'League for Truth and Veracity' – a meta-prank

by ChessBase
4/5/2006 – Apparently there is no such organisation. Google finds only one reference to it – in our April 1st story, which resulted in many hundreds of emails flooding our inbox. But wait a minute, amongst these were warnings and threats from LT&V. And some very entertaining efforts, like the wag who wrote: I never meta-prank I didn't like!

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We bring you some of the letters we received as a result of our April 1st story. Since there were far to many to publish we had to make a selection, which in such cases we do in the following manner: all letters are read, or at least scanned, by the editor, who marks some he feels should definitely be published. After that we use a semi-automatic process to select every n-th message – in this case every fifth. After that the ones amongst the randomly selected samples are lightly edited, where necessary (e.g. to remove caps, capitalise sentence beginnings and remove obvious typos), and some eliminated, for a number of reasons.

The result is what you see below. If you have written a nice letter to us which is not included, whilst a number of inferiorer efforts are quoted, please do not take this as a personal affront or discourtesy. The letter simply fell through the holes of the selection sieve. We must say that we experienced an unusually high level of enjoyment reading your letters – even more than coming up with and executing the original prank.

Finally, for those of you who are not very familiar with the ancient pagan tradition of "punning", the joke by David Harris is "I never met a prank I didn't like!" In Roman times you could get stoned for that.

Frederic Friedel

Feedback from our readers

Yannick Roy, Montréal, Canada
Clever! Post modern! You pulled a meta-prank! But now the question is (and I'm sure it crossed your mind when you came up with this sophisticated joke): what are you going to do next year? Thanks for the great laughs.

George Lester, Brisbane
A world wide organisation promoting truth and integrity with an office in Moscow – aww come on guys, you must be kidding!

Myron Hnatczuk, Staffard, Virginia, USA
WELL DONE! Nice meta-prank, sufficiently self-referential. Might have been slightly more believable if the LV&T was an organization of the EU. Thanks for the smile.

GM Gregory Topov, Canada
This is the lamest April Fools article yet – you didn't really expect anyone to believe that there is a "League for Veracity and Truth" did you? Come on, own up and tell your readers this article was a joke, even if it wasn't as successful as your previous April Fools jokes.

Sergey Shchukin, Norwalk, CT, USA
I have to say, this is one of the better April fools pranks that I ever had played on me. Not only did I believe it, I started composing this email as a means of asking you for contact info of LT&V, in order to take it right to them. I was quivering with anger... it only now hit me. Amazing work – keep up the tradition!

Royce Campbell, Tulsa, OK, USA
Good one!! I first got suspicious at the LT&V name. Another fine effort!

Henrik Dinesen, Denmark
Well, no more jokes then, no more fools... HaHaHaHaHa! Funny story!

Alistair Chew, Singapore
This is probably a higher cognitive class of April Fool's joke than has ever been perpetrated by any news service. Congratulations!

H. Baltierrez
Another great April's Fool joke !! There's no indications on the web about a LT&V organization. Hope you're having fun because for my part I was laughing all day.

Jean-Pierre Langue de Catin, LT&V board, Paris
I thought we had made it quite clear that only meta-pranks would be tolerated. Your article dated 01.04.2006 is so blatantly violating our recommendations that I'm afraid we have no choice but to take action immediately. You will be hearing from our lawyers shortly.

Jason Stikenmude, WWWW for LT&V, Cambridge, USA
As a ranking member of LT&V, my job is to surf the Internet and find violations of truth and veracity across the World Wide Web. As the official World Wide Web Watchdog (W.W.W.W.) for LT&V, April 1st is my busiest day of the year. Unfortunately for www.chessbase.com, you have been caught.

Be warned: Your silly attempts to violate our policy have not gone unnoticed. While you have included the required text in your April 1st article (as instructed the italicized font is of the same SIZE as the text), such disclaimer did not come at the END of the text. It is clearly in the middle of the text, and therefore, I am afraid you are in violation. If you do not put the disclaimer at the end soon, I will be forced to draft a cease and desist letter, which will incur costly legal charges to the chessbase website. Consider this meta meta e-mail a generous warning.

