Monday, May 27, 2013

Fraught scenes at Table 1

I am at a school chess tournament. Marcus has been very excited about it, as last year’s top players were all Grade Sixers, and they have moved into the senior category, leaving him as (he hopes) top dog. Unfortunately he has already lost one of his 4 games, and there were a few tears. He is a lot more resilient than he once was, but he still expects a lot of himself. The team started well but have drifted to equal 4th, hopefully a good final round might get us into the medals.

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Well, that was exciting. We were pretty much out of it with one round to go, but managed to sneak in for 3rd place! Most of the team picked up bronze medals - the top 4 scorers get them, and if a few are equal 4th they all get them.

Marcus came equal 2nd overall. His last game was on the top table against the eventual winner. It finished in a controversial draw when she walked out, and said she couldn't play as there were too many people crowding around the table. This crowding always happens with long games on the top tables - players who have finished their games congregate and watch, not always quietly. I'm disappointed the organisers didn't look after the situation a bit better - last game on table 1 should always have a referee/arbiter keeping an eye on it.

Marcus was furious because he had just taken a big advantage in the game when his opponent took a stress break. I can't testify to what happened, as I always stay away from his games, but no-one has said that he did anything wrong. But when the other player came back in, the tournament organiser had a little conference, asked Marcus to apologise to her, and declared it a draw.

Of course its not easy running these things, and I am happy to accept the umpire's decision (although its not the decision I would have made.) In the moment I was determined not to be Ugly Chess Dad, so I just went along with things. But now I wish I had just asked "What exactly is he apologising for?"

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