The Bashkansky family Chess Travel blog

The Bashkansky family Chess Travel blog: parents Guy and Ludmila with children NM Ethan and WIM Naomi

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Vancouver WA Open

A Flight Adventure
The Vancouver WA Open chess tournament was played over the weekend of October 22-23, 2016, in the Hilton Vancouver WA, next to the Esther Short Park and the colorful Saturday Market.  

Naomi played 3 rounds on Saturday and took 2 half‐point byes on Sunday.  Thus we didn't stay overnight, just drove there early Saturday morning and drove back home late at night.  Naomi won Rounds 1 and 3, and lost Round 2 to Seth Talyansky, who got the National Master USCF rating 2200 as the result, congratulations!

After glancing through the small art exhibit in the nearby Slocum House, we headed to the Veterans of Foreign Wars Memorial Plaza with its unique Remembrance Wall.

The highlight of the trip was our visit to the nearby Pearson Air Museum.  This is the "anti-ADHD" kind of museum, which requires actually reading and understanding the text on the stands.  We both love this type of museums, the only downside being it took full two hours to go through all exhibits in the small hangar.

The cherry on top was our surprising discovery of the very prominent Chkalov 1937 Transpolar Flight exhibit in the museum.  We of course knew about Chkalov, his co-pilots, and their famous transpolar flight since childhood, though mostly as a Soviet propaganda icon.  It was almost weird to re-discover their story from the other side.

In 1937, their plan was to fly from Moscow, Russia to the North Pole, and then continue all the way to Oakland, CA, where the official reception with the Soviet ambassador waited for them.  Because of heavy polar storms they used more fuel than planned, and couldn't make it all the way to Oakland, therefore midway through Oregon they turned around and approached the backup landing site near Portland.  

However, after spotting a large excited crowd on the ground, and remembering how Lindbergh's plane was broken by ecstatic spectators in a stampede, Chkalov instead crossed the Columbia River, and found the Pearson Air Field to land on.  Their ANT-25 plane had its brakes removed to save weight, so they stopped just yards in front of the hangar.

The three Soviet pilots were received by the Vancouver barracks commander (and future Chief of Staff, Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense) General Marshall -- prompting a pun from one of the pilots, in Russian: "So, is he a general or is he a marshal?"  Chkalov died next year in a test flight crash, whereas both his co-pilots attended the opening of the 1937 Transpolar Flight Monument next to the museum, in 1975.

Enjoy the complete photo album: 2016-10-22 Vancouver WA Open chess tournament