Monday, December 15, 2008

Chess Tournament Reflections.....

...before reflecting, I've been remiss in not posting for awhile. Life's ups and downs perhaps....and there was the momentary oh-my-gosh-another-weekend-tournament-I-have-to-deal-with panic. The bright spot in my life is the weekly rose from Riley...and his wonderful messages that accompany the rose. This is the 9 December rose...and each message is a warm hug. Riley - how you manage to be so romantic thousands of miles away in Iraq is ...well, words cannot describe - other than, I love you.

Now - on to the reflections of a weekend chess tournament.

It was a small tournament - 14 in all. God provided an even number of players in the 2 small sections. At 10:15am, I was starting to have these doubts (sorry, God - but it's the truth) about the uneven number of players in the top rated section. And in walks a young man whose rating is quite high. What a gift!

I still have these doubts about running a chess tournament. I don't read the chess rule book like I should (I think I'd rather watch paint dry) .... and so I am unprepared for life's little challenges when two players come up to talk to the tournament director (which is ME - and I really do have to stop looking behind me to see who they're talking to). But! on the positive side....I am getting quite good at looking up the rule that applies to situations.

Riley stood by via Skype or telephone and helped me through the very last round in the top rated section...and with bated breath, I had the pairings ready early. No complaints...everyone was happy. I really need NOT to be surprised when all goes well. I should meet those situations with confidence and poise.

What I find most interesting are the little stories that invariably happen during these tournaments.

One father & I talked for over 30 minutes on raising children....and found his child raising stories humorous and worthy of publishing. And this same man, I made a grave mistake in the last tournament which affected his son. The fact he returned with his son was a testimony to God only. Forgiveness is powerful.

Another story - his son drew with a master. For those of you who are unfamiliar with chess terms.... each chess player who plays in rated chess tournaments ends up with a chess rating. Please don't ask me how they get these ratings .... Lord knows I've tried to understand it, but it just doesn't seem to penetrate. At any rate, the afore mentioned young man who walked in at 10:15am on Saturday to play in the tournament has a rating of 2227. Oh yes, that is a very good rating (grin). The aforementioned son of the father - he's rated 1443. The son drew with the 2227 rated master.

Another story. Just when I think I have had enough with these weekend tournaments (and no, there is no sane reason why I get to this 'I've-had-enough-of-this mood), a parent of a chess player - or the chess player himself (or herself) will walk up to the counter and say with all sincerity "thank you for having this tournament". This happened not once this tournament - but from three separate individuals. God at work again.

Another story. Friday evening I discovered I was low on coffee cups. Horrors - chess players without their coffee. No time to run to Sam's Club - so I pondered aloud that a trip to the grocery store would have to take place early on Saturday before I opened the chess club. To the rescue - a chess player tells me not to worry and drops by a supply of coffee cups on Saturday morning.

So there is much to learn about chess. Not chess-the-game per se - but about the stories behind the chess. I never had the dream of becoming a chess tournament director - not by a long shot - it was born of necessity while dear husband is away in Iraq. Chess has been a powerful life enriching experience I never thought possible. When I think I've experienced it all, God says - oh no, you haven't even experienced my power's another experience for you.

I have learned so many things since Riley has been gone.....

...the power of admitting a mistake was made & the art of attempting to correct it

...finding out listening skills are vital

...there are people who really do want to see the Dayton Chess Club succeed

...chess players are some of the kindest, smartest and caring people you'd ever want to know God to work this all out....after all, He didn't lead us to buy the building in the first place if He didn't have a plan for us.

I know there are many more things ....but right now, God gives me what I need at the time when I need it. Can't ask for anything more, could I?

And in between being the chess queen, I quilt.


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