The trials and tribulations of a life of leisure...


Thursday, November 29, 2007

WSC Day 1

My gut was still feeling a little dodgy and hoped I would make it through the day...

Game 1: Dean Saldhana - Canada
COCONUT as my opening rack, maybe this was going to be a good tourney. But Dean hit back with MIX for 43 and then back-to-back bonuses with ANESTRA and STAIDES(T) to take a comfortable lead. I scored well with KEF and DEAWY to get back within 10, and my dump of GALLE(O)N was rewarded with a blank for EgOMANI(A) for a 43 point lead which stretched to 60+. Then Dean bonused with (R)EFInERS to empty the bag. I missed the new 8 for a 9-x to play out, but BELTING(S) was enough as I made a quick exit to the loo...
W: 500-385

Game 2: Odette Rio - Phi
This game was nip and tuck, neither of us setting the world alight at the start. We were level after 5 moves apiece, and then we exchanged bonuses, sHORTIE from Odette, C(E)NTRODE by me. Odette then moved ahead with M(O)FO, LOITERS and ZEA to take a 91 point lead. I pegged a bit back with QIS. Odette blocked with DIE(T), and holding the last S and blank I made an opening with HE(s). Odette semi-blocked. I spent a long time trying to find and missing the better play, and eventually played S(A)UNTiNG for a 1 point lead and hoped the last three tiles gave me a chance. I turned over DOW, and could see a draw. Odette almost misplayed at the end, setting me up for a win but realised in time...
D: 396-396

Game 3: Adam Logan - Defending World Champion
I had played Adam a few times when he was working in the UK, but had never beaten him.
I opened with HOOKA and then balanced with GLEI. Adam bonused with AERObAT, but I hit straight back with GREISeN. I pulled slightly ahead, but Adam levelled the score with LEA(D)ENED and then pulled ahead with SATAY. The board was very tight now, and holding the Z I needed to make an opening to have a chance. MUN(T) was the best I could see from a consonant clunky rack. Adam changed and I had picked an O for ZOL and to retake the lead. RI(V)ET from Adam, and with the last S I played WIVE, leaving 1 in the bag but picking the Q. By this point I had under 2 minutes left on my clock. Adam blocked the opening with COP. I was holding AQRSTUY, and could see nowhere to play the Q but TR(OW) set it up. Adam ran his clock right down trying to find a way to block me but failed...
W: 374-345

Game 4: Ferdy Antonius - Ind

I had never played Ferdy before - he has some very annoying habits and it is easy to lose your concentration. Every time he gets a good score he shouts it out so the whole room can hear. Every score of the opponent is met by 'How much?' and has to be repeated.
We both scored well at the start - BOVID, HAZER and TYR(O)SINE on move 4 from Ferdy; XI, JACK(E)D, MOBS and FOVEA from me. I bonused on move 5 with PESAUNT to take a 30 point lead. However, Ferdy had back-to-back bonuses on moves 8 and 9 with SLEE(T)iNG and CENTEr(E)D and I had no ammunition to fight back.
L: 392-461

Game 5: Ganesh - Mal
I have no photo of this game. Suffice it to say that Ganesh had bonuses on moves 4,5,6,7 and 10. I think I just wanted to forget all about this game.
L: 401-549

Game 6: Francis Wachira - Ken
Again I do not have a photo. I was doing okay in this game until the end when I ran out of vowels and got stuck with the Q. To add insult to injury up until the last rack I thought I could still win, but found I had misadded an earlier score...
L: 372-379

Game 7: Chris May - Aus
I was 100 down after 5 moves, helped by playing the phony LOOB on move 3. However, I then took off. POTTaGE on move 6, and I was very pleased to spot the bonus with my pick of AACFILU which gained me an extra 5 points with the challenge. STRIGAE two moves later, and another 5 points when Chris challenged POWS. TAENI(A)TE from Chris at the end allowed me to playout with the toughy REFINeS to put icing on the cake.
W: 552-378

Game 8: Tony Leah - Can
I bonused first on move 4 with TROUBlE, but Tony had been scoring well and retook the lead with J(A)DED. I bonused again with GENTIER on move 6. ZORIL by Tony to be 30 behind, and I decided to risk PALET for a bonus-sized lead. I hadn't counted on 102 from Tony with VAGINAS. However, I could still score well with SCAW for 43. Tony decided to block, just dumping an S with (ZAIRE)S, which saved me a lot of worry. DEX from me and I was still ahead after AH from Tony. NOIL from me. Tony took quite a while on the next move, with me holding RENAILS. After initially playing XI/IN he then decided to add the second N, giving me a problem with ?ADEOQTUU unseen. I eventually opted for RE(N)AILS, picking AU. Tony simmed this later, and it was the best move.
W: 434-419

So, end of day 1 and 4.5-3.5, 39th out of 104 and still all to play for.
Three players (Paul Allan (Sco), Nigel Richards (NZ) and Charnwit Sukhumrattanaporn (Tha)) were on 7-1 at the top of the table.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

WSC - Reception

After settling into our room we decided to find the World Trade Centre that was located near our hotel on the premise that there was likely to be somewhere to eat around there. We missed the road to go directly there and ended up at a Barista coffee shop. We found that we had actually gone on a long route around the back of it, but even when we found our way in most of the shops were shut for lunch. We wandered back to the hotel, where Phil and Allan were just checking in after their 2 hour drive from the airport...

