Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Mark your chess calendar for this Saturday:

19th annual
Charles Drafts Memorial
Sat Aug 25, 2012

19th Charles Drafts Memorial

  • 4SS; 
  • G/60;d5 
  • EF: $25, $20 to BCF members if received by 8/19; $5 more at door. 
  • Two sections: Open & U1900; 
  • Prizes: $$400G: 100-50-50 in both sections. 
  • Reg.: 9:15 – 9:55. 
  • Rounds: 10, 12:40, 3:00, 5:10
This is a great tournament for several reasons:
  • guaranteed prize fund,
  • good turn-out,
  • competitive level, and
  • an event honoring a truly remarkable man.

Please consider playing.

The event will be directed by Bernardo Iglesias and the prize fund is guaranteed by Walter Driscoll as he has done for 19 years to remember his friend Charlie Drafts.

You may not know that Walter is a chess traveler [having competed in Hungry and visited Fischer's home and grave in Iceland before he was exhumed], an actor, and a stand-up comedian.

Walter Driscoll has for 19 years honored and remembered his friend Charles Drafts by helping sponsor a tournament for which he personally guarantees the prize fund.


Charles Drafts

by David Glickman

[republishing of a previous post]

This Saturday the ... Annual Charles Drafts Open is being held at the Boylston Chess Club. Charles died several years ago and so for newer members of the club and the broader readership of the weblog I thought it might be worthwhile to briefly review his story.

Charles was a disabled, double-amputee living in the housing projects in Mission Hill. He loved to play chess but his condition made it difficult for him to come to a club or attend tournaments. At some point in time he contacted the BCC to see if any players would be willing to come to his apartment to play. Over the years several heeded the call, but in particular club member Walter Driscoll was a frequent visitor. I believe Walter was also the driving force behind the Charles Drafts Open. At the beginning and for many years, the tournament was held at Charles' building in Mission Hill so that at least one time a year Charles would have an opportunity to play in a "traditional" chess tournament. Since his death, the tournament has continued at the club as a memorial event.

The introduction of internet chess was obviously a boon to Charles and he was an active player on the ICC. It was, in fact, in the middle of a chess game on the ICC in 1996 when the event occurred which thrust Charles into momentary international prominence:
BOSTON -- A disabled man who became ill while logged on to an Internet chess site reached out to fellow players from around the world for emergency assistance.

Charles Drafts, a double amputee who types using a stick in his mouth, was playing chess in cyberspace Saturday on the multi-use World Wide Web site where 159 others also were logged on.

Suddenly, he sent out this message: "i'm having physical illness problems and need help."

"He was starting to have some really bad feelings, shortness of breath and dizziness, and he typed in a message to all our members," said Daniel Sleator, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University near Pittsburgh who founded the Internet Chess Club.

"It took a little while to know whether it was serious or not because there's an awful lot of kidding and bantering that goes on," Mr. Sleator said. "At first, I think some people were thinking it was a joke. But others realized it was a serious thing and started getting the information right away."

Mr. Drafts managed to type in his address.... while several users tried to find out what symptoms Drafts was suffering, Andy McFarland of Owensboro, Kentucky, was calling Boston's emergency medical services on his second phone line. "When he finally got through, he told dispatchers where he was calling from and explained the situation," Howland relates. 'I think I lost them for just a second,' McFarland said. 'It's not something they get every day.'"

...firefighters rushed to Draft's home, but no one answered the door. They called McFarland back to verify the address. McFarland told the wire service, "The last thing I heard them say was, `We're going in,' and they hung up." ...a short while later Boston firefighters broke down his door to get inside. They rushed the 48-year-old man to Beth Israel Hospital, where he was listed in stable condition ..., suffering from an undisclosed ailment.

About 20 minutes later, a Boston dispatcher called to tell McFarland that they had found Drafts inside and that he had needed help.

[This text is a re-gifting of David Glickman's 2005 post.]

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