Bug Music that is.
The halls of the classroom building at the University of Regina were filled with it as Bughouse Chess swarmed on a sunny Saturday afternoon in May.
An eclectic band buzzed around the boards in a competition where the Von Trapp Family would have fit right in. But in this completion, it was not singing that they were doing, though there was definitely a lot of performing; and with names that sounded more like show choirs from Glee ala New Directions, Vocal Adrenalin, The Waffletoots or Who's Your Daddy- The Knights of the Square Table, Pawnage, and Bishop Kablam were among those who showcased their talents and their creativity.
Bughouse Chess, or as some know it, Siamese Chess, is a wild and crazy, lightning-fast-paced game where teams of 2 players play rapid 5 minute games where captured pieces get passed to the partner and then placed on the board- like a never-ending airlift of re-enforcements; the cavalry (literally, at times, a couple of invaluable Knights) coming over the hill to trample the enemy.
This is the story of the spectacle that had people passing by stop dead in their tracks to witness the frenzy, and of those who were the frenzy itself.
Lovely and likeable Lauri Linott listened, liaised, and ran this display of organized chaos with her team of blue-shirts- her own cavalry if you will, complete with officers in bright spandex suits and colourful dispositions (kinda sounds like Glee again). She was 'Maria', and everything went like Do Ray Mi. She was outstanding, and without her, it would have been like the Rocky Horror Picture Show rather than The Sound of Music.
The halls were alive with the sound of music- bug music- as players sang wants and warnings to their team mates and opponents, chess pieces flew threw the air back and forth, and add all that to beat of the clicking and ticking of clocks, while the actual music that was being played in the room across the hall was virtually drowned out and unnoticeable.
Now what story would be complete without a colourful and memorable cast? - Definitely not this one.
So, like running through the scales, here is the cast of the competition.
Doe. A dear. A female dear. This is a perfect description of young Lauren Wilson, who partnered with her dad, Kirk in one of several parent/child team castings. Captain Kirk and Lt. Lauren brought their KNIGHTS OF THE SQUARE TABLE talents all the way from Manitoba to be in the show.
Ray. A drop of golden sun. And a ray of sunshine that brightened the room and made everybody feel good was spunky little Cohen Clarke. He and his mom, Kelcy Folk, were BISHOP KABLAM. Eyes that sparkled and a smile that would melt your heart... and Cohen was pretty cute too.
Me. A name I call myself. That is most certainly the moniker of Akeem Olatunde, the man who had never played Bughouse before, but picked it up very quickly. He and his partner Isfar Chowdhury were the AWESOME GUYS, and young Isfar should probably get a coach of the year award for taking his partner from Bughouse tone deaf to Siamese pitch-perfect.
Fa. A long, long way to run. Zach 'attack' Linott and Andrew 'ninja' Li did a great deal of running alright. The STINKY BOYS ran over the completion all the way to the Championship Finals. Not so stinky at all.
So. A needle pulling thread. That was BOCA. Now it was unclear whether it was Federico pulling his dad Fernando, or the other way around, but one thing was clear, Fernando was the one getting needled.
La. A note to follow so. Another Father/Daughter team, CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM, made great use of the 'following' tactic as well, as Nickolay Kolev was razor-sharp on point helping Iliyana stay sharp and in key. They were like their name- smooth and rich, and it you were not careful with them, you would end up with a brain-freeze headache.
Tea. A drink with jam and bread. Well, maybe the jam was missing, but Joshua Soifer did manage to jam a lot of bread into his stomach during the day spreading the smell of McDonald's cheeseburgers though the hallway and it seemed to be perfect casting for his ambiguous UNNAMED team to have a partner named Nandan Chandrakanth- try saying that five times quickly!
Doh. That will bring us back to doh. This is certainly the word that described the play, and the result of almost all of the games of VULCAN MIND MELD. Whether it was an eerily similar and repetitive mating position, or a sacrificial opening of Pandor's box, exclamations galore of 'doh!' (or was that flow!?) flew out of John McIntyre to his stoic but uber-efficient partner Eldon Soifer, the Professor of Bughouse.
Now, while I have run out of scales, and still have 2 teams to go, I will use a little creative license to finish the cast description.
Ah. The word before a really good move or a really bad one. It is also the first sound in Avram Tcherni, and he and his partner Luke Skywalker Argue had quite a few 'ah-ha' moments in their quest to take PAWNAGE to the top. They fell a little short, needing a little less pawnage, and bit more Kingage.
Um. Not really sure what to do. Enter the KINGS. And while the Kings of Los Angeles won on the ice the night before, the Kings of the Classroom Building, Nathan Fuller and Atanas (sorta like Usher or Prince) gave away a few too many Kings and were left feeling the Blues. Maybe next time it will be Atanas and Spesh.
So that was the cast; those were the performers; but how did it end?
As alluded to earlier, the Championship Match featured the aromatic and dynamic duo of the Stinky Boys taking on the juggernaut tandem of psychic bughouse brothers, Vulcan Mind Meld (truly the luckiest team ever!)- and John must have had a box of Lucky Charms in his pocket (or he was just happy to be there?) as the Melded Minds avoided the stink of losing to the boys and vulcanized the championship title.
Ahh, we all know what happened; Eldon was very good and John was very lucky.
The Sound of Bughouse Music was a hit, with a lot of pizzazz, some fabulous showstoppers, and a fantastic cast. But these are a few of my favourite things...
Favorite team name: Knights of the Square Table
Favorite story behind-the-scenes: Captain Kirk Wilson and Lt. Lauren making the trek from Manitoba.
Favorite apparel: the full-length spandex body suits
Favorite in-game comment: 'I need pawn'- 'how 'bout a King?'
Favorite pre-tournament comment: 'when can I go for lunch?'
Favorite post-game comment: 'again?? That only took like 10 seconds!'
Favorite team alliteration: Cohen & Kelcy
Favorite Play: placing a pawn for checkmate... again
Favorite photo: any without John's scruffy face
Favorite looking team: Akeem with a pair of eyes on his head and Isfar with a pair of eyes on his hat
Favorite Diva player: 3-way tie between Lauren, Iliyana, and Kelcy
Favorite Microbe: Influenza (???- sorry, you just had to be there)
And of course, raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens.
TD: Lauri Linott
REPORT: John McIntyre