Roberto Balzan, Roma
Nice April's Fool, Fred: no watchdog groups calling themselves "League for Truth and Veracity" (LT&V) found on the Net.

Eric Toni, Seattle, USA
Forgive me for my skepticism, but I personally believe that the warning given by the so-called "League for Truth and Veracity" was in itself an April Fool's joke, and a clever one at that. I expected to see another ridiculous story about chess, but this was much more subtle. I might have been fooled myself, but from my knowledge of law I know that the actions suggested by the LT&V are so patently unenforeceable that no real organization would even dream of them.

Calvin Prasad, Suva, Fiji
"League for Truth and Veracity"? Yeah, right. Whilst appreciating a creative attempt by you at using 'reverse psychology' in this years' April Fools prank, you have to remember that we have a powerful tool called 'Google' to verify important facts. In fact, "League for Truth and Veracity" is unheard of, as far as Google is concerned, thus your story on the 'end of April Fools' pranks is an April Fools' prank in itself. I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on a job well done with chessbase.com. I am a daily regular.

Alex Allen, Lafayette USA
I would have to say you are pulling our legs on this one. After all, I don't think there is anyone who is so uptight about April Fools to actually start an organization called League for Truth and Veracity, and have the audacity to actually threaten legal action.

Suraj Sharma, Toronto ON
Hi, That April Fool's story must be one of the weakest attempts at being tricky! I’m deeply disappointed. I thought Chessbase, with its host of Brainiacs could certainly do better than "oh we're sorry, no more April Fool Pranks" and then to go on to publish the disclaimer in the same article and not expect us to get a hint.

Olav Bakke, Oslo
Haha. Nice joke!

Tom McCormick, Lincoln, NE, USA
About this League for Truth and Veracity or whatever they call themselves: Ridiculous! This group has no standing to sue anybody for cracking an April Fool joke. Besides which, they could never come close to summoning enough legal expertise to sue everybody who cracks such a joke. A fig to any blue-nosed prigs who object to April Fool jokes on the grounds of "pagan origins". These are the same kinds of killjoys who forbid their children the fun of celebrating Hallowe'en because of its "pagan origins". Most of them, I notice, do not hesitate to put up Christmas trees or color Easter eggs, although the origins of those customs is every bit as "pagan". They also give flowers and candy and cards to their sweethearts on St. Valentine's Day, even though that custom goes back to the Roman holiday of Lupercalia (yes, "pagan"). And those who are American see nothing wrong in celebrating Thanksgiving Day, which derives from a Native American (hence originally "pagan") harvest festival. It is with the greatest of pleasure that I declare my intention to ignore these silly people and to urge others to do the same. In fact, I think I'll send them a copy of this email.

OR IS THE SUPPOSED EXISTENCE OF THIS GROUP ANOTHER APRIL FOOL'S JOKE?? If so, the joke is on me, and I'm the one who's being blue-nosed!!! Somebody tell me if this is the case so I can laugh at myself - nothing would please me more!

Tom McCormick, Lincoln, NE
Okay, my google search for "League for Truth and Veracity" turns up NOTHING! The joke is definitely on yours truly. "League for Truth and Veracity", indeed! This surely qualifies as the best April Fool joke in human history. My congratulations to the joker, whoever he may be.

Tom McCormickm Lincoln, NE, USA
I have good news and bad news. The good news is that I somehow survived my April First encounter with the "League for Truth and Veracity". But I also made a discovery. When the truth got through my thick head, I proved that it is impossible to laugh oneself to death – otherwise I would have perished. So the bad news is that those of you who plan on dying will have to find another method. And just remember: Next April Fool's Day it may be YOU!

