Round 1

The tournament was to have all registrations done by 4:00 today. First round was to start at 4:00. Not hard to do both at the same time in a small tournament like this. There were about 60 players. This is a team event. So once your team is signed up, they just needed to pair you up with the other teams in your grouping.

Sign up and adult game postings were done sometime between 4:30 and 4:45. I should have gotten the exact time because it would have come in handy later. The dignitaries were introduced and adults were sent to their tables to start play. The kids (up to 12 years old) still did not have their team pairings.

My round
My team drew a bye which would net us 2 out of 4 possible points. There were 9 teams and one had to get a bye. I was a bit relieved just because I am still a little nervous about starting the tournament. Our best player Daniel, whom I mentioned before, left. Myself and two younger players (maybe 13 and 14) stuck around. They are brother and sister and had another brother playing in the kids group.

Somewhere around 5:00 another team registered for the event. They then were paired with us and we three were told to go ahead and play our round. Since Daniel had already left, he would have gotten a loss and since the team we were playing were all crusty old men, we figured that the three who were left stood no chance to win any other point.

Being the stickler for rules that I am, and because the two younger players were almost in tears at the thought of having to play without our capitan Daniel, I protested. I simply told the judge (we’ll call him the white judge) that we drew a bye, our best player had already left and the other team registered late, therefore we were not obligated to play. He took the matter to the head judge (the blue judge) who countered with “they have three players, just have them play anyway.” The white judge plead our case saying that even though this is a local tournament, I have a right to have the rules of registration respected. The blue judge conceded and allowed us our bye and gave the other team a bye.

To be fair to the other team, they have a valid point in that registration has always been lax at the local level here, so they should be allowed to still play. I am fine with that, just don’t steal my 2 points. If I were tournament director then when 4:00 rolls around according to the atomic clock, registration is closed. But I am not and I understand that here tradition is more powerful than the rules.

My son’s round
The kids finally got their game assignments sometime after 5:00. First round was to start at 4:00. He played well as black. He kept a good attack going on the opponent’s King. But he had no real killing strategy. Their game moved very slowly and it was almost as if they were doing everything they could just to keep from getting captured. Neither one really played much offence. I think each had 2 pieces in the end.

5:30 passed. I had a class to teach at 6:00. 5:40 came and went. I was getting pretty depressed by this time. I knew what needed to be done and I did not want to do it. At 5:50 I could not wait any longer. I had to ask my son to resign his game. Two hours was plenty of time to play before I had to go teach. But since his game started more than an hour late, that put him in time trouble. Not from the play clock, but obligations. At 8 years old I could not just leave him there and come back for him in an hour and a half.

By resigning he lost a point for his team. Had the tournament started on time this would have never happened. Theoretically it could have happened because each player had 1.5 hours to make their moves. So he could have run out of time and had to retire because 2 hours might not have been enough. But I have rarely seen a kids game last much more than an hour.

As I was sitting behind my son and his game I heard a phone ring. The new rule is that if your cell phone rings during a game, you automatically lose the game. I was curious as to who was going to lose his game. Quickly a man jumped up and started digging in his pocket. It rang again as he answered it running out the door. His opponent shot up his hand and told the white judge what had happened. The judge did not see the event, so had to talk to both players.

The white judge and the offender argued for quite some time. It was very clear to me that his phone rang at the table. He said it did not ring until he had left the table and was walking out of the room, but that the vibrate function goes off before it rings, so he knew it was about to ring.

After 30 minutes of arguing with the white judge over exactly what the rule said, the blue judge was called in. The blue judge went and got the rule book. I snuck over to hear the reading of the rule. The rule states that if the phone rings in the playing room (not just at the table) then the player forfeits his game. The offender started backtracking then and saying his phone did not ring until he was out of the room. Then he said something quite humorous to his opponent. “You are just using the rules to your advantage!” Isn’t that what rules are for? To be used? And doesn’t that always imply that someone gets the advantage over another player? He then said he wanted to file a formal complaint against the judges for being so technical about the rules. So the blue judge gave him a stack of paper and a pen.

That was about when we had to leave. Quite entertaining amongst all the other goings on. Hopefully tomorrow will be more on time. Of course, tomorrow we have no obligations after the rounds, therefore time is not as essential to us.

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