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Jessica Blogs on Leaving Dallas Print E-mail
By Jessica Lauser   
August 11, 2008
JessicaCLOlead.jpgSince this will be my final coverage from Dallas, before returning home to San Diego tomorrow, I wanted to include some funny things that have happened to me since my last article was posted.

The first thing that comes to mind involves the Touch-Move Rule. While most players think of it in a purely chess-related context, I discovered the other day, and with some annoyance, that it can rear its ugly head, when least expected, and not necessarily only over a chessboard.

In this particular instance, I was in my hotel room when I decided I could use a soda. At the time, I was fairly tired, and didn’t feel like venturing downstairs, to the hotel gift shop for one, as the prices were likely about the same anyway. So, I opened the in-room beverage dispenser to peruse the available drinks. The problem I encountered was that I could not see some of the cans clearly, without removing a few, each in turn, to have a closer look before making my choice.

After doing so a couple of times—but immediately replacing the items I didn’t want—I noticed an advisory in rather small-faced type on the inside of the cabinet. Unfortunately, I am blind in my right eye, and thus didn’t notice the warning earlier, which stated that the charge for a drink would be assessed when the panel in front of it was lifted, so care should be taken when making a selection. So, great, I’d been charged for merely looking!

Talk about tricky. I visited the front desk shortly afterwards, and advised the staff of my visual impairment, and they were able to rectify the situation. Luckily for me, I have since learned from my mistake, having memorized the various blurs inside the machine to be able to make a choice without incurring superfluous charges. All things considered, I had to laugh at the notion that the Touch-Move Rule had actually gotten me, and NOT in a chess game!

Another funny thing happened to me in the Blitz. I was paired against an 1800-player who was a very tough opponent indeed. As we battled our way down to the very end, with my time almost gone—an extremely rare occurrence for me, believe it or not—he made an illegal move. I proceeded to capture his king, converting a certain loss to a win, and at the very last possible moment too. It was incredible, and definitely a first. In our second game, I clobbered him soundly, in position, as opposed to on time, but I suspect it was largely due to the shock he’d suffered the previous game. The best part—it was all caught on tape, and I expect to post the footage soon at www.youtube.com/jtlauser .

Finally, as the 2008 U.S. Open draws to a close, many class players, myself included, are actually looking forward to going home. Of course, they’re not the only ones, I realize all the players at probably ready to sleep in their own beds. While some live in and around the Dallas area, the majority have traveled from far and wide to compete here, and will certainly turn up again, in the coming weeks and months, at another tournament near you.

As for my own score in this year’s event, I managed 4 wins out of 9 games, with no draws. Even though I finished well out of the money, I am happy to have achieved a near-50% performance, and especially in an open event such as this. Special thanks to the people of MonRoi, whose Personal Chess Manager has greatly helped me to play better chess, by minimizing the number of vision-related blunders I make when pieces ”change types” on me. The device itself has helped me to feel more confident, even with low vision, and has enabled me to compete more effectively in both the blind division of American Chess and the regular, adult division as well.

Jessica, with her trusty Monroi

In Round 7, I played an exciting game against a 1300-player and achieved a position fraught with perils for my young opponent, who ultimately succumbed:


Then, upon losing the eighth round soundly to Frank K. Berry, whose stupendous generosity allowed the 2006-2007 U.S. Championships to take place, I entered the ninth round hoping to finish this year’s U.S. Open with a bang. As it turned out, I was successful, but I think mainly because my opponent played a dubious Qe8 on his 24th move. Naturally, he thought it would adequately defend my attack on g6, but, alas, it failed immediately to a devastating deflection he simply didn’t see:


Ultimately, despite not winning any money, per se, my husband and I enjoyed this time away immensely. But, like many, we are looking forward to returning home, although not exactly excited about the long flight we’ll be taking to get there. Nevertheless, it’s been fun, and I thank everyone for reading my articles. I am hopeful that I will continue to enjoy the ongoing support and interest of you, my readers, as I expect to continue my occasional submissions to Chess Life Online.

Yours in Chess,

Jessica Lauser a.k.a. “Chessica”
U.S. Blind Women’s Champion, 2003-Present