After a couple of stressful weeks attempting to sort Sue’s visa situation we managed to get my passport sent to us on Thursday and I flew out very early Monday morning. Alas so far Sue has been unable to accompany me as the UK Border Agency still have her passport. New Zealand decided the risk she wouldn’t get her passport in time too great and so brought in the reserve but we’re still hopeful that Sue might be able to visit for a few days, but judging by the speed of the incompetent bureaucracy working at the UKBA it’s starting to look doubtful.
Apart from a heavy downpour which soaked us on the way back from the supermarket on the first day the weather has been sunny and windy. The hotel is fine, the aircon keeping the room cool probably being it’s best feature, and the food is passable. On the first day we encountered a big problem however when we found that the beer in the hotel bar ranges from 18-26 Turkish Lira for a small bottle – that’s £6.50-£9.50 or something! The diner/bar opposite at least offers a pint for 12 Lira which is just about the same as prices in England – still feels very dear though!
The Olympiad atmosphere seems to be missing a little this year with teams spread out over a large area as in Dresden. Unlike Dresden, however, we’re nowhere near the centre of town and just by the airport meaning the whole area is pretty deserted and there’s not a lot to do other than the chess. The internet is also very patchy – it was down for the last couple of days and only came back up today and even now it’s extremely slow.
Anyhow onto the chess. The England Open team has started well with a 3.5-0.5 win over Andorra where I drew on top board against their only titled player, Oscar de la Riva Aguado. However the scoreline was rather flattering as I was a lot worse for most of the game and Nigel blundered a piece on board two but luckily his opponent didn’t take his chance. Round Two we scraped past Brazil with Nigel defeated Alexander Fier with the mighty Grand Prix Attack(!) while the rest of us drew.
Round Three came and gave us a double white as team against Cuba. Double white is normally a good thing but in team competitions it really messes up your colours. Pete Wells our captain decided to go with top four but that meant that David and I started with treble black while the rest had all had White every game! However it worked out very well with us holding our Blacks and Mickey and Nigel both winning with White.
Today we’ve played France and at time of writing I’m guessing the match will be drawn 2-2 with four draws;(Sue: Yes, the match was drawn 2-2) not such an unlikely occurrence as White was outrated on every board. I’ll try and keep you updated on our progress but it’ll depend on how much free time I get and the internet connection! That’s all for now…