Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Winterthur Tournament Part 1

Finally, I’ve found some time to update you about my progress in Switzerland. I couldn’t connect to the wireless from my laptop, but IM Simon Ansell managed to fix it for me, so I’m back to the world of internet! I’m not doing great - I have 0.5 out of 3 with two black losses. In the lost games I managed to get myself into slightly unfamiliar positions out of the opening and didn’t come up with suitable plans. Now I know better! Anyway, I’ll have plenty of opportunity to fight back with 6 rounds to go. Simon is doing very well, he has 2.5 out of 3 and playing on the top boards on the stage. Here is a photo of me taken by the tournament’s photographer while I didn’t even see him.

I have spoken to the two Russians in the tournament. FM Alexander Bakin from Chelyabinsk remembers me when I was small. He remembers my dad too, but that’s not a surprise – my dad has a striking personality which cannot be forgotten! Unfortunately, I can’t remember Alexander at all. However, I do remember GM Ulybin from Ekaterinburg who is the top seed in this tournament, because he was at GM Panchenko school and came to the Isle of Man tournament a few years ago.

Simon and I have explored Winterthur a bit but there isn’t much going on here. The trouble is that the games start at 1-1:30pm on most days (far too early compared to most tournaments), so it’s almost impossible to find time to go to Zurich or the mountains. I've found a chocolate shop on Sunday, but it was closed and I have to come back another day. I’m also spending more money than I hoped because food is rather expensive here. In a strange way, Winterthur reminds me of Chelyabinsk because it has trolleybuses. I don’t think I’ve seen trolleybuses outside of Russia before. We also found a big chess set in the town centre, so here I am playing even more chess!

My hotel looks like something from a 70s film and about 20 mins walk from the centre, but I suppose it has everything I need. The small flat-screen TV in my room looks rather odd in the surrounding 70s décor! One other slightly annoying thing is the clocks. There seem to be at least three near the hotel which I can hear ringing every quarter of an hour. And this morning some church bells were ringing for about 15 mins at 6am! I hope that won’t happen tomorrow as we’ll have two games, with the first one starting at 9am. I’ll need a good sleep!

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