Thursday, 3 June 2010

Italy's Calling

It's been a long time since I wrote the last post! I haven't actually played any chess since the 4NCL but that's about to change. Tomorrow I'm flying to Italy to play in the new Open tournament called 1° Festival Internazionale Di Scacchi ”Citta’ Di Roseto”.  Italy is probably my favourite country after the U.K. so I can't wait to go. I love the Italian food, the language, the weather and its wealth of history. In the past I've been on holidays to Milan and Sorrento (including Pompeii ruins nearby). But there are many more places I would like to see in Italy in the future. Since this time I'm playing chess it won't really be a holiday and I won't have much opportunity to explore places as a tourist, however there will be the sun and the sea - just the kind of location that I like for a chess tournament! I've even attempted to learn some words of Italian by downloading a couple of applications to my iPhone. Actually, I feel a bit shy when trying to speak a foreign language so I'm not sure if I would be brave enough to say something in Italian. You might wonder how I managed to learn English. Well, my parents sent me to an English school when I was 17 and there weren't any Russians there. I had no choice but to speak English!

There have been some very interesting chess news in the past month. The biggest news was, of course, GM Vishy Anand defending his World Champion's crown. What an exciting match that was! I imagine there would have been a lot of psychological mind games as the match was in GM Topalov's home country. Anand did very well to come through that successfully. Perhaps Anand gained some energy from what looked like overwhelming worldwide support in his favour. I wonder what your experience was but I felt as if everyone supported Anand.

The other piece of news that I want to mention was more directly relevant to myself. The English team was recently selected for the Olympiad in September. Even though I was considered in the selection I missed the team. It wasn't a great surprise for me as I was the lowest-rated player that was considered. I did, however, learn a bit about how selections are done and what I need to do to get selected next time. One obvious thing that I need to do is to bring my rating up. As far as I could tell this was the most important selection criteria. There was also one less obvious selection criteria and its strangely significant weight compared to some other criteria. The good news is it's all within my power to achieve the required standard. Even though I'm going back to work in August I'm not giving up chess any time soon and there will be many more chess tournaments to come in the future. The women's team that was selected includes: IM Jovanka Houska, WIM Ingrid Lauterbach, WFM Meri Grigoryan, Kanwal Bhatia and Sarah Hegarty. I wish the team all the very best in the Olympiad! I will be supporting the team by following their results and via Facebook. And I hope to see lots of interesting photos from Meri!


Alberto Santini said...

I hope you enjoy the italian tourney. :)
If you have any problem, send me a message. :)


Anonymous said...

"There was also one less obvious selection criteria and its strangely significant weight compared to some other criteria."

What is this about?
You made me courious...

Maria Yurenok said...

Thanks Alberto. It's going good so far - 2 out of 2 :) And the weather is getting hotter too!

Maria Yurenok said...

Hi Anonymous.

ECF selection procedures state that the primary consideration is the rating (fair enough). And the secondary criteria is "the player’s recent activity. As a guideline, any player who has played less than 15 FIDE Rated games in the prior calendar year is likely to be considered inactive by the Panel". This secondary criteria didn't seem to matter very much while I thought that me being super-active in the past year (compared to some other people) counted for something. Instead, it seems a different (not previously published) criteria was used: average performance rating of all rated games from 1st July last year up to the selection time in May. I can see a logic behind this selection criteria, though it puts rapidly improving players at a disadvantage. If you decide to improve after a long period of inactivity it's pretty normal to show poor results at the beginning and much better results towards the end of the year. If you average those results out over a year it doesn't really show the player's current strength. Exactly this happened to myself and Sabrina Chevannes (who also wasn't selected). You can see that a selection committee had a difficult decision on their hands. Anyway, ECF agreed that the selection criteria needs revising.