For the last 3-4 months I have been working hard to make sure to make sure our trip went smoothly. If I could facilitate this and do my best to keep everybody happy then perhaps parents and coaches would be able to focus on the important thing – getting the kids to play their best possible chess. I learnt a lot of trivial things in the process. I now know three cities in Georgia: Batumi, Kutaisi and Tbilisi. I am embarrassed to mention that I did not know that it was the Black Sea that bordered Batumi until a day into the trip! However it is not these things that will be embossed in my mind.
The memories I will take away are —
an arduous journey but finding a player from the Irish delegation and watching my son playing Blitz in the departure lounge in Budapest.
Buying some hot Hungarian soup and somehow insulting the vendor by not knowing it was their national dish and then burning our palates with it.
Cramming into a crowded transfer bus in Kutaisi, unable to get comfortable in my seat, but so tired I slept anyway – only to be told by my son that everyone had a good laugh at my snoring.
The noisy sound of the cars on the poorly maintained cobbled streets surrounding the hotel.
Zebra crossings that are ignored by the local drivers.
The presence of lots of friendly but inquisitive stray dogs and cats.
The under construction Trump tower not 10 minute walk away.
The snow covered mountains that surround Batumi in the distance and the Black Sea.
Lots and lots of rain but not cold.
A lovely hotel which was the best I’ve stayed at for a chess event.
A lovely spa, swimming pool and gym to use whilst the kids are playing their games.
Striking up a conversation about Georgian football with a member of the bar-staff.
A pretty girl and a scary looking security guard outside the 24 hr casino which is in the hotel next to the lifts.
Waiting for about 45 minutes at least in total for lifts going up and down during the entire competition.
Efficient running of the event by the organisers.
A nice breakfast provided by the hotel but a lunch and dinner in a refectory next to the Black Sea that was nothing to write home about.
Playing tennis in the local tennis club not 5 minutes walk away.
Being almost run over at least 3 times by the electric min-bus that was available outside the refectory (silent but deadly).
Playing table tennis on tables outside the hotel daily both with my son, other kids and the dads, with and without a net.
Losing miserably at Blitz in an adult-only chess face off.
Using WhatsApp for the first time as a group but finding it a useful tool.
Making friends and being involved.
Team unity and the feeling that parents, children and coaches care about what happens to one another.
Writers block in writing these reports (believe it or not) but a feeling of satisfaction once they were done.
The next thing I would like to do is thank Andrew Martin and Glenn Flear for the fantastic job they have done both before and during the event. They are experienced coaches who know what they are doing. Their instruction was not only vital for the games at the championship but also invaluable for the children’s chess going forward. I would also like to thank John Higgs, Andrew Walker, Gary Wilson, Christelle Hafstad and Traci Whitfield at the ECF and Simon Metcalfe for giving me advice on the role and mentoring me especially at the start.
So here comes round 11. Keerthana Easwar was the first one out of the playing hall. This was the best game of the tournament for her. She played really solid but aggressive chess. This was not a typical 8yr low on energy at the end of the tournament. A really excellent game. Well done Keerthana. This took her score to a respectable 4/11.
Aditya Munshi also won his game meaning that he achieved his 50% score of 5.5/11. His game was a positional affair. Aditya took a pawn with his Knight, leaving his opponent with an open King. The opponent did not accept the sacrifice but instead threatened checkmate. In analysis Aditya admitted to “Nearly having a heart attack” after Qc6 which attacked check mate and his Knight. Thankfully Aditya has Nf4 saving his knight and protecting checkmate.
Christopher Tombolis backed up his win last round with another against his higher rated opponent from Japan and it looks like the end of this tournament is coming too soon for him. This was another Benko which he had faced in a previous round and lost. This time he Fiancetto’d and took advantage of being a pawn up following the gambit. He slowly outplayed his opponent. Black thought he had a tactic by taking the pawn on d5 with the Knight on f6, then after Nxd5 blacks queen would go to c6 or b7 pinning the knight and at the end of the variation he would win his knight back, but Christopher spotted Bb2 check and Rhd1 and after e6 trying to win the knight back, Christopher would attack checkmate forcing black to go e5 and then just protect the knight on d5 again. Christopher’s technique in completing the game seemed a bit risky to me but he assures me he had it all under control. Christopher finished on 50% and 5.5/11. He was very happy with his play in the last 2 rounds.
Joe Birks, Ilya Misyura and Anum Sheikh drew their games, leaving them with 4.5, 6.5 and 6.5 respectively. Anum and Ilya had excellent tournaments and Anum received her prize after winning the puzzle prize for the competition that took place on the rest day.
Bobby , Nilomi and George lost their games against much higher rated opponents so no shame at all. They were left with 4.5, 5.5 and 5.5 respectively.
Well done to all our players. You have done yourselves and your country proud during this marathon competition. Thank you to all the parents for their understanding help and support. This was my first international trip and I would say to any parent whose child qualifies for a tournament like this- don’t hesitate, express your interest and go. This was the most amazing experience for me and my son and we hope for a repeat if we are able. I hope you have enjoyed reading these reports.
— Glafcos Tombolis, Head of the English Delegation