ICA Winter Tournament ’09: The Mysterious Tale Of The 8th Of February Apple Donuts.
Why Apple Donuts?
Apparently the ones with the Apple filling are not particularly popular at my grandfather’s makeshift concession stand. Currently located down the hall, and to the left of the main tournament room, also known as the Bergen Academies cafeteria, Grandpa’s Goodies, has been serving pizza, donuts, and a variety of tasty beverages at a grossly inflated markup (not really) to tournament goers since the beginning of time (i.e. whereas some feel like using the B.C. or A.D. acronyms as chronological markers, it is important to note we like to use the first ICA tournament standard. Sadly, few remember when that was.).
Now while Dunkin Donuts stands behind all of their products equally, despite our profit-making markup, not all of those wonderfully sweet goodies bring in the same amounts of money when your children, or you stop by to buy them. Unfortunately, there were still almost a dozen of them apple ones left by the time sections four, and three, were completely done for the day.
“Why hast though forsaken thy Apple Donuts?” I asked myself in desperation (since God was on hold, thus I turned to the next best authority on the matter). Truthfully, I just couldn’t find a logical, chess related answer that would appease my incessant curious nature. However, as any good chess enthusiast should in regards to new openings, strategies, and chess clocks, I decided to run some first-hand experiments, using myself as a guinea pig with the stuff.
After the first of many swallowed to follow, I realized the apple was actually a sort of condiment for the real main ingredient in the thing. Surprisingly much like the fruit rollups, which children ate none stop and without hesitation all during that magical day, the main ingredient in these forsaken holes was Sugar, laced with just a hint of ye olde Johnny Seeds goodness.
I contemplated on this point while shoving a second one in my oversized megaphone of a pie hole. After all if kids like snacks high in sugar and with a hint of fruit, why would they buy all other types of donuts, and sugar laced junk, yet, skip over these? Have the parents simply ignored their responsibility in teaching their kin about the very product Dunkin Donuts tries to blatantly exploit? (I.E. Apples)
I was disappointed to find that the third, fourth, and seventh apple donuts did not provide much of an answer to my query. Exhausted by the outcome, and more than half way to becoming diabetic, I said goodbye to the “grandpa” and went home. Of course this was after the following results:
In section 3, with 41 youngsters competing, it was a little ankle-biting gentle-fella named Neil Mehta who won. Neil plowed through the #21, #8, #4 and 6th place finishing competitors to claim his first place prize. I would have liked Neil to sing at least one Neil Diamond hit at the awards ceremony but I guess nothing of the sort will have to suffice.
Tying for 2nd, and 3rd, and splitting those places respectively, were Zachary Lyandres, and Liyan Cheung. Both drew against one opponent each, with Zachary being held to half a point against 7th finishing David Popkin, and Liyan splitting a point against 25th finishing Shane Fedorov. Shane’s lower standing vs. David’s is the reason Zachary enjoyed his second place result, while Liyan had to settle for third, though both earned three and a half points.
In section 4, William Chen bested a field of forty-six, to claim first place honors with a perfect four out four point performance. His victorious run saw him take down the 33rd, 31st, 11th, and 3rd place finishers, while Clement Shao, who also won all his games, took down the 39th, 19th, 18th, and 12th place finishers. Going into the last round, the top three players, all had an opportunity for a perfect score, but due to Swiss style play, Clement did not have a chance to face a higher-ranked opponent. For his part William was matched with a tougher foe in Haik Der Manuelian, who he was able to beat and force into third place. Seven other players were able to win three games, but because Haik lost to the first place winner in the final round his computer generated ranking ended up clinching bronze for him.
(Sections 1 and 2 ended after the Apple Donuts fiasco.)
Section 1, was a forty-three person affair this time around. An affair with a chessboard and pieces, that Aleksandr Markenzon will probably never forget, seeing as he won. Though I guess if he wins 723 more tournaments of all sorts in his chess career this one may not matter, but no one really knows which memories will linger, and which will evaporate later on in life when its time to study for the MCATS, or take the BAR.
Anyway, big Alex got a big 100-point plus boost to his rating by beating the 13th, 5th, 19th, and 4th place finishers. While this opposition was a tad stronger, the efforts of second place man, Alec Weisbort, were not weaker and in fact on par with his first place counterparts, given that Alec won his four games as well. However, since the luck of the draw pitted him against the eventual 42nd place finisher in the first round (remember in the first round it is unclear who will finish where), with his other opponents ending up in 12th, 7th, and 6th places respectively, he had no choice but to take second when the tallying was done. Still, the 71 point ratings boost was a nice end to a perfectly played chess day.
Our third place finisher was a Mr. Krish Anand, who beat the 22nd place finisher, drew with 10th placer Tyler Man, and finally beat the 11th and 14th placed eventuals. Krish gained 28 points for his performance on the 8th.
Personally, I found the results from Section 2 very disappointing. I say that not to undermine Paul Ton’s perfect four for four score, which earned him first place, but because the 2nd place finisher, Genry Krichevsky actually wore a tie to the tournament.
A TIE FOR GOD’S SAKE!
Now look, while I personally am not fond of ties, or the reason Genry had to wear one that day (I thought he did it for us but he had other plans after his section ended), I am fond of people dressing up for the tournament. For some reason, it just seems anyone who dresses up deserves to win first place, and it was sad in a way, much like when on January 20th president Bush waived goodbye before getting on that helicopter, that Genry was just half a point shy of that goal. Were it not for that pesky draw in the first round against 6th placing Kenny Geiler, Genry would have made his outfit very proud.
Of course the irony is Geiler probably wore whatever sloppy skateboarding shirt he could locate under the endless piles of junk in his room that day. At that when you consider that unkempt head of hair on Kenny versus Genry’s neatly aligned follicles, you get the feeling God is playing a cruel joke on people who take the time to put on a tie and show they care about their appearance (of course covering the tie up with a sweater makes no sense, but I appreciate the effort Genry. Remember, the effort is what matters most.).
Still, its not like I am aware of Paul Ton’s outfit that day, though chances are it was just as jeans and sweater plain as everyone else’s. I also don’t know what Kevin Yan wore and whether that tuxedo, or lack there of helped him James Bond his way to 3 out of 4 points. In any case he lost the last game to Paul, while beating the 12th, 7th, and 10th place finishers. Genry beat 16, 11, and 10 after his draw with Geiler in the 1st round.
That being said, I would love to see more players wearing dress shirts and ties. It seems like it would create a greater sense of importance and pride in not only each individual but in the overall nature of the event. Many probably don’t dress up because they think they would look out of place, but I believe that if even five people were brave enough to make their kid look more photogenic, other parents would follow suit not to feel left out.
Plus it would be interesting to see how the tournament would be perceived in the event of such a hell frozen over Dante-style moment.
Until next time.
Oh, and if you have any clue regarding the secret of the un-purchased Apple Donuts please don’t hesitate to share. Not only will it earn you .65 cents, but Grandpa from Grandpa’s Goodies will even shake your hand. He may not know why but if you stick it out there I’m sure he’ll oblige.