Chess Etiquette, by Nell Ooc

[Reprinted from Chess in New York State, 1973-09]

Dear Nell Ooc:

At a recent out-of-town tournament I was paired with the local champion in round one. After about 25 moves my pencil dropped to the floor. When I got up to get it, somehow my belly got stuck and I upset the whole table, spilling the pieces into my opponent’s lap, along with a cup of coffee which he had been drinking. Of course everybody in the room turned to stare. I was too embarrassed to say anything, but could only stand there looking like a big dope. How should I have handled this situation? Big Ben.

Dear Ben:

The essence of poise is being able to divert attention from unpleasant developments. You should have immediately offered your opponent a draw.


Dear Nell Ooc:A tournament announcement I received ends with the line, “Formal Dress Requested.” Exactly what does this mean? Puzzled in Pittsford.           

Dear Puzzled:

It depends on where the tournament is to be held. At fashionable tournaments on Long Island, formal dress calls for a white dinner jacket with the sleeves neatly tied together in back. The latitude increases from east to west. In Albany jackets are optional; shirts should be neatly pressed and dark trousers worn. In Syracuse shirts should be neatly buttoned and dark dungarees worn. In Rochester T-shirts should be neatly torn and dark Bermuda shorts worn. In Buffalo shirts are optional. In Niagara Falls pants are optional.

New York City has no rules governing dress, or anything else. Link 

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