There’s a saying among certain populations of white America: “All those Orientals look the same.” (Annie and Caroline, I have a confession to make. I can’t tell you two apart…usually, I just guess.) And this would be my first match with one of the multitude of non-descript Asian schoolchildren.
Mr. Diao seemed to be 12 or 13, with good humor. He got to the table early and already had the board and clock setup. Sort of.
Although the clock said 2:00:00 for both of us, he claimed he just bought the clock and had to test it. So we punched the clock a couple times to make sure it was working. And before either of us could pause it, my time went down to 1:59:59. My heart start to flutter as Mr. Diao explained he wasn’t sure how to reset his new clock–and the TD was about to start the round! That sort of time advantage could influence the rest of the game!
Clearly, he was trying to throw me off by getting an “accidental” one second time advantage. As the game started, I exclaimed “I want my second back!”
Fortunately, I was able to regain my composure. By move 20, I had a time and material advantage! But slowly, the position deterioriated over the next 15 moves until I was almost at the point of offering a draw. Mr. Diao deserves a lot of credit for fighting it out and finding ways to give me problems. A tactical shot caused the game to end before it really deserved to.
(In all seriousness, losing the second wasn’t a big deal–the kids at the next board, Mr. Diao and I were all joking about it before the game started. It wasn’t worth trying to figure things out on the fly.)