Reflections of 2009 World Open

Another reflections page here! You can add your own, but I am including a list of my good and bad moments at the World Open. My 2007 was sparse, but this one will be thorough.

best memories were…

  • staying with Norman Rogers and his family;
  • meeting GM Vinay Bhat, a very pleasant person;
  • playing Darrian Robinson and then having lunch with Darrian and her mother, Cenceria Edwards;
  • seeing Kassa Korley compete for an IM norm;
  • meeting Kassa’s mother (Kamala Red) who thanked me for coverage of her son;
  • meeting Kassa’s grandmother at the computer station and showing her articles about Kassa on The Chess Drum;
  • seeing my friend Dr. Okechukwu Iwu do well;
  • having lunch with friend Dr. Kimani Stancil;
  • meeting Kamanyola Bior of the Sudan who bought two t-shirts and was on 7.5/8 before drawing his last game;
  • chatting with Hikaru Nakamura;
  • chatting with Sunil Weeramantry and getting him to autograph his book for me;
  • chatting briefly with award-winning journalist Macauley Peterson who was playing in the under-2000 section… yes, journalists do play chess(!);
  • seeing Orrin Hudson of Besomeone.org telling his story at his booth;
  • seeing Emory Tate wearing a Chess Drum t-shirt;
  • Oladapo Adu showing me his game against Okechukwu Iwu… exciting(!);
  • Meeting the Colas family again… the daughter is a sweetie 🙂
  • seeing the Williams sisters in the final again;
  • eating at the Raindrop Cafe;
  • seeing residential area of Philly;
  • Buying Chess Life on CD (1933-1975) and finding a picture of Walter Harris in a 1965 issue;
  • playing Edsel Pena (losing) and finding out that he is a professor;
  • seeing a blitz session between William Morrison and Farai Mandizha;
  • hearing Michael Jackson on the radio;
  • seeing Alex Lenderman dance after 3rd GM norm… he’s definitely no Michael Jackson, but I’m glad he’s a GM now;
  • chatting with Susan Grumer about the rule changes at the 2008 Olympiad;
  • an analysis session with player from Turkmenistan who was surprised I knew where he was from without any forehand knowledge;
  • briefly chatting with Emory Tate who told me his father had passed at age 90. He always spoke highly of his father, a successful attorney and the person who taught him chess. This exchange was memorable due to personal conversations we’ve had about our fathers;
  • watching Boyd Reed’s professionalism as a tournament director.

worst memories are…

  • blowing my first round game after winning a piece. A couple of moves later, I lost my queen and my opponent offered me a draw(!);
  • the amount of arguing during gambling sessions in the skittles room… bad vibes! Chess is meant to be enjoyed(!);
  • watching a hustler upset Norman Rogers who playing a blitz match with Farai Mandizha;
  • seeing a particular player walk away after asking whether sleeping on the streets was safe;
  • the baba ghanouj I had at a diner… not good;
  • not having a chance to chat with FM Kazim Gulamali ;
  • leaving my eyeglasses in a restaurant and having to spend 30 minutes off my clock to get them… I won the game;
  • running into road blocks on the way to the venue on July 4th;
  • playing poorly in the blitz tournament and missing the action of top players;
  • Delta airlines messing up my itinerary causing me to miss the flight out of Philadelphia.

Daaim Shabazz

Daaim Shabazz is the founder of The Chess Drum, while serving as a tenured faculty member of Global Business & Marketing at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, USA. He holds a B.S. Computer Science from Chicago State University, an MBA in Marketing and a Ph.D. in International Affairs & Development, both from Clark Atlanta University. He has served the journalist community for more than 30 years and still competes in tournaments occasionally.

5 Comments

  1. Best memory:
    I following keenly the progress of the games online especially the Under 2400 section where many interesting things happened. Yes, I like the Adu VS Iwu game too. Very exciting. Be sure to check the entire results of the World open to see how our favorite chess players performed

    Worst memory:
    Having to play the role of a linesman again (as in soccer but this time in chess) for not able to make it down to the 2009 world opens. I had planed to fly in to Philadelphia with a quick stop in New York to see my parents before returning to Houston but it was just impossible. Nice event though.

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