Thursday, April 20, 2006

Queen of the North

Two summers ago (2004), we drove from Jasper across to Prince Rupert, and then took the ferry down to Vancouver Island. The boat trip is an all day cruise down the inside passage. It started out a bit gray, but cleared by midday and was perfect until we docked in late evening. D found various chess victims while we watched the scenery, other boats, and a great sunset.

On March 22nd, 2006, the Queen of the North hit a rock in the middle of the night and sank in 400' of water. Fortunately, all but two people were able to get off the ship in the hour or so before it went down.

It's sort of weird to think that ship is now gone. The photo on our 2004 holiday card was taken on that boat.

Queen of the North
CBC News
Photo Gallery

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Home via Chicago

By late afternoon, the Louisville airport had pretty much emptied of chess players. We were off the ground before 5, spent a couple hours at O'Hare, and M picked us up at SeaTac sometime before 10. No chess players within sight at Chicago, so D spent it rearranging playlists in iTunes.

I should have picked up this morning's Louisville Courier Journal. It had a picture of D's marathon 6th round game (Sunday morning):

Monday LCJ Article

Monday, April 10, 2006

Louisville Sluggers

Packed up and met for breakfast. Then checked out the baseball bat factory. It's neat to visit a real working operation - these days industrial field trips usually involve videos in a sanitized theater. Remarkably, P & D had to be dragged to the Arms Museum (Guns, Knives, etc). We kept the visit short, the main event being a neat swordplay exhibition built around a few scenes from Romeo and Juliet.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Sunday Evening

After the awards ceremony, we headed off for Joe's Crab Shack. The boys have been pretty punchy and weren't terribly enthusiastic about our dinner plans. And the toys hanging from the ceiling and the river view weren't enough to inspire them. But when they finished, they headed for the outside deck to - you guessed it - play more chess. It's amazing how three kids can entertain themselves for so long with a two person game!

It's over!

Seven rounds in three days. It's been tiring. And the kids are tired, too. Some disappointing matches today, but nothing that a little time and a lot of ice cream couldn't fix. And even the ice cream led to more chess.

Sunday Morning - Round #6

Two more rounds to go. All of our kids (I consider P, E, and D an unrecognized team at this point) were at their tables and seemed to be wide awake. D is playing on the 4th board against a 1900+ opponent. He's had his normal Sunday morning waffle (he's had a "normal" sunday morning waffle four days in a row, actually) and was plugged into Dad's iPod since we left the room this morning. He's been very good about relinquishing it before the actual tournament games begin, which I apppreciate, even if he doesn't.

Round 7 begins at 2PM this afternoon. Awards ceremony is at 7. Pairings and results at:

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Waiting for Devon

10:50. Almost four hours and we're all sitting around waiting for D to finish. P & E have been playing chess all day, but that doesn't stop them from another round of blitz.

Devon's back. He won. Time for bed. Round #6 is at 9AM!


Kentucky. It's all about horses and bourbon. The horses are more colorful than I had expected. And much, much slower!

Side Events

D and E playing Bughouse after the fourth round. All sorts of strange pairings at this tournament. The guy without the hair seems a bit old for a junior high event - maybe he's a coach. I think I saw him at the Salt Spring Invitational last summer, as matter of fact I think he and I agreed to a draw when we saw that the other members of our quad had pretty much locked the touurnament up.

Louisville Bureau

The front has passed and now it's cold, clear, and windy. A big coal barge just slid downstream past my office window. Occasionally, a freight train crosses the bridge in the distance. I can see the Colgate Factory across the river - someone speculated that at least one of the big tanks might actually contain toothpaste. Like some other cities we know, a freeway lies between downtown and the shoreline, stifling the potential of an urban waterfront.

My office space comes with free wirelesss internet and a full bar. It's two blocks to good coffee.

Round Four

Saturday afternoon. The round began 15 minutes ago. D's loaded up with meat pizza and Cold Stone Ice Cream. D and E are sitting at adjacent boards - almost wound up playing each other this round. Both had 2.5 points after Round #3.

