Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Chessfest 2010

That rant below about music started out as an account of our day at the chess tournament. South Hobart was represented by Marcus, Avon, Angela and Oscar. We arrived at nine, and after some kerfuffle things got going at tennish. The kids each played nine games (plus a few practice games before hand and at lunchtime) and the whole thing wrapped up around four. It was quite intense.

There were maybe 200 kids involved from all over Tasmania. There are two parallel competitions in the same hall - Open High School and Open Primary. Some of the high school kids were just enormous, quite a bit taller than me, and I am 6 foot. I remember from last year how strange it is to spend a whole day in the same room with kids that age.

Last year South Hobart came 14th of 18 schools, so we certainly weren't going in to it feeling any pressure to perform. I was very pleased with the goals Marcus set for himself and the team - modest improvements on last year. He won 3 games and drew 2 in that tournament.

Yesterday he won his first two, and I think that set him up to enjoy the day, even though he lost the next three. After five rounds Oscar had a win and a draw, and the other three had two wins each - a very even contribution from everyone.

The event was hosted by Launceston Grammar school, the same as last year. My Dad actually attended back in the fifties. Although it is a swanky private school, its located in the working-class suburb of Mowbray. Marcus and I went for a walk in the sun during the lunchbreak, and the difference in culture once we left the gracious grounds was significant. On the corner next to KFC is Dave's Noodles, and just across the road, the Dilligaf Café. Noice.

The school is on a hill, overlooking the broad mudflats and marshes of the Tamar river. It may have many fine qualities but it is not a handsome waterway. Closer in to the city there has been a lot of development around the old river port, with an attempt to work with the maritime theme. I was very amused to see a fine dining restaurant there called Silt. I'm pleased to see they are embracing the unavoidable.

After lunch the team really finished the day off well, getting seven points from a possible 12. Marcus and Oscar improved on their results last year, and Avon and Angela did very well in their first efforts at this level. Although we had an extra player last year, our team score was slightly better this year.

One thing that is ridiculous at all tournaments I've been to is the way the playing rosters are put up. After all matches in a round are completed, the organisers do some calculations, and work out who should play next, and on which table.

Then, in a large hall full of 200 kids ranging in size from tiny Grade 2s girls to lads with beards (who row in the first eight and drive cars) the organisers put up ONE a4 sheet at each end of the hall - often on the doors. Cue the stampede. At one stage I was coming in from outside, and as I opened the door about 20 young people staggered forward into the light, as though magnetically attracted by the roster.

Rather than calming the situation, the organisers then get up on the stage while the smaller and more timid are still trying to get a look at the roster, and say "Get a move on please, the next round will start in 2 minutes! If your opponent has not arrived by then you can start their clock". Cue mild panic attacks and some light shoving.

To their credit the organisers did try to wrap things up quickly this year. We stayed to see the big trophies and medals handed out, then drove home. On the way we stopped at Campbell Town for dinner at a new place called Burger Me. 1/10 for the name but the food was actually very good.

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