3 Years of a Kohai
It was one of those strange nights, that could trick many by seeming to be routine, boring and yet hollow .. not revealing it's turn of events and perhaps .. a new destiny for an internet surfer .. and an avid future Chess player.
I am talking about one of the nights I had on October 2008, while feeling lonely and sluggish at work, sitting on my desk and wondering how would I - by any means - make myself busy with such shifts .. Would the game of Chess Perhaps be a solution? Should I get back to the Royal game I have always admired and respected as a Child ? Is now the right time perhaps? And without hesitation I have agreed with the gaming "Devil" inside me to surf the internet and find a proper site.
And I actually did, a Greenish pawn site it was with a modest but nice opening page that had a tight eye Chinese looking player ( I later discovered it was none but GM Nakamura ) .. And I went to find my way somehow to Live Chess .. Which later became my connection with this site, and like a home to me.
There, like many other members, I had the honor and pleasure to live, play and befriend one of the best people you could simply meet in a virtual world ( even in your real world, but is it possible? ) .. And one of them was the Green Pawn Lady I am dedicating this, very first blog of mine, to.
Everyone had his own Drama and story getting into Live Chess and meeting people there beside playing chess, mine was no different to be honest.
I had my first account back then under the name of Catenaccio, and had posted some of my modest sketches as well, on my homepage.
Except that my first communication with The Green Pawn Lady, known to many as Kohai, wasn't in English but in some Cheeky Italian Words.
" Catenaccio, mi piace el tuo photographeci " She said
I said " huh? This Kohai speaks Italian too? Davvero "?
" Si " She said ..
Here I tried to be funny, and share a sarcastic Joke with my first, and dear friend, Chess Kebabs. And I said : " Oh wow, he knows Si as well "
" Catenaccio, it's not a he, it's a She! " Said Babs
Much to my surprise of course .. like many .. who didn't know that there was a profile you could simply click on .. And the Green Pawn Lady, who had a "Help" sign next to her name did confirm it with a smile ..
" Catenaccio I am female :) "
Said kohai, who later became a dear big sister and friend to me.
Yes, to those who are still wondering, that time we only had Live Chess 1, which was unstable and full of bugs, but nevertheless an unforgettable memory to each "Veteran" Chess.com member. She was still a mod at that time, with couple of other mods that are no longer there.
Of these moderators, only the dear RetGuvvie98 Survived the daily hard work and stress.
During my proud of 2 years here as a member, and like many young ones, I had the pleasure in befriending Kohai. And I built a solid, strong deep relationship with her full of trust as her kid brother. I was an "immature" internet user that time, and had to answer and fight back every abuse I received, not to mention cussing sometimes, typing so much, and getting angry on very silly issues.
And of course, like many others, I did get my beatings and warning from her, but not in a fatal way.
Just like an old sister who beat you after bringing Grade " C " instead of " A ", because you were playing an RPG video game on the ave of your final exam.
During that two years stay here, there was little that remained stable on Chess.com. Which was, and is still having a daily revolution in transforming itself to a major Chess Site on the Internet.
However she remained the very same Busy Staff member/moderator and chess.com "Aribter" of this site.
But for those who know her really well, they just know how kind, sweet, generous and yet sensitive she is like any lady out there. Who feels hurt when something bad happens to any member around, even if he was naughty or abusive sometimes.
And rushes to win back any right you'v lost within the Walls of the site, despite the Long London towers erik created as a part of our big Chess.com Fortress.
I have witnessed such reactions, even if she wasn't on good terms with me and some others, she would do it and bring it back to you. Sounds Familiar as one of your family members perhaps?
Yet, Truth must be revealed that sometimes her friends, and a kid brother like me, feel that they need more time with her to enjoy. But then you'd receive a famous answer from her:
" Wayed Mashgola Misha!! "
Which simply means, I am very busy Misha, in Arabic.
To be honest I once threw a joke on Live chess about her loyalty to her job :
" Kohai is gonna win the 2020 Noble Prize for Internet Modding "
Yesterday I was having a long time no chit-chat with her, and for some reason a funny coincidence occurred, when she mentioned her third anniversary here.
