Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Simul Retrospective

A year ago today, as the Autumn leaves were beginning their descent towards the New England ground, a crowd started to gather around an unfamiliar sight in South Station. 

Some recognized the local legend, though many more asked members of the growing audience who this fellow was who seemed to be playing everyone around him at the same time. It was, of course, GM Larry Christiansen, the three-time U.S. Champion, showcasing his might against all those eager comers. He would lose three games that day, against a trio of strong players (pictured above, seated in front of Larry) who happened to be sitting next to each other. He would win eighteen others, of course. In the meantime, the crowd kept growing, gazing at the sheer feat and at the mastermind who executed it. With that, the first South Station Simul was declared a success.

That was one year ago today. Since then, GM Christiansen wiped away whatever rust may have been bothering him the first night. No simul since the first has seen more than a single winner, despite a multitude of experts and a number of masters taking the legend on. In the two most recent events, he would finish utterly unbeaten and undrawn. After the first few simuls were run somewhat sporadically, the event itself has settled into some consistency as well, being held on the second Tuesday every month.

The crowds still gather in full force, though, more and more of them seemingly able to answer that question onlookers inevitably seem to ask. Namely, "Who is that guy?'

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone who helped make this possible. To Larry, for giving us these displays month after month. To our wonderful former president, Jason Rihel, who spearheaded that first the station.  To club board members Doc Kinne and Natasha Christiansen, whose efforts and energy have been crucial in promoting chess in the public square. To Ted Furst, Matt Coogan, and everyone else involved with Biederman Redevelopment Ventures, who first brought the idea of promoting chess in the city to our club.

And finally, to the players themselves. It has been a wonderful year. Let's keep this South Station train rolling!

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