Sunday, June 26, 2011

2011 Twin Falls Championship

Israel Flores (1st), Jeff Roland (2nd), Dan Looney (3rd)
It was a lovely day to play chess with my friends in Twin Falls at the Idaho Chess Union's TFC.  So lovely, in fact, I arrived without my usual competitiveness and resigned after thirteen moves against Jeff Roland (1679).  I needed a wake up jog which I neglected after the long drive.  All of my oxygen was withheld from my brain because all of my blood cells were in my butt!
After the game, I quickly went to the nearest coffee shop (Java) and downed a four-shot espresso latte and walked around the block before I faced Hugh Myers (1657).  The last time I played him, a few years ago at MVCC, I figured I lost on move 2 and resigned by move 14!  This game started out fairly and then I suddenly felt the heat and pressure of a collapsing game.  Deja vu?  Another coffee for me and relief in the bathroom and I was ready to look at the board with a fresh perspective.  I fought back, he played passively and defensively in the endgame, and he resigned with only 23 seconds left on my clock!  I really thought he would just run my time out like others before.  I really have a new respect for Hugh for being a gentleman and resigning a lost game on the board.  I only hope I would do the same.
My round 3 game turned out as bad as my first round and so I rolled over and let Dan Looney (1641) maul me like a bear, while secretly I tried to get a back rank mate (my only hope!).  But a player such as this would have nothing of it.  He ended in third place in the tournament and Jeff took second place.  My last game was against a highly rated player, Fred Bartell (1799), and I have never beaten him in a tournament game.  And this is still the case.  I played a much better game except when I ran into time issues again and lost an even position.  It certainly takes me longer to work through some of the problems faced on the board and I find G/120 much more comfortable.  I am happy with two of my games and felt that I learned some new things from the other two.

Israel Flores is a newcomer to the Twin Falls chess scene and won the Twin Falls Championship with a perfect tournament score.  Jeff Roland, 2nd place, and Dan Looney, 3rd place.  Nedzad Imamovic was another newcomer and ended in 4th place.  Glen Buckendorf donated three books from his library for 4th - 6th place.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Twin Falls Championship tomorrow

4SS G/60
This will be my fifth time at this tournament and my aspirations are to play well and win at least two games.  Here is a confirmed player list:

1.) Nezdad Imamovic 1800
2.) Glen Buckendorf 1800
3.) Fred Bartell 1799
4.) Jeff Roland 1679
5.) Hugh Myers 1657
6.) Barry Eacker 1642
7.) Dan Looney 1641
8.) Emily Patterson 1516
9.) Aleksandr Vereshchagin 1445
10.) Chris Pentico 1434
11.) Adam Porth 1224
12) Israel Flores 1200
13.) Kevin Patterson 1196
14.) Katie Rae Patterson 1019

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Growing Chess at the Farmer's Market

Chess at the Hailey Farmer's Market
I set up a chess booth at the Farmer's Market today in Hailey to teach and play patrons of the agricultural arts.  It was a huge success with the children waiting for their moms to finish shopping engaging in intense, humorous, and interesting chess.  Amidst the pies, plants, early radishes, and turned wooden dog bowls, giant chess was played by several youngsters and I had a table set for standard chess play. I also was able to play long-time friend, Erwin Kett.  Erwin is a supporter of the WRHS Chess Club and gladly showed up for two long games of chess.  He was unhappy to leave for an appointment after 2 1/2 hours of play and desired just one more game to try and beat me.
Some Chessnuts plotting their next move!

While playing Erwin, I offered help to the kids and clarified rules when necessary.  I was happy to show one boy how to mate quickly (mate in 2) with a queen and a rook using the "ladder" technique.  I call it "drawing a line in the sand."  Interestingly, when I let him perform the maneuver on his mom, he used four extra moves (he really wanted to own the checkmate!).  In fact, it was nice to see how many moms played a game with their boys.  I witnessed interesting pawn structures and beautifully symmetric openings (ah, the dreaded a4 and h4 opening that begins some sort of a rook assault).

Humans love symmetry, but never open like this. . . bishops will gobble up your rooks and you lose the exchange by two points, and your pawn structure gets screwed up!
Chess is great for family engagement

Here is another symmetrical game I saw . . . it definitely looks like some thing is happening  . . .but not really!  It might be something out of Stratego, but not chess.  Don't do this.

Two little guys refused any help until I just couldn't take anymore checkers-jumping and interfered by showing them how the pieces move.  Adults were somewhat stand offish and watched from a distance, but you could see by their faces they longed to play. Maybe they will start playing?  As I plan to have a chess booth every Thursday at the Farmer's Market in Hailey.  Next week, I hope to have a sun shade and also to up the booth presentation by having a checkered table cloth.  Also, a sign that said "Free Chess, Help Yourself" because I was asked by several people "How much?"  Farmer's Markets are great places to visibly engage people in chess.
Chess Mom and son

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Chess and Bowling: End of the year Party!

Miles getting his last game of his Senior year in.

WRHS School Champions:  Nick Bruck, Desmond Porth, Miles Hendrix

Middleschool resentment.

Nick collects his letter and his loot.

Good group of chess enthusiasts.

Farwell to the seniors.

Chess business:  thanking our patrons and supporters.

Alumni Kitt visits for pizza.

Monday, June 20, 2011

All six grants came through!

Well, it was Christmas in June as the gifts and grants began rolling in!  The Vernier Probeware was only one of my grants for increased technology in the classroom.  In fact, our science department will be receiving about $20,000 in Vernier probeware, two laptop carts with printers and 12 computers per cart, and $20,000 worth of digital microscopes.  Total coming in this next school year:  $60,000 from grants I wrote.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Vernier Probeware, Chess and Science Education

Here is an excerpt from a grant that I wrote for Vernier Probeware.  Wish me luck as it is worth $10,000 in lab equipment.

"Innovative Lessons:  One such innovative lesson will be an interdisciplinary and physiological study of athletics and intellectual sports in a real situation.  I am currently a soccer and chess coach for our school and this provides a unique opportunity to measure physiological characteristics of each athletic type.  There is a widely held view that chess is not a physical activity.  The athletes would be the control group.  My plan is to engage the physiology students in a real, scientific investigation from initial hypothesis formation to research article publishing in the study of physiological changes in athletes and chess players during competitions. Research from Harvard and other universities have demonstrated the physical nature in brain wave patterns of chess players through MRI and PET scans, however, I have not found any research on other physiological characters such as temperature, heart rate, respiration, etc.  One such study did demonstrate that chess players may lose up to ten pounds during tournaments!  Vernier probes would be an integral part of the data collection and analyzing process, as the current equipment is cumbersome, awkward, and does not reflect the sensitivities needed for such research by students."

Imagine some probes hooked up to this player - EKG, heart rate, respiration, temperature probes, etc.

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