Duncan, Vella, Swieqi, Malta
Nice one, ChessBase. The good thing is that even if this story is true and let's say the company's name is not L&TV, then you still wrote the disclaimer and thus would be protected. I was expecting one with Garry Kasparov's comeback.

Shivkumar Shviaji, Mountain View, USA
Nice April fool joke on the League for Truth and Veracity! It's like an anti april fool joke joke!

Pankaj Daga, Munich, Germany
Haha! Nice article on the League for Truth and... The article itself is a great April Fool's joke! Great fun!

Lajos Cicoma, Budapest
This must be an April fool's joke!

Vincent Gagliano, Fort Lauderdale, USA
You guys are making up the story about the LT&V. I googled the firm for a website. None.

Michalis Kaloumenos, Kallithea, Athens
Thanks for adding the valuable disclaimer to your article. We are warned and definitely understand the day’s tradition! This detail makes the whole article an interesting paradox! Without it, it would be quite logical for a liar to claim that he speaks the truth. But there is no mathematical sense when a liar admits that he lies! As a Greek I remind you of an old story: Epimenides was a legendary Cretan poet who is reputed to have said: “All Cretans are liars”. Did Epimenides speak truly? By the way, why did you choose the capital of Pennsylvania as the headquarters of LT&V?

Dallas Gatti, Melbourne, Australia
I must admit, I have been coming back to Chessbase.com all evening, waiting for your April Fools article, and there it was: no more April Fool's jokes?! I know very little about business practices, but still after reading your explanation, I don't see why any business would pay this so-called 'Clerical Fee' for unsolicited mail sent to them. This and the fact that a Google search of both LV&T and League for Truth and Veracity brought up nothing. Yeah I ended up Googling, but only after suspecting this was a load of lies!!!

Dan, Albany, NY
Very clever with today's update, but I could not find any information about the group, "League for Truth and Veracity". Considering that I've already visited many other (large) websites that have updated with an April Fools joke, I think you are pulling my leg :).

George Simon, Lodi, NJ
Not as funny, as the ones with "bionic chess" and "retracto", but better, than "Kriegspiel" and "Kimo".

Richard Price, Mobile, USA
Laugh, ha, errr, cry? I think the so called League for Truth and Veracity must sue for this latest article on April Fool's pranks. But if this is your last (laugh), well sorry to see it go.

Vladimir, Skavysh, Chicago, USA
As always, your imagination is to be applauded!

Dinesh Singhal, Attorney at Law, Houston, USA
This has to be the worst April 1st article by ChessBase. Oh God! I am fooled! Let's try a better prank next year!

J. Steckner, Switzerland
At first, I was a bit disappointed by the headline, as your April fool's jokes have been excellent every year. But soon could be realized that you have just gone to another level. Your so-called "League for Truth and Veracity" is the meta-prank that you pretend not to be sure about, well done. My favourite is still "Fischer's retractor move"!

Pavel Dimnik, Toronto, Canada
You guys are good... keep the meta-jokes coming! Happy April Fools!!!

Márcio Vaz, Porto Alegre – Brasil
Some kind of Meta-April Fool's joke?! Lol. However I will use your disclaimer.

Lame!! Meta jokes are lame. Analytical substitutes for lack of creativity and inspiration. I am glad you put in the links to the older stories; at least we can exercise nostalgia.

Richard Kramer, Oud Beijerland, The Netherlands
Congratulations with this fine joke! At first I got a feeling of anger but then, yes of course! I saw the light and understood you were pulling my leg! Good joke!

Prabhat Mukherjea, Bangalore, India
I presume this article on the Truth and Veracity league is the April Fool for this year... A bit disappointing actually given how much work went into it the past few years. This ridiculous story breaks down instantly as Google Searches show that there is no Truth& Veracity league in Harrisburg or anywhere else.

Mike Dugas, Ghent, MN
This year's April Fools joke is the best yet!

