I Went to a Music Festival to Play Randoms
Me onstage, rocking the crowd...

I Went to a Music Festival to Play Randoms

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Hello, my fellow festival goers, and welcome to another edition of the Osaka Papers. Due to the UNNAMED VIRUS, OF UNKNOWN ORIGIN, this past summer was the first time in four years that I was able to return to my hometown of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Visiting with family, rekindling old friendships, eating Canadian delicacies like peameal bacon and poutine, consumed much of my trip. Yet, I made sure to set aside a little time for chess.

Inspired by @nbrasington's blog, whose idea I stole, I decided to go out in public and play randoms, but where would I find willing participants?

Luckily for me, my trip coincided with the Festival of Friends, an annual outdoor music, art and crafts festival held in Hamilton since 1976. Armed with overenthusiasm, a chess board, and a hand written sign asking "Wanna Play Chess?", I ventured down to the festival grounds to see if I couldn't play a few rounds of chess with randoms.

But before we continue, how about a few pics to prove that any of this actually happened.

The city of Hamilton.
I actually brought my own portable table because I thought there wouldn't be any....O_o...
Most passersby opined that I must be pretty good, or pretty confident...they were half right.
The Ticats lost again, but no one seemed to notice.
The Wailers headlined the festival, covering all of Bob Marley's classics.

Just Waiting on my Grandkids

I'm happy to report that I had quite a few takers, and I didn't have to wait very long between games, as soon as one game finished there was someone else willing to take their place.

One of my first challengers was Ron. As the title implies he was just waiting on on his grandkids to show up, and thought he'd pass the time with a quick game of chess. We didn't bother with a chess clock but the pace remained pretty quick.

Ron thanked me for the game and went off to meet his grandkids. One thing I learned from reviewing this game was that I tend not to play accurate chess when I'm in an overwhelmingly winning position, and instead blitz out my moves...this would come back to haunt me...believe that.

Miss Beautiful

Next up was Dormand. A long time resident of Hamilton, he had come to the festival to enjoy the sights and sounds, saw my sign and decided to enjoy a quick game. Like many others he had learned chess as a child but hadn't played in some time, he also played...f6...O_o...

It was an interesting game, but I will remember it most for what didn't happen. As I said earlier, I tend not to play accurately when I'm clearly winning. In the following position, I miss what would have been a beautiful ending to the game.

Can you find Miss Beautiful?

Simon Says

The festival was open to all ages and my chessboard was of course the same. Simon was an enthusiastic youngster who walked up with his little sister and asked if he could play, as he was an unaccompanied minor I didn't take his picture, but AI was able to create this facsimile of real life he had brown hair...but this an otherwise accurate rendition of his appearance.

At this point Simon looked and me and said..."Well, I lost, but I had fun...", which I suppose is the best attitude to have when you're playing our great game.

Sheer Hubris

The day was going really well for me, at this point, I had played about a half dozen players and beaten all of them quite easily, then this guy walked up. Sydney is originally from Brazil but has lived in Hamilton for several years, and he holds the distinct honor of being the only one of my opponents to actually play chess quite regularly.

These facts not withstanding, I was incredibly confident, and had come to the conclusion that I was unbeatable, the literal Magnus Carlsen of the Festival...this would prove to be Sheer Hubris.

And that was that...but my ego would not allow poor Sydney to walk off into the sunset to enjoy his victory...The board was rearranged and a revenge match took place...

The Revenge Match

Truth be told, I wasn't actually wearing these pimped out would have been pretty cool if I was though...

Sydney was a great sport about the loss...he actually came around the table and hugged me the way Borgov hugged Beth Harmon at the end of Queen's Gambit...O_o...


And that was it, that was me going to a music festival to play randoms. My greatest takeaway from this was the sheer enjoyment of just going out and playing OTB chess with strangers, this took place a little more than a month ago, but I can still remember, who I played, the conversations we had, and the overall atmosphere of the game.

Compare that to online chess...I couldn't tell you much about a game I played 3 days ago, let alone, the atmosphere of the game.

My advice: get out of your comfort zone, grab your board, go down to your local park, and see if anyone wants to play.

As always, thanks for reading and feel free to share these games with your friends down at the local park or festival.

Cheers, SheldonOfOsaka.