Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Searching for...Wellsburg? - Part 1

I've attended chess tournaments throughout Iowa for nearly half my life, and have enjoyed them all.  This past weekend, however, was a first for me. I got to see a chess tournament first hand from a director's point of view as I organized the Wellsburg Open.  
Early this year I decided on and rented the venue, Wellsburg Reformed Church, and announced the tournament.  About two weeks before the tournament, a very small trickle of pre-registrants began.  Most players waited till the week of the tournament to register; by the day of the tournament there were 26 players signed up.  One thing I will consider if I run another event is adding online registration, so players can see a list of other participants.

Wellsburg is a town of 707 people.  Just off Highway 20, it features a gas station, grain elevator, library, community center, a couple bars, a few churches, the Wellsburger, the bank, insurance agency, city hall, an antique store, and a few ag-related businesses.  There is also a pond supply, which used to be our local grocery store, "Mike's."  Apparently Wellsburgians are more excited about fish and ponds than they are about food, or else it's much less expensive to run a pond store than a grocery store, because that shop, I'm happy to say, has stayed in business.  

Senior TD and fellow blogger Hank Anzis agreed to help direct the tournament, and Mark Capron and James Hodina thoughtfully advertised the tournament to their mailing lists.  I was surprised and delighted when FM Alex Betaneli from Wisconsin decided to come.

One thing that surprised me was how much praying is involved in TD-ing.  Some players say, "I will be there on Saturday, provided that by that time I succeed in [doing one thing or another]."  So, by the weekend, I was praying that one potential player would get enough sleep, another would be prepared for his exams, one player would recover from back pain, one would succeed in an interview, get a job, and find a wife, and yet another's car would be fixed.    

For me, the tournament really began on Friday.  My friend and fellow FICS bughouse player, sgs, drove up from Kansas City, and he and the Powers [one of Iowa's most powerful chess families] joined us for a cookout.
We roasted hot dogs and enjoyed campfire-cooked beans and my mom's delicious potato salad.  Then while the youngest members of the gathering played basketball, we enjoyed lively conversation.  Mrs. Power told me about some dandelion dishes she'd recently cooked, and I told her about a recipe I had seen (but never tried) for roasted grasshoppers (locusts and honey).  

Soon it was time for music!  At my request, sgs had brought his guitars.  He sang a few songs, and told us the fascinating histories behind the songs and the unthinkable situations which led to learning them.  The Power family proved very talented, and Mrs. Power played the guitar while the family sang a couple beautiful Psalms.  We ended music time with my family's  renditions of "You Are My All in All" and "Pray the Clouds Away." 
It is very surprising how many chess players are musicians, especially considering how noise of any kind is absolutely avoided at tournaments.  It would be fun, impractical, and I suspect, very wild and surprising--considering the disparity in musical tastes among chess players--to have a music gathering where Midwestern chess players shared their talents.  

Soon it was time for bughouse!  I partnered sgs to start with against the Power brothers, and later Charity joined in, and we switched partners for variety.  Slightly after 10:40 we finally decided to call it quits for the evening.  We had a long day ahead!
Stay tuned: Part 2 is coming soon!

46 comments:

  1. how neat of you to host your own tournament! way to go!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hello Bethany,
    Very good your chess tournament.
    Nice there are also music was played.
    Best regards, Irma

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hosting any kind of tournament is a tall order, but I'm sure you did a great job. The campfire, food and fellowship sound like a lot of fun. Have a great week!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Good for you for hosting! That's a lot of work, and I can see a lot of prayer too. The campfire and music sounds like a great start!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's hard to beat campfire-cooked food and a warm spring day!

      Delete
  5. Wonderful job dear Gal & sounds like you had a great turnout!

    I could see why chess folks are musical as I think you use some of those same parts of the brain. ;)

    Can't wait to see how things ended up going.
    Xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Another thing that a lot of chess players seem to be in to is math--which makes sense in a way.

      Delete
  6. Hope you had FUN as well! It looks like it.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wow! I'm impressed. Can't wait to read part 2!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Sounds quiet fun! It sounds like you've taken charge of the tournament quite well; I wish I had that ability!

    xoxo Morning

    ReplyDelete
  9. Congrats, Bethany, on hosting your own Chess Tournament!
    Wish you many more successes!
    Have a Happy Day!
    Peace :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Have a great day as well! Thank you, Chandra!

      Delete
  10. Good for you, organizing a tournament like that, no small task putting something like that together!

