It’s been 4 years since I’ve last been in Torquay and a lot has changed. I guess when I first came over it was my taster of what the UK was like and I don’t have particularly fond memories of Torquay. Last time the weather wasn’t particularly nice and our flat was small strange and poky plus had no signal! I also played in the Major Open and had a bad tournament with 1.5/6 against FIDE rated players. It’s kind of strange visiting a place after a few years let alone visiting again after 20 years. It was dark by the time I arrive as I caught a late train after work but I did hear the rain lashing outside so I bought outfits for various weather combinations.
I was fortunate that Saturday was a beautiful day! England when the sun shines is so beautiful though I know it feels like it rains all the time. We’ve been lucky with the summer so far and I hope that it’ll continue for a bit more.I only spent from Friday night to Sunday afternoon there so can’t comment so much on what to do though on the rest day I spotted many chess players playing the Pitch and Putt course as well as the Crazy Mini Golf.
I did however manage to do a run around the seafront and a spot of shopping. I’m now on the Nike+ Fuel Band bandwagon . How did this come about? Well, my boss has it and then I spotted it on our friend IA Charles Zworestine from Sydney as well as FM Manuel Weeks also another Aussie. Manuel got it due to his partner wanting some moral support and Charles got it from Manuel and since I’m so competitive I wanted one too :-). It has made me walk stairs more as well as going “Okay, I need to do a run now” so, so far it’s been a great motivator. I’m going to get Gawain one as we all know how important fitness is for top players. I recently saw a photo of Magnus Carlsen and he was completely ripped (OK, I do know that he is not the “typical” chess player). Whenever I talk to non chess playing friends they seem astonished that you need do to exercise but I always talk about how important your physical well being is (in normal life) and how it goes hand in hand with something so mentally taxing. How am I gaining my fuel points? Mainly a combination of walking, running and dancing around to 90s r&b. I cycle to and from work but the band doesn’t really count those points unfortunately so I have to do other things!
It’s also kind of strange going to a chess tournament and just visiting. I’ve not played for a long time and am quite rusty. (My 1 minute was about 1600 for the last week and I’ve finally leveled out at a respectable 1750). It kind of served as a mini inspiration so I better get working on my chess. I last played at the Kings Place Rapidplay which Gawain won with 5.5/6
The chess itself – well you can all see that Gawain’s play hasn’t been completely in form but it’s a new week so anything can happen. He’s a fighter and I’m so very proud of him. It takes something special to pull yourself out of a rut and as a professional it can sometimes be worse but I always believe in him.
I’m sure Gawain will write an update about this tournament. He’s flying on Saturday morning to Tromos for the World Cup so don’t expect it for a while – hopefully until after September. It’s a very hectic schedule for a chess player but it is the peak season so at least life is not always like this. I hope to go and visit Tromso but we will see what happens.