Saturday, December 22, 2007

Squirrely Dream

I had a dream (not really) last night that a man in a purple top hat showed me to a room with about a hundred tables. It was full of oversized squirrels - not human-sized, but about toy poodle sized, very much like the trained nutcracking crew in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory who threw Veruca Salt down the nut hopper. The squirrels were all paired up at the tables and they were playing chess. When I looked more closely, the squirrels all had a faraway look in their eyes as if they were blind. And the pieces were not pieces, but they were various-sized acorns. So they were playing blind, announcing the moves to each other, creating a general murmur. When one of them made a capture, they would say the move in a voice loud enough to rise above the murmur so that the nearby tables could hear. "Knight takes pawn on e5!" Everyone would shout in unison, "Ole!". And the squirrel who made the capture would eat the acorn that they took off the board.

Perpetual Class D/Class E player Norm Wyatt has been enjoying some remarkable success in the latest tournament at the chess club. I've lost count of how many times I've seen Norm snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. But in this tournament, he's 3.0/3 against a 1640, a 1551, and a 1648, giving him a performance rating of a whopping 2013(!) and a ratings boost of +192 points (!!), from 1295 to 1487. The win expectancy calculates that he should have only managed 0.423 points so far, less than one draw. The regular rating adjustment was +106 points, but the bonus calculation went wild at +86. Even if he loses his final round 4 game, he should stay above 1400. I think this is the first time Norm has been in Class C since 1995 when he was provisionally rated.

I hope everyone agrees that chess is ludicrously difficult enough to humble maybe all but the most egomaniacal grandmasters. When it comes to chess, we're all a bunch of blind squirrels. When one of us finds an acorn, we all should rejoice. Ole, Norm!

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