So I had to book a 10pm flight (which meant a half point bye in the first round) from Heathrow to Cork as I left it quite late to book and the prices for earlier flights had shot up! It’s really easy for me to get to Heathrow and my bosses invited me to stay for dinner. We had a lovely meal of salmon, veg and rice plus a cake me and the kid made for Mother’s Day.
Mother’s Day Cake
We seemed to be on the runway forever and with the recent disappearance of MH370 I was a bit nervous about flying. Having travelled from a young age (visiting Mum’s family in Malaysia) I’ve never really felt fearful of flying but lately I’ve been thinking about life more and more :-). It was on the Thursday after MH370 disappeared that Ga was due back from Iceland and when he didn’t contact me immediately, I got worried. But I just thought that the likelihood of two planes disappearing in the space of a week shouldn’t really happen and I was right :-).
Arriving into Ireland it was wet and windy. It was my first time to Cork and after a quick taxi ride into town I went straight to bed.
The second round started at 9.30am. This is of course is ridiculously early but the reason is that these Irish weekenders fit 3 rounds in on the Saturday. Say what?? I know what you are thinking, and I completely struggle! Ga figured out over the weekend you are likely to play something like a minimum of 18 hours of chess with little time for sleeping, eating and most importantly drinking.
Simon Williams seemed to get lucky in the first couple of rounds. He’s a real fighter and it’s never over until it’s over.
Round 1 Williams vs O’Brien. Could you see how Black could’ve finished white off? Here he erred with Rh2 and eventually lost the game.
So my play over the weekend wasn’t great. I was definitely missing things . Why? Again, if only we knew. Working a 58 hour week probably doesn’t help but my concentration was completely missing. This was after my 4ncl weekend where I beat an IM & WIM. My game against Peter Cafolla was one where I got an advantage then started playing strangely… who knew what I was thinking? I seemed to think it made sense but after a few moves being played my position went from being slightly better to so much worse! I then even had to put most of my pieces on the back rank (after developing them!). I had no easy games in Ireland, while Gawain sailed to 5.5/6 I managed to get 3.5/6.
Here my young opponent blundered with 28…Qb6. Can you see my follow up?
We had a nice view from the tournament playing area. Just across the River Lee was the city center. In hindsight, maybe I should have just gone shopping but the weather was awful and I thought maybe I could bounce back.
Iranian/Spanish/Irish IM Alex Lopez now living in Holland. Photo by Sarah Flannery
Gawain ground down IM Alex Lopez in a queen and pawn endgame. Alex is an old friend of Gawain’s who used to be a professional poker player. In the “good old days” usage of ICC and MSN used to be rife. You could often find VerdeNotte in channel 67 (Gawain’s note: more importantly 280, the betting channel!) or waiting for a flash tournament (normally 1 minute each) to be organised. Back then there wasn’t a 1 minute pool so if you didn’t know anyone about you were stuck. After spending way too much time playing 1 minute and flash tournaments, Gawain found poker. Fortunately for me, he gave it up pretty quickly but for some others poker has been their game of choice. That being said, Gawain will go to the Isle of Man International Chess Tournament
in October sponsored by Pokerstars.
Yours truly, deep in concentration and def not the most flattering shot ever. Photo by Sarah Flannery
It was such a quick visit as we left for London on Sunday night missing out on the blitz as I had to get back to work. We had a lovely time in Cork and we would like to thank everyone who helped out and in particular Steve Short, Gerry Graham and Michael Bradley.
Ga’s winner speech which I accidentally deleted off my phone. Photo by Sarah Flannery