Whiz Loses To Obie, Triumphs Over 30 Others
who dont consider chess an extreme sport were obviously not
in Wilder Bowl last Friday afternoon when international chess master
Calvin Blocker challenged over 30 Oberlin students in a flurry of
simultaneous games, suffering one defeat.
The event was organized by the Oberlin Chess Club. A row of tables
with chess boards were set up in the Bowl. Participants sat on one
side of the table while the other side was left open to Blocker,
who ran from board to board, usually spending less than a minute
on each of his various turns.
Blocker, who in standard chess rankings has earned the title of
International Master, was nearly untouchable throughout the day.
In total, he conquered 30 of his opponents. Yet in an unprecedented
event, he would eventually admit defeat to first-year Jon Hirsch.
Hirsch received a $1000 prize for his victory from the Oberlin Chess
The fateful game ended when Blocker, down to two pawns, resigned.
This marks the first time ever that an International Master has
been defeated at Oberlin.
It was a nice little tactic, Hirsch said, referring
to the combination that gave him the upper hand.
Theres no honor about winning; [Blocker] would beat
me anytime, he said. Ive gone over the game; I
played better than Im supposed to, and he made a lot of mistakes.
But I dont say I beat a [master], I say I won a thousand bucks.
Its cheap to say I beat him because it was simultaneous. Im
not better than him... [Blocker] said things obviously jokingly,
but things a chess master shouldnt say. Theres a proper
etiquette, especially at his level, Hirsch said of his opponent,
who did not take the loss quietly.
Watch in four moves, white will be completely lost,
Blocker said at one point, obviously taunting the victor.
A chess players ranking is decided by strength and performance.
A Master must score over 2,200 points, and a Grand Master over 2,500.
Garry Kasparov, considered the best player of all time, has a score
of over 2800 points. Calvin Blocker is currently ranked 86th in
the U.S. with 2467 points. Hirsch considers himself a solid 1600.
Im not a big player
but I love it, Hirsch
said, who is a math major. He began studying chess seriously at
the beginning of high school, picking it up mainly because his friends
did. Hirsch has played in a handful of chess tournaments, in which
his success has varied. Fridays contest was his first simultaneous
It was very casual, but the music from T.G.I.F. was pissing
me off, he said.
When asked what he would do with his $1,000 prize, Hirsch could
not provide a definitive response.
I dont know. I havent thought a lick about it.