Friday, July 4, 2008


While drinking my cuppa joe I surfed on over to the WO website to check on the players from the HOP. From the scores, or, should I say, lack of, it looks more like the van loaded with HOP regulars never made it outta Gettysburg! Our boys have been cut down on the field; our charge thwarted before it began...Kazim 0-2 u; Frisco Kid 0-2 u; new state chmp Ozdemir 1-2; Michael Easterwood 1-2; Daniel Gurevich 0-2 (with a 1/2 pt bye); Damir Studen 1-1 u (that's 2 draws and he packed it in, most probably to re-enter in the 5 games a day tournament). If you're wondering why a player would withdraw undefeated, you know very little about the psyche and ego of a chessplayer. When one expects to win them all and take home the BIG BUCKS, anything less is a defeat, especially when one has worked hard to lower ones rating to be eligible to "beat-up" on the players in the class from which one has just left. With a psyche that fragile, it does not even take a knock-out blow to be knocked out. Many years ago the Legendary Georgia Ironman and I walked to a deli in downtown NY after a round. We saw a player who had been something like 6-0 before he lost. He had withdrawn and we asked him why. He mumbled something and we left him with his misery. Later Tim couldn't stop talking about how it could be that the man would withdraw when he still had a chance for the big bucks. "But Tim," I said, "Don't you understand? That's just the point...he doesn't. Can you not see that he is a broken and demoralized man? If he continues to play, he will continue to lose, and he knows it."
Those who have never been cannot fathom how hard it is to play in a tournament like the World Open. A player has to play like a Grandmaster to win the expert section! Sandbaggers abound in every section. These players will do ANYTHING to win. A knife fight is easier! John Smith, who came within one game of earning his master title, once went 0-5 at the World Open. When he withdrew, I asked him why. Smitty shot me a look, saying, "Bacon, if I lose five games in a weekend tournament, that's all I get to play!" I immediately understood. The fact is, chess is so tough that a score of 50% is a great score! Which is, unfortunately, something non-chessplayers will never understand...
It goes on further down the sections, with Benjamin Moon 0-3 in the U2000, and Justin Howle not much better at 1-2.
There is good news, though not much of it. Hartley Chiang had 2 1/2-1/2 in the U2200, and Ryan Moon is 1 1/2- 1 1/2 in the same section. In the U1800 section Emily Francis and Samuel "Zimmy" Zimmerman are at 2-1.
At this point we can only hope that the Georgia gang come on REAL STRONG in the later rounds...

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