Saturday Morning

The awards ceremony for Blitz and Bughouse was at 8 this morning. Groggy kids, many stiill in bed. P & D both walked away with a couple trophies. Well, they didn't actually walk away - their parents were sent off with the trophies while they just started playing chess where they were already sitting. As if they didn't have 12 hours of regulation play in front of them today. Round #3 got off at 9 - or so I assume.

Today is much cooler than yesterday, but not the sunshine the forecast had predicted.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Round Two meets the Discovery Channel

30 minutes into Round #2, around 7:30 Friday evening, a good thunderstorm started moving in. Lightning lit up the atrium. Sirens started going off in the distance. A fire truck pulled up downstairs. And then the staff started shutting down this area, which apparently is standard during a tornado warning. At the same time, 1200 kids were told to pause their clocks and leave the playing hall. And then told to return. I shut down laptop, grabbed my beer and the bowl of goldfish, and along with all the other parents, converged on the playing hall, where we were told to go since it was far from the exterior walls of the building. Everyone was warned about commenting on games in progress. Most of the kids seemed to be taking it pretty well, though everyone was pretty confused.

An hour later, things were back to normal and the games resumed. A tornado may have touuched down in the suburbs southwest of Louisville, but we're not sure. Sounds like things were much more serious farther soth and west in Tennessee.

Ohio River

I'm watching the thunderclouds start to build to the west - hoping for a storm. I'm sitting in the Conservatory enjoying the view and the wireless connection. Devon just showed up, reports he squeaked out a draw after being down a pawn from the start. On the other hand, Devon sometimes pulls my leg about these things. I'll wait for the official results. Evan also reports a draw - I think he can be trusted. Round Two at 7PM.

Lightning bolts over the river and thunder, too! The photos are from a walk an hour or two ago.

Round One

Round One began at 1PM, two hours ago. Opening ceremony was pretty tame - no marching bands; no speech by the mayor. We got a trumpet solo of My Old Kentucky Home (at least that was I suppose it was) and a nice rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, but they let slip a great opportunity for a chess rap. And I was hoping they'd have half a dozen thoroughbreds gallop down the central aisle.

USCF is now posting pairings and results at:

Pronunciation Problems

I've been looking for an answer, and instead I get multiple choice! A Wabash Valley colleague suggested swallowing the middle part of the city's name - so I guess the first line is correct.


D and 23 other players are upstairs trying not to lose too quickly to Gregory Kaidonov in this morning's simul. Good warm up for the main event - Round #1 of which starts at 1 this afternoon.

The big news this morning was that the espresso machine at the nearest Starbucks was broken, but they got it fixed in 5 or 10 minutes. In Seattle, the customers would have begun rioting by then, but folks seemed a little more laid back here. Or maybe they don't take their coffee as seriously!


As more people show up it starts to feel a lot more like Nationals. Games in the lobby; games on the floor. Last nights Blitz event went very smoothly, winding up shortly after 8. Nice contrast to last year's zoo where they cut off tournament after four rounds at 10 something. D ended up in 18th, as best as I can tell, with 8.5. Weather remained gray and wet all day, with a couple hard downpours in late afternoon.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


Welcome to the banks of the Ohio River. Arrived yesterday afternoon in beautiful weather. Checked in, then had dinner at Hard Rock Cafe in Fourth Street Live. Walked down to Galt House to check out tournament set up and so D could find someone to play a game with. There were few folks around and eventually headed back for ice cream, but arrived at Cold Stone 10 minutes after they closed.

Breakfast this morning at hotel and then back to GH. We can walk all the way in interior corridors and skyways, so today's rain wasn't a problem. D has spent most of day playing chess on the floor outside the tournament room. He opted out of bughouse, saving himself for tonight's Blitz event. Right now he's working on a Sudoku and listening to my iPod. The tournament starts in an hour - I suppose I should find him something to eat besides the chocoate chip cookie he had an hour ago. (he just finished the sudoku! - a "tricky" one)