A return to Corsica

I managed to catch a cold while in Germany, possibly from my team captain. A very short pause in my chess commitments meant I could have my first day off in a while on Monday (lots of board games with Sue and Tom – I may be addicted!) and generally relax and try to fight off the bug. Sue tended to me very well as always and by today the cold has ebbed to an annoying cough and blocked nose. Unfortunately my nurse has now caught the same thing but I hope a relaxing weekend will make her feel better.

I’m writing this from my hotel room in Bastia, Corsica. My trip was painless enough; the first flight was rowdier than the normal 11am flight with a group on their way to a hen party. I found a seat at the back that was fairly quiet until the toddler behind decided they’d had enough of the flight and started screaming…

Being back in Corsica is an odd sensation. This is the first tournament I am repeating since we came back to Europe in July 2010. I’m in the same hotel (but a different room), the venue is the same and again I managed to miss my lift from the airport and got the bus instead!

To those of you who haven’t followed the tournament before, the format needs some explaining. It starts as any normal tournament with 9 rounds (last year 7). Here, however, it gets interesting. The top 14 places don’t win any money but instead are joined by two invited players (last year Leó, the organiser, invited the top two Azerbaijani players Teimour Radjabov and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov). These 16 play a knockout with two rapid games in each round.

Last year I didn’t know the details at all but a good start allowed me to get into the top 14 comfortably. We were then seeded in rating order pitching me against top Canadian GM Mark Bluvshtein in the last 16 who I managed to defeat before going down to the eventual winner Mamedyarov. Hopefully I’ll manage to repeat finishing in the top 14 and then I’ll need some luck!

The tournament website is here. I doubt I’ll know my first round pairing until just before the game tomorrow evening but will try and keep you all updated with my progress.

2 Responses to “A return to Corsica”

  1. Barone (Italy)
    October 22, 2011 at 10:24 am #

    Another place (or maybe the only other place beside Italy) where speaking Italian might be useful….
    But very much so, as although Corsica people are very careful in distinguish themself from French ones, or Continentals as they say, they still share with them some bad impressions toward England (possibly originated at the ancient times of the “two roses” war, no less).
    For example, as I discovered when I worked as a tour operator some years ago, if an Italian wants to book a place for an holyday in Corsica, he/she’s badly advised to try and do it at the phone in English language: he’d get immediately in a black list of sort as someone who doesn’t respect his colture and contributes to some kind of worldwide scheme for English language diffusion!
    If you don’t belive it, try and ask some young people who’s their favourite international music star, and be prepared to hear the weirdest pronunciation you’ve ever heard of a known artist’s name (while back then I was dating a nice girl from Ajaccio, I didn’t understand her preference for Michael Jackson till I saw his poster on her -cough- bedroom wall!).

    Anyway, good luck, and if you see her, bring my greetings to my aunt Martina!

  2. Sue
    October 22, 2011 at 12:06 pm #

    Gawain here – can never remember my password! I might try some Italian although these days everyone seems to speak French rather than Corse anyway. Talking to Leó last year, he said the older people here could understand Italian but not the younger generation.
    As long as us English attempt the local language we’re liked but otherwise yes, just speaking English isn’t so popular!
    Thanks. I think it rather unlikely I’ll meet your aunt though.

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