Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Trip to England Part 5: Driving and the Olympiad.

Today and to some extent tomorrow, will be fairly quiet days in Basingstoke, where I’ll be helping out my parents a bit. For instance, my Dad had a hospital check up today, and I drove him there. Now this might not sound like much to most of you, but the fact that my parents have a small manual geared car, whereas I’m used to a medium to large automatic made the episode quite a challenge. It really is unbelievable how much I’ve forgotten about driving manual cars, something that I learned when I was in England and used to be able to do without much thought. I now had to focus on using 2 feet to drive, using a clutch, finding the biting point and remembering the gear ratios. I am not a great lover of cars, like some people, so making driving easier would be high on my list of priorities in a car. Therefore, I would almost always choose an automatic to a geared car.

Tomorrow it is my Mum’s turn for a check up, so I’ll be a reluctant chauffeur again. I’ll also be heading to Basingstoke Chess Club tomorrow night which will be another blast from the past. I will also be spending some time following the fortunes of various teams at the Chess Olympiad, which started for real today. I will, of course, be checking out the English and Australian teams, the fortunes of the top teams, and my friend Jamie Kenmure who is captain of the Palau team. (Saying that, I don't see them on the start list so I'm not sure what has happened there.)

Today, most of my time watching the event was on board 1 game 1, first to see the top seeds in action, but then watching a fascinating battle between a much lower rated opponent trying to hang on to his super-GM opponent. Sam Collins used the Chebanenko Slav against Grischuk and got a solid but passive position. In the end, Grischuk could find no way through, and Sam Collins drew the game of his life. This was great for the underestimated Irish team, and as Sam Collins is a contributor to the excellent daily newspaper edited by GM's Baburin and Golubev, Chess Today, which I subscribe to, I hope to have some great material in the coming editions.

I’m going to spend some time looking through some games tonight and tomorrow. I downloaded a file of games from TWIC but it seems a bit corrupted. For example, one game is Kett (Georgia) beating Harikrishna (Thailand). In fact, Harikrishna of India beat Kett of Wales. There are also a number of part games where presumably the transmission has not been completed. But young Australian Grandmaster David Smerdon started in great style. And this helped the Australian’s to a maximum 4-0 win in the first round putting them half a point ahead of England, and Russia 1!

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