That was the chess year that was. Not a good one - not on my side of the board at any rate. the best I've ever had. My club season ended in relegation which I had two clear chances to avoid: one in the last round of the regular season which would have kept my side out of the relegation play-off, one in the play-off itself. On the way I missed yet another chance to beat an International Master.
The came the Benasque tournament in which I found myself on 4.5/7 (inept performances against future World Champions notwithstanding) and in the eighth round missed a draw (or better) against a FIDE Master. At the time I was dreaming of a strong finish and a rating approaching 2200: by the time I lost that game and the two that followed it, to sub-2000 opposition, my rating was heading south at a rate that suggested I won't see those points again. (Fortunately my ECF grade is apparently due to go up into the high 180s without my even playing, and frankly, it's just as well.) I played the last round, as it happens, with mild food poisoning - and an earlier round with acute food poisoning, quite the sickest I've ever been at a chess tournament (much worse than the flu I had at the 4NCL, which meant I flew a couple of thousand kilometres in order to play one game of about a dozen moves) which rendered me, though not necessarily my guts, immobile until an hour before play. Still, I won the game.
Then there was the provincial championships in which I was once again the highest rated player and once again did nothing to justify it, finishing a very lucky third and clipping a few more points off the aforementioned FIDE rating. It's a long ride from here, all of it on the slidey curve downhill.
There was a world championship match, apparently, though you wouldn't have thought to so from the BBC, to whom the game remains practically invