Nelson Bailey (left) ponders a move while Bob Taylor (right) makes his first move in the District Chess competition.
ALL THE RIGHT MOVES
The game of chess has a thousand moves, but there was little movement among winners in the 2016 Northwest District results over what happened in 2015.
Nelson Bailey, the top ranked player in the event, won the Gold Medal in the 60-64 age bracket while Bob Taylor won the 70-74 age bracket just as he did a year ago. And the year before that and the year before that and ...
It's almost always the Nelson and Bob Show in chess in our district.
"Bailey has a ranking in the top 1,400 players in the country," said Taylor, who ranks among the top 1,600. When they meet up in the round robin event, Nelson and Bob usually battle to a draw. So it was Wednesday and Nelson claimed his age bracket. Taylor outdistanced Bob Sutton, winner of the Jesse Lanier Memorial Track Award two years ago, and Robert Stockman who shared the Silver Medal in the age grouping.
Taylor's toughest struggle in his age grouping may have come against Stockman. They played a two-hour match before Taylor finally pinned Stockman's king in a corner.
"Matches usually divide themselves into three phases, beginning, middle and end play," Taylor said. "I made so many mistakes I was in trouble early," he said. But he relied on an aggressive, attacking plan to gain the advantage in the middle portion.
Taylor was asked about the many strategies named after players and series of moves. "There are series of moves that have become famous throughout the ages. All kinds of names that you can find in the myriad books on the game," he said. "There are guys who read all the books to learn them all. I call them chessnuts," he said, smiling.
"I like the game because I love competition. Figuring things out. You get yourself in a fix and you try to think your way out," he said.
Ages 60-64: Nelson Bailey Gold. 70-74: Bob Taylor Gold. Bob Sutton Silver. Bob Stockman Silver.