The 60th Paignton Congress finally got under way this afternoon.
Preparations went according to plan, with everyone turning up in the right place at the right time. My main job was to get the presentation books to the guests on time. On arrival, Steve Giddins, the new Editor of BCM, was there, having just published his first issue (Sept. 2010) and already looking for suitable material for the October issue. Hopefully, Paignton should feature a little more than for many years.
Chief guest, however, was C. J. de Mooi, of the Eggheads team on TV and now ECF President. He arrived on time after a 3 hour drive down and at 1.30 p.m. we gathered in the Mayor’s Parlour to rendezvous with Cllr Philips, the Chairman of the Torbay Council and his Escort, Cllr. Nicole Amil, and Stephen Thorpe-Tracey, President of the Devon County Chess Association. This was an opportunity for Stephen to present both guests with inscribed copies of the Paignton book and my earlier book on Cecil de Vere, both with a Torbay connection. (see picture below)
The group then processed to the Ballroom, where players were foregathered for the speeches. C.J. spoke well and from the heart, clearly a natural communicator. Cllr.Philip’s welcoming words were also well-received. There only remained for the usual photo-opportunity whereby the guests take on the stars (for one move only).
In no time at all, peace descended as play got under way. I then started the distribution of the Paignton Congress books, starting with Keith Arkell on top board.
Most players semed to have no idea what it was, or whether they were expected to pay for it.
Anyway, here’s a pictorial account of the start.