Sunday, November 16, 2008

91 Players in Orland!?

91 players in Orland Park? The title even looks surreal. This month attendance exploded, and we almost ran out of space. Next month it would be amazing to try to top 100! We will be raffling off prizes for the Holidays as we did last year.

Our very first Orland scholastic two years ago had a whopping 6 players. Six, that is not a typo. To come this far and give players in this area a place to play without driving an hour has been one of my bigger achievements in chess.

The Illinois All Grade

I meant to blog about this event during the week, but I have to admit that I needed a little time to recover. 485 players, it was our largest event yet. Most of the people I have spoken with about the event seemed pleased with it, which is nice because of the hundreds of hours of logistics and prep work that goes in before that day.

But of course, the big story was the kids. Results can be found at

It was amazing to see how many talented kids there are in our area. It would not surprise me at all to see many of them place well at Supernationals next year.

One little proud anecdote from the event for me. As I was at the podium reading off the team results for the 5th grade section, it had occurred to me that earlier when I had spoken with a parent from Noonan (where I teach), he had mentioned that Noonan was in 3rd place in that section after a could of rounds. Since 5th place and 4th place had already been called out, my eyes scanned up to see if we had gotten 3rd, we hadn't. I continued scanned until it hit me that there we were in first place. I literally froze up at the podium to the point where Alice Holt who was handing out the trophies walked over to me and asked what was wrong, or if I was ok. I pointed to the results with a proud smile, and said, just taking a moment to savor this, she laughed and I went back to reading wondering if the team knew yet. When I read off the second place team, they started jumping around. Not sure when the last time a team from the south suburbs won a state chess title, but it was awfully gratifying to be there for this one.

Palatine HS and Sean Fisher-Rohde were exceptional hosts that hopefully will welcome us back in 2010. The TD staff had many of the best in the business in Wayne Clark, Jeff Wiewel, Mike Zacate, Betsy Dynako, Gary Janssen, Chris Merli, and Elizabeth Villaflor. And we would have been completely lost without the wonderful volunteering and support of Alice Holt, Margaret Drier, Maret Thorpe, Jon Burgess, Jerry Neugarten, Andi Rosen, Eric Rosen, Trevor Magness, and apologies to anyone that I may have missed.

Also, to any of the top finishers from the event or their coaches that may be reading this, we are in the process of writing an article on the tournament for the Illinois Chess Bulletin. If you have a game you are proud of and would like to submit it for the article, please contact me.