Tescaro, Stefano, Italy
Nice April Fool's joke! (and you put the disclaimer inside your story too).

William, Cember, Briarcliff Manor, USA
League for Truth and Veracity? Very funny.

Victor Graham, USA
Let them sue. We'll pay them off in Ducats.

Shaun Graham-Bowcaster, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
I know full well that your tale about not doing April Fools anymore, is an April Fools joke in itself! You guys aren't getting me this year!! I admit coming up with this "League for Truth and Veracity" was a good try. Can you hook them up with the Bush administration? :)

Terry McCracken, Canada
League for Truth and Veracity. I'm sorry, but that is just too silly. If they don't like it, they can sue me:)

Murari Mitra, India
Is this news item an April Fool joke? It would be great if it is!

Ben Marmont, Gilbert, USA
April Fools! There is no way this league exists, they want to prevent ChessBase from "maliciously misleading" their readers? How are any of your April's Fools pranks malicious?

Kolvir, Paris
I will meta-sue you for the meta-prank on LT&V. MLT&V (meta-LT&V)

Denis de Montigny, Luxembourg
Unfortunately, a search in Google for "League for Truth and Veracity" turns up no results. Interesting, a self-aware April Fools joke stating that it is, itself, not an April Fools joke. Until next year!

Lar Mader, Albuquerque, NM, USA
Sorry, I fat fingered the enter key and sent an incomplete version of this email. Please ignore the first one. I liked this years April Fool's Joke - "League for Truth and Veracity". In this day and age of everybody being so uptight about everything, it was almost believable.

Mohit Singh, Delhi, India
Nice april fool prank, this one!

Nigel Gwee, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Great meta-April Fool's Day joke guys!

Steve Le Bigot
Joke within a joke? You guys are getting worse by the year!

Stig Martinsen, Bergen, Norway
Absolutely brilliant prank! You had me fooled for a while, the notion of conservative Americans with no sense of humor arrogantly trying to control both the Internet and pagan "heresy" sounding sadly familiar. But then I came to my senses and googled this mysterious "League for Truth and Veracity". The reference to "meta-pranks" being allowed is sublime... Have you actually invented a whole new literary genre here!?

Alcides Schulz, Clifton USA
Best April's Fool joke. Congrats!

Andrew Plunkett, Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada
You are unconvincing, I tried to find any mention of the League for Truth and Veracity on the internet, nothing to be found in relation to what you are claiming. Once again you have adequately fooled your readers!

Derek Jones, Aylesbury, England
A nice touch. In the days of excessive political correctness there is just the hint of the possibility that something like this could actually happen!

Tom Neal, Atlanta, GA
Definition meta-prank: a prank carried out under the cover of an explanation that you can no longer carry out any pranks.

Devangshu Datta, Delhi
The League of Meta-Pranksters will soon be after you lot. Nice self-referential effort. Keep it up!

Kaushik Dhulipala, San Diego, USA
That was a nice meta-prank. The title and content are both dead giveaways. I don't believe that there is any such thing as LT&V (If google can't find it then it doesn't exist). And a meta-prank ('meta': '(adj) of creative work referring to itself or to the conventions of its genre; self-referential.) which you were not sure of was another obvious clue. I had fun figuring out whether this was a prank or not.

Simon Clark, London
Is this item about ending April Fools stories, an April Fools? A good double bluff!!

Zvi Mendlowitz, Petah Tiqwa, Israel
I searched in Google for "League for Truth and Veracity" and couldn't find anything... very strange. Nice meta-prank!

Philip Feeley, Surrey, BC, Canada
The Truth and Veracity League don't seem to have a website. Is this story itself an April Fool's Joke?

David Lovejoy, Byron Bay, Australia
Brilliant April Fool! Just enough verisimilitude in the details to make it believable. But what can you do next year to top that?

Hossam Hassan, Zagazig, Egypt
I think the story of "League for Truth and Veracity" is the fool day lie. Search for it. Nice trick I think.

