April 4th, 2009
Super Nationals - Parents and Friends Tournament
This was my 5th visit to Tennessee for chess related activities. However this would be the first time I actually got to play here. My first visit was in 1992 for the National Elementary Championships in Knoxville. I was the Computer Chief Director for the Primary Championship. The funny thing was I had no idea what my job was going to be. I assumed I was going to be a computer assistant like I had been in 1991. My flight from New York to Atlanta got delayed, so I had to spend the night in Atlanta and catch a flight the next morning. I arrived just time to be brought straight to the tournament site, told I was in charge of the Primary section, here's your computer station, now get to work. Pairing software was still pretty new back then, and was all DOS based. Things have gotten a lot easier with the newer Windows based pairing programs.
A few years later I would return to Knoxville for the first Super Nationals. I had traded in my TD hat for a coaches hat. Coaching is a lot easier. The hours aren't as long. I think the hardest part about coaching was watching one of my private students in the Primary Under 800 on board one in later rounds, moving too fast or staring off into space. He went 7-0 in his section but ended out 3rd on tie breaks. It was an exciting moment for us. As you can see from the picture below, back then the trophies were more modest in size.
I would make two trips to Nashville in 2005 and 2007 to coach before I'd finally get a chance to do some serious multitasking as coach, chess photo-journalist and player. If you followed my various posts, such as this one about day one, or this one about the tornado warning you know I had a busy weekend. Under normal circumstances I might have just skipped the Parents & Friends Tournament. However since it was my fifth trip to Tennessee for chess related activity, I could not miss an opportunity to add Tennessee to my list of states played. When I'm the assistant coach I have time to play in these side events. When I'm the only coach, I can't take the time to play on Saturday.
My first round game was a draw. Despite being up a piece, I couldn't convert the win. I had let his passed pawn get too far, and had give up my extra bishop to prevent the promotion.