Sunday, March 7, 2010

The zero sum game

  I’ve managed to win the 2 last weekly blitz tournaments in town, greatly aided by my son Matt’s refusal to play in the tournament if Matt Kriegel from Tama is participating. Matt has been coming the last few weeks. The other players seem to enjoy having Matt to compete against, and I’m not sure what my son has against him. It is hard enough to get players to play without the presence of one player meaning the absence of another. Two weeks ago this juvenile exercise became even more of a zero sum game. Not satisfied being the only player not to play in the tournament, Matt convinced another player to not play. So now instead of having an extra player competing, I end up with one less than I started with.

  The Salvation Army has always been for the people on the edges of society and my chess club is no exception. Everyone is welcome. This is a situation that would be easy to handle if my son wasn’t involved. I’d just tell the players if they didn’t want to play in the tournament to leave the club once the tournament has started. Not wanting to start a major confrontation, I found another method to express my displeasure. Normally, when there are an odd number of players, I don’t play so everyone will have an opponent. But now, when I need someone to sit out, my son is candidate 1 and his unwitting accomplice is candidate 2. The politics of exclusion works both ways.