Tuesday, March 20, 2012

per aspera ad astra


Naomi qualified for the World Youth!

per Portland ad Mondial

A Latin phrase “per aspera ad astra” means "Through hardships to the stars".  In our case, it should be “per Portland ad Mondial”.  

To qualify for the World Youth Chess Championship (Mondial) Naomi needed to reach USCF rating 1500 before March 31, 2012.  On March 16 she was just 10 rating points short of that goal.  This is after “the marathon sprint”, a crazy run of successful tournaments that increased her rating from 1150 to 1490 in just 3 months.

But the higher is the rating, the harder it becomes to increase.  Opponents become stronger, and a single loss can dash all hopes to reach 1500.

The 2012 Spring Open chess tournament in Portland presented an opportunity to skim those critical remaining 10 rating points from unsuspecting Oregonians.

Portland Chess Club

After our recent 2500 miles to San Diego and back, the mere 4 hour drive to Portland would feel like almost nothing, if not for the inescapable rush hour traffic here.  Thank DOT for HOV lanes!

Portland Chess Club shares the nerdy overcrowded look and feel with other chess clubs in the Northwest.  It’s not the outside appearance that counts here, but the inside of the players heads.

Posters on the walls of Portland Chess Club:

We stayed in the closest motel, just 1 minute driving or 5 minutes walking.  This proved to be importantly useful, since the kids could not reach us by phone (Oregon mobile coverage can be spotty).  So they just walked together to the room after a game.

Weird Portlandia


Or maybe we just missed the kids’ Google Voice message beep with all that noise at Portland Saturday Market:
picasaweb.google.com/115362530401264131812/2012_03_17Portland?authkey=Gv1sRgCKnRyeTviIrr9AE
See the first music band video in that album (pos. 52 of 82), named “Broke & Irish” -- it was St Patrick’s Day.

Sample craft art from that market:


The “Keep Portland weird” slogan looks strangely appropriate behind this hour-long line for Voodoo Doughnuts, with TV coverage:


ad astra

Naomi played very well against adult opponents with ratings near 1600.  She hasn't lost and even won.  This brought her the coveted additional 26 points, to USCF rating 1516!  

It means we're going to the World Youth Championship again, in Maribor, Slovenia this November.

We are a full-blown family sports team now: Luda is the manager; Naomi and Ethan are the players; Guy is the sponsor, driver, travel agent and reporter. 

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