Monday, 19 October 2009

Chigorin Memorial Tournament Part 1

After a couple of days at home I went to St. Petersburg for my next tournament. You can see the current tournament table here. For some reason I can’t connect to the free wireless at all and had problems connecting to the chargeable cable access in my room, but it’s ok now except that it’s quite expensive! The hotel is a very nice 4 star and I have a lovely room on 14th floor with a great view :) It’s discounted to 30 pounds per night for the chess players, so I definitely recommend coming here next year if it’s held in the same hotel.

I have 0.5 out of 4 so far, which is not as bad as it sounds. The tournament is very strong for me, so for the first two rounds I had much stronger opponents. I was quite happy with my play in the first game against 2399 until I encountered a mental block and just gave up a pawn in one move. I didn’t manage my time very well either – this always seems to happen in the first round with shorter time control. In this tournament I have to play with 1:30hr + 30sec after each move for the first 40 moves, as opposed to 1:40hr +30sec in Winterthur. In the second round I played against an unrated player and lost with a horrible blunder. It’s hard to know what his real strength was as there are a lot of good unrated players in Russia. Today I played against someone with a similar rating as myself and accepted a draw in an equal position. It was a little hard to refuse as I still had to make 7 moves in 2.5 minutes and didn’t want to blunder.

There are several players at the top on 3.5 points. Of course, I’m supporting grandmaster from Chelyabinsk – Igor Kurnosov, who is one of the leaders at the moment. You might remember I said in an earlier post that we went to the same school, although at different times. Now we figured out that he lives in the neighboring block of flats to my gran. I think that’s what GM Plaskett would call a coincidence! I am visiting my gran after this tournament, so shouldn’t be surprised if I see Igor in a local supermarket. I’ve made several new friends here. Just like back home many chess players seem to be obsessed with poker. Even I played a little for the first time in many years although I could hardly remember the rules! I should have asked Simon to teach me back in Winterthur.

Unfortunately, I still haven’t got round to exploring St. Petersburg as a tourist, but fully intend to do that tomorrow. I’ll have to wrap up warm as the current weather here is like winter in England. I just hope it doesn’t rain!! One of the organisers was taking photos today, so in the next post I hope to show you some photos of myself and of St. Petersburg.

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