And The Best Staff Member Of Chess.com Is...
In late 2013, Chess.com decided that all staff member raises would be decided by virtue of a company-wide tournament. Kidding, but I wouldn't object!
We did have a tournament online just for fun, and two years later crowned a champion. Luckily for everyone involved, GM Robert Hess was still wasting away perfectly good years at Yale and not yet with us.
For those that had money in the office pool about whether the tournament would end first or V3 would launch first, well, at least one was worth the wait.
***Luckily for me, this is just a blog and not a regular news article, so I can bury the lede, add unnecessary commas, and, generally, let my hair, down. I'm also typing this right now without any shirt on.
The Chess.com team fuels up before trash talking. Does the Paleo Diet help with chess success?
Back to the chess! Five groups began the action, with most of the "tournament-playing" staff rising to the top. Chess.com actually sponsors chess lessons with a master for any staff member that wants them -- what a cool perk! Some would say Uber should sponsor driving lessons with their employees but that's a different story.
In group one, Matt H., who is always criss-crossing the country for over-the-board tournaments, ceded only one draw to video editor Michael P. to win the group (Michael was surely still designing all the templates to "ChessCenter," which was just a figment of his imagination back then).
Matt had an unfair advantage -- he now spends much of his free time cheering on his local MLS team, Orlando City SC, but they weren't in existence yet in 2013. That allowed him to put you to sleep and then trick you in the endgame:
In group two, it shaped up early to be a contest between top-rated IM Danny "stop picking on me" Rensch and yours truly. Luckily, this was in the infancy of my Chess.com career where I actually had a little free time, and I could spend more thought on the games then the bossman himself.
*Pro-tip: He's way easier to play in daily chess without the limitless foreign accents that he cycles through on his live shows.
In group three, Mr. IM Norm himself, Peter Doggers and his "don't call me a CM" purity squeezed by the App-Man, Mr. Faisal iOS III. Company CEO Erik nicked Peter for a draw in this game, which is the equivalent to the chess version of "Ishtar" in its excitement.
Erik got distracted mid-tournament and reached for the Go stones. Or he thought there was potato chips in that bowl. We all have our vices.
In group four, Chess.com minority owner Misi had a perfect record. He either outplayed everyone, or they were afraid of his connections in Hungary and Russia. Likely both. Second place was Piotr, the Polish grandfather of live chess (you'd think after one billion games played on Chess.com he'd be rated 3000 by now!?).
Misi beat Piotr twice, and word is the winner's taunt after this exchange sac was, "Don't bring that weak sauce to the Gdansk floor." Don't like my pun? Polish words are hard to use in jokes my friend.
It was a good opening round for the owners as Chess.com co-creator Jay put down his Hearthstone world championship trophy and picked up the 32 bones again. What's that? He was never into Hearthstone? Luckily my normal routine of fact checking and getting two sources doesn't apply to this blog.
Looke at me makeing typoes. Wow this feels so freeee!
For those Chess.com staffers not in the finals, they took to beach football to assert dominance.
So the finals were a double round-robin with Peter, Misi, Jay, Matt H. and myself competing. It came down to this game between to the two Chess.com directors of content. Peter cheated though. He speaks Spanish and tricked me into playing it as Black.
Vaya con dios hermano! On wait, it was Peter doing the killing.
Thus concluded the first Chess.com staff tournament. Here's the standings from the finals:
This time I'm going to switch things up and lose to my bosses and beat my peers. Maybe that'll get me that extra vacation time.
Peter Doggers, the grand champion of Chess.com. You see him on his phone and talking to Danny, right? Again, Peter, big cheater.