Friday, June 11, 2010

Does Anyone Really Know What Time It Is?

After a long day of traveling across three time zones, I was pretty beat by the time I got to the hotel.  I was reminded of this old Chicago song.

When I don't fly non-stop I always try to keep my watch on the local time of my destination. Before I landed in Dallas, I moved my watch back one hour. When I was on the way to Vegas I went to move my watch back, but I got confused as I was changing it. I looked at my computer and it had one time. I looked at my iPod and it had a different time. So I really didn't know what time it was. It wasn't until I could turn on my cell phone that I could figure out the time.

When I arrived WGM Anna Zatonskih and GM Varuzhan Akobian were giving simuls.  At this time I have no idea if anyone of the participants were able to nick either of them for a half or full point.

GM Varuzhan Akobian

WGM Anna Zatonskih

Simul participants pondering their fate (move).

I can only take so much of watching a simul.  I have a hard enough time playing in one.  My attention span doesn't last long enough while waiting for the player to come back to my board.  After watching the simul for awhile I caught up with various friends of mine who are on the directing staff.  Since I missed all the spring scholastic championships, I had not seen a number of these people since last year's National Open or US Open.  Big chess tournaments like this tend to be like family reunions.  You haven't seen people in ages, but you manage to catch up on what's been going on in the last year.  It's also a chance to meet new people.

I checked out the book store.  Once again Rochester Chess Center is running the concession.  They have lots of beautiful sets, and tons of books and videos.  I will probably end out buying something before the weekend is over.  I always tell myself "Don't buy a new book. Read the ones you bought last year that you have not opened."  However something always catches my eye, and I succumb to temptation.

Around 6:45 Vegas time my body started talking to me.  "Hey it's 9:45 in New York and we have not eaten since the DFW-LAS leg of the trip. I'm tired and I'm hungry."  Now I was faced with what did I want to eat, and where.  The South Point, like most casino hotels overwhelms its customers with lots of different dining choices.  There are 8 different restaurants to choose from.  I finally opted for Don Vito's, an Italian restaurant.  That was one of the places I never made it to last year.  Besides there was a coupon for free dessert.  I'm never one to turn down free dessert.

What I liked about the restaurant was the fact that unlike most of the other options on the casino floor it's in a self-contained space.  That blocks out the constant ringing from the slot machines and the smell of smoke.  I never could become a serious gambler because I hate the smell of smoke.  I suppose smoking might kill off a few gamblers before they piss away all their money at the blackjack table or slot machines.

I had a nice plate of hand rolled ravioli with salad and bread.  It was a nice portion.  One of my friends who is a big guy with a hearty appetite told me he had trouble finishing his prime rib at one of the other hotel restaurants.  He said he left about a third of it behind.  I hate wasting food, so the thought of leaving a third of my meal behind doesn't appeal to me.  I couldn't mind a big portion if I had a refrigerator in the room for leftovers.  However I don't, so I'll probably skip prime rib this weekend.

Another thing I do like about Nevada state law is that you can take your opened bottle of wine with you.  I'm not going to drink an entire bottle by myself, but I usually want a little more then a glass with dinner.  I have what I want with the meal, and take the rest back to my room to have on other evenings after a late night game.  To get myself into the mind set of what I would like to do over the board this weekend, I chose the bottle of wine below.

At the same time as I was enjoying my nice quiet dinner the US Game/10 Championship was going on.  Some of my friends asked me if I was going to play.  Without even knowing what the entry fee was I told them I was going to pass on that.  I wanted to save my energy for the real chess that starts today.  I'm glad I wasn't interested in playing in it.  The entry fee was $100.  Thanks, but no thanks.  I spent enough on the main event.

This has been one of those rare trips out west where I have not been able to stay awake until 11:00 pm local time.  After updating yesterday's post, I crawled into bed around 9:30, which was 12:30 EDT.  That didn't stop me from waking up every few hours wondering what time it was.  I never sleep particularly well the first night in a strange place.  Finally after numerous attempts to stay asleep I got up around 6:30 am.  I did my taekwondo warm up routine and then I went down stairs to get a cup of tea, and milk for my cereal.  

New York is often referred to as "the city that never sleeps."  However I think Vegas also qualifies on that count.  I'm not used to walking through a casino at 7:00 am and seeing a waitress bring someone another bottle of beer. My guess is the guy hasn't gone to bed yet.  With that in mind, what's with housekeeping knocking on my door at 7:55 this morning?  I guess maybe she assumed I was already in the casino getting ready for a day of action.  My action will be on the chess board.  You can follow the action live on Monroi.

As I started working on this post, I started playing around with the new design features in blogger.  The new edit features are still taking getting used to, but I like the new design editor.  I decided after almost 3 years of blogging it was time for a new look.  I hope you like it.


Dennis said...

Awesome new look for your I will have to go play around with the editor myself!

Polly said...

Thanks Dennis. I was pleasantly surprised by all the options and how easy it was.

tanc(happyhippo) said...

Loved the look of your new blog!

Very interesting commentary and thanks for sharing those nice photos!

Speaking of wasting food, I'm not a food waster myself and I normally ask to just doggy bag it if I can't finish.

In USA, is this practice frowned upon? In Australia, it's fairly common and no one thinks bad of it.

CMoB said...

New look looks great.

Polly said...

Tanc: Actually doggy bags are very common practice in states. Restaurants in States make huge portions. That's why obesity is a big problem. Too many people eat out way too much, and finish off the meal instead of taking doggy bag.

Unfortunately I can't take left over food when I'm staying in a hotel with no refrigerator in the room. I like when I'm able to stay in hotels with refrigerator and microwave in the room. Then I can eat sensible portions and have left overs for another meal. Saves money and waistline.

R. Oulette said...

The awards dinner was held at the casino, and they had dancers as entertainment. We couldn't really figure out what they were dressed up as, but they had elaborate masks and costumes and chanted while they danced around everyone's tables.

chesstiger said...

Always fun to read when you write about the side-entertainment of the tournament.