The Monday after the Georgia Senior I received an email from my friend Mike Mulford, aka 'Mulfish'.
You're going to have a field day with this one.
I replied to Mulfish that I had already learned of the small turnout via an email from the Legendary Georgia Ironman. Tim reported, "Fun Fong reported a total of 14 at the ill planned Georgia Senior, which conflicted with the 3rd Annual Fall Kickoff, my brainchild, as Vest told the cameraman during the interview today. We had 108 at old North DeKalb Mall and the house was rocking. Mr. G was on hand all day as one of the assistant TDs. I am planning to help Thad promote an Atlanta Senior at the ACC around the end of the year. It could well be the last dance at the HOP. Thad told me tonight that Spinks was exhibiting symptoms of a possible stroke when he was there last week."
I could not help but think of the ol' chess coach, the Legendary Georgia Ironman, when watching this video: http://chessforallages.blogspot.com/2011/10/snls-profiles-in-sports.html
I wrote to Mulfish, "That's 3 Seniors (Tim and his sidekick David Vest and Mr G.)who woulda played at another time. There's a huge difference between 14 & 17!
It actually makes me quite sad, Mike. I cannot recall exactly what the turnout was last year, or the previous years, but it seems that the numbers have dwindled. This is a bad thing for Senior chess! If players do not come, they will stop having tournaments, which is, I expect, what most pooh-bahs want. Rather than take the time to ascertain why the players are not coming, I'm afraid they will concentrate on where the money is-with the kids...
Organizers continue to do goofy things-like the 'drop-ins' at Harry's Tn Senior, for example. Mostly they just continue to do the same things that have proven to not work. Is that not a sign of insanity?!
This tournament does point out what I've written about in that, like Klaus said, "A Senior tournament should be an open tournament, because at our age anyone can beat anyone!" Better to have one 14 player tournament than one 5 & one 9 player tournaments. That has been proven conclusively at the House of Pain!"
I had considered making the trip down for the Senior in the Great state of Georgia, but decided against it. I sent this to Mulfish before the tournament: "I want you to know that I had given consideration to coming down to play next weekend. I considered the cost, which is considerable. 800 miles would be about a C-note in petrol. Then there's the hotel expense with the average room being about $100 these daze, so a cheap one would be $50, making it another C-note. (If I'd known about it earlier, I could've gotten an extended stay for a week for about $50 or so more, which woulda been better) Then there's the fact that I would hafta drive all day Friday, which wipes me out for the next day, and I can't drive back Sunday night, so that's another night in a hotel...Then there's EF & United Scholastic Chess Federation dues...Not to mention the fact that I've not played chess in a coupla years, nor have I prepared at all....Then there's the time control, a time control I've never used in my life! I do not understand why you people continue to use new-fangled TC's for us 'old-timers'...I would even prefer a 40/90 with a SD of 30, or even 15, plus the time added for only the second control. Most games are over by the end of the first TC anyway...And then there's the noon start time on Sat. WTF for? I mean, do you REALLY think out of towners are gonna drive in Sat morning and look forward to playing a game at 5:30, which will end at what, 10 or 11? HeyZeus, don't you folks read the BaconLOG?! What's wrong with ending the first day at 7, or even 8, so that a SENIOR can have a decent meal and actually get a night's sleep? We are OLD, and we need REST! There is hardly any time between rounds to stuff a biggy burger in one's gullet and cram it down before having to be back at the board! So much for digestion and a nap..."
Let me say that having two sections points out a fact that with more sections there is a greater probability of having more players sitting out with a bye by being an odd man out. If this had been one 14 man section, there would have been a even number of players.
Mr Mulford was unable to play because of a serious family matter. I could not help but notice that Mark Couvillion, who won last year (or was it the year before?), did not play, which is strange since it was held at his cousin Joe's North Georgia Chess Center. There were many others I did not see on the crosstable. I cannot help but wonder why they did not play. Some interested person should make contact with every player who has played in the past to ascertain why they chose not to play this year. An effort should be make to contact those that could come, but chose to stay home. I am afraid what will happen to Senior tournaments is the same thing that Republicans are trying to do to government. They appoint lackies and toadies like 'Brownie' and his 'superior' Chertoff, who kept his job even though he proved how incompetent he was, and then say, "Government doesn't work!" The fact is that government works fine when competent people are placed in proper positions. Chess pooh-bahs will continue to foist poor tournaments on Seniors and when they do not come will say it is proof that Senior tournaments do not work.
I noticed that the 2012 US Senior is once again in Houston in July. I guess the 'drop-ins' (see http://baconlog.blogspot.com/2011/08/thoughts-on-us-senior.html) who played a few games one day, took some half-point byes, and played one real game on the last day put a large enough smile on the pooh-bahs faces that they decided to stick with a 'good thing'. I can't help but think of something written to me via email by a well respected Senior about playing in Houston during July: "Spending a week at the Houston airport in July does not appeal to me." Me neither!