For pictures from the event and a particularly useful post explaining the specialised board setup some players us, follow this link — https://www.facebook.com/chessingreece
Sad to say that things have so far proved rather difficult. To start with I was the only passenger from Gatwick to Rhodes whose luggage didn’t appear! To cut a long and troublesome story short, the luggage was found in Gatwick. It was deplaned without explanation and I received it some 30 hrs later without an apology from the airline!
The hotel is great though, as are the swimming pools, and the sea is only 5 mins walk away too! The temperature on arrival was already 30°C so I was glad at least to have packed a few spare clothes in my hand luggage! A good tip fir anyone travelling to international tournaments. But down to the nitty gritty- what of the chess?!
As is usual for round one, the top play the upper middle and the lower middle play the bottom seeds, and as expected the top seeds dominated the round. That said, there were four upsets where players up to 500 pts below their opponents either won or drew their games.
Our entrant Gary Hogan faced a tough opponent, arrayed in the smart Spanish tracksuit that their entrants all wear! Only five years ago his opponent was rated some 225 points higher than now and is well used to playing opponents of between 2000 and 2200.
Our preparation went well but gradually David Zanoletty Garcia nursed a small edge into gaining a pawn and then another, and that proved plenty at this level. Still the first time players start at this level it is difficult to play your best so 0/1 but all to play for with 8 to go.
Round two saw Gary face a Moldovan player whose grade seemed a fair bit less than Gary’s, but who noticeably made few errors in his games available for viewing. In the end any prep went out of the window as Bogatu opened with d4 and f4! It soon appeared obvious that he was setting up a Stonewall structure. Sad to say that Gary went from a dead level position on move 14 to making a horrendous error, which within three moves had netted Vacile a whole rook!
Well, despite brave defending, such material loss proved too much and within two hours play Gary had unfortunately lost. I am now trying to get Gary to be positive – after all it’s his first foray into such high level chess and besides, another seven rounds remain!
When I left the playing hall the top seeds were having tough games though, so this could yet prove to be a tight championship?! By the by, I was also appointed to Chair the Appeals Committee! Hopefully we shan’t have to do anything!
Bye for now from a very sunny Rhodes!