The 2014 Iowa Class Championships

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Saturday, I woke up shortly before 7:00 AM; a half hour later we were on our way to the Physician's Clinic in Cedar Rapids for the 2014 Iowa Class Championship. 

On the way we stopped at McDonalds and a Sinclair gas station for breakfast.  I enjoyed a sausage egg McMuffin and a cream-filled donut.  We also read Ezekiel 37, the chapter where Ezekiel sees a valley of dry bones in a vision, and God brings them back to life.  It's an amazing chapter.  When it seems like all hope is gone; God can do the impossible!

We had free parking in the parking ramp, and took the skywalk into the clinic and the elevator to the 3rd floor.  While we waited for the first round pairings, I played a few games of bughouse with friends. 

The first round I found myself on board 1 playing playing Joe Meyer (1760).  Joe has beaten me every time I played him (except once in a blitz tournament where I managed a draw), so I was slightly apprehensive.  I was able to play my ever-beloved Sicilian Dragon though, which got me off to a good start.  It was a hard battle, but I eventually won.

After the game it was time for lunch, so we went through the drive-thru of a local Taco Bell.  I ate a bean and cheese burrito; then we went into the very nice skittles room (pictured below) for the annual IASCA board meeting. 
Someone once defined a board meeting as a "meeting of the bored," and to say the least, board meetings are never exciting; however, the board members have been doing a very good job running the Association. 
They are planning to switch the Iowa chess magazine En Passant from paper to online format which should save the association over $1900, which would allow them to possibly cut membership fees.  Although I prefer reading magazines in paper format; I think it is an excellent idea to switch to online.  As was mentioned at the meeting, the magazine could be in color online; and die-hard magazines-should-be-paper people can always print a copy for themselves. 

State membership fees are not expensive, so I don't think they should be cut unless in direct coordination with a fool-proof plan for increasing membership and consequently revenues. 
 I think it would be better for any surplus money to be put to other needs of the association, possibly the stipend for the Denker, Barber, and Girls' champions.  The Association is paying all it can afford currently with about $250 per champion.  The Denker and Barber champions will be traveling to Orlando this year.  A 2-way flight for one person (no family members) to Orlando would cost about $340.00, and driving back and forth would be about $380 for gas only.  Accommodation expenses make the trip even more expensive, so I would definitely like to see the champions given a raise if the association ever has the means for it. 
All board members up for re-election were re-elected.  At-Large Director Tom Hesse retired after completing his work with a revision of the Iowa Closed Championship Rules, and Cub Noble was voted in to fill the vacancy.  Every motion of the meeting was unanimous, leading to some good-natured joking about the "machine," but I think the unanimity may be largely due to all of the decisions of the board being very logical and all the reports well written.

After the meeting, it was time for round 2.  This time I had white against Advaith Prabu (1565).  I was a little uncomfortable playing the Queen's Gambit, since I haven't had the best results with it lately, but it's been a while since I've played a serious game with either the English or e4, so I played it anyway. 

Throughout the game I was very tired.  The game started with a 75 5 time control; both my opponent and I took a long time thinking about our moves and the game was quite long.  In the end I had less than 4 minutes.  I finally cracked on move 21, sacrificing a piece in a futile attempt to survive his threats which could easily and effectively been otherwise countered with no losses (*ouch!*).  After that, my play went from bad to worse; my opponent adroitly took advantage of my blunders, and I eventually resigned.
Pairings for the 3rd round were up as soon as our game was completed.  I got a cup of hot chocolate from the kitchen, grabbed a notation sheet, and returned to the board to face my next opponent.
Stay tuned: Part 2 will be posted soon!