J. Sperry, Clearwater, Fl
Well this was probably the best written April Fools joke to date.

Graham Ferrier, Winnipeg, Canada
Nice try. April Fools! The League for truth and veracity with no website link! It's funny that this "unfortunate" news "must" be told on April Fools Day! Very funny how you stated that this disclaimer would not be published in any story even though it is announced in this one (very cunning, misleading, deceptive)!

Tianshu Guo, Ottawa, Canada
At first I felt quite sad about the ending of a fun tradition. Then I realized that your report "ChessBase: no more April Fool's jokes" must be another April Fool's prank itself, since "The cease-and-desist letters require the recipient to remit a legal fee of $35.50 for clerical expenses incurred by LT&V" can never be true otherwise I could try make money myself by threatening people this way. Good try guys.

Immanuel Singuillo, Adelanto, CA, USA
The article is an April Fool's joke. I don't see any "truth and veracity" in it.

Angelo Mattiello, Veracruz, Mexico
I must admit, it's rather impressive how you come up with these jokes, and this year you have out-done yourselves. Well, personally I would rather spend my 35 bucks on a fresh copy of Kimo.... but, wait, that was a joke too, right? Hopefully the League won't sue my hippothingy for meta-laughing about the article all day long. Anyway, congrats! Nice April Fool's meta-joke! Greeting from Mexico. Glad you liked Morelia.

Don Newquist, Denver, CO
I think you forgot to put your own disclaimer with your article. Nice try but a net search does not come up with "League for Truth and Veracity" anywhere except your article. Thanks again for great imagination on one of the better days of the year.

Hardy Berger, Shugborough, UK
ChessBase: no more April Fool's jokes! Ha ha ha.

Son Nguyen, Vietnam
In that case I think its gone too far. You tried adding more believability at the expense of humor. Not a good idea for me.

David Dawnay, Buenos Aires
The "League for Truth and Veracity" indeed! I must congratulate you on making an April Fool's joke about not being allowed to make an April Fool's joke, when in fact that is the joke itself! A nice self-referential loop if ever there was one, that is sure to bamboozle even the sharpest of LTV agents!

Greg Koster, Chicago, USA
I woke up this morning, April 2nd, realizing I'd been HAD! It took me a whole day! You dirty rats!

Alessandro Tronca, Rome, Italy
No, no and again no: I will NOT go to a search engine to look for "League for Truth and Veracity". Never!

Bill Coyle, Canon City, Colorado, USA
It sounds as if YOU are the subject of an April Fools joke!

Soren, Riis, Oxford
Well done but surely no one could possible got on the hook this time! Chess players are too clever to be fooled by your self-referential trick! The statement "No more April Fools" implies that the article claims that is not itself an April Fool. This years April Fool is in family with the liar paradox, ("this sentence is false" that can be neither true nor false). It would have been interesting, if your article in fact had claimed that it was this years April Fool! Then no one could claim that they were not fooled!! Since if it is an April Fool (as it would claim) it would in fact not be an April Fool. And if it not an April Fool, it would is in fact lying and would be an April Fool!

Paul Martin, LaPorte, Indiana
Regarding the April Fool's Day article: chuckle; chuckle; chuckle. Sorry, I don't know the German words for sarcasm, dry humor.

David Harris, RI, USA
I must say I never meta-prank I didn't like!

Michael Howe, Cromwell, USA
An April Fool's denial for fools! Very nice meta-prank!

Jose Blanco, Madrid Spain
I would have preferred a more chessy prank, but it is OK. I fell for it for some seconds.

Graham, Philips, Ely, UK
Nice. You have a way of doing things in such a subtle way. This was almost convincing.

William Shea, Honolulu, HI
Yes, we are aware that you fabricated this story too. April Fools! By the way, truth and veracity are exactly the same thing. I propose this fabricated league be changed to the "league for truth and truth."

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