The Super 8's complimentary breakfast
I never thought of hard boiled eggs as a 'Regional' breakfast item, but I've not been to many regions.
I didn’t realize that hard-boiled eggs were a ‘regional breakfast item’ but having been educated as such by the Jackson, Minnesota Super 8 Motel, I felt extremely lucky that I was able to sample such a regional delicacy in my youth in New Jersey (since they must have been imported from Minnesota). I had not one but TWO of the regional treats with some coffee and apple juice and made my way down the street to the Jackson Public Library for the final three rounds of the tournament.
Since John and Jodene took half point byes instead of playing Friday night and there were no other players at a half point except me and Steve, I knew I’d be playing Jodene if no other players arrived. I got to the library and chatted with the other players and when no one else showed up to play I was paired with the Black pieces against Jodene.
Jodene Kruse is one of the most inspirational people I know. She plays tournament chess and organizes the Okoboji Open every year despite having cerebral palsy. And I don’t mean she does them poorly but because she has this affliction it only matters that she tries – I mean she excels. Jodene does all the organization of the Open from setting the dates and prize funds to getting sponsorships to welcoming the participants to making sure all the players get an extended checkout time on Sunday. As a player, she had a big year in 2012 with cash prizes for her class at the National Open in Last Vegas and the Catfish Days tournament in Minnesota. After hanging around with Jodene and John and Sam, it makes it kind of hard to feel bad because my job isn’t going as well as I’d like or some construction made me wait a few extra minutes in traffic or that I only got a draw with Steve Heinisch the night before. But having said all that, I’ve also seen Jodene have some poor results at chess tournaments. Whether it happens because she gets tired due to her affliction or some flaw in her game that gets exploited I couldn’t say.
What I can say is that I was determined to do my best to win this game and I wasn’t above some gamesmanship. The player of the Black pieces gets to decide which side of the board the chess clock is placed. Normally the player chooses to have it on their right hand side, but when I’m Black I like to put it on my left hand side. There’s no deep reason for this but the way it works out is that no matter what color I have the clock is almost always on my left hand side and I’m pretty comfortable having it there. Jodene asked me to put the clock on my right hand side and I respectfully declined (although I did remind her to press her clock when she forgot once).
Dane is a graduate math student at the University of Wisconsin who has also organized the Twin Ports Open chess tournament in his hometown of Duluth the past two years. Dane was the Minnesota Amateur champion last year. I knew it would be a tall order to beat him but I did have the White pieces so after a light lunch with John Flores at the Pizza Ranch, Dane and I shook hands and started our game.
I was so beat after this game that when one of the players decided to take the last round off I put the field back to an even number by taking the last round off myself since I was locked out of any prize money. I hung out in the skittles room at the Senior Center that was next door to the library, found a comfortable chair to sit in and chatted with Sam’s sister Leila for a bit. I fell asleep and when I woke up it was a couple of hours later and half the players were in the senior center going over their completed games. Dane and Eric were going over their final round draw that let them share the championship and John was looking over his upset win against Destiny Jorenby’s brother Josiah. I played a few games of blitz with Shaun (an active player in the 1980's who was only playing in his second tournament this century), the final few games finished, Sam and John gave out the prizes, we said our good byes, and it was time to leave Jackson for another year.
Here's to Sam Smith (center) for another great Jackson Open and the 2013 co-champions : Dane Zagar (l) and Eric Bell (r).