Saturday, April 4, 2009

Super Nationals - Day 1

It's only the end of the first day, and I already feel like I've been hit by a truck. The Gaylord is massive. Getting from my room on the 6th floor, to the basement where the pairings are, back to the team room on the 3rd floor in another part of the hotel is a hike. I'll probably end out walking 20 miles by the time the weekend is done. I may possibly get more of my photos used on Chess Life Online so I was able to get a press pass. That gives me more access to the playing rooms and other events. I totally missed the opening ceremonies because I had sort out pairing issues for our club championship back at home.

The great thing about my room is that it overlooks the atrium where a lot of the restaurants are. This is the view of one of the places where people were trying to grab breakfast. Telephoto lenses are a wonderful thing for these types of shots. The line goes out the door, and all the tables are jammed. I'm glad our team coordinator takes care of getting us fed. The only bad thing is by the end weekend I will be so tired of pizza!

"A cup of coffee and a bagel costs how much?"

Breakfast and Bishops. Kids play anywhere at any time.

On the move! Time to go play chess.

In certain sections after the children are seated, they parents have to completely clear the room. Then after 20 minutes they can come in and sit in a seating area in the back of the room. Some parents will sit calmly in the back and read. Others are on edge of the ropes with their binoculars trying to see anything their kid is doing.
Crowd outside Elementary Sections
Waiting for the playing room to be reopened to spectators.

I want to see my kid!

Some poor volunteer was getting an earful from some neurotic mom who wanted to go in ahead of the scheduled time. He finally got exasperated and passed her off to one of the tournament directors. After she went to give the TD an earful, I showed my credential so that I could go in and shoot these pictures below. I wish I had a video camera, because it was quite interesting watch all these people stream in.

Calm before the storm.
View of doors and seating area before parents and coaches are admitted.

The masses arrive!

There are lots of chess celebrities here. Gerry Kasparov is here. He spoke at the Opening Ceremonies, and then he made the opening move on one of top boards of the high school section.
1. h? Nope.
He did ask the player what he wanted to play.

Garry Kasparov and Bill Hall USCF Executive Director

Many schools rent meeting rooms for their teams. The room serves as dining room for team meals. War room for prep sessions with the coach. A refuge for parents who don't want to sit outside the tournament room. Therapist office for dealing with post loss melt downs. The rooms are another expense that schools have to add into their budget for Nationals. The rent is not cheap.

Many schools can't afford that luxury of a team room. Some will set up camp at a table in the skittles rooms. Others will find a quiet spot in a corner away from the crowds if possible. This team from Detroit found a nice quiet corner not far from where they were playing. Here they're playing a few warm up games before the first round. The bookstore sells sets in all different colors. People can mix and match colors. This school bought sets in blue and yellow. Even though the spelling isn't exactly the same, how appropriate to have a school named Fisher playing chess.
Who's playing white?

Other teams set up and meet right out in the main lobby outside the Delta Ballroom where the Elementary sections are playing. This team from Indiana is not hard to miss in their brightly colored tie-dyed shirt. Here they're receiving instruction from their coach Bernard Parnham. I've know Bernard for many years. Unfortunately the first picture I took of him was blurred. I'm still having problems with the lighting. I'll update this with another picture where he's not moving on me.

Saturday is the marathon day with three rounds starting at 9:00 am. I also will be making my Tennessee chess playing debate in the Parents and Friends tournament. We'll see how that goes. Stay tuned......


Anonymous said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels like I've been hit by a truck. I saw another New York parent waiting outside of K-6 at 10 pm on Saturday night and said that I felt we could be on some show like "Survivorman" after this weekend. The walk from K-1 in the basement to the team room on the mezzanine to Delta ballroom, then down to Ryman to get pairings, then back up to the ballroom. OYYY. (And that doesn't take into account the meal planning and hand holding, etc.) Ellen

chesstiger said...

It must be fun to may wonder around those tournament halls having nothing on your schedule then just to walk around and snap photos.

Let's hope the kids of your homesquad do well.

Polly said...

Ellen: Saturday morning I made three trips between my room on the 6th floor of Delta down to the basement all before 9:00 am. Don't ask! LOL I do a lot of running around as the designated team "grunt" though I'm very thankful for the parents who made the Subway and pizza runs, or ordered room service that actually arrived when we wanted it. Sophia tells me I've gotten spoiled.

Tiger: Friday is the "easy" day and it's not all that easy. Often I'm taking pictures on my way to doing something else.