To become a Tournament Director (TD) in chess, it is advisable first become an Assistant Tournament Director (ATD). I’ve been both. And while I found the experience to be both interesting and enjoyable, I also knew that I didn’t have time to pursue everything in chess, so I had to concentrate more on writing (which is a BIG reason for this blog).
Here is a story from that experience.
I was working as an Assistant Tournament Director (ATD) at a National JHS Championship. My job was to walk around the tournament hall and solving small problems on the games as necessary. The players were instructed to raise their hand if they needed some help.
Sure enough, about half-hour after they games had started, I saw a hand go up. I jogged to the board where two kids were playing. To be more accurate, there was only one kid playing; he was ahead a queen, a rook, a bishop, and several pawns. His opponent had his head on the table, and not really doing anything else other than breathing.
The kid who was winning said, “My opponent is asleep. Can you help?”. The rules, by the way, forbid anyone disturbing any of the players while the game is still going on. That rule appears to cover players who are awake, asleep, or in deep meditation. And I wasn’t even sure if his opponent was asleep or not (my gut feeling told me he wasn’t).
Now, one thing almost all kids in common is impatience. It didn’t seem fair to have the winning player have to sit there until his opponent’s clock run out (the clock indicated it would be at least another hour – they apparently started the game late).
So, the onus was on me to solve the problem.
I came up with a unique solution. I spoke to the kid who was winning, and loud enough so his opponent could hear me. I told him (both of them!), “If your opponent does not wake up in the next 10 seconds, I will award the game to you.” And I started counting: “10”, “9”, “8”, and then suddenly, and miraculously, his opponent “woke up”.
The kid who was winning had a beaming smile while his opponent feigned waking up.
I told them to keep playing and wished them both good luck in their continuing game.