Iowa Open Chess Tournament 2014: Part 2

Friday, August 29, 2014

At 7:00 pm, the third round of the tournament began.  I found myself paired against IASCA President Eric Vigil (1262) who had been unable to play in the first two rounds because, as he put it, he'd been "herding cats all day." 
I had never heard that expression before, so he explained that he had been directing the RBO (U1200) section of the tournament and that was just like herding cats (imagine trying to herd cats!?) with children not coming for their games in time because they were out playing. 
I am very thankful for all the work Mark Capron (Chief TD), Bill Broich, Eric, and the other TDs did to make the tournament a success.  The tournament location was first class, and they even arranged a special hotel rate for chess players who would be needing to stay overnight! 
Some of the tables were not very roomy, and each chess player just had as much space as he needed--none to spare--but it was far from unpleasant; we Iowans are just a bit spoiled by great quality tournaments (and this one was no exception)!

I had been reminded the hard way that blitzing was not for 90 30 time controls, so I forced myself to take my time and think about each move, no matter how seemingly insignificant it might be.  I was able to find excellent squares for my pieces to infiltrate the enemy camp, and I won! 

My brother finished the last round of the Reserve section with 3 wins out of 4, and my sister finished with 2.5 of 4 (3 draws and a win--she didn't lose a game!).  While Papa finished his last game of the evening, my brother and I watched an episode of CHiPs, one of my current favorite old shows, courtesy of the free Wi-Fi available at the hotel!

Papa finished the tournament with 2.5 of 4, and we all soon settled in to rest for the night so we could be refreshed and ready for more chess the next day.

Before all the city people woke up the next morning, we were outside enjoying Coralville Wetland Park (which will be featured in an upcoming post).  We drove to Lowes (like Menards) where Papa did some shopping, and we ate hotcakes and syrup from McDonalds.   

By 9:30 we were back at the Marriot and ready for the 4th round.  Since the Reserve tournament was over, Papa late-joined the Open for the last two rounds. 

This time I was paired against Frank Whitsell (1892) of Missouri.  I was very careful to take my time, but I made a bad move anyway, and before I knew it basically every single one of my active pieces was pinned!

 Now that's what you call a chess nightmare for black and a nice victory for white!  I was too slow in development (one of the first things a chess player learns), and for that I payed dearly. 

The next round did not start till 2:30, so while we waited we toured an antique car and historical museum with long time tournament friend Tim Harder.  The museums were quite interesting and will merit yet another post!

My last opponent was Kenneth Marshall (1544) of Chicago.  We did a little chatting before the game, and I found out he was one of the FICSians who left the server when it was hacked a year or two ago and never had returned.  So, I gave him an update on how things were going on FICS and encouraged him to log in one of these days. 

During the game I started getting a bit tired.  Normally I don't drink soda pop, but I decided that my bottled water wasn't giving me the perk I needed, so I headed over to a pop machine and payed $2.00 for a bottle of Mountain Dew.

 A couple months ago someone told me drinking bottled water was unhealthful; you can read an article  on why it will kill you (or maybe not) here.  Fellow chess blogger Hank Anzis recently posted here about buying energy drinks for a tournament and being told that a similar fate awaited him if he drank them.  In his post he also mentions the drawbacks of sweat tea.

 So far though I haven't heard anything about why Mountain Dew will kill me, so maybe my beverage choice was safe.  However, I do have an inkling that we will all meet the same eventual fate regardless of what we drink during chess tournaments.

Papa won one and lost one game in the Open section, and my brother drew the only game he played in that section. 
I think I learned a lot from the tournament, and hopefully I will be better prepared for my next.  The Iowa Open is one of the funnest tournaments of the year.  Thanks to the TDs, our opponents and other participants, and particularly to my family for making it delightful. 

The Lord blessed us with travelling mercies, and we made it home Sunday evening just in time to watch one of our favorite musicians, Silas Johnson, on the Bill Riley Talent Show!

Have you ever heard the idiom "herding cats"?
Do you have any favorite old time TV shows?
What's your favorite drink to improve concentration and give you an energy perk?


  1. awwww, a family of chess players, this all sounds so fun and very competitive. sounds like a lot of work when in to preparing for this tournament by everyone involved!! i enjoyed your images today!!!

    1. Thanks Debbie! Yes, the TDs went into a lot of effort for this tournament, and most of the participants played like their lives were at stake--so apparently everyone had a lot of practice preparing!

  2. Hi Bethany
    I'm not anti sweet tea and never pointed out any dire consequences - I merely pointed out to my friend Josh that he was about to pour a third of a pound of sugar down his throat with his two giant cans of ice tea. The readers can draw their own health conclusions. I'm a big believer in tolerance and diversity in beverage selections ;-)

    1. Thanks for the correction Hank! I've changed "rules out sweet tea as being potentially deadly" to "mentions the drawbacks of sweet tea" which would hopefully be more accurate.

      Come to think of it I do recall a very good post on your blog advocating freedom of choice in beverages back when Bloomburg banned large size sugary drinks.

      Glad to hear you are still holding up the banner of freedom and tolerance :)
      Thanks for commenting!

  3. My favourite drink is mineral water I don't llike fizzy drinks. They are unhealthy. I never drink energy drinks. I am short of time so I don't watch TV instead I love the Internet and my blog. Hugs from Silesia.

    1. Mineral water sounds like a healthy way to go! I agree with you on internet and blogging being preferable to TV...I do not enjoy modern television and watch it very rarely; I much prefer watching old shows from the 50s-80s on Youtube. :)

  4. Bravo to you and your family on the chess tournament ...
    Must have been wonderful ...

    I like to watch "Lassie"
    My hubby records the old shows and I watch them with my granddaughter when she comes over ..

    I drink a lot of water ... it's the best for me ...

    Never heard of "herding cats' LOL

    Have a good weekend

    1. Ah, Lassie is a good one...sometimes one of my sisters and I watch it together! :)

  5. Hello Bethany!
    Just stopping by to wish you and yours a lovely weekend! :)

  6. very nice! passing by to say hi and to thank you for visiting my inglish is not that good...but i friend

    1. Thanks for visiting! Your English is much better than my Dutch (which is unfortunately non-existent)!

  7. I have heard the expression "herding cats" for a long time. Maybe it's a Northeast thing? Caffeine can be great for an energy boost, but I usually go for black coffee. It doesn't have all the sugar of a soda or most energy drinks, and I just really like the taste of coffee.

    Thanks for the link BTW!

    1. Could be Northeastern...I'm originally from the West and now live in the Midwest, so I wouldn't be familiar with many Northeastern sayings.

      Enjoy your coffee! :)

  8. I have never heard the idiom herding cats. Once when I was sick I tried an energy drink I got as a free sample and it only made my sore throat worst ( I should've expected that) I know thats kinda off topic but energy drinks do no good. My favourite drink to improve concentration is probably mineral water.

    1. Sore throats can be pretty sensitive, so I don't think very many drinks except water and maybe orange juice would be very helpful. Usually when I have a sore throat I try to drink as much water possible, and take plenty of cough drops so I don't feel the pain.

      Mineral water sounds like a good choice! Stay happy & healthy!