Well, it maybe the time I close my blog as I'm sure you've noticed I haven't updated it since February! I've been doing some exciting things and played a bit of chess as well, so you might be interested to know what I've been up to before I say the final good bye.
I spent a few months teaching chess to kids in a primary school, as a part of the Chess in Schools and Communities charity scheme. It was a new experience for me and I'm glad that most of those 70 or so kids now know how to play chess and more importantly - enjoy it! A few of them even went to a local competition between schools and did very well. I also received some wonderful chess poems from one of the groups, so full of imagination and humour! I found it so hard to judge between them to award the best.
A few weeks back I also did reporting for the Russian website chess-news.ru from the recent Grand Prix held in London. I took lots of photos and did interviews with many of the participants, mainly in Russian. I found it particularly amusing that I managed to get an exclusive interview from the winner, Veselin Topalov, at the end of the tournament. He shared the first place with Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Boris Gelfand, but had a better tie-break. I don't think Veselin did an interview for the official site at the end of the tournament, but I managed to get one!
What can I say, I had such a great time there - I met some new interesting people; that includes the organisers, the super-GMs who were playing and many others who were there either to support the players, provide media coverage or just visit. Of course, I also saw many people who I already know from chess and it was nice to catch up with old friends. I can report that most of of the super-GMs present were quite easy to talk to, seemed like nice people and have a good sense of humour :) But, one thing I realised was that despite playing chess for so many years, I still had no idea what super-GM's life is like. It's incredibly intense and believe me, despite an appearance of so many draws, they ALL want to win each and every game! I honestly promise you that! I absolutely didn't notice the attitude of, "I'll just take it easy today". I was also glad that Boris Gelfand got a share of the first place, as he got some really unfair criticism during his match against Vishy Anand. He actually has a very exciting playing style and it shows when he gets his kind of positions.
So, back to me then! I played in an Open tournament in Crete in July. The place was wonderful - sea, hot sun and great food - but I didn't play very well. I did, however, get selected to the England women's team to play in the chess Olympiad that was held in Istanbul in September. I was even put on the second board, which was a bit tough, as you can imagine! Well, it was a great experience anyway. Here, on the photo, I'm actually on the top board, as our board one, Anya Corke, was resting on that day. We won against Quatar 4:0 anyway. Apart from me on that day we had Sarah Hegarty, Sabrina Chevannes and Kanwal Bhatia playing, as you can see. At the end of the tournament we ended up at around our initial seeding, while Sarah performed particularly well. I must also say big thanks to our coach GM Stephen Gordon, who was wonderful.
I didn't get to see much of Istanbul because we lived near the airport, about an hour from the city centre. But I did go to a couple of historical sites on my free days and was especially impressed by the bazaar. It was so colourful! And the Turkish delight was delicious! All that remains to say about the Olympiad is congratulations to the winners - the Armenian men's team and the Russian women's team! And I hope that English and Russian men can do a bit better next time!
I'll leave you with some chess tactics from my game in the women's Wales - England match, used as a preparation for the Olympiad. I was trying to figure out how to win for a while, probing here and there. And finally I was rewarded when my opponent fell into a rather simple trap. Her last move was
50...Rxb2 suddenly, the rook on c2 is overloaded. It's no good taking my queen 51.Qxd4 as it's checkmate with Rb1# So, she played:
51.Rxb2 Qxc3 it's winning for me now, of course, but she made it even worse for herself with:
52.Na2? Rxb2 53.Qxb2 Qxd3 and I won a few moves later.
Incidentally, England won that match 4:0, although we were a little lucky in some cases.
And that's all from me! My life goes on, although perhaps not with as much chess playing as before. I will continue to play at the 4NCL and, if things work out in my favour, will play at the London Chess Classic Open in December.
Till we meet again! До новых встреч!
This blog is now closed.