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[Originally posted July 25, 2005]

Since I did not get the Supreme Court nomination, I decided to jump start my next career by branching out as a professional chess player. Up to this point, I have performed adequately as an amateur … collecting a few trophies in my heyday. But with the big stakes of Texas Holdem Poker getting so much press, I woke up to my potential to rake in the big bucks by taking my chess skills to the next level.

So when I had a free Saturday this past weekend, I dusted off my United States Chess Federation membership card (not used for the past 4-5 years), dug out my tournament set and chess clock (the old 1968 model still has some ticks left in it) and drove down to Waldorf MD for the only tournament around. Feeling the effects of years of rust, I arrived early enough for a quick warm-up game with a very intelligent ninth grader (at least I hope he is very intelligent because he didn’t break a sweat putting me away). Hey, no problem… I save my best moves for the big stage.

Now for the big news: I actually tied for first place and won a share of the prize money! I had a chance to win the final game, remain undefeated and take home the entire loot… but I wore down after six hours of intense action and couldn’t finish off the deal. That’s OK… every athlete has to work on his endurance and concentration level. Remember, I am just getting back into the saddle here.

I guess I should add some of the pertinent details before you all write wanting to sponsor me and buy a piece of the action. (Remember, the huge TV contract on ESPN has not been finalized yet.) This Waldorf tournament was designed as a QUAD – meaning players are grouped into sets of four by USCF ranking. The entry fee is $20; you play all of the other three competitors with the winner taking home $50.

Unfortunately, three of the four of us tied with two wins each … so the prize money was actually slightly under the entry fee … but Hey … it’s a start. However, this does elevate me to the status of a professional. I wonder if I need to consult my accountant about the IRS implications? But those are the types of complexities that athletes like myself just have to handle. At least I don’t have to give a cut of my winnings to an agent yet.