Organizers concerned seating may not be ready in time
By Victor Yaward, Chess Reporter
Arlington, Texas – April 1, 2011 - (CRN) – Organizers for Red River Shootout IX, the chess match between Oklahoma and Texas, are in serious negotiations to move this year’s event to Arlington, Texas, site of the NFL Championship less than two months ago. “We expect a blockbuster turnout for this year’s match.” Says Rob Jones, Texas Chess Team Captain. “The stadium has so much to offer that we can’t get in Davis, Oklahoma.”
The advantages for holding the match in Arlington are obvious. A giant video board over the playing site offers an unparalleled view of the action and close-ups of the players. There is plenty of room in the stands, the end zones, and on the outside oval track for fans of all ages to frolic without disturbing the players. Numerous concession stands and restrooms are easily accessible to accommodate every need. The Astroturf cushions and muffles even the clumsiest player’s footsteps.
The Honorable Dr. Robert Cluck, Arlington’s Mayor, expressed great optimism about the boost such a match will bring to the local economy. “It’s the slow season right now in Arlington. Our stadium’s vendors have been laying people off, left and right. I’ve seen photos of those chess players, especially the ones from Southwest Oklahoma and it is obvious they appreciate a great meal.” Rob Jones backed this up by pointing out the Davis site has far fewer eating facilities. “Afterward, we can go to Bobby Valentine’s for the annual Victory Dinner. This is a great place to celebrate, no matter which side wins.”
However, Frank Berry, the most successful Team Captain in Oklahoma chess history, expressed some concerns. “Having the match in Arlington does have possibilities,” he said, “however, we are the home team this year and there is something un-American about playing on the road when you’re the home team. I mean, everyone knows the Texans do it year-after-year because they do not have any sense. However, we’ll give this idea strong consideration as we want the best possible playing conditions.”
Mr. Berry’s biggest concern is stadium seating. “The stadium was sued recently because the seats weren’t ready in time for a recent football game.” He continued with, “I’ve talked with Rob (Jones) and if the seats are not ready by April 1st we’ve agreed to make an announcement in Chess Life and hold the event in Davis. Oklahoma’s chess players and fans look forward to this every year and not having enough seats just won’t do.”
Other opinions differ among noted chess celebrities. Clemente Renden, Texas Chess Association President, looks forward to a match on Texas soil. “It only makes sense,” he explained, “because we most definitely are the defending Red River and World Champions and deserve hosting this South of the Red River. Heck, if the move is made I might even play!” Tom Braunlich, a former Oklahoma State Chess Champion and amateur statistician advocates for keeping the match in Oklahoma. “Statistically, Texas has a larger population,” he hypothesized, “however, the proportion of truly serious chess players is much greater in Oklahoma.” Recent analysis by Raymond Griffin on the Oklahoma Chess Forum supports Mr. Braunlich’s claim. “Only one in fifty Texas Chess players are serious about the game. By contrast, at least ten percent of Oklahoma’s chess players are really serious. Besides, we are the home team this year and our players should not be disappointed because of a few more seats in Texas.”
Ironically, the solution to Arlington’s seating problem could come from, of all places, Oklahoma. Professor Carl Latino, a noted engineer at Oklahoma State University and holder of sixteen patents for the armored suit worn by Ironman, has developed a new biodegradable stadium chair that installs securely in just five minutes. It is extremely lightweight, yet each chair can safely seat the largest chess player. “I would hate to see this match held in Texas,” commented Dr. Latino, “since many of our players, especially those from Southwest Oklahoma, tend to get lost when traveling over fifty miles. However, I’ll do whatever is necessary for the greater good.”
As all serious chess players know, the REAL Red River Shootout, the annual team match between the most fanatical chess players in Oklahoma and Texas, is scheduled for Sunday, April 24th. Texas leads the series 6-2 despite playing on the road year after year after year. The final decision about location, registration and other important information will be published in Chess Life and on-line on several web sites sponsored by The Oklahoma Chess Forum, The Oklahoma Chess Foundation, The Oklahoma Chess Association, The Texas Chess Association, and http://texaschessreporter.blogspot.com/.