Cedar Rapids Leatherjackets: Part 2

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

     After my second round game, I walked into the kitchen and helped myself to bottled water and one of the small packaged snacks which the tournament organizers offered gratuitously to all the players.  Coffee was also available, and by the third and fourth rounds it seemed many of the players were drinking it to help their energy levels.  Chess tournaments can be mentally tiring, and even a non-coffee drinker like myself had a hard time resisting the temptation to try some! 
The spacious tournament room
Papa won his second game, and before the third round the tournament director, James Hodina, who had graciously arranged so travelling companions would not have to play each other, warned us that if we both won our games we would have to play each other for the championship.
My third opponent was Komiga Paniah, who had a provisional rating of 693.  I suspected that to have beaten his first two opponents he must be better than his rating; during the game I decided he's not just better than his rating, he's way better than his rating.  (The dreaded thought that I might lose to a 600er unless I was careful crossed my mind a time or two...)  He almost always played the move I had decided was the best for him, so it was slightly frustrating.  Eventually though, I was able to break up his pawn structure and take a couple pawns to achieve a winning endgame

Soon Papa, who faced all the highest rated players in the reserve section, finished another hard-fought upset victory; we were both undefeated and would have to face each other in the championship game!

 There were a few children playing bughouse, so while we waited for the pairings, Daniel J., Gokul (1 game), Ana, the current Iowa Girls Chess Champion Teresa, and I got another game started.  There's nothing more fun, exciting, and relaxing (is that a contradiction?) to do between rounds than play bughouse. 

It was snowing outside, and hoping the road conditions would not worsen for our trip home, Papa and I started our game.  We really prefer not to play each other in tournaments since we know each other's style well, but we had a long hard battle. 

I finished in first place in the reserve (U1600) section, and now my rating has gone up to 1628 which means unless I do poorly in future tournaments, after this month I will have to play in the open section at tournaments.   My dear coach, Papa, tied for second place, with his rating increasing by over 100 points! We really enjoyed the tournament and are very happy we went.
The tournament director, Mr. Hodina, and I 

The roads in Cedar Rapids were treacherous, but thankfully the driving was a lot better once we made it to the interstate.  We stopped at McDonalds for some burgers and fries to eat on the way home (thanks Papa, it was delicious!). 

By the time we reached Waterloo I was quite tired and was fighting the urge to fall asleep.  Finally we saw the church on the hill near our exit.  We took the exit and then asked "Where's the road?"  The local highway was covered with snow!  Thankfully there wasn't much snow and we proceeded slowly toward home. 

Next were the gravel roads!  First there was a little drift to one side, and a little drift on the other side, and then the whole road was covered by one drift after another!  We were blessed to be able to make it, plowing through the drifts to finally reach our driveway.  But it was hardly time to breathe a sigh of relief.  My dear mother and sister had shoveled out our driveway earlier in the day, but a 2-foot drift now blocked the entrance. 
  In case any of you are as tired as I was after the tournament, here's a peaceful tune
I ran to the house to grab a snow shovel and was delighted to see reinforcements (my brother and sister) who came through the cold and dark of night to help us dig our way through.  Finally we made it to the house and thawed out our frozen fingers, and I, totally exhausted, went straight to sleep. 


  1. Bethany Carson! You so did not tell me the whole entire chess story Sunday! You are too loyal. ;)
    Love you!
    Oh, congrats to the both of you. : )
    P.S. if I knew anything more than a pea sized amount about chess, I should have figured it out...

  2. Thanks Karen! It was awesome seeing you again! :) Love ya too...God bless