So we took 17 kids: 5 in the elementary, 8 in the junior high and 4 in the high school. We got 1st in junior high and 2nd in elementary and high school. The elementary kids had no chance since(with one exception) they played like little children, but the four eighth graders in the high school section were leading all tournament and lost two winning positions in the last round to let Murrow slip past and beat us by a point. I left most of the scoresheets at school, but here's Michael Peguero's win over expert Evan Rabin:
(5) Peguero,Michael - Rabin,Evan [B03]
State Scholastics, 16.03.2008
12.Nd4 He'd like to play Bd4 but it loses a pawn: 12.Bd4? Bxf3 13.Bxf3 Nxc4
15.Ncb5 This move was part of some weird, not-working plan to provoke a6 and then trap the Nc5 with b4, but it's not so bad since it does loosen up the black queenside.
23.bxc4 Taking with the queen is probably better, since the pawn is much weaker on c4 than b3, plus the open c file might be useful.
33.Rxf8+ 33.Rh3 threatening Nxg6 is even stronger
I was somehow every impressed by this game-- it's nothing spectacular, but I liked how calmly Michael played; I liked that he was trying to provoke his opponent to play ...a6, I liked that he played the c rook to d1. I've really never taught a kid like him before-- he's just such a natural player, loves to study, never gets tired of chess, great memory, doesn't get nervous or upset by much.
Someone asked me approximately how good the kids were, and I kinda liked my answer, which went "There are about six of them who if I ask, 'what were you going to do if he took this and then took here and then went check,' they will always have some kind of answer for me. Maybe not a good answer, but they will have looked at the stuff they have to look at. Then there are maybe 5 of the 17 who could conceivably be back-rank checkmated in a tournament game. The rest are ... pretty ok?" We're taking 46 to Nationals... everything from Michael and Darrian who are basically as skilled as I am (I know more, definitely, but they are just as good at analyzing) to kids whose games I have to put on my fake-patient-teacher voice to go over. But in general I'm very fortunate-- the school has more than 40 kids over 1000 and I think 20 over 1300. So teaching them isn't boring.
But talking about my job is boring, right? What else do I have to tell you? Some excellent free chess books to download at http://bookyards.blogspot.com/2007/06/free-chess-e-books-from-bookyards.html. I like the Modern Chess Self-Instructor ones especially.
Oh yeah, I realized that a position I had given from one of my games in a blog on the uschess.org site was cooked:I recaptured with 26. bxc5, but claimed in the solution that 26. dxc5 was better-- the idea is that I put my knight on d4 and push my queenside pawns. Unfortunately, 26. dxc5 loses a pawn to 26... Nxe5, since 27.... Nf3 is threatened. Oooops.... I would have posted a comment on the USCF site, but somehow my browser doesn't let me.
So I was away for most of the weekend, and coming home I was reading the comments on the blog. (Maybe some readers were offended that I called y'all overpaid clowns?!) This led to some thoughts about what kinds of comments actually hurt my feelings as opposed to comments that seem like they should hurt but don't really. Until I start thinking they should. So first a story about children:
Maybe four years ago I was teaching at this elementary school and was walking the kids from from the cafeteria (snack time) upstairs to the classroom where we had chess club. One kid, we'll call him Zach, he's always very energetic, enthusiastic, aggressive, so he starts bawling hysterically. I've never seen him cry before but now he can't stop and he can't even speak. I ask him what's wrong and he just points accusingly at another kid (the best behaved, most mature kid ever) and howls in pain. So I say to Angel (the best behaved kid ever), "Hey, what did you do to Zach to make him so upset?" And Angel says "I didn't do anything to him. I just told him he wasn't really all that funny."
My point is that it's surprising what bothers people. But I could understand why Zach was upset-- if you're the class clown then you have a big stake in being funny. It's your whole schtick. And while I know I am "supposed" to feel bad when people write that I've had relationships with chessplayers before, I don't really get their point. Why does that make people so angry? And when I was reading the "Vicary is no Jules Verne" comment, I realized/remembered that the last "She's no..." pointed out my nonresemblance to Miss Hooters 2004. What are these people trying to say? I'm not a waitress with large breasts or a 19th century science fiction writer? Is this a serious insult, or somehow ... ironic? I get the sense that I'm missing something.