I’m home after a long drive yesterday, and after some much needed sleep. (Who knew chess tournaments took so much out of you?) Now it’s time to catch up on Rounds 8 and 9, and then I’ll cap things off with a recap, review and reconsideration of my game. I’ll return to book reviewing shortly thereafter with a review of Christian Hesse’s book.
Saturday was Delegate Meeting day. Oy. I’ve been told it was Kissinger who once said that academics argue so much because there’s so very little at stake. I’m sure, however, that if he’d attended the Delegates Meeting, he’d want to modify that statement. Chess players just love to hear themselves argue over the smallest things, and while I’m sure it’s part of my training in informal logic that makes me say this, I heard some of the dumbest arguments imaginable on certain barely consequential votes.
That said, I did rather enjoy being a Delegate, if only because I could tune out and look at things on Chessbase if the discussion went sour. I learned quite a bit about the state of the USCF and its finances, which, all things considered, are decent and perhaps even on the upswing. Michael Khodarkovsky gave a report about FIDE and Americans in international play. We learned that Franc Guadalupe is actively working to get some kind of online play for USCF members and, perhaps more importantly, is bargaining with Random House to publish the long-awaited 6th edition of the Rulebook. Guadalupe seems incredibly competent, which naturally means we can’t induce him to stay on as full-time director. Oh well. A boy can dream.
Two motions were actively debated. The first dealt with the introduction of an age-limit for Delegates. This makes sense, and legal opinion apparently was on the side of age-limiters. But youth prevailed, if only because (1) there was a 14yr old Delegate already seated with whom the majority of the grandparently delegates were smitten, and (2) people were convinced by some of the least well-thought speeches I’ve ever heard. So we can seat toddlers as delegates… because states rights. (Seriously.)
Second, Jim Berry tried to introduce a plan to allow scholastic players up to the age of 12 to buy life memberships for $500. Sounds great, right? Most scholastic players drop out, so that has got to be a cash grab for the Federation. But it would seem that no one actually did any cost-benefit analysis to determine how many players drop out and come back, what percentage of players would have to disappear as adults to make such a cheap price point feasible, etc. I was moved to make my one and only comment from the floor here, telling the delegates that most of them were far older than me and that I (and my coming governing cohorts) might have to deal with the consequences of a plan that apparently wasn’t worth their doing basic math or anything. Luckily reason – or non-insanity – prevailed here and the motion failed.
It turns out my evening game was against another delegate, this time a woman from Wisconsin. After some dodgy opening play, I was able to tie her defenses down to a backward c-pawn and then open up a second attack on her kingside. I probably could have won faster, but in the end I’m basically pleased with my play here. The resistance could have been stronger, but it wasn’t a blowout and I had to actually, you know, do something to win. This left me at 4.0/8 heading into the last round.