I caught a 6:40am flight from Omaha to Chicago to Orlando, arriving in town at about 1:30pm. I had hoped to sleep on the flight, as I awoke at about 5am and slept fitfully before that, but could only doze on the first leg and struck out on the second. I’d never considered it before, but there are a LOT of kids on fights to Orlando, and more than one decided that mid-flight was the time to sing us all the songs of their people. Oy.
After picking up my car, I headed over to the playing site. The Rosen Centre Hotel is a very big place, and there are two or three large convention type events going on at once. Besides the chess, I have seen some kind of Harry Potter event, a meeting of the Tuskegee Airmen (wow!), and various parts of the Miss America Outstanding Teen pageant. Chess players and beauty queens. Gotta love America.
Between 3 and 7, when rd 1 began, I wandered around a bit and got the lay of the land. The bookstore is impressive. (More on that later.) The playing hall is tremendous. There are lots of kids playing bughouse and blitz everywhere you look. And ICC is on-site, handing out free memberships to players in the Denker, Barber, and NGIT. Some 20 year ICC members (ahem) might also have gotten themselves a six month extension after banter with the on-site rep…
My round one game was against a young expert from Cleveland, OH named Zane Eisen. I think I was better after 15 moves, but got too ambitious and missed a shot around move 25. My attempts at complicating were for naught, and Eisen collected the point after time control was made. We had a good post-mortem, and Al Lawrence dropped by to say hello. Al, former Chess Life editor and a Lincoln native, is one of the good guys in American chess, and it’s always good to see him.
As I am playing in the six-day, I took byes in rounds two and six so as to minimize my having to play two games a day. So today I had breakfast with Nebraska’s NGIT player Jacey Tran and her mom, made a quick run to Whole Foods for coffee filters, and met up again with the Trans in the bookstore. Later I’ll take some pictures during rd 2 of the six-day and I’ll also begin the work of my US Open games project, about which more will be said in a later post.