Sunday, July 6, 2008

Chess Fathers

We held a tournament for beginners today. It is a wonderful way for those new to chess to become acclimated to the chess milieu. Old timers are accustomed to writing down each and every move ( I deplore what the Monroi device has done to the royal game even more than what the dreaded DH has done to baseball), and then punching their clock. But for those, young and old, who have only made the moves, it can be quite disconcerting.
There were six players, three of whom were young, and three somewhat older. A few had played in a tournament previously and a few had never played. It was, therefore, an interesting mix. One of the younger players, Alexander Hollins, won his first three games and his father, the personable Kelly, said that, if his son won his last game, surely his rating would go over the magic four digit number, 1000, and that it would be a "red-letter day." He said it in the way one would only expect a proud father to say it...Alexander was up three pawns I was told, but "Woody", aka Terry Krohe, somehow managed to infiltrate the enemy position and obtain a three-fold repition of the position for a draw. They tied for first place, and, alas, Alexander did not make it out of triple digits...I have a feeling he will after his next event, though...
Dmitir Efimov finished alone in third place with a 2-2 score. Thom Barclay and his son, Chris, along with first timer Duncan Bowers tied for fourth place with a score of 1-3. Duncan is about my age and has been playing chess at work and not doing so well, so he got online and found the HOP. I certainly admire him for taking up such an arduous endeavor at an age when others are taking up bingo!
Mumtaz, the father of Kazim Gulamali, just called while I was writing the above. He has called many times this weekend, trying to learn of his son's progress. Because of the unbelievable delay in the posting of the wallcharts by (Is there some reason they could not post the pairings for each round, and then the result so that concerned chess fans, and family, could not figure it out for themselves? It is obviously far too much to ask of Monroi...), Mumtaz, who did not want to call his son and put any more pressure on him than he already had, kept calling me here at the hub of chess in the South, but I was as in the dark as was he. The penultimate time he called, he had a kind of plaintive sound in his voice, as if hoping beyond hope I'd heard something...anything...about his son. I've been told many times in my life that, because I never had any children, I could not understand what it's like to be a parent. I think those short-sighted people are mistaken, because one does not have to be a father to hear a father's love in the voice of another man. When he called I told him that they had finally posted the round eight results (and, I must admit, they were posted much sooner than I expected and much sooner than the round seven results, which must've been posted something like 15 or 16 hours after the round ended!), but he knew that already and had some info I did not have, as he had received a phone call. Kazim, after beating a WGM in round eight this morning, drew his last game, and finished behind five others who tied for first place. It has been my experience that rarely does a zombie come back from the dead and do well. My hat's off to Kazim! To get off to such a horendous start and to come back to play for the big pile in the last round is quite a feat! I think it may have helped that he dropped down into the section below the one he was in, as that is the same as entering another tournament altogether, for that's what having separate sections is in reality, is it not? William Stewart, with a win, would've tied for first, but, alas, he went down...Damir Studen lost to William Stewart this morning and then lost again and withdrew. The other results you can see for yourself, if and when, they are posted.

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