Thursday, 16 July 2015

Scottish Championships 2015 - Day 5 - Hitting the Wall

Every year without fail, it happens.  Every year I know it is going to happen but it doesn't matter what I do, it still happens.  Round 5.  There is something mythical about round 5, it signifies the half way point.  It is also the point were we hit the wall!  I was so tired yesterday, I could have cried (having been travelling for the best part of 12 weeks does not help!).  Last night, I had one of my usual bouts of insomnia.  Strangely I am refreshed today despite having little to no sleep!

To give you and idea of both my (and probably Alex's day).  We get up fairly early.  Check emails and mobiles in case someone has called to see if the need an emergency bye.  I will leave the house about 8:50, with Karen and take the kids down to my parents.  Karen then heads to work and I head to Hamilton to meet Alex.  10:45 ish we will meet and head through here and get the hall set up ready for play (getting the live boards up, with the usual sacrifice to Cassia, putting out the place cards, putting on and checking the clocks, printing draw and dealing with player questions).  Play starts at 1.  I am then running around taking photos, updating the website with results, doing the grading and the other 1,000,000 or so jobs we do when play has started.  Alex is the same.  We have Dave putting the games in at the moment so we can get the PGN up.  Play finishes say 7pm (it varies as we have an incremental time control).  We then check the results against the result slips, Alex by now has them on the pairing cards and it is time for our evening battle with the computer over the draw :D

Once that is done, we upload the draw, check the live boards are switched off and we have everything with us and head home.  Alex drops me off just after 8 at one side of EK (It is easier as I can get a bus there) and I am in the house for 8:30.  Next job is to eat and spend 30 minutes with my wife, son & daughter who have not seen me all day (Alex, you have an advantage there!).  Get Euan to bed (he likes his daddy putting him to bed :) ) and then I can begin the evening work (Alex is doing something similar as we have split tasks).  I update the live boards with the next days play, combine the pgn files, update the website and if I am not totally out on my feet, write the days blogs!.  Once that is done, I venture to my bed and pray I am not going to have another night of insomnia.  Normally this is about 11:30.  Rinse and repeat for 9 days!

I have probably missed out a few steps :)  Why do we do it??  Love of chess, love of the Scottish Championships and at the end of it, a feeling of accomplishment.  If you see us looking tired, the chances are we probably are!!!  If you have asked me to do something and I haven't, the chances are I have been concentrating on what I am doing and it has slipped my mind!

I have to pay credit to Lara Barnes, David Clayton, Simon Gillam, Donald Wilson and of course Big Boss Ken Stewart for their invaluable help.  Without them being here and assisting we simply would not be able to do everything we are doing, but there is a serious point to this part and it is kind of what I am getting to.  We really do need people to help us going forward.  It does not have to be arbiting, it can be other roles such as games inputting.  If someone wants to learn how to do the live boards, it would help me as I could concentrate on other things.  These are simple examples.  If we follow the pattern, next year we will be back in Glasgow (with the lovely bands disturbing play...).  If you can give time to assist us, please do!!

Ok serious bit over and time for the sarcasm (you didn't think you would get away with it did you!).  It is getting close at the top and we are at the stage where every point counts.  There was a game on board 1 that even I could analyse, but when I read FM Alan Tate's analysis of the game, I am going to pinch it and put it here (well they say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!)

"The Ruy Lopez (/rʊ.ɪ ˈloʊpɛz/; Spanish pronunciation: [ˈruj ˈlopeθ/ˈlopes]), also called the Spanish Opening or Spanish Game, is a chess opening characterised by the moves:

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bb5
The Ruy Lopez is named after 16th-century Spanish priest Ruy López de Segura."

Yep that is pretty accurate and spot on Alan!  I can find no argument against that.  I'll leave it to the noticeboard to continue the debate on this one.  It is a little juicy!

Of course this means that the race for the title has closed right up and we have 15 players in total within a point of the loading three.  Looking at our norm chasers, Neil, Calum, Clement and Andrew are all sitting handy.  Andy Burnett needs some really good results but is in with a shout (as an aside.  Andy was kind enough to explain to me why he resigned yesterday, I though there was a way out of the position but he was good enough to take the time to explain to me why my idea didn't work!).

One of the outstanding performances so far has to come from Steven McHarg

Steven is sitting on 50% (2.5/5) which does not sound that good until you consider he is actually one of the lowest graded players.  His TPR (tournament performance rating) is 1962 at the moment.  His actual grade is 1476!  Regardless of how his tournament finishes, well done Steven!

Steven was very unlucky in his game yesterday, narrowly missing a mate in 2 or 3 (depending what Alan did) and drawing in the end

Here is the position, Alan has just played Be2??

Rh3 immediately wins the game as if gxh3, Qg8 mate.  If Alan plays Kxh3 then Qh1+, Kg3 and Qh4 mate!  How close to another 400 point scalp (and a similar graded player in the following round)

Unfortunately (or fortunately if you are Alan!) Steven didn't see it and played Qg1.  Them knights are really tricky!! 

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