November 5, 6, 12, 13, 1973
Shortsleeve Chess Classic
I arrived in Burlington for my freshman year at the University of Vermont in early September. However I didn't play in my first tournament in Vermont until November. It wasn't that I was being a hard working student concentrating on her studies by not playing chess. Nope, I played one tournament in New Hampshire, and two in Massachusetts that occur ed before I played in Vermont. I don't even remember how I got to those initial out of town tournaments my freshman year. I didn't have a car.
Unlike today's kids who apply to 10 different colleges, I had only applied to three four year colleges. I got into all of them, but I wasn't totally sure where I wanted to go. I had spent a good amount of time at Skidmore hanging out with my sister, and a good amount of time at the University of New Hampshire hanging out with my boyfriend, but had never even been to Burlington until I got the acceptance. All three schools had good programs in what I was interested in. I decided I needed to visit Burlington, and check out UVM, before making any decision. I fell in love with the city of Burlington, and really liked the campus. I pretty much decided after my visit, I wanted to go there. Another factor that I did take into consideration was, the Burlington Chess Club ran chess tournaments at the University. I hadn't seen any tournaments advertised in Durham, NH or Saratoga Springs, NY.
As it turns out, my first Vermont tournament was not run by the Burlington Chess Club at the university. Instead it was a tournament run on a couple of week day afternoons at the local junior high school. The social studies teacher, Bill Mc Grath had a chess club at school. He had a good sized group of kids who would come to classroom after school and play chess. Many of the kids also played at the Burlington Chess Club. I met Bill at one of the Thursday evening meetings of he Burlington Chess Club. He encouraged me to stop by the school in the afternoon and play with the kids from the Edmunds JH chess club. Bill was rated around 1450 at the time. He and the kids would work together to study chess. The core group of 4 of those kids would go on to win the National High School Championship in 1977 against chess powerhouses such as Bronx Science. One of the Burlington kids, Chris Richmond beat 16 year old Yasser Seirawan.
One of my college classmates who lived in the same dorm as me also came down Edmunds to play in the afternoon. As luck would have it, we got paired against each other in the first round. Alex and I played a lot of blitz at the dorm, so he had a good handle on how I played. He was rated 1600, so he clearly had my number. Often we would play guillotine chess and he still beat me in 5 to 6 games. Guillotine chess is a blitz match where both players start with 5 minutes each on the clock. After each game, the winner loses a minute. With two players of equal strength it usually comes down to the last game with both players having a minute each. That was not the case with Alex and me. He often would win the match with one minute on his clock versus 4 to 5 minutes on my clock. In other words, I'd be lucky if I won one game.
An interesting thing happened in this tournament. In round three I played one of the kids from the junior high school. I won, and he was devastated by losing to a girl. He quit chess after that tournament. I wasn't aware of that until one his classmates told me that was why he stopped coming to chess club. Hopefully I didn't scar him for life, and that he's been able to deal with females being beter then him at some things.