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Glorney-Gilbert International Day 1
A reasonable start to the tournament. Most people arrived yesterday by coach/car roughly as scheduled, bar some flight cancellations for the Aberdeen players that resulted in them getting in at almost midnight. Hotel is adequate albeit the bedrooms are too warm.
The morning round went reasonably well. In the Glorney we absolutely thumped Wales 4.5-0.5. Lennart's game was wild and hard to evaluate with confidence without a computer but I have always taken a rather traditional view that a King in the corner is a lot safer than a King in the middle with so many pieces on the board! The other games were more sedate, apart from Leston deciding to increase my stress levels with an unnecessary exchange sac just as his well-played game should have been entering the technical phase of converting a clean extra pawn. Craig was the only draw but it looked like he was pressing much of the game, despite a slight mix up of the two lines he had prepared.
The Gilbert was hard fought but in the end Wales triumphed 2-1. Caitlin and Sarah managed draws, although both had chances, in particular Sarah. Stuthi fought hard but ultimately her bishop on c8's lack of participation proved too much of a handicap.
In previous years the Robinson and Stokes round 1 often saw some of the players blitz out their moves and this cost them points. This year the squad is mostly more experienced and I gave a pep talk before the game emphasising the importance of playing at an appropriate pace and warning them of this pitfall. Whatever the reason, all the games in the younger age groups were hard fought which was great to see!
Robinson won 4-2 and Stokes lost 4-2 but both matches could have gone either way.
In the afternoon things proved more difficult for us against Ireland, the defending champions.
Glorney lost 3-2. Craig ran into difficulties in the opening that proved insurmountable Alexander played a line that gave white a slightly inferior but tenable position, but neglecting to play a3 preventing b4 posed practical problems and he went down. Kai played a wild game but it looked like he was somewhat better till it suddenly wasn't and his position collapsed at the end. Leston played an excellent game, somewhat better as soon as his opponent played c5 and managed his clock better than his opponent which proved decisive. Lennart played a charming game against a talent young player - I was particularly enjoying the poor knight on g7's torment as it was caged to g7-e8 as c7 was controlled by b6, d6 and f6 by e5 and on g7 it was blocked by its own pawn on e6 and the g4 pawn controlled f5 and h5! The boys are still well in contention as the standings are decided by game points.
The Gilbert lost 1-2 again with Stuthi struggling in a cramped position neglected to exchange pieces and got squeezed. Sarah managed a draw but Caitlin lost.
In the Robinson we lost 1.5-4.5, a tough result that did not reflect the high calibre our players displayed. In particular Andrew's game was an otherwise decent game marred by a tragic blunder at the eleventh hour.
In the Stokes we struggled, going down 5-1 but I am sure we will bounce back tomorrow and our players are gaining valuable experience.
Tomorrow we are playing the English A and B teams, the B team in the morning and the A in the afternoon. Play commences at 9.15 and the Glorney Gilbert and some of the Robinson boards should be live and viewable on the Glorney cup website - Glorney Cup. Results are on Chessresults.com.