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  • Tom Boyd

Thoughs During the Chess Tournament 7/30/16 – 7/31/16


It is a sad but true fact that chess playing skills decrease as one ages. Even Bobby Fischer, the greatest player of all time, played better in 1972 than he did in 1992. So no surprise that I hit 1728 rating at age 51 and have slowly decreased to my recent 1609 in the 63 events and 252 games since 3/5/00. Class B is 1600-1800. I have bought some new books and started studying chess again. I do not and will not settle for being Class C (again).

I did beat a dude who could have been my twin (ok skinnier) but with gray hair instead of blonde, and he even had my glasses and suspenders. Until 2016 his last tournament was before 1991 where he had achieved a Class A rating of 1998 (Expert is 2000). He had left chess for career and family. His rating has now dropped to 1700 solely due to his 2016 playing. My 1609 rating still puts me in the top 17% percentile of USCF members and is good enough to beat Jude Mercado more often than not.

What is in a name?

This chess tournament was the 41st Annual People’s Chess Tournament. That figures it being a Berkeley chess tournament. The weird aspect is that I think I played in the first one.


In the 70’s and 80’s you rarely saw women or girls playing chess. I remember one tournament in 1974 that the only woman of over 200 players was a young, about 19, pretty girl. More guys gathered around her games to watch her poor play (class D/E) than were watching the grandmasters play. I never saw her again and I suspect the attention drove her away. I have been a member of the USCF since 1973 and have played over an estimated 400 tournament games. In that time, I played a total of four ladies (2-2 split) until……..


It appeared that 75% of the 168 players were under 18 years of age. And some 70% of these kids appeared to originate from Pacific Rim and Indian Ocean counties. More power to all the kids regardless of where their “roots” originate.

The terrible part is that I played three kids, two Indian girls from 8th grade, age 13 or 14, and a Russian boy from 5th grade, age 10. I beat Hiya and lost to Aria and Viktor. I think it fitting that Aria Lakhmani took clear first in the Class B section and Viktor Mishkin also went undefeated.

Photography is not personal

When I last played in Las Vegas a photographer took a few pictures of me and my opponent, a tiny Chinese boy who played on a cushion and usually on his knees so he could see the board. A contrasting picture as you can imagine. The picture may have appeared in a chess publication. (I won the game).

This tournament a photographer took a few pictures of me playing Hiya. Hiya is a very pretty young girl. If you have seen a picture of Actor Michael Caine’s wife, Shakira when she was younger you can get part of the idea. Hiya is already and will be much prettier. I will assume the picture-taking was about Hiya and not me.

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