Brantford Harmony Square Grand Opening

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  • Brantford Harmony Square Grand Opening

    The Grand Opening of Harmony Square and the chess program was a great success Saturday! The City of Brantford made it into a weekend festival with many highlight performances over Saturday and Sunday. The live chess game played between Brantford's Mayor Hancock and Brantford County Mayor Eddy and enacted by the Society for Creative Anachronisms was the opening act and was seen by thousands of spectators. I was chauffered to Brantford and spent the night courtesy of Chateau Gash (the lovely home of Rob and Sharon Gashgarian). The next morning the weather was perfect and we spent an hour taping the outline of the giant chessboard squares (each square was 4 ft squared) in Harmony Square to get the event started. The Society for Creative Anachronsims gathered in Victoria Park at 1030am, the members coming from several chapters across southwestern Ontario (Sarnia, London, Kitchener, Waterloo, Guelph, Brantford, Hamilton and Niagara Region). They had a full complement of actors - more than enough for 32 chess pieces. They were piped in by the Royal Highlanders and after a two block parade arrived in Harmony Square and the game started at 11am. Mayor Eddy as guest was given the white pieces by Mayor Hancock of Brantford. Mayor Hancock had played chess in high school and was still pretty familiar with piece coordination and as I was his advisor I figured it would be an easy match. Mayor Eddy knew the moves but castling was new to him. His advisor Mark Smith was formerly on the Jamaican Chess Olympic Team and I believe is Brantford's current chess champion. Mark Smith turned out to be a very sneaky chess player and the black queen almost got trapped. In a brilliant burst of inspiration I and Mayor Hancock with the help of eight year old Joey (a councillor's son who was a sharp young whippersnapper of a player) managed to turn the game around and deliver checkmate on the board. My job as advisor was frought with peril as I had to make adjustments to the old descriptive notation and make the Town Crier understand what I was talking about. 8 yr old Joey almost negotiated me out of the advisor's job as he wanted it (but I managed to successfully bribe him). The Society for Creative Anachronisms foiled our checkmate by insisting on battling out every capture and whoever would win the battle would stay on the board. In the final two battles with the black queen supported by the black rook checkmating the white king, the white king fought valiantly and desperately and defeated both the black queen and the black rook. The two mayors proceeded to have a laughing fit and agreed to an honourable draw. It was a great pleasure being chess advisor. Both mayors were extremely friendly and witty and Councillor Bradford was an amazing colour commentator embellishing each battle with a description of sequences of local political battles (developer so and so against the mayor, councillor so and so vs the mayor on such and such - a popular issue, the youth action committee vs a neighbourhood association, etc). A former mayor who was over 80 yrs old gave a fantastic loud vocal renditon of O Canada. She was cheered wildly by the crowd. The crowd was very supportive even cheering on all the fervent speech making by the mayors, members of parliament, and corporate representatives and the press was plentiful and handy with cameras and interviews. After the harrowing stress of my job as chess advisor I admit I thoroughly enjoyed browsing thru and tasting many of the wonderful exotic food samples along the avenue of taste booths setup by the local eateries, knowing that my samples were paid for by my enterprising hosts - the City of Brantford. I want to especially thank Mayor Hancock, Mayor Eddy, Councillor Bradford, Laurie - head of Special Events of the City of Brantford, the Society for Creative Anachronisms for being so friendly and good at what they do best, my fellow chess advisor Mark Smith, and last but not least Rob and Sharon Gashgarian for such a great time.

  • #2
    Re: Brantford Harmony Square Grand Opening

    Looks like you got a great promotion going!
    Now don't get roped into some official position with the CFC, OCA or other organization. They're all a black hole for chess organisers:).



    • #3
      Re: Brantford Harmony Square Grand Opening

      Hi Vlad, Ive got way too much going on to consider that. I already get enough emails in a day to consider and too much to think about. I think I should pass that warning back to you in case someone makes you an "irresistable offer"!