No-frills tournament just cuts to the chess
In close competition, winner takes home kazoo as grand prize
12:28 PM CST on Sunday, January 25, 2004
By TIARA M. ELLIS / The Dallas Morning News
PLANO – The slap of chess pieces being moved and the repeated click of a clock timer were the only sounds punctuating the silence that hung over the four players at a Plano chess tournament Saturday. Each man concentrated on his moves in the pursuit of the day's prize – a kazoo.
Robert Nunnally organized the Kazoo Quad Quick Chess Tournament at the Plano Centre to add fun to the game and bring a chess tournament to Collin County.
"I just got tired of running all the way to Dallas for a tournament and spending the whole weekend playing," said Mr. Nunnally, 44, of Allen. "This way, we play for a few hours just for some fun. And the kazoo shows that this is as much for fun as it is for competition."
Cai Schmidt said he comes from the Bobby Fischer era in the 1970s when the game grew in popularity. At one point, he was playing in at least one weekend tournament a month, with games lasting all day. In one case, a game stretched eight hours with more than 120 moves, the Plano resident said.
Now, his back can't hold up to those kinds of games and Mr. Schmidt, 47, prefers playing short, quick tournaments. Saturday morning, he played six rounds of blitz, or five-minute, timed chess, in less than two hours.
Wolfgang Kern, 40, joined the free-play tournament Saturday afternoon for a few quick games. He and his wife recently had their first child, so getting out of their Allen home for chess tournaments isn't possible if they are daylong affairs.
"I have to get the kitchen pass from my wife to go play, but it's fun. And driving [about] 3 miles here instead of 20 miles [to Dallas] is much easier," Mr. Kern said.
Although only four people participated in the morning and afternoon tournaments, Mr. Nunnally said he plans to do it again. But next time, he said, he'll offer cash prizes to draw crowds.
"This is just a start. They say, 'If you build it, they will come.' Well, they don't always come. I guess I'm the only one who would play just for a kazoo," Mr. Nunnally said. "But I'm hoping that this is just a start and as the word gets out, more people will come play."
Copyright 2004, Dallas Morning News