When I rolled into Paignton on Sunday afternoon the sun was shining and the sea breeze carried with it the promise of success. My first opponent was stronger than me, and usually played in the Open section, but I had white and was looking forward to a nice win to open the tournament, the season, and the Road to Grandmaster. In fact I was crushed in sixteen moves. Here’s the game:
After this demoralising defeat I made my way to Dartmouth, where I’m staying on the family boat, and rowed across with my stuff. The evening was quite pleasant, as I had my guitar with me and it carried very nicely over the calm water. Unfortunately it didn’t stay calm for long, and I was kept awake for a long time by the wind whistling in the rigging and the water slapping against the side. The waterproofness of the boat got a good test, as it rained all night, and somewhat surprisingly I didn’t wake up and find I’d been dripped on.
After reluctantly exiting my cold sleeping bag in the morning, I arrived eight minutes late, unshowered and bleary-eyed, to the first game of the morning tournament. I soon fell further behind on the clock, but my opponent missed a tactical shot on move 21 which won me the game. Here it is:
This afternoon the pairing board told me I had a bye, which for those who don’t know means that an opponent couldn’t be found for me (due to an odd number of players) so I would be awarded a free point. I hung around anyway and one person didn’t turn up, so I still played. I was told I would get a point anyway, regardless of the outcome (i.e. it was a friendly), but they appear to have put the game on the pairings board, so I may find I’m on 0/2. The game went badly for me from the opening, and I eventually succumbed in time pressure.