When I wandered back downstairs later in the afternoon there were a few more people around, with the inevitable game being played surrounded by spectators. Allan had been thrown out of the room he was sharing with Phil as Phil wanted a nap, so we found somewhere to get a beer in the hotel with Paul joining us.

An hour or so later the lobby was filling up with players so I hung around chatting before going back up to my room to get ready for the evening opening ceremony. I knew I would be in the minority in making an effort, but I had taken both the nice dresses I had bought in Edinburgh and I was determined to not waste packing them!

It was a little late starting, but eventually we began to register, collect our 'goody bag' and file into the reception. This guy scared the living daylights out of me the first time he gave a blast on whatever it is...

There were waiters circulating with wine and hors d'oeuvres, and everyone was catching up with old friends and making new ones.

After a few short speeches candles were lit to mark the opening of the ninth WSC.

We were a little put out that they didn't do a live draw for the opening game of the following day, but were told that if we waited around the fixtures would be generated.

More socialising...

Wilma Vialli, who has TD'ed all the WSC's I have played in, was here in that capacity again.

Team Philippines and Loretta Alban from Qatar

BTW, that is not a spot on my forehead but we were all given a bindi on entering the reception.

It was getting a little late to head back into the city to eat after the reception, so Phil Robertshaw, Wayne Kelly, Paul and I enjoyed a meal together in the hotel, before getting an early night as we were starting play at 8 a.m. the following morning. Luckily for us our room was on the tenth floor so we were a little removed from the fireworks and firecrackers that were going off everywhere to celebrate Diwali...

Monday, November 26, 2007

India Part 1 - Mumbai pre WSC

It seems so long ago now. We took the dogs back to Sonia on the morning of 4th November, and in the afternoon set out for the airport. We had already checked in on-line, and as a result of flying to Heathrow from Edinburgh beat the crowds for reserving seats on the evening London-Mumbai leg. We risked going for seats near an emergency exit and it worked out - no seats in front of us.

It was a bit of a shock to the system stepping out into 35C and high humidity at around midday local time on the 5th. We were met at the airport and transferred to our first hotel, the Godwin, off of Colaba Causeway after a 2 hour drive from the airport - thankfully in an air-con car.

Our room was a lot nicer than I had expected for a 3* hotel - very large with a sitting area as well as a large bathroom.

We ventured out after freshening up to change some money, running the gauntlet of all the market stalls along the causeway and getting our bearings for bars and restaurants, stopping at Leopold Cafe on the way back for a beer. We had another little wander down to the harbour and the Gateway of India.

In the evening we ate at the Ming Palace, which was a reasonably priced Chinese.

The next morning after breakfast (cornflakes, toast and coffee became our staples here) we decided to do 'the Queen's Necklace' walk. However, we hadn't appreciated how far it was to get from our hotel near Mumbai harbour across to Back Bay on the opposite side of Colaba.

After almost getting there - we could see the water - we came to a dead end and had to backtrack. By the time we got to Marine Drive my feet were already suffering in the heat, so we changed plans and headed back towards Fort, stopping for a coffee.

We had not realised quite how cricket mad India was. Everywhere we went we saw kids playing on wasteground and on the numerous roads under construction. Even the news was cricket first, second and third before any other headlines...

In the late afternoon we went shopping at the Central Cottage Industries Emporium (CCIE), which was recommended in our guide book as the first place to go for arts and crafts. It had sections from all the states, and unlike in most stores you are left to wander freely - I hate being followed around the moment you show any interest in anything...

We had booked a full day city tour for the Wednesday. First stop was back at the Gateway of India where we bumped into most of the NZ team - Howard, Jeff, Joanne and Lynne - also on a city tour.

We met them again later in the day at Mani Bhavan, a small museum housed in the building where Gandhi stayed when he was in Mumbai.

Bombay University - library ->

<- Victoria Terminus

One of the highlights of the tour was a visit to the Dhobi Ghats. The sheer scale of this is hard to imagine...

We also had a visit to a Jain temple, which was very interesting.

We ended the day at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum (formerly the Prince of Wales museum). We would have happily spent more time in here if it was not for the fact that there was no air-con and very few fans, and we soon began to wilt at the end of a long day...

The following morning I had intended to go haggling along the causeway stalls, but my tummy had started playing up. I contented myself doing a little studying and reading one of the books I had bought at the airport, until we transferred to the Taj President hotel at midday - the location for the WSC.

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