In August I played my first long tournament since last year’s Major Open, in sunny Kavala. Kavala is a seaside town in eastern Greece, where the attractive beaches compete with the chessboard for players’ attention. Fortunately, although my morning preparation may have suffered a little, they did not manage to prevent me from turning up at the board.
My preparation for the first round was sub-optimal, to put it mildly. My Gatwick to Barcelona flight was delayed, which meant that I missed my connection to Thessaloniki. Instead of putting me on the next direct flight, Vueling elected to send me first to Rome, then to Athens, and finally to Thessaloniki, which resulted in me reaching Kavala at around 2 am on the day of the first game, after a hellish 40-hour journey. I was paired with an International Master, and after getting slightly the better of the opening, I miscalculated and lost quickly.
Round two saw me paired with an 1806-rated junior; always an unpredictable proposition, as they can easily be a couple of hundred points stronger than their published rating. Despite still being tired, I played reasonably well and had good winning chances, but didn’t take them and only managed to draw. The second day featured a double round, so after the long morning game I had to play again in the afternoon. This did not go well, as can be seen below: