Saturday, February 6, 2010

Blaze and Warren Fundraiser

So today I was scheduled to TD at the Blaze and Warren Jr. Program fundraiser tournament and IL Blitz Championship. I have to admit that when I woke up this morning this wasn't what I wanted to do today. My voice still best resembled a duck call (that had been run over by a truck), and a day that I knew I wouldn't be home for about 15 or so hours just didn't sound good to me. However, these are really great programs in chess, and I volunteered my time because I feel they are important and worth helping.

This was the first event being hosted at NorthEastern IL University on the north side. The site was really amazing, very spacious, with plenty of skittles area, and a coffee shop that could give me my Chai fix. David Rubin, the faculty adviser for the chess club, as well as a master, really came through in getting us such a wonderful location. Our turnout was a bit lower than expected, about 30 for the rated event, and 20 for the blitz, but I really think that if we have the chance to run another event at that site we would double the numbers.

I have been directing so many game 30 events lately that in comparison the game 60 time control seemed leisurely and gave me more time that usual to socialize with players and parents which I really enjoyed. Now I know that every once in a while I will poke a little fun at chess parents, but wow while it is easy to marvel at some little wunderkind who comes up to your belly button but has a huge rating, talking to some of the parents today I could see where that talent comes from.

The blitz tournament was a little top heavy with the midpoint rating being right at 1900, and there was a lot of exciting games to watch. In the end it was a tie between Aleks Stamnov and Gopal Menon for the state blitz title. Gopal is perhaps the most talented blitz player in the state rated under 2400 or so with a fierce combination of cutting edge theory, raw speed, and tactical prowess.

Whenever I watch blitz played, it amazes me that the amount of gamesmanship and dirty pool are played. Players in a time scramble knock over pieces without picking them up, block each other from hitting the clock, and use all sorts of tactics aimed at distracting their opponents. Thankfully there were few situations that I had to be involved with.

After I finally finished I stopped off at Honey 1 BBQ on my way home to reward myself for not collapsing during the day. Honey 1 for those that don't know is probably the heaviest hitter in the world of BBQ on the north side. Normally, when I go out for Que, it is on the south side at Uncle John's, so tonight was the battle of the aquarium style smokers. H1 was on top of its game, and excellent, but I give the slight edge to Uncle Johns. I will give the post mortem on that battle tomorrow when I wake up.

Looking forward to next week when the new IL HS champions are crowned, and also I am up at the US Amateur Team North, in Milwaukee,


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