My Dear Friends of Chess24,
In a few hours, I will play world #3 GM Ding Liren in a simul. Thrill of a lifetime, but I was also thrilled to play top ten GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in a Banter Blitz last year.
I live in the general neighborhood of the St. Louis Chess Club and visited there 3 times, meeting many of the greats. Here's how I met Ding. 2016, Sinquefield Cup. My friend was driving to the Club, but we were late. I saw Ding walking on the sidewalk, and realized he must have had a quick draw and was heading back to the fancy Chase Hotel. She stopped the car, and I ran after him in my long black skirt and fluorescent green socks. I ran through the hotel to the lobby where I saw Ding walking toward the elevator. I called to him. He was surprised, came back and signed my board. At first I gave him a thick black marker, which he's holding in the photo. It was too awkward for him to write with, so I ran to the main desk for a pen. Then we took pics. He was very obliging. Fond memories, and I laugh when I think of the green socks.
As I just told my son, I'm the only grandma in the United States (I would imagine) who will have played 2 of the best chess players the world has ever seen. This patzer has Chess24 to thank, with special thanks to the moderators Zoras and AlekhineBattery for this simul opportunity. My cup overflows. I have to play at 5am, but will my heart let me sleep at all tonight? See you there.
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