Just when I was wondering to myself " My god how long and close did I know this lady for, it feels like more than a decade now " .
I then had the idea of doing a short interview with her, in which I knew deep inside, that it wasn't easy to have.
Simply because I was talking to someone busier than a Queen Bee within her nest, I knew that it would be such a hard thing to do, especially in such a short notice.
But using my witty, crappy yet pushy way of talking, I did convince her of accepting the interview at the end.
VICTORY - as I yelled after midnight - it was indeed a victory for a Chess.com member and ex-journalist, much to the jealousy of Time magazines's writers who couldn't win such a right.
A unique pleasure for you to read, my dear members.
1. So, How did you find chess.com?
Surfing the internet for a chess site.
2. And Why did you join the site?
I found it easy to navigate and user friendly.
3. I assume you Were good at chess?
Ha No - I knew the basics but nothing of tactics or strategy. I'm still very much the beginner compared to many on here.
4. And How was the site exactly back then, and did you think it would become what it is today, with all honesty?
So many things have changed since I joined, I don't really remember my first few months here. As a new site then, and my being a new member I didn't know if it''d grow or how but its been a real honor and priveledge to be a part of it and watch it become what it is today.
5.You were already with a green pawn when I knew you for the first time, but How did you become a mod?
A member said he'd put my name forward to Erik.
6. So Who were your 1st friends?
Knatted and Utopia.
7. Do you have some funny, unforgettable memories?
Gumpty in live chess saying how somone made him laugh while he was eating a meat pie, it became a projectile. That was about two years ago, and still amuses me.
My first game against a member of staff a few months after I joined. I was so nervous and excited that I walked into 3 move mate.
Unforgettable - ?
Piotr and I holding our breath as new code is pushed live ( we still do at times.)
Jay telling me he was giving me bugs for christmas.
9. You're very well known as a SUPER busy person here (sadly), how can you actually manage your time as a wife and a good auntie and daughter, on the other hand?
I multi task alot ;) .
10. Seriously, how do you cope with the daily stress and abusive members 24/7?
I walk the dogs, the air clears my head. I also work with an amazing team who support me if needed.
11. Well some people do wonder if you'd laugh sometimes, of how busy you are, do you actually laugh a lot when reading a joke, despite not being famous for a BIG lol and ROFLS? :P
Several of the members on the site have made me laugh a lot. One member posted something recently that had me chuckling all day".
I've spent many evenings over the past three years watching the forums or live chess laughing so hard at some comments.
12. I'm sure that you have a personal goal on chess.com? as well as a chess player? And what did you learn from your time on chess.com?
My personal goal ? Yes, one of these days i'm going to get better at Tactics Trainer
One of the great things that I've learnt being here, is what an awesome community the members are here, and how in times of need, they are all there to support eachother unconditionally. That is an amazing and unique quality .
13. Fascinating, but Where do you see the site is heading exactly after 3 years, and after almost 2 years of being a member of Erik's staff?
The site is growing so fast as it is, from extra tools being added
to big new features. Its heading upwards and I definately want to be a part of that. Its big now, but definately has a bigger future.
14. You do know that A lot of our members still wonder about the meaning of your user name " kohai ", so what does it mean? how did you even pick up such a user name?
In Polish and Ukranian it means 'love', in Japanese it means student/learner.
It started off as a joke name my husband called me after watching the movie Rising Sun.
15. After years as an experienced Mod on chess.com and previously on other sites, and a Legendary one to some according to WikiPedia standards, what does it take for someone to be a successful Internet moderator?
A lot of patience and a sense of humour :)
16. Hmm .. well then .. A last message to your dear members and friends here, we love you so much and wanna see you for decades to come as a legendary moderator .. ?
Members on the site are awesome, they make the site what it is.
You guys rock !
Happy anniversary kohai, from me and on behalf of all of our members here.
Thank you again for your daily-non stop-crazy busy work that you do for us, on the sake of your personal pleasure and Chess, even on the sake of your personal health sometimes, alas.
I'd here by give you the order of Sain't Misha of the Persian Empire. Along with this modest nice Cake with flowers.
كل عام وأنتي بخير كوهاي