2nd Annual Carlota Acosta Parcheesi Tournament

Our family, the bunch of Parcheesi-heads we are, hosted our second annual Parcheesi Tournament this past January in honor of my late grandmother, Carlota, aka Mamita. (See this post with my tribute to Mamita and her love of Parcheesi.) It was a blast, filled with laughter, yelling, neck wringing, and tons of food. It was also great to see the tournament expand from the previous year with four additional players, some of whom were quite new to the game but still played remarkably well.

Willie and The Golden Caldero

Last year’s winner, Willie, pointing to his name on The Golden Caldero.

This year, we introduced the “Stanley Cup” of our Parcheesi Tournament: The Golden Caldero. The caldero is probably the most important piece of cookware in the Puerto Rican kitchen: it’s the cast-iron pot in which the rice and beans are cooked, among several other Latin delicacies. My brother-in-law had a small caldero painted gold and mounted onto a trophy plaque. The name of last year’s winner, Willie, is now etched onto the plaque, basking in everlasting Parcheesi glory. Each year, the new tournament winner’s name will be added. We even started a new tradition of announcing the start of a new round of games by “ringing” the caldero with a spoon. It’s quite a raucous, attention-grabbing sound. ;)

I’m proud to say that I won the very first game of the day, in a decidedly quick and bloody match. *Pats self on back.* Unfortunately, that was just about all the winning I had for the whole tournament. I may love the game and know all the good key strategies, but I usually end up getting slaughtered. I generally blame bad luck, and getting ganged up on because I get too aggressive too soon in the game. Yeah, yeah… that’s what it is. *shrug*

Parcheesi Cake

Yes, it’s a Parcheesi cake. I told ya, we’re freaks.

In the second game I played, my father won before anyone else got a single one of their pieces home. A complete, full-blown shutout. When someone has no pieces home when the game is won, it is said that you “got chiva.” (Chiva is the Spanish word for a female goat, and it can also be slang for marijuana or heroine. Don’t ask me, I didn’t coin the term. :)) Dad was pretty darn proud of himself for that one, pointing his finger at each of his defeated opponents and badgering them. Holy Toledo! You all got chiva! You? Chiva! You? Chiva! You? You got chiva, too! Chiva! Chiva! CHIVA! Ah-OOOOOOO!”

It wouldn’t be a proper Parcheesi tournament if it didn’t have a whole lot of bridges, and this year was no exception. (Note the wear and tear on the board on the left. This is my family’s beloved original Parcheesi board from the 70′s. It has been through a lot. It’s barely in one piece, and the box is covered in duct tape so it doesn’t fall apart.)

Parcheesi Bridges

After the preliminary qualifying games, we were down to our four finalists: my brothers-in-law Pete and Jim (left and right respectively), my father Frank (center), and my cousin’s daughters Kristina and Lauren (who played as a team throughout the day, though they each proved worthy of playing for themselves next year).

The tournament finalists and the final game.

The end of the last game was a serious nail-biter. Everyone had their first three men home already, and all but one player had their fourth and final piece in the home stretch, just needing that one perfect roll of the dice to win the game. Turn after turn, ’round and ’round the table, with no one getting that desperately needed die. My father finally rolled the two he needed and won the tournament.

Congratulations Dad! Your name shall take its eternal place upon the plaque of The Golden Caldero (and now we all know exactly who to plot against next year. ;)).

Passing of The Golden Caldero

Willie passing The Golden Caldero on to this year’s tournament winner, Frank.

Here’s to you, Mamita. Hopefully you’re gazing upon us with a great big smile, watching the bridges we build in your honor, and salivating over all the ¡COMIDA! Miss you. xoxo

7 thoughts on “2nd Annual Carlota Acosta Parcheesi Tournament

  1. Wow I love how official and serious your family is. Such a special and fun tradition you have. Tell me about the tournament food! Is eating during play forbidden of encouraged?

    • Non-saucy finger food snacks are allowed at the table, like potato chips, pretzels, etc. We do try to keep the boards out of harm’s way, but things do happen. I’m surprised I’m allowed to keep an open beverage near any board. (During one vacation, I spilled a drink on the homemade 5-man board. Oops.)

      The foods we had on hand included…
      For lunch: sushi, sandwiches, deli salads (potato, macaroni, couscous), pastelillos (also known as empanadas, basically a fried meat pie), turrones (a Spanish almond-nougat candy), guava paste with cheese and crackers (sounds gross but it’s delectable), a cheese and cracker plate separate from the one with the guava, and various chips & dips and whatnot.
      For dinner: rice and beans, baked ziti, chicken marsala, sausage & peppers.

      We brought in and/or pre-made nearly all of the food, since we were trying to limit the amount of day-of cooking. Anyone there who would have been cooking was playing in the tournament, and we didn’t want any game delays waiting for someone to finish a cooking step. We also nixed the idea of wings as we were afraid someone might forget to wash their hands before putting their hands all over a board.

    • Unfortunately I still don’t have them available for sale. I have been contemplating how to produce them in a cost effective but high quality manner, but life is still getting in the way. Fingers crossed for this year! ;)

  2. Pingback: 3rd Annual Carlota Acosta Parcheesi Tournament | Paisley Avocado

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