Monday morning and the roads are clogged with car-loads of kids starting a new school year, making the trip to Oldway Mansion 50% longer. My hope of being able to distribute the free book on the history of the Congress to all players in the 5 Rd.Morning event before the start thereby quashed as I was lucky to make it in time for the 9.30 start.
No alternative but to try and do this while playing. Not helped by being told I was paired against a bright young junior international, graded 162 & rising fast. Distribution was achieved during my non-thinking time, at the cost of losing a bishop for 2 pawns. The compensation was being better developed and Black having an exposed King. As he gradually extricated his back row pieces it looked like the game was up, until he allowed a queen check forking an undefended rook. With a suddenly lost position he resigned. Does this qualify as a brilliant piece sacrifice for the attack or a swindle?
Some more book distribution followed after play got under way at 2 p.m.
Meanwhile, here are some picures from the start of the start of Rd. 2 in the Ron Bruce Premier.
To make the Congress a bit more special this year, a bolder programme of evening events had been organised by the Committee. This evening it was a talk by the senior arbiter and respected junior chess organiser, Peter Purland. He held a large audience in the Restaurant amused for over an hour with his talk entitled “Ramblings of A Chess Arbiter”, spellbound by the cadences of his unique Welsh-Liverpool accent and deliberate delivery. He told a series of amusing anecdotes, but forgot the one his colleague Victor Cross told me later, in which a certain round of a northern congress happened to fall on April 1st, and late the previous evening he and Victor went round the playing hall, blutacking to the board every black pawn on e7. Next morning, players of the French Defence were first to discover the prank, while others only found out later, at various stages of their game.