Note to anyone who had read this post on Thursday. I had one of my dyslexic moments and put the names on the game in backwards. I was Black in the game posted, not White. Those of you who have seen my games know that I don't play e4 as White, and I wouldn't play e5 on the second move of the Sicilian. I have corrected the game score, and added a few notes in light of the comments I got.
Having just returned from the Junior High Nationals I thought I share one of my amusing encounters with a neurotic chess parent at a past Parents and Friends event at a scholastic national. It seems like every time I play in the event I manage to lose to some parent who is much lower rated then me. Since it tends to happen in the first or second round I never get to play any of the higher rated players in the section.
Now that I've played in about 4 or 5 of these "Parents & Friends" events I learned that unless you're playing another coach or a parent with an established rating, the rating is meaningless. This because in most cases the parent's rating is based on just playing in this particular event in a previous nationals. This also means that the parent may not have a good handle on things like notation and the rules.
In one of my early forays into this event I got knocked off in the first round by a parent with a provisonal rating of 1179. Needless to say I was a little cautious when in the next round I got paired against another parent with a similar rating. I sat down at the board, and noticed he had no score sheet and no pen. I calmly said, "Excuse me, but you're required to keep score in this section." He tells me that he's not going to keep score because I have such time advantage because I'm using a Mon Roi. I try to explain to him that; one score keeping is required and; two it's not the big time advantage that he thinks. In round 1 I had one of my time pressure induced implosions and flagged in a position down the exchange.
He didn't want to hear about that. He was adamant about not keeping score because I was using a Mon Roi. He thought it was totally unfair that such a device was allowed. I rarely get into arguments with players, but I finally went and got the TD. He explained to the opponent that he had to keep score and that if he didn't then the TD would have to make a ruling. The TD said if he don't like the ruling he could appeal. At this point about 15 minutes have gone since the start of the round. I knew if the opponent appealed it would probably be another 10 to 15 minutes getting the floor chief, explaining the issue and getting a ruling. Finally I said to the TD "Just give me a scoresheet, and I'll write my moves down instead." I think the TD was tremendously relieved that I did not want to push the point further. At this point I just wanted to get the damn game over with.
This satisfied my opponent, and the game started. It turned out this was much ado about nothing. I think the dispute took more time to resolve then the actual game. Here is the game.
In light of how this game went, it was apparent that this was a very inexperienced player. It turned out his 1169 rating was based on his 4 games from a past Parents and Friends tournament. If anything he was probably overrated, unlike my first round opponent who was underrated. I think his issue with my Mon Roi was that he really didn't know how to keep score very well so he thought I was getting a huge advantage over him by being able to keep score on such a device. My reaction to him was stemming from my first round loss to a player of similar rating. Having lost on time in the first round, I did not want to give in on a point where I felt my opponent would gain time.
The tournament didn't get much better when in the third round a parent got upset with me because I ask nicely his son not to stand next to me when watching our game. i just don't like people standing right on top of me when I'm playing. I like my space, and it bothers me when people hover too close. The dad freaked out because he thought I was accusing his son of helping him. At the end of the game I apologized and told him I did not feel the son was doing anything wrong, but that just need my space. He told me I was taking this way too seriously. I wanted to tell the dad to lighten up, but he was just too freaked out.
After that event, I swore I'd never play in another one. However being the glutton for punishment that I am. I have played in several more since then. I have learned to take all the ratings with a grain of salt, and to not to take an opponent's over reaction too seriously. In many cases it's a matter of a nervous and inexperienced chess parent being a little over anxious. I managed one plus the score, but most the time I end out two and two. This past weekend was no different, except one of my losses was finally against a higher rated player. I may post one of those games later this week, because some interesting things did happen.