Saturday, May 5, 2012

Dead Heat over 49th Parallel



Yankees go home with the trophy

On Saturday, May 5, 2012 the annual Washington State vs British Columbia International Scholastic Chess Match (Intermat) took place in Richmond, BC, Canada.  Each year top 2 rated players from each grade in WA compete against the top two BC players from same grades.  The event is sponsored by Chess4Life and BC Youth Chess.

The Venue

Crossing the border provides the flair of adventure for the kids.  The border guard addresses us in French, to press the point.  This year’s event is held in the sprawling Lansdowne Centre‎ shopping mall.  The food court sustains our bodies and the Chinese medicine shop blows away our minds.


Dried snakes are best Chinese medicine against any imaginary illness


The Drama

The match consists of two rounds, as two pairs in each age play white and black.  Naomi drew in round 1, won in round 2.  At the end of the first round WA led by just 1 point.  Then BC started the second round very strongly, by winning many early games.  However, WA caught up in the late games and trailed by only 1 point just before the last game end.  It was Ethan’s game to end last.

The drama reached its peak as Ethan played an equal endgame against his second BC opponent.  The outcome of this international match was hanging in the balance!  Ethan had to win in order for WA not to lose the whole match.  But Ethan did not know that.  He did not have time to follow other games results.

Both players were in deep time trouble, with just a few seconds left for each (+5 seconds per move).  All other players and accompanying persons have crowded around the table, biting their nails collectively.  But Ethan was concentrated on the game, not feeling the pressure of being the last hope for the American team.  He saw an opportunity in his opponent’s time trouble nervousness.

The opponent made an illegal move and Ethan got 2 minutes time addition.  Then he pressed on until the opponent made a crucial mistake.  Ethan took advantage and won in a checkmate!  Everybody applauded.  Naomi ran up to Ethan and hugged him.  


Ethan and Naomi after the drama


Thus, the match ended with a 26-26 tie.  This is the first such result in its 20+ years history.  In a tie, the rotating trophy changes hands, so WA took the trophy home for half a year.

See the dramatic Ethan’s endgame videos:
picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/4boo16GTTePW7joDr6gaxjrrItSStcPhe3s9X-Femp0k
picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/8EW4hUn3wyubryKcncu7-CUdblvdta1CPqCD5lJzZTs

Results:
www.bcjuniorchess.com/wp-content/uploads/2012-Intermat-Results.pdf

All photos:
picasaweb.google.com/115362530401264131812/2012_05_05 WA vs BC Match In Vancouver


WA and BC scholastic chess teams at the Intermat