First a tip of the hat to a friend and fellow chess parent for providing me with the title for this post. (Thanks, ChessDad! You know who you are!)
A few months ago I wrote a post celebrating my chess-playing son's latest rating increase. At the time he was a mere 10 points short of achieving "Expert" status, which comes when one reaches the 2000 mark. (For more than you ever wanted to know about chess ratings, click here.)
This past weekend Trevor played in the Illinois Open, an annual Labor Day event. This is not a scholastic or "kid" tournament but a statewide event that draws players of all ages and levels. Out of six games played over three days, Trevor won 3, drew 1, and lost 2 (one of those to the tournament winner, who is an International Master.)
Trevor's performance at the tournament netted him 10 rating points, poetically propelling him to precisely the 2000 mark! So now I can say that I have a bona fide chess Expert in the house.
One of the things that most struck me about this weekend was the realization of how much my son and his chess peers are growing up. They are no longer little 7- and 8-year-olds playing for big, shiny trophies but young men, most taller than me, speaking in surprisingly deep voices and starting to sport facial hair. Their main reason for playing, apart from the sheer enjoyment of the game, is the personal satisfaction of improving their level of skill and accumulating rating points. (And if a little prize money comes their way, so much the better.) I found myself repeatedly wondering, what happened to our little boys? They aren't little anymore, but are being replaced by a new generation of young chess talent as they themselves inch closer to adulthood. (Note: there are a few females at these tournaments, but the vast majority are male, and I of course mostly keep track of Trevor's chess "buddies.")
There were several remarkable performances over the weekend, but I don't trust myself to accurately highlight them without inadvertently leaving someone out. So I will just say that it was an excellent, professionally run tournament and a great time of chess for all involved. As always, the weekend was an opportunity not only for Trevor to indulge in one of his greatest passions but also for me to enjoy the community and cameraderie of fellow chess parents. The chance to converse with some lovely people as well as have some rare quiet time was a welcome lull in the storm of life that has been raging around my family the last few weeks. And seeing Trevor reach this important and long-awaited milestone was the "icing on the cake."
Congratulations, Trevor! I'm beaming with pride.