Nineteen players appeared for the TNF, with John Lewis acting as "Houseman" to even out the field for round one. Form held in the first round, with four players, Walter Gordon, Jr & Sr, who must drive a long distance to make it to the House, along with "Saint" Nick Nikley (1390), and Alexander Foster, taking a half point bye. Samuel Zimmerman, who played in the ill-fated Miami Open (more on that later), upset James Harmon (1748), visiting from Illinois ("This is a wonderful place you have here!"-Something EVERY visitor says...). High Plains Vest beat Ananya Roy (1661), while #2 seed, Alan Piper, dispatched Soloman "The Beast" Zelman (1666!). St Nick held Mr Stack (1648) to a draw. Walter Gordon Sr (1139) beat Mr Coney (1205), while his son, Jr, (1316) beat Carter Peatman (1595). Their game was the last to finish in round two. Junior moved a rook from a6 to e6, took his hand off of the rook, then moved it back to a6. Carter told him he had touched the rook and must move it, which Junior did; only he now moved it to f6, where if protected a critical pawn. Rather than asking for a director (I was watching the game), Pinky made a move. Later, Junior pushed a pawn forward, took his hand away, then moved it back and moved his King! Once again Mr Peatman could and should have stopped the clock and asked for a TD, but instead he told Junior that he would have to move the pawn, as he had touched it. All the while Carter's clock was ticking...Funny thing, it would have been better for Pinky if he had let Mr Gordon move the King! On a post to the USCF forum I read earlier (Prize Fund Guarantee's ) by John Hillery (by rfeditor on Tue Sep 16, 2008 8:07 pm #114111), he writes that one must "learn or die." I cannot help but think of the Great Bobby Fischer, who, at a young age, knew the rulebook "frontwards and backwards" as they say. Although some of our players are young, and are playing against adults, they are PLAYING FOR MONEY! Whether or not that is a good thing is for another blog...As for Mr Gordon, Jr, he and his father are relative newcomers to the House and organized chess. With only a minute on the clock, and with his opponent having less than that, it had to be rather disconcerting for Walter. I'm certain he did not do anything intentionally to try and gain an advantage. Which brings to mind something else Mr Hillery wrote in the same post: "While I agree that "(w)e want to attract more players," those players should not be starting out in big-class-prize tournaments with based-on prizes. After they've played in some small local tournaments and been around long enough to understand how things work, they can consider playing in large tournaments." The more I read of Mr Hillery, the more I've come to admire and respect his views (http://www.westernchess.com/,
Which brings us to the last round...Eleven of the nineteen (58%!) players opted for the gift half point bye in the last round making one wonder why we even have a last round! The House simply must consider starting the first round at 6:30, as does the venerable Mechanic's Institute in San Francisco for it's Tuesday Night Marathon! Of the few left to battle it out in the final round, there was the High Plains Drifter versus The Pipe on first board; The Gordons, each with 1 1/2, on board two, James Harmon vs St Nick on board three; and Richard Lin (1346) vs Alexander Foster (1053), on board four. Saturday night I went with Richard's coach, Tim Brookshear, to the restaurant his parents run, the HONG KONG at Shamrock Plaza. Tim gives Richard and his little brother a lesson every Saturday night and is rewarded with a bag of wonderful food that he takes home and shares with his aunt, Mildred. Tim picked me up at the House telling me how he would get Wendy to make this special dish. In reply I said I was "famished" and could not wait. Once we arrived, Wendy gave us a large cup of hot tea and I sat in on the lesson. When Tim was to go over Richard's games from the TNF, I played two games with little brother. Then, another of Tim's students and his father came in and ordered food. When Tim asked me to play the new student, I had to beg off, saying that I was so hungry I was getting weak. It was hard to take when their pungent food arrived and all I could do was watch... In response to Wendy's question, I heard Tim say, "Just put Bacon's food in the bag with ours and he can eat with us." The next thing I know, Tim has started a game with his student! The game is still in the opening and our very large bag of food arrives. You've got to understand that Tim almost NEVER plays skittles. I can only recall a handful of times in almost forty years that the man has played an off-hand game. One of the reasons is that he hates to lose so intensely he has been known to show his donkey! Yet, with his eighty something hungry aunt waiting at home, and his so-called "Bud" weak from not having eaten since lunch, he accepts a "challenge" from a student! The "one hour lesson" was turning into the "three hour tour."
Three quarters of an hour later, things are not looking so good for the "coach", who was playing the White pieces. Black has a better game and he was expanding in the center. The "Ol' Coach, playing his usual stodgy, hidebound, try not to lose chess, was on the ropes, getting pushed back and holding on for dear life. Tim moved his King to h1, preparing for the inevitable push of a pawn to e3, breaking the game open and slashing into his position with Bishop to e3. By this time Tim was losing it, screaming a little brother, who was fidgeting, causing a distraction that did not seem to bother Richard!
Tim lost two pawns, but did have bishops of opposite color, and, more importantly, a "runner." That's right folks, Tim had a passed a-pawn. All Richard had to do was to put his rook, which was in the White position, behind the pawn, and he would beat his coach!
Thinking that Tim would lose the game and become what he usually becomes after losing a chess game, an ogre, and needing food, as it was now past 9;30 and I was hungry when we left the House at 6:30, I walked over to CHECKERS and bought a fish sandwich, because, "you gotta eat"...
Upon my return I saw that Richard had not stopped the a-pawn and Tim would win. By the time he came out it was almost 10 pm. "CHECKERS?", he asked. "I was hungry, Tim."
"I had no idea you were hungry, Bacon," he said.
"What part of 'I'm famished & I'm so hungry I'm weak' do you not understand, Brookshear?"
"You could've eaten your food here, Bacon."
"Just take me back to the Center, Tim, please."
"You can come back and eat with us, Bacon."
"It's too late, Tim. My god, man, the food arrived a few minutes after you started the game and it's cold by now!"
"Bacon, I HAD to accept the challenge!"
"I wish I had a dollar for all the times you've turned down a skittle challenge over the decades I've known you, Brookshear. Be honest, man, you did it because you wanted to do it, with absolutely no consideration for either your aunt or me!"
Richard beat Alex Foster, to finish with 2-1, winning $3. Mr Harmon beat St Nick to also finish 2-1 and win $3. Walter Gordon Sr taught his son another valuable life lesson, to finish with 2 1/2 and win $18. While on the top board the High Plains Drifter got hit with The Pipe! Mr Piper, playing Black, took it to the Drifter, to win first place money, which was a paltry $32.
As for the other prize winners, they all took a half point bye in the last round. Zimmy won $20 for second, James Stack also won $3, while Jonathan Choi (1113) and Tianming Liu (1002) each won $5 in under 1200 money.
This week first place paid 35%; second 22%; while Walter Gordon Sr, eligible for the U1200 prize, actually won the U1600 prize, which was 20% of the prize fund. At least he had to win two games to earn a prize...