by Lynsey Shovlin
With a total of 27 troops Dalguise Activity Chess Weekend was another success. The new recruits received a warm welcome from the veterans of the tournament and over the weekend we all bonded well to become one big team.
On the Friday we settled into our accommodation block - ‘Skiach' – which was an upgrade on previous years, perks included central heating and comfortable mattress, even satellite TV for the leaders lounge. Once everyone had arrived by 7pm we began organising the tournament and managed an energetic 3 rounds which resulted in some close games, including a wobble on board 1 with Stefan Robertson securing a draw with the top seed, Sam Gregory.
Naturally a late night was had by all; midnight feasts, pillow fights, gossip sessions and doubles kept adrenaline high into the wee hours. Needless to say there was a ‘zombie siege' on Saturday morning as we congregated for breakfast and recharged our batteries for the full day of activities ahead.
On Saturday we were fortunate to have dry weather for our activities which included initiative exercises and giant swing in the morning. Video clips from the ground and on it are expected soon, so keep your eyes peeled on www.dalguisechess.piczo.com . After lunch our schedules consisted of the infamous challenge course with few holding back and literally having mud baths. Our final activity was zip-wire, the longest PGL have at any of their centres, the highlight (apparently) included your truly getting stuck at the bottom and having to be rescued by an instructor, ladders and all. The safety knot was too low on the rope to undo the levers to lower myself down hence the knight in shining armour rescue by Pete our instructor … that's my story and I'm sticking to it!
Talking of knights, the energetic bunch of troops managed another 3 rounds on Saturday evening after a team vote. We were also joined by some PGL staff for a few games despite various 10 year olds destroying their ambitions with scholars mate. Any slip ups at this late stage of the event would cost the tournament with a number of players narrowly behind on 3/4 eager to steal the title. The big game of the tournament came in round 5 with the leader Matthew Thomas, on a perfect 4/4, paired against top seed Sam Gregory on 3.5/4. Each player had 20 minutes per game, but Matthew eventually succumbed to time trouble and blundered a rook and despite his best attempts his flag fell. However, despite his disappointment Matthew showed great maturity and composure to congratulate his opponent which essentially sealed tournament victory for Sam with no upsets in the final round. After 6 years of attempts, Sam Gregory has finally become outright champion of Dalguise, we hope he will be back in 2011 to defend his title.
As usual the Saturday night shenanigans were short lived and even those with determination to stay awake quickly fell asleep. Sunday morning was a slow, sluggish wake up with a miserable outlook of rubbish weather. During our activities of abseiling and jacobs ladder we were all drenched by the constant downpour despite waterproofs, shelter and being active. With moral and temperatures lowering we gave the team a choice for the afternoon activities; as schedules (trapeze and sequoia scramble) or indoor sports. The group unanimously voted for the later. Needless to say, after 30 minutes indoors the rain stopped and legend has it the sun even shone, although the group were not phased and insisted that they were all happy playing football venting out their inner Ronaldo.
Sunday tea is always a sombre affair with the prospect of the weekend nearly being over. We were treated to hot chocolates by Vivek kindly sharing his Nesquik mix to warm us up before departure. In the meantime the team agreed they would like an additional team prize, ‘man of the match' with everyone immediately pointing to Sam Allison as their chosen candidate.
With friendships made, muddy clothes disposed of and smiles all round the last job of the weekend was prizegiving. Our group leader Flash presented everyone with certificates of achievement and our prizes were given out to the following winners;
1st Sam Gregory 5.5/6 Edinburgh
2nd = Matthew Thomas 5/6 East Kilbride
Seamus Herron 5/6 Edinburgh
Best U 600 Strachan Clark 3.5/6 Auchterarder
Best P6&U Colin Howie 4/6 East Kilbride
Sam Allison 4/6 Edinburgh
Mentor – giving guidance and help to others – John Gregory (12) Edinburgh
Hero – no man left behind - Matthew Thomas (16) East Kilbride
Leadership –demonstrating initiative, confidence and the ability to communicate ideas – David Buckley (16) Perth
Courage – Overcoming your fears – Carrig Clark (11) Auchterarder
Star of the show – giving his all on everything – Joe Paechter (7) Edinburgh
Man of the Match – Sam Allison (11) Edinburgh
Finally, we would like to thank the children who were very well behaved, adventurous and energetic. It makes the weekend fun for everyone and a pleasure to organise. In addition we were joined by wonderful helpers; Vivek Pathi, Ben Paechter and Stuart Clark who we would like to thank for their contributions. Until 2011!
P.S. Who ever left 1 muddy boot, it is with Dalguise!