Now in its third year, the event seems to get better and better with another astounding success and fun filled weekend had by all. Our numbers again increased to 59 participants this year as we braved ourselves to new heights, speeds and generally puzzling activities in the unique event which combines physical activities with a challenging mind game, chess.
The participant arrived from 3.30pm on Friday 13th, lucky for some, and were met by myself, John and our ‘group buddies' from the centre Helen and Laura who guided the arrivals to put their bags down in the common room and head for the traditional all-in football game on the front lawn. As more of the participants came they were guided to their rooms which had been allocated in the house over 3 floors to lay their belongings and meet in the hall for an official welcome, grouping, PGL do's and don'ts which was then followed by a tour of the centre and after dinner a fire drill.
Eventually all 59 arrived and the tournament began around 7pm, this year we once again played In the cafeteria and after the initial confusion of setting up a further talk with the group of our can and cant's with a Q&A, play began! As always there were some early upsets and after 2 games some of the older participants escorted the younger players back to the house so that those who were roomed together could become better acquainted, have the odd feast and for some a well earned rest.
It was a shock to the system getting up on Saturday morning at 8am for some, although the younger ones seemed to embrace it, the same could not be said for the older and experienced members of the group who seemed to forget the Saturday morning feeling from last year when they stayed awake until the earlier hours, needless to say the occasional few looked a little rough but managed to perk up after some caffeine intake and breakfast.
Then to the fun part… the activities! Each day our routine consisted of breakfast from 8am , 2 activities, lunch, 2 more activities and dinner with a little spare time to chill out. Thankfully the weather stayed dry and mild over the weekend, which for us was perfect. We were lucky to get all the activities we requested this year, the firm favourites remained but with a mix of some new ones, which resulted in some interesting positions and we're not talking about on a chess board! Acrobatics on the catwalk, upside down on the zip-wire and suspended around 45 feet high in the air on giant swing (see video and pictures above); the activities were as follows:
Challenge Course, Cat Walk, Giant Swing, Initiative Exercises,
Jacobs Ladder, Sequoia Scramble, Trapeze, Zip Wire
Play: Giant swing movie
At dinner on Saturday night we had a special surprise for Kevin Childs who celebrated his birthday treat at the centre, with the sing along of ‘Happy Birthday'. In the evening the tournament continued with 4 rounds from 7pm onwards, although it finished a little later than expected everyone's spirits remained high and enthusiastic as play continued. After round 6 a decisive victory by Matthew O'Donnell sealed his triumph of the prestigious title, beating 2 of our 3 top seeds who we set a bounty upon should someone score against them. Thanks go to our helpers Stephen O'Donnell and Fiona Petrie who ran the tournament smoothly and to the players who helped set and pack up after the tournament was finished.
After the tournament, generally a good night's sleep was had by all eventually; the fresh air and physical elements took their toll. As Sunday morning dawned the usual routine was implemented in addition to packing up and finding the missing socks under the bed! After a full day's activities and group photo, parents began to appear to collect their little angels. They were treated to a complementary coffee whilst they we waited for other groups to exit the hall before we invaded for the spectacular finale… prize giving. We do enjoy meeting the parents who we are now getting to know better each year however unfortunately we are a tiny bit rushed to socialise more but we look forward to seeing you all again next year.
My thanks go to our new President of Chess Scotland, Donald Wilson who kindly took the time to drop in and get the low down on Dalguise Activity Weekend on Sunday afternoon and also present certificates to the participants.
Prizes were as follows;
1st: Matthew O'Donnell 6/6
2nd: Ian MacGregor 5/6, Calum MacQueen 5/6, Connor Woods 5/6
1250+ GP: Andrew McClement 4.5/6
850 – 1249 GP: Francis Batchelor 4/6
400-850 GP: George Robertson 3.5/6
U400: Adam Shannon 3.5/6
Best Adult: Phil Thomas 5/6
Best Girl: Natalie Donohue 4/6
Late Starter: Charlotte Childs 3/6
Giant Killer: Taylor Panton 560 points difference
Best in Activity Group:
One: Hayley Donohue
Two: Mark Meehan
Three: Kiron Roy
Four: Keiran O'Donnell
Some funny quotes from the weekend;
“What's the point in egging people … what would you do it with?”
“Where's Wales, isn't it next to Scotland ?”
and finally to set the scene; each of the helpers bedroom doors had signs saying ‘if there's a problem, just knock'. These worked well until Stuart Leslie (16) came with his little problem;
Stuart: “Lynsey I have a problem”
Lynsey: “What's up, anything I can do?”
Stuart: “I can't tie my shoelaces, can you help me?”
Stuart insists this was a joke and he does know how to tie his shoelaces, however we have recommended Velcro… just incase!
All in all everyone appeared to have had a great weekend at Dalguise with smiley faces all round on departure. We would like to commend all the juniors who took part on their excellent behaviour, manners and co-operation over the weekend. We were impressed with the level of enthusiasm and effort put in by everyone who rose to the challenge, hopefully everyone made new friends and will look forward to returning next year which is provisionally booked for the 5 – 7 October 2007. We would welcome your comments and suggestions; positive or otherwise as it helps us publicise and improve the standard of the event.
Until next year!
Check out www.DalguiseChess.piczo.com for more pictures and details of the event!!!