Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Last evening, Michael, Yuanling and me went to the home of Southams to receive their generous donations.
First we were overwhelmed by the warm welcomes, the Southams greeted us with their cordial handshakes and their friendly smiles. As we entered the dining room we were again overwhelmed, this time by the numerous donations that occupied the entire dining table. In front was 15 Trophies that the Southams have promised. Behind the neatly arranged trophies was several chess sets. The Southams enthusiastically showed us these items that I am sure are worth a lot of money.

Then behind the chess sets lied 5 big thick binders. In those binders are the precious memories of whom all the trophies belonged to: Todd Southams.

As Ms. Southam showed to us all the photos and newspapers of Todd Southam, a life of a Chess genius who passed away at a young age appear before our eyes. Todd's first tournament was when he was 10 and from then on he became more and more interested in the game of chess. He started going to all kinds of tournaments and he dominated the chess world. His name frequently occurred in the newspapers. Sadly, he passed away in 1996 at the age of only 27.

He was remembered though, there was a Todd Southam Memorial tournament, his face occurred on the cover of the En passant chess magazine and his name on the newspapers.

I feel the deepest appreciation at their donations. The donations themselves are worth a lot in both material and spiritual. Those trophies marked Todd's proudest chess moments, and I'm sure is the treasure to the Southams family.

Todd's chess legacy will live on. As we give the trophies to the new champions in the chess world, they will find "Todd Southam Momorial Award" written on the plate, which will remind them of Todd and his legacy.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Chess in the Library - Pleasant View Branch

When I first heard of Yuanling's Brilliant program Chess in the Library, I was suprised at the uniqueness and the promising goals of this program. Thus without hesitation I decided to help out. But I never would have thought that as fast as a month, a new branch of the program will open up, and I would be the leader of that branch!

After being humorously bossed around by Yuanling in the Brookbanks meetings, I have learned from her leadership skills and all the techniques needed to organize my own branch. Stuff like making pairings, registrations, grabbing people's attentions, speaking loudly, and of course the most important of all: how to boss other people around.

Last time I checked, 15 people already signed up. To me that is both relief and pressure. Relief knowing that so many people already signed up, but there is a sudden rush of responsibility. To be honest I am a bit scared of the first meeting, for all its uncertainties. All I have is a list with names; I know nothing about their age, gender, personality.

Still I am looking forward to the first meeting next saturday, and I have no doubt that it is going to turn out great.