Friday, December 11, 2009

K-12 National Championship, Day 1

The scene is very surreal - the Hilton Anatole is a very high end beast with authentic asian statues, glass chandeliers, vases, bronze and marble sculptures featuring Hindi and Budhist icons.  There are also a pair of slabs from the Berlin Wall featured in a private courtyard between the numerous buildings.  The room for the simul with Alexandra Kosteniuk was large enough for a Monsters of Rock concert and the 2-8 section room featured several chandeliers that are as large as my house (no joke!).  Now envision over 1200 kids and their families, teams, and chess boards in every nook and cranny of the grenogous structure and you might get an idea of the size of this event.  I saved a 10 ft. elephant statue that one middle school boy tried leaping on, and the father that I was talking to saved a vase from a football being launched from the other side of the room.  Kids were running everywhere, footballs, remote cars, chess, piles of parents, laptops, sodokus, webkins, card games, B.O., tennis balls, and much more.

The Porth's certainly contibuted to the menagerie.  We arrived early enough to chat with Alexandra Kosteniuk and her husband and to also have a private board signing and picture session.  However, the start was unlike any tournament start.  You see, Dylan woke up vomitting, arrived vomitting in the parking lot, and continued to vomit during her game with Alexandra Kosteniuk, and during her first round game.  I told Dylan that mountain girls are tough and that she might as well sit in front of a chess board and make a move every now and then, rather than sit in front of the tv feeling just as bad.  As I watched the spectacle, I was feeling lower by the minute, and by the end of the first round, I couldn't find a rock large enough to crawl under.  What was crazier was that the rooms were so big and the bathrooms were so far away, Dylan would literally run to the nearest garbage and throw her head into it and RALPH.  One mom even asked me if I did my daughters hair and then pointed out that I put her cute hair-piece upside-down.  People were rather impressed with her game against Alexandra, though.  Dylan was nearly 3/4 of the way into the game with even material but a crumbling position and I was as proud of her as I ever have been.  She played for 2 3/4 hours against Alexandra and had 15 min. break before her first round match began.   Desmond was very supportive of Dylan also and refrained from telling Dylan not to breath on anyone ("Dad, her breath smells like puke!").  Good boy.  The first game ended after 1/2 hr., thankfully.  A pediatric nurse was camped out near us and provided some medication that knocked her out for a good 2 1/2 - 3 hours and also her nausea.  She awoke disoriented and in time for me to throw some food at her, and rush her off to her second round game.  When I asked her how she played, she said flatly, "I didn't make any mistakes, dad, but he did.  So I took his queen, then his rooks, and the rest of his pieces.  Do you want me to show you the mate?  I used the ladder you taught me."  Through the exhausted tone, I could see the pride she felt after day 1.  What an absolute sweet heart.

Desi had a very tough day and faced a 1500 and a 1200 for his two rounds.  We played out his first game and I will post that here tomorrow.  As he explained his moves, he played out a recovering combination that I thought (and he during the game) was a winner, but then "What the . . ."   A bishop from the other side of the board equalized.   It was a very interesting game and he almost pulled a win out of it.  I think we will upon analysis at home.  I have not looked at the second game, yet.  I am happy about what he learned during the Kosteniuk game and the round 1 game.  I am just happy that he recorded all his games today and his games were over 2 1/2 hours each. 

This has already been a tournament that we will always remember and there are two more days!  Desi and Dylan want me to play in the parents-friends tournament tomorrow where my score will be combined with theirs for a composite score.  We all pulled together and supported each other, and spent a lot of the day laughing and playing with each other, despite the physical and mental anguish of the chess games.  Des and Dylan both look forward to what the next few days will bring.


  1. Hi!
    It was great doing the simul in Dallas. We have many wonderful photos of all kids, including yours, I will post tonight or latest tomorrow morning on and .
    If you want to have them printed or emailed let me know I will gladly send to any parents who request them photos for free. My email is .
    Best chess wishes to you!
    Alexandra Kosteniuk
    Women's World Chess Champion

  2. Wow! What an amazing experience for you 3. I suppose next year Darwin will go too? Love the Buddha picture.


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