    Guess I'll have to wait for part 2 to see if all your praying paid off and everyone was able to show up...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Several people showed up who were not pre-registered, and most of the pre-registered people showed up, but the most of the "maybes" didn't make it.

      Delete
  11. Sounds like a great beginning to a fun-filled weekend! And you may be on to something about Chess players being musicians. My husband and both sons play Chess and several stringed musical instruments; mainly guitar.
    Can't say as I would like to eat your as yet untried dish, though. :)
    Looking forward to Part Two!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. John the Baptist liked it! But so far I haven't been brave enough to try it either. About 13 years ago we did a bit of traveling in the KS-TX-OK area (and up to Iowa), and some places we camped there were huge grasshoppers everywhere. I sure thought about it then!

      Neat that your husband and sons all play chess and music!

      Delete
  12. Hello Bethany, congrats on hosting your own chess tournament..Sounds awesome! And the cookout looks like a lot of fun with family and friends.. Thanks for sharing! Enjoy your day and the week ahead!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You too, Eileen! It is so nice for us that we can have campfires in our own yard whenever we want. It's one of the great points of living in the country. I remember when I was a city child (ooh, please, don't tell anyone), and it was so exciting to go camping, so we could roast marshmallows over a fire.

      Delete
  13. Good stuff! Sounds like so much fun (not so sure about the roasted grasshoppers (locusts and honey)), but hey, it's protein-packed. And I had a good laugh over all the different type of praying!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, that type of praying didn't seem to work so well... Pretty much the people who said they would show up, showed up. The majority of those who said "I'll be there if such-and such happens before then" didn't show up. And the people who didn't say anything but just appeared, showed up.
      Of course, I'm just assuming it didn't work out for those who didn't show up. On the other hand, my prayers could have been answered too well with the one player oversleeping, the other busy at work or on his honeymoon, and the other player's car in such good condition he decided to take a cross-country road trip. Who knows?

      Delete
  14. Wow! How excellent that you took the challenge to host a tournament!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's better than spending my life wondering what it would be like to direct a tournament! ;) Glad I gave it a try!

      Delete
  15. Good for you for taking on the challenge of organizing a tournament! It' always great to try new things and grow our skill set.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! Trying new things helps keep life exciting!

      Delete
  16. Great blogging ! @ Facebook promotion
    GarySlominski Omaha !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for stopping by my blog Gary!

      Delete
  17. That is so awesome! I use to play chess with my dad all the time when we were little, but I haven't played in years. What a wonderful game of skill! Have you ever seen the movie Knights of Columbus about a teacher who uses chess to help inner city school children. Pretty powerful I remember it when I was in college for my teaching degree we had to review it. Have a great day!

    Blessings,
    Jill

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually I've seen two similarly themed movies, The Mighty Pawns and Life of a King. Both were interesting, but I preferred the first . Thanks for mentioning Knights of Columbus! I will have to look it up!

      Edit: The closest I could find is Knights of the South Bronx. That fits your description; I'll have to see if I can watch it sometime!

      Blessings to you as well, Jill! Thanks again!

      Delete
  18. Hi Bethany - Congratulations on directing the Wellsburg Open! Probably a lot of work but a lot of fun too. Part 1 sounds like everything is getting off to a great start. I am truly sorry that I missed your mom's potato salad! :-) Looking forward to Part 2!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks John! Directing a tournament is something that I'd been thinking about doing for quite a while, so I'm glad I finally did it.

      Delete
  19. Beth, you are super kind, lovely girl and I am super glad you having fun playing chess. Sounds like you all have spent wonderful time :)

    ReplyDelete
  20. You got a super turnout for such a small population!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually, none of the players were from Wellsburg. Pastor Jim from Whitten and my family played, but we were the only locals. The rest drove out from Waterloo, Ames, Iowa City, Des Moines, and other cities.

      Delete
  21. It is great that you hosted the tournament!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Really cool that you set this up and hosted. Loved reading about the ins and outs of preparation. I thought that was an interesting comment that many chess players are also musicians. I think that goes along with the fact that many mathematicians are musicians...all these things take a certain kind of logical thinking. My husband is a good chess player, but not a musician or mathematician, but he does have a very logical brain.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Since most chess players do seem to be more or less logical people to me, and a lot of things in how our government is run and the things politicians say are *not* logical as far as I can see, I have wondered what a nation governed by chess players would be like....

      It would be interesting I'm sure, considering chess player come from just about every background, culture, political persuasion, and religion. I'm not necessarily advocating it--just saying it would be fascinating to see, though I sincerely doubt it will ever happen.

      Awesome that your husband is a chess player!

      Delete