Baseball at 10 Boards an Hour Print E-mail
By Jennifer Shahade   
August 10, 2009
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A beautiful setting for a chess simul

If as sportswriter Roger Kahn once wrote, baseball is like chess at 90 miles per hour, then a chess simul must be like baseball with ten balls at a time. Luckily, no fly balls intruded on the simuls that my father, FM Mike Shahade and I gave at a Lakewood Blueclaws game on August 3rd.

Mark Zaiger, an event coordinator for the BlueClaws, a minor league baseball team and Phillies (!) affiliate asked me to participate in their Chess Night. Almost 60 players signed up for the simul so I recruited my father as well. 45 players entered a blitz tournament, held right before the simul. Daniel Karbownik and Brian Meinders tied for first with 4.5/ 5 each.

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Co-winners of the blitz, Brian Meinders and Daniel Karbownik
 
The two co-champs had the honor of throwing out a ceremonial first pitch. My father also enjoyed throwing out a pitch and would have stayed on the mound if not for the 27 opponents waiting for him. 
 
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FM Mike Shahade throws out his pitch


We had some tough opponents in the simuls: I lost one, drew three and won all the rest. My dad had no losses and a few draws. One of his victims sent me the following game on facebook and had an "awesome time" despite his loss, "Your dad is a hoot, man! Spanked me on that chess board!"



My brother also came, so inspired by "Who Wants to Be A Millionaire"  we offered each player one "Call an IM" lifeline, in which they could call Greg over and ask for advice. The opportunity to learn from an International Master was a big hit, although I squirmed every time I saw Greg  generously mentoring over a board I thought was in the bag. In one case, I was totally lost, and my opponent asked Greg if he should offer me a draw. Greg said, "no-crush her!", and indeed I lost that game. grrrr.

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IM Greg Shahade gives a lifeline.


Luckily, my opponent in the following position, Joseph Criscuolo had already used his lifeline (or maybe he was just ready to go home!), as otherwise I would have suffered two defeats:

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Perhaps White hallucinated that there was no good way out of the checks so he accepted a draw after Kf7 Rc7+ but Ke6 just wins because my rook is on permanent watch of the c2-pawn, so I can't take on g7 and my checks are running out.

My favorite photos are below, you can see the full gallery on my personal website. 

It's a good year for baseball & chess. While promoting the 2009 US Championships this spring, I went with CCSCSL founder Rex Sinquefield on air with Mike Shannon at a Cardinals-Phillies Game.

Rusty Miller also organized a Chess Night at a Minor League Portland Beavers baseball game on July 28. That event featured "shortstop quads", a first pitch by Oregon State Chess Champion Carl Haessler and a simul by Chuck Schulien, the highest rated Oregon player. You can find out more about that event here. 
 
I thought I was racing my dad to see who finished first (he won), but in the end, I was also racing against the BlueClaws. As the home team locked in a 3-1 victory over the Hickory Crawdads, I was still hunched over my 24th game.

Chess Night Gallery

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The sun is setting on the chess simul



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FM Mike Shahade

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A tough opponent

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Mark Zaiger gets a ball signed for me!

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FM Mike Shahade



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Jennifer and Gregory Shahade



 
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