The tournament was held downtown at the Radisson, just a couple of blocks from the State Capitol.
While Trevor played chess, I enjoyed some down time (definitely one of the benefits of being a "chess mom"). Not only that, but I met up with some kindred spirits! I subscribe to an email list for Lutheran homeschoolers (a. k. a. "Loopers"). It's a great group, and we are always looking for opportunites to meet in person. When I discovered my chess chauffering responsibilities were going to be taking me to Michigan, I put out an ALB ("all Looper bulletin"). I was thrilled to get three takers from among the Michigan Loopers! We met at the hotel, ventured out for lunch, and then returned for visiting and chocolate in my hotel room. It was wonderful to make three new friends and share homeschooling & mothering stories.
Brain-addled mommy types that we are, we failed to draft my son to take a picture of our whole group while he was between rounds. So we had to do two rounds of photography.
Pictured are Becky S., you-know-who, and Becky D. Oh yeah, and if you look very closely, you might be able to tell that there's a little S.-on-the-way snuggling in his mommy's tummy.
Now you see me, now you don't! Jeannette M. has taken the middle spot.
It was such a pleasure to meet these ladies. I'm already looking for another chess tournament so Trevor and I can make a return visit.
The weekend did have a few down sides, however. It was interesting that I didn't find the weather on the drive there to be too terrible, yet there were multiple cars traveling at slower-than-the-limit speeds while flashing their warning lights. It was not snowing at the time, and the road conditions were not bad, so I was puzzled as to why they were going so slowly. On the other hand, on our drive home through blinding lake effect snow (with me driving 25-30 mph much of the time) we were routinely passed by cars going much faster. And I'm afraid some of those cars may have come to regret their carelessness, as we counted at least 10 cars off the road on our drive home.
Am I missing something here? Do you Michiganers (Michiganites? Michiganians?) have different snow-driving protocols than we do in Illinois?
Trevor and I also had the truly scary experience of almost getting run over by a snow plow. We had just stepped out of Jimmy John's (it was the one meal for which we had sufficient time between his rounds to actually venture outside the hotel, and it being Sunday, all the more interesting and distinctive establishments were closed). As we stood just steps outside the entrance, a sidewalk snowplow in back-up mode almost ran us down. We had to literally run to clear his path. I don't think he ever saw us.
Then there was that Saturday morning round. It was the first game of the tournament, and even though Trevor and I had lost an hour due to the time change, we were there early and Trevor was ready to play. I guess I have turned into more of a Chicagoan than I realized, because it annoyed me to no end to have to wait not 15 minutes, not 30 minutes, not 45 minutes, but almost an hour for the tournament to start. And I wasn't even the one competing! Apparently the tournament director decided to start late due to the weather. My feeling was "Come on! Don't you Michigan types drive in this stuff all the time, just like we do in Chicago? Let's get this show on the road!"
Minor complaints about the hotel: I think they need some high powered humidifiers. My hair was as flat as a pancake. (Or a board. Take your pick of tired metaphors.) And I got so very tired of being shocked every time I went to press an elevator button, open a door, turn on a light, etc. I was hoping for a relaxing weekend, not an electrifying one!
Also, the hotel needs to work on its Internet filtering. I was blocked from several online sites for questionable reasons. One occurred when I tried to read an anti-anti-Semitism article. The filter didn't like one of the phrases in the article, failing to realize that the article was being critical of anti-Semitism, not promoting it.
These are minor complaints, and nothing compared to the fun of meeting those classy and fun ladies pictured above. But I am glad that we made it home in one piece!