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Russians invade Stillwater, no one notices

1:40 PM EDT on May 24, 2007

The 2007 US Chess Championship finished up yesterday in Stillwater, finishing an 8-day event that captivated the world. That sound you hear is no one knowing that this was happening. Actually, since it's the US Chess Championship, I guess it was just a lot of Russian descendants that invaded Stillwater. In any event, there were a hell of a lot of people at Eskimo Joe's with names that ended in "-ov" and "-insky."

What's fascinating to me is that in attempting to find out information about this event, I came across this post, which includes this quote:

Michael's second home can actually be considered Stillwater, Oklahoma. He has played so many tournaments there and he's basically a part of the Stillwater chess scene.

Wait. What? There's such a thing as a "Stillwater chess scene?!" I've spent a fair amount of time in Stillwater over the years, and I have to say I don't remember seeing an inordinate amount of chess boards around town. What's next, I'm going to hear about the underground Parcheesi movement in Watonga or the Purcell Chinese Checkers scene? Apparently Stillwater really is a fairly big chess town, which I find somewhat fascinating, though I'm not sure why.

Oh yeah, and see this kid?

This kid's name is Ray Robson, and he is thirteen years old. He participated in the event over the weekend, winning three games and drawing in one. He holds the rank of National Master, which is apparently very good. I know we're all supposed to be amazed by the stories of kid genius, but frankly I hate hearing about them. I cannot tell you how depressing it is to realize that a kid half your age is twenty times smarter than you and has already accomplished more in his life than you ever will.

I'm getting more and more used to this conversation...

Friend: "What are you doing these days?"
Me: "Oh, I'm making petty observations on some blog about Oklahoma City."
Friend: "Cool. Did you hear about that 12 year-old girl that is helping map the human genome?"
Me: **muffled sobbing**

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