero, Hangin is really
mild mannered, cobol programmer Matt Traynor.
In a way my outing has lifted a huge weight off my shoulders. It
has freed me. The words “Hangin, who disguised as mild mannered cobol
programmer, will fight for truth, justice and the caissic way. How will the
outings of my true identity affect the balance of power in the chess world?
Well that remains to be seen. The question now is whether or not the
exposing of my secret identity will lead to a federal investigation. I doubt
it, but it would not surprise me. Many have wondered if I was upset with my
dear friend and colleague Fred Wilson. I can honestly say No. I was shocked,
but I realize my outing was inadvertent.
Besides agreeing with my letter in ChessToday, Fred Wilson
said some very complimentary things about me. He said I have a good chess
library and that I am a good chess player. Fred and I did play once at the
Krush vs. Skripchenko match in New York City. Fred gave me a lesson, never
to be forgotten. Fred paid me the greatest compliment, when he said, “Hangin is
au gratin”. At first I was confused by this statement, so I looked it up,
as I am apt to do. Au Gratin – means to be covered with breadcrumbs and
sometimes butter and grated cheese, and then browned in an oven. This is
probably the nicest thing anyone has ever said about Hangin. This entire
episode has taught me a very valuable lesson. It taught me to always stay
grounded. Don’t worry, I will continue my chess pursuits.