Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Armenia's Gambit or gamble?

Chess is now a compulsory subject in all Armenian schools, including the secondary level (see also  This is great news as many studies have shown how chess can improve all areas of study for students that regularly engage in chess activities.  It appears the Ministry of Education is pledging $1.5 million for textbooks and manuals, equipment such as boards and portable tables, and even salaries for chess teachers.  The ministry indicates that chess will "foster schoolchildren's intellectual development" and improve children's critical thinking skills.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Idaho History: Western Idaho Open

courtesy of:  Jeff Roland, ICA Trustee for Web Development and Maintenance

If you read the article on the 1964 Western Idaho Open (shown below), the organizers of the day were very excited about the “large turnout” of 19 players! Last year, we had 27 players at the 2010 WIO, and I plan to really promote this year’s event even better. At the PCC Centennial Open in Portland a couple weeks ago, I actually asked several players, a couple of them masters, if they would come, and they seemed positively inclined, especially as they are excited about Idaho joining Northwest Chess. And I am planning to get our ad in Northwest Chess. However, the weather will probably be the biggest hurdle. It is hard to get over those Blue Mountains!!! However, not impossible for the chess fanatic! It is ironic that the time of year most conducive to indoor activities like chess also makes it difficult to travel to play in them!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Making Chess More Popular Among High School Students

As we start a new school year, it might behoove the first spirit assemblies to not only celebrate athletes, but also recognize the chess clubbers.  At our school, the assembly organizers include the chess club in their program and from feedback from the kids in the program, the appreciation and recognition is welcomed.  I find that the school climate and culture is better toward chess club news and interest is also generated in the club.  In fact, some schools have even replicated the Saturday Night Live skit.  But, I wonder if the YouTube videos that were uploaded by schools are furthering the stigma of chess or providing a bit of tongue-and-cheek humor that hard-working chess club kids enjoy?  This year, I do plan on bringing our cheerleaders into a scholastic tournament at the start to rev up the fun.  Maybe I will even ask them to perform the SNL skit to the ICA Wood River Progressive tournament this October?  

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Class of 1986

On the way to my 25th Class Reunion

"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."
—Bilbo's speech at his birthday party

What the heck does this mean?  Tolkien was a genius to cipher this quote and I should have said it at my reunion just to trip some people out.  

25th Reunion of Class of 1986

My Old Digs
I have never been back for a reunion and seldomly visit Wisconsin due to all of my family's activities  and the gorgeous place in which I live here in Idaho.  Who'd vacation anywhere else?  However, I had a great time at my 25th Class Reunion in Columbus, Wisconsin this past week.  Of the twenty-eight that showed up, none were my close high school friends, but I soon discovered that my classmates were friends, indeed.  Reacquainting yourself with folks that knew you growing up during the horrors, trials and tribulations puberty is an experience meant for the meek and the proud.  Kids that were mean to me and I despised in my youth, and vice versa turned out downright friendly and a pleasure to be around.  And we were out until 4 am!  When growing up for 12 years with the same kids in your classes, at lunch, on the play ground, and in evening sports, I suppose they are like family members, as you spent almost as much time with them as your true family.   A real family will weather  the storms and bask in the sunlight - altruism at its finest!  

I was apprehensive to meet school mates for the first time since graduation in 1986 and feared recognizing and remembering names.  Maybe iphones should be equipped with face recognition aps?  Too bad I only carry a basic phone.  I should have consulted and studied my yearbook before attending, but I was delighted to know most of the ladies and many of the guys.  I found it more difficult to recognize the males, however.  Whether you were female or male, the smiles were exactly the same among all the increased mass and decreased hair and that sincerely tapped the nerve cells storing that information - I would blurt out the correct name (name tags were helpful too).

The Ladies

The Guys

Surprisingly, some classmates were still enjoying the same enterprises like hunting, trapping, drinking or even coaching the same sport they excelled in.  My chess passion was already known among facebookers and I was thrilled to notice enthusiasm in their tone.  I remember forming a chess club at our high school with a group of friends.  We only played a handful of games during the entire four years and used it mostly as an excuse for field trips to the Field Museum in Chicago and the Milwaukee Public Museum.

After renewing my old friendships and regaining some new ones, the reunion organizers and myself decided to embark on a class website.  So, I built it this week for my class mates and I hope that my friends were not so, just for the night, and contribute to our "family" history website.  

WRHS Website Updated

As I get ready for school, my numerous websites need updating.  The WRHS Website is updated.
The beauty of a move lies not in its appearance but in the thought behind it.  - Aaron Nimzowitsch

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tournament Calendar is Updated

There are many great tournaments in the area that are posted at the Tournament tab.  Start making plans and saving money so you can attend these fun events!  If you are aware of any other tournaments that folks might be interested in attending, please comment and I will update the calendar.
Skittles Room, National High School Championship, 2011

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