Celebrating Chess at the 2012 Festival in the Park

Roanoke Valley Chess Club's activities at the 2012 FESTIVAL IN THE PARK CELEBRATION were once again, a big success this year. This year, Festival was held over the Memorial Day weekend. As always, the Chess Club was featured at the top of the picturesque hill in historic Elmwood Park. Elmwood Park is at the corner of Jefferson Street and Elm Ave. in downtown Roanoke.

The weather this year was once again WONDERFULLY dry - with hardly a cloud in sight ! The sun didn't burn us up and the shade tree was cool and leafy. The wind was mild and the bees were mercifully absent. In short, it was perfect weather for chess outdoors !!

Chess-playing visitors arrived to find a well-organized presentation with tables, chairs, chess equipment and information brochures all ready for action.

On Saturday, May 26th, the club held a Chess All Day exhibition, with veteran club members playing newcomers at the Park. Many tips on game improvement were passed out to several hundred Festival passers-by who saw the chess sets and boards. Many visitors stopped by for more information about the club, and local chess in the area. Lots of club cards with contact information were handed out. Eight new people were added to the club's e-mail contact list !

Three-time Virginia State Champion NM Russell Potter held two simultaneous exhibitions to see if anyone out there would "Beat the Master." "Rusty" has been doing these at the Park for about 30 years ! He did NOT win ALL of his games this year however, since he got tagged for a draw by former RVCC President Richard White. Congratulations Richard !

The winners of prizes are listed at the bottom of this report.

A special treat was to experience the coming out of chess retirement of Charlie ( C.T. ) Morgan. C.T. had taken a 35-year leave from active tournament chess in order to raise his family and build his CPA business !

C.T. has won the West Va. State Championship 3 times, the Arizona State Championship 3 times and is two-time winner of the big El Paso Open ! Further, C.T. is a Life Expert and even made a Master's rating back in 1970 ! We are very glad to have such a strong player with such a distinguished record rejoin the ranks of the chess community here in the Valley !

We want to thank all of the volunteers who made this possible: club President Mike Huff and club Vice President Eric Diaz did the bulk of the work by picking up, then transporting, then setting up, then breaking down, then transporting, then storing, all 7 club's tables and ALL of the folding chairs !

Mike and Eric also get special kudos for wrangling all of the club equipment from 10:00 am until 8 pm !!

Rusty Potter brought a display table, set up easel displays with printed matter, and brought ribbons and medals for the prize winners. Mike kept track of the participants finishing time for the Beat The Master contest while managing to play some of the best chess of the day, even while being saddled with this handicap !

We all enjoyed the food, the music and admiring all the pretty girls in shorts that walked that walked by !

Oh yeah, we also really liked the all day, non - stop CHESS !!

This event is part of the Roanoke Valley Chess Club's ongoing commitment to promote chess in the region, and as always, is 100% FREE to the general public.

( Report submitted by Russell Potter. )

WINNERS of Prizes at the Festival in the Park Exhibition :
2:00 pm EXHIBITION :
3rd Toughest To Beat : Noah Smith.
2nd Toughest To Beat : Mike Huff.
Toughest To Beat : Shunron White.

Special Silver Medal Winner Prize : " I Drew The Master" : Richard White.

4:30 pm EXHIBITION :
3rd Toughest To Beat : Ilber Lopez.
2nd Toughest To Beat : Christian Lopez.
Toughest To Beat : Shawn Sprouse.