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


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Causeway Challenge Reflections

I am not going to go through all of my games - there are just too many and I only photographed a few of the boards.

I got of to a very bad start, being slaughtered by 131 by Victor Chua (SG). I rallied in the next game against Saidu Ayorinde (NI), and the following two. I should have won game 5 against Jin Chor, missing a simple bonus to play out when he blocked my outplay bonus of pREPRI(C)E but set up a place for a 7 ending in A. I have no excuse other than there had been nowhere to play a 7 so hadn't been looking for one and I was low on my clock. I won the next game against Ferdy Anthonius thanks mainly to him playing a phony with a blank mid-game so I started blocking. A few moves later he tried another phony with both blanks. I could see fREEfOR(M), although I wasn't 100% sure, but blocked it. Asked at the end if he had missed anything I told him, and then he said I was lucky he hadn't played it!!! Another tight win against Sherwin Rodrigues, playing for the Asian-stars team - this game has been annotated the wrong way round. I finished the day on a downer, losing firstly to Edward Okulicz (Au) in a very strange game and then to Thacha Koowirat (Th). So 5-4 at the end of day 1, with one game blown but one game given.

Day 2 and I started against Mohammed Zafar. Another let-off in this game when he slotted NAStIER under AJEE making a phony hook of (TEE)T missing several easy 9x around a U in fourth which I then blocked. I then lost a tight game against Naween and then a horrible blocked game against Joanne Craig. I followed this up with another big loss against Henry, which was a little unlucky when he followed up MATTOiD with (N)ARTJIES for 116. I recovered after lunch with a win against Gerry although he was steadily pegging back my early lead. Another three losses followed, although I should have converted a loss by 1 to Sam K. into a draw. I finished the day with two wins against Albert Hahn and Cheah to avoid the day being an utter disaster, but was now only 9-10 with my tougher matches still to come.

The next day news was coming through that the situation at Bangkok airport was getting resolved and flights were getting back to normal. It was a huge relief and it certainly made a massive difference to my concentration. I won eight games out of ten on day 3, losing only to both the New Zealanders I played (Jeff Grant and Howard Warner). My games against Andrew Fisher and Marlon Prudencio being annotated this day.

In the evening there was a banquet given for us all, hosted by the mayor of JB. I had about 10 minutes after my last game to rush up to my room and change into the one skirt I had packed. When I got back down to the ballroom most players were already there and a band was playing. It was probably another three quarters of an hour before the local dignitaries arrived and the many speeches started.

Between each course we were given a display of dancing. Team Nigeria were keen to get in on the act :)

And then also songs. And this then turned into a karaoke night.

Some players had made an early exit and around 10 p.m. Amy and I also decided to do a runner. A quick drink in the bar (there is only so much orange squash you can take) and then an earlyish night. I gather there were about another four courses at the banquet so we probably made the right decision.

Before play started on day 4 Michael Tang waited until everyone was in the room to make an announcement. It had been brought to his attention that someone may be cheating, and in clear terms stated that if anyone was caught cheating that they would be thrown out of the tournament and never be allowed to play in anything he organised again...

Day 4 started well for me, with a rare victory against Pakorn. WIN near the end may be sub-optimal but I couldn't resist it. Next up it was Chris May. We were a few moves into our game when Michael grabbed the microphone. Mohammed Zafar had been caught cheating and was told to collect his belongings and leave the room. We were all told to neutralise our clocks while this was happening. And then security was called to escort him out... I lost the game.

Next up was Akshay. Interestingly the quackle analysis is telling me the best move after Akshay's phony of STRONDE(D) is (P)UMY, which will give him DR(Y)STONE as a 9-timer! I followed this large win with another against Adrian Tamas - you know things are going your way when holding IILNORU he gave me a floating B :)

After lunch things didn't go so well, and I lost four of the next five. I almost pulled off a great comeback against Tim Adamson but it was not to be. However, I finished the day on a high note with my first ever victory against Nigel Richards. There is a mistake in the annotation in this game - SEE was played one square higher than shown.

Day 5 and I was realistically out of the prizes unless I had a dream day. Losing the first game against Amit killed off any hope. A draw against David Eldar in game 2 which should have been a big win, but given the choice of challenging David's last play which I was pretty sure was phony meant if I was right a win, if I was wrong a loss and if I let it pass a draw. If I was still in with a shout I would have challenged. Three successive wins after this game, and then I played like a drone against Tony Sim in the last game of the tournament letting him off with a phony bonus.

So, I finished 24.5-19.5 with my win against Mohammed being voided, as close to my expected result of 24.7 as physically possible. Congratulations to David Eldar on an impressive win, Edward O. in second and Harshan in coming third, and to team Australia on their clear victory. Team UK finished in second place, well above their seeding. My silver medal will be displayed on the trophy window sill.

The experience has left me wanting to make the team next year. Michael's organisation of the event was superb. Our only real complaint was the live music in the fifth floor atrium going on until late into the night/early morning. The earplugs given to me by Harshan were invaluable.


Henry Yeo said...

don't know if Malaysia will be around next year.

Henry Yeo said...

I just realised that the previous statement could be read the hilarious way.

rephrase: I don't know if Malaysia will be invited to field a team next year (as opposed to the obvious)

Yay!!!!! I get another mention of pooh's blog. time to bump up her google ranking!!!!

Henry Yeo said...

how's christmas this year?

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