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The Dirty Dozen (2013)

A dozen eggs. A dozen doughnuts. A dozen cans or bottles of a certain carbonated (or fermented) beverage. The Dirty Dozen.

Yes, a dozen is commonly used to bind, bundle, gather, celebrate or entertain, and at the 2013 Spring Fling a baker's dozen took to the chess boards while dozen's of tasty pastries and scrumptious delectables were being displayed and comsumed at the Farmer's Market just a few feet beneath the floor of the chess tournament. And oh, what delicious goodies there were - well, except perhaps for the walnuts, right Josh?

Despite all the technical difficulties of the previous tournament, it seemed like things were going to go as smoothly as the Rico Suave tone of Akeem's sultry voice, as he sashayed into the tournament room a mere ten minutes after the posted starting time - a classic Akeem M.O. - but it was actually another player, a first time participant, who failed to show up at all, and threatened to send the event into the black hole of technical difficulty again.

But just like Clint Eastwood in the Dirty Dozen, but sounding a little more like Telly Savalas, we were saved by a man called Fenando.

A man who not unlike the hero Clint Eastwood, sacrificed his plans for a relaxing and resting Saturday and filled in for the missing player, ensuring that the tournament had an even number of players, there was no longer any need to delay the start waiting for the MIA player to show, and most importantly, the tournament director would not be tortured by the evil computer glitching that had almost broken him once before.

Fernando, international man of mystery... and man of a thousand move suggestions - before, during, and after the game.

The cast of our Dirty Dozen was an eclectic one to be sure.

There was the Father/Son tandem of Fernando and Mini-Fernando, not to be confused with the Father/Son tandem of Soifer vs Soifer, that would be Eldon and Joshua - but unlike the duo of Spy vs Spy, it was hard to tell which one was the 'good' guy and which one was the 'bad'. Both had extremely fascinating games - one a mad time scramble that ended with and escape of defeat by a mere 3 seconds, while the other had an impromptu pseudo-resignation that was missing the handshake, the tipping of the king, and even the utterance of any actual verbage stating the resignation - between his ambiguous actions in the middle of his game and his ambiguous objection to walnuts, cryptic is certainly a word that was indeed, Joshua Soifer on this day.

There was the man from T.O.R.Q.U.A.Y.O. (that's Take Out Rooks Quietly And Underwhelm Your Opponent (the O is silent) - not to be confused with the man from U.N.C.L.E. (as in Under No Circumstance Let Escape) - Agent Robert Graham repeated his success from his first tournament by capturing another prize - this time he was the best Under 1600 and took away enough bounty to pay for gas to get home... and perhaps a hair cut at a real barber shop - or was that all part of his cover? Hmmm....

There was the ex-Samsonite Avram Tcherni, who shed his long golden locks and shed a few rating points with a less-than-average result. So it was all in the hair... no wonder I cant do anything right.

And while the signs of winter were still everywhere to be seen, including morning snowflakes, and the signs of spring had yet to show, a single leaf was spotted in the Spring Fling Treehouse, but Leif, not the Maple, but the Ellefson tried to bring life to the board and banish the wintery forces that opposed him, and while Leif did bloom on a couple of boards, once again he fell victim to the Zach Attack and was kind enough to give old man winter, err... old man John, a free bishop. A Leif really does brighten up a room.

Let us not fail to mention one Mr. Zachary Linott, as he was instrumental in the orchestration of the event. Not only did he personally ensure the integrity of the chess pieces purity (he sorted the sets after bughouse) and personally ensured the safety and security of the tournament assets (he put the pieces in bags and the bags in the duffle bag), but he nearly finished first (but didn't) and almost came in second (but didn't) and actually won a prize which he gave to his agent (his mom - who wasn't really that impressed) and he was the only one who knew how to set the digital clocks. You are a hero Zach, a hero.

And what Dirty Dozen would be complete without its own Master Assassin - the Provincial Champion Andrew Li - whose ninja moves and quiet but deadly play put him into a tie for third place and gave him the Top Junior Title - just another piece of hardware for the trophy case... right beside the silver stars and weighted pawns.

Oh ya, and Nathan Fuller was there too. He had a bye in one round, he ate a lot of pizza, and he picked out the brownies from the Farmer's Market for dessert (and the leftovers were enjoyed by the bus driver that waited for a certain tardy tournament director).

Thanks to everyone who helped set up, clean up, and make the event a good time for all.

TD & Report

John McIntyre