I printed a campus map of ISU and ended up with this:
"Bethany, are you sure this is what you want?" my brother wondered aloud. No! The right directions, please! I wanted to get a campus map for Iowa State University. Unfortunately, the incorrigible computer which has since met its well-deserved fate refused to print the Iowa State University campus map, so we headed to the chess tournament with only general directions to the campus in Ames. Where, oh where, could the Molecular Biology Building be? we wondered as we pulled up in front of the Memorial Union. My sister and I hopped out of the van and asked a couple clerks in the building. They showed us a map, and soon we were happily parked at the Molecular Biology Building.
In spite of all our troubles, and the fact we left home 30 minutes later than we had hoped, we were the first chess players to arrive after the tournament director, Roger Gotschall. Roger mentioned a skittles room upstairs, so we made ourselves at home and toured the hallways of all 5 floors. We found snack machines and various places for sitting down and taking it easy. We sat down in front of some windows on the top floor and watched the parking lot as other chess players walked in. I was surprised to see some chess players I didn't recognize, and while we waited for the pairings for the first round we had some interesting conversations.
The first round, I played Milind Jetty.
I glanced at my clock and realized I was under 5 minutes, so I set aside my notation sheet, lost my d-pawn, and just barely managed to keep a draw in the endgame with a king and bishop against his king, knight, and a pawn.
I'm not sure if the draw was legitimate--unfortunately, I was playing without complete vision...an optical migraine surprised me half-way through the game. I hadn't had one in years--since shortly after my parents and the mayor had prayed for me--, so I was shocked. Needless to say, I started praying--and hurried to the snack machine to grab something "nutritious" to eat (as, I realized, the headache was the penalty for forgetting to eat my lunch!). I came back with a package of Pop-tarts and a package of Mike and Ike (the Mike and Ike was an accident...I intended to get the much more wholesome Skittles, but somehow pressed the wrong number on the snack machine).
I downed the Pop-Tarts before the next round...and wondered how on earth I could face my next opponent, whoever he might be. My next opponent was...Matt Kriegel! Matt beat me soundly at the Class Championships, so I was a bit apprehensive. Fortunately, my opponent chose the Sicilian Opening which I had played last round and know better than the back of my hand. He lost a piece early in the game through a faulty tactic but played into a position that scared me (although I found out later it wasn't bad). I, rather tired of the game, having regained complete eye-sight around move 24, but still feeling not-the-best, quickly accepted a draw. Another visit to the snack machine was in order, and Papa suggested I try an "energy drink." I gave it a try, and after a few sips I was back into shape and feeling perfectly!! Thank the Lord!
Feeling perfectly also meant that I was itching to play bughouse! Unfortunately though, Charity's game was taking forever to finish (it was the longest game), and I couldn't find enough people to get a game going. I did get a few interesting conversations though with my always interesting fellow chess players. Roger had a group picture taken to commemorate the 50th Cychess...Then, on to the 3rd round!
The final round, I played Steve Jacobs...whom I've seen at countless chess tournaments, but cannot remember ever playing before. We had a very long and interesting game which ended in...you guessed it, another draw! I didn't lose a match the entire tournament! (don't bother to remind me I didn't win one either ;) ).
Finally, everyone got to sit back, relax, and watch the playoffs for the trophy--a 4 round blitz match-up between the top place finishers, Nathan Amundson and the Barefoot Chessplayer Dave Wolz. The playoffs ended with 2 points each for Nate and Dave, so the match went into overtime... After blitz game after blitz game, Dave finally took home the trophy. It was an exciting match to watch! Many thanks to Roger Gotschall for directing such a fun tournament!
We headed home, stopping at a McDonalds for supper on the way. I ordered a Double-Cheeseburger plain and a strawberry milkshake...
Believe me, it was good...though I won't even pretend it was nutritious...
I noticed a very old lady sitting alone in the restaurant with a Bible, concordance, and a couple notebooks, intently studying. So, I stopped to say hello. We started talking; she had an Arkansan accent, and I learned that she didn't have a home, was always travelling, and did nothing but study the Bible and seek the Lord. Listening to her talk was amazing, she hardly said anything except for quoting Bible verses, and she told us how important it was to spend time with the Lord. I could tell that God was with her because I could feel his presence when she spoke. She reminded me of the story of Mary and Martha in the Bible. Most people, like me, are always so busy "doing things"--good things--but we're busy all the time, and often don't make time for the most important One in our lives--Jesus. This lady spent all her time like Mary, doing the most important thing--seeking the Lord.
We need to make sure we make time for the One who gave us this fun and exciting life... Just think of how wonderful it is that God (imagine how busy He is!) makes time for us. Read the road-map of life, the Bible. And follow Jesus Christ, the way, the truth, and the life. If you do, no matter how bad you are at finding directions, you will be headed in the Right Direction. Christ is our Eternal guide, and with Him we will never be lost.