OK, so I was just fine even though getting there and parking the car wasn't the easiest or most pleasant. Just get to the location and everything should be fine right? Well, not quite.
We were still early enough that the registration line was short. Ten minutes later, a whole horde of parents and children turn up and the noise level went up another 4 decibels. Yep, this was my first tournament as a parent.
Was it going to be as bad and as funny as Searching for Bobby Fischer? Almost as bad, based on the sideshow of a mother that was somehow able to argue in a loud strident and high pitched voice against the default decision by one of the volunteer assistant TDs (or whatever you call them). That went on for a full 20 minutes before the officials got together with the two K-3 contestants away from the parents and settled the matter. Was it as funny as the movie? Not by a long shot - especially when some parent just wants to make their point and doesn't want to acknowledge the judge's logical points or procedures. I just wonder if that will reinforce that mother to be more vociferous in the future when things don't go her way.
Initial tournament briefing was good and the first round started shortly. Very few K-3 recorded their moves but I can now see how recording your moves can be extremely useful for later analysis and improving the competitor's play in the future.
Some parents were really keyed up and it started to infect me. I promised myself that 4-0 or 0-4 didn't matter. It was the experience and the attitude that counted. The only problem was that I was starting to weaken.
Watching through the glass, I could see why most instructors say that the young ones tend to play too quickly. Mine was no exception the first round. In the four rounds, there were a few despondent faces and even two that cried. On the other hand, a wonderful little girl only complained in a funny joking frustrated way that she lost all four of her games. At least she still smiled and had a great attitude.
I have never seen so much obsession with the game in one place for the kids but I guess that is par for the course. In between rounds, some were also practicing on the computer against various chess programs in the lobby area.
I have a new found appreciation for the volunteers that make such tournaments possible and for the sheer amount of work they have to perform. Yelling in-your-face parents don't help either.