Mea Maxima Culpa

I regret this post has been delayed. It was my intention to write about the lower sections of the Castle Chess Grand Prix in my previous post. If I have ruffled some feathers it was in my overzealous zeal to be timely. The Sheriff, Scott Parker wrote, via email:
As I told you, Jim Mundy, who ran the computer was not going to submit the tournament to USCF because he had another camp starting Monday morning, so Fun Fong said that he would do it. Jim got him the tournament file Monday morning, but Fun had to work a 10 hour shift in the ER that day, and it is at least an hour drive to and from work from his house. He started on the process, but wasn’t able to finish it before leaving for work. Since he wouldn’t be home until late in the evening, I advised him to just get some rest and finish it the following day (Tuesday). It will be up sometime today.
Please cut these guys some slack. Everybody who works at camp is exhausted by the end of the week. Both the Counselors (Fun) and the Instructors (Jim) spend 8 days working long hours and getting insufficient sleep. To have the tournament submitted to USCF within 48 hours of the end of the tournament is plenty good enough.
Best Regards,
Having worked at the House of Pain, I remember the phone calls, and those who would come by on Monday, the only day we were closed, trying to ascertain exactly why their new rating had not been posted online when they had their first cup of coffee that morning. The fault is mine; I take the blame. I should have stayed until a copy of the crosstables could be printed out for me. And I will cut everyone, especially Fun Fong some slack. And I would like to explain why.
Decades ago I had a friend by the name of Frank Blaydes. I knew him because he played both over the board and correspondence chess. He was from Hahira, in the southern part of Georgia, and younger than me. I knew him when he attended Georgia Tech, but not from chess because he, like most young people, had little time for chess. Our paths crossed again when I started playing backgammon because the Blade, as he was known in backgammon circles, was also playing BG while attending the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, Ga. I would go there each week to play in the weekly backgammon tournament and the chouette after. We flew to Las Vegas twice for the World Amateur Backgammon Championships. Frank was studying to be a doctor, a General Practitioner, at a time when most medical students were specializing in one particular area of medicine. The Blade wanted to go back to the southern part of Georgia and make his practice where his roots were.
The second time we travelled to Las Vegas together we met two young women from Hawaii who were also playing in the tournament. The problem was that the Blade had eyes for the one named Stella Brown, and she liked me. On the flight out the Blade kept his face buried in a medical textbook. I learned from firsthand experience just difficult it is to become a doctor. Frank had to take an early flight back, so Stella and I rode with him to the airport, and then returned to the hotel. The cold shoulder began that night and our relationship was never the same. From then on our relationship was strained.
Frank once told me that emergency room doctors were, “A special breed.” He elaborated by saying, “Doctors practice medicine, but ER doctors save lives, NOW!” I watched the TV program “ER” while thinking of the Blade. Because of Frank I watch a few episodes of most new medical programs, the latest being “Monday Mornings.” Years later while watching the local news I learned Frank had died when his small plane, the one he had purchased in order to cover more territory in his beloved homeland, hit a transmission tower in the fog. I was devastated, and broke down and cried, something I rarely, if ever, did in those younger days.
Having worked at the Atlanta Chess Center, I realize how much work goes into any chess tournament. I know the people behind the scenes devote a tremendous amount of time. My mother once told me that the most valuable thing a person can give anyone is their time. All of these folks I have written about are wonderful people. Next time you see one of them tell them how much you appreciate what they do.
I have reached the age when I fear doctors. Most my age feel the same way. I have put off seeing a doctor because, as one Senior put it, “Once you see a doctor, you begin the process.” We all know how the process ends. Yet I put ER doctors in a special category. I knew that the President of the GCA, Fun Fong, was a MD, but until Scott’s email, was not aware he worked in the ER. Certainly the time he spent in an ER was far more important and valuable to society than using that time having a chess tournament rated. I have a great deal of admiration and respect for the work done by Dr. Fong.

One thought on “Mea Maxima Culpa

  1. Philip Feeley says:

    As of 9-12-2013, the results were still not up (I checked).

    On a secondary note, I rarely see any games published from these events. I once asked someone at the CCA why this was, and he said it’s too expensive to get someone to transcribe them, and even with all the electronics available these days (Monroi, etc.) it’s too expensive. Really? Don’t you think it would be a little better to take a little bit of the humungous prize money offered at the World Open and have the games recorded (Monroi devices, or the electronic boards all those European tournaments seem to be able to afford to broadcast the games live)?

    I’m from Canada. They can’t afford to do it here either..

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