A.M. Total of 10. Did 6 alone and 4 with Joseph. Benjamin did 2 with Jacob. Jenny did 2, Julia 3, William 1. Then I took Benjamin and Jenny to the remaining three rounds of the Utah Junior High Chess Championship.
Benjamin ended up winning the whole thing with a perfect score - he won his last three games and was the only player with the score of 6. The way the system works is that with each round you usually get a tougher opponent if you keep winning. If you enter the turnament with a high rating, you start with relatively tough ones, but not the strongest, and you play the best ones towards the end. Benjamin calls the earlier rounds devouring meat. If you are lower-rated, you are considered meat, otherwise the meat-eater. Benjamin was the meat eater in this tournament. Sometimes the meat is feisty and will fight really hard. In fact, the last years champion choked on his meat in the first round today hanging his queen which effectively put him out of contention for the win. This did help Benjamin, but of course he needed to consume his meat without choking to make it which he managed successfully.
In the second round of the day (fifth total) he was paired against another lion that beat him last year, and that had been served Jenny as meat the day before which he consumed successfully. So Benjamin had two strong reasons to win - to avenge for himself, and to avenge for his little sister. Benjamin succeeded, and afterwards I teased him with a Russian poem that roughly translates as this: "I will not let anyone hurt my little sister, I love her very much. But when I need to, I will beat her up".
The last round was quite exciting. His opponent was rated 1960, only 40 points short of the expert rank, and had won the Utah High School championship this year already - a 9th grader is allowed to play in both junior high and high school. A tough player, but he botched his attack and hung a knight on a tactic. Benjamin saw the tactic, made the needed exclamation mark move and picked up the piece. After that his opponent's position fell apart, although his opponent tried a good number of game-saving stalemating tricks, but Benjamin saw through that.
Jenny won two more games losing one, and finished 19th overall with the score of 4. She was the second girl. I was telling my mother about that later as we talked on Skype and she asked why girls competed directly against boys. I explained that Americans believe in gender equality :-)
If you look at the ethnicity of Benjamin's opponents you would think he was playing in New York or some other place with a lot of immigrants. His first opponent was Vietnamese, then Chinese, again Chinese, then Latino, then Indian (from India), and finally Chinese in the last round. There was a significant number of white players, about half maybe, but the reason for this apparent distribution anomality is that Benjamin played on the second board in the first five rounds, and on the top one in the last one. To make the second board in the first round you need to either have a high rating or have the honor of being selected as meat. After that, usually you have to have won all of your previous games to be there.
When we got home I ran 4 miles with Benjamin.