Sunday, August 21, 2011

Feng Shui Chess

GM Nigel Davies in his online column The Chess Improver writes on the most esoteric subjects. His latest is: The Feng Shui Of Competitive Chess. (
It brought back memories of the jockeying for postion at the Atlanta Chess Center, aka, the House of Pain. In the upstairs room where the top players played the preferred position was all the way to the right with your back to the wall. One time David Vest, aka the High Plains Drifter, arrived early one Sunday morning and staked out his claim. "There's no place I'd rather be than on board one in round four with my back to the wall!" he said, grinning. It was more than a little obvious that the Drifter felt most comfortable there.
I played in a tournament upon first moving to Louisville, which I wrote about on the BaconLOG, posted Wednesday, November 11,2009. (
I never felt 'comfortable' at that event. Read the post and you will understand why. I recall asking the TD, Alan Priest, who is now on the policy board of the USCF, if I could move closer to the window, since there was very little light emanating due to a power failure. He brusquely walked over to where my opponent and I were to play and grabbed the table, and moved it toward the window. The table was now out of line with every other table and when anyone needed to walk by our table, they would have to make a special effort to avoid it. Some were unable to negotiate the gauntlet and would bump into the table. This happened all during the game. Although I wanted to bring it to the TD's attention, I decided against it and decided to 'suck it up'. It could be because, upon learning the power was partially out, I had asked the TD if and when the lights would be coming on full strength. He said he had no idea if they would come back on, so I mentioned that I may not play. "What?", he asked, "Are you some kind of complainer?" Can I be blamed for staying put?
I had a beer with Ron Gross at the US Senior in 2002. After seeing the inadequate lighting, he had decided to not participate. Much easier to do when one lives in the state. I was from 2500 miles away and decided to play, much to my regret.

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