World Championships have started!

Another delay between updating and I’m sorry. We spent the weekend out at Ross’ house up in Raumati South. It’s a beautiful big colourful house right on the beach front where Sue and I get delicious food, to play with their three dogs Amber, Ruby and Smudge, and to escape the centre of town. Ross had bought a new game from Fiji, a cross between Chinese Chess and draughts, and we spent most of the time playing that!

Ross has been exceedingly helpful as always. Not only is he our chauffeur and my longest running pupil, he’s also our driving instructor taking his life in his hands to encourage Sue that the gear stick isn’t going to bite and to remind me where the side of the road is. I think we’re making very good progress and I managed to get up to 3rd gear and back to a stop without stalling J

They only have dial up internet there so I only came back online on Monday and found I had inadvertently missed the start of the World Championships. Topalov won a crisp quick game in the first round which looked to be all preparation in a complex Grunfeld while Anand fought back to level the match with a slow positional grind in a Catalan. He didn’t seem to get any advantage out of the opening but continued manoeuvring and putting Topalov under pressure. I’ve noticed that Topalov thrives on the initiative so Anand’s task must be to keep him under a tight stranglehold and so Catalan appears a good choice. It will be interesting to see what opening he chooses today though, whether he’ll feel confident repeating or trying out something else, my hunch is on a Nimzo but that’s a complete guess.

I was hoping to update the website game-by-game but not sure I’ll have time. These days time disappears so fast! Today we were up by 7am as Sue starts her nannying at 8. I spent the day doing my May update for What with that, the new book, How to Beat the Sicilian for Everyman, and coaching my time’s fully spent! I’m wondering whether to stay up to watch the start of game 3 but it’s a midnight start here and if I have to be up by 7…we’ll see.

Thursday morning I’m taking the slow train to Hamilton and I’ll be there till Sunday night doing some coaching, a lecture and playing in the North Island Rapid Championships. Hopefully I’ll also get to see some of New Zealand, the view from the train is supposed to be really scenic and although it takes some ridiculous length of time (10 hours or so) at least I’ll be able to admire New Zealand’s mountains and valleys while doing some work.

I’ll try doing some more updating tomorrow and if I can catch Sue when she’s not out or asleep (working so early and being on her feet is really tough!) I’ll ask her to help make the site look prettier with some photos etc. Stay tuned!
P.S. On the note World Championships, I’m still in a state of disbelief that Steve Davis not only got through the first round but also beat the reigning World Champion John Higgins in the last 16! (Although it doesn’t look so good, as I go to press he’s 3-0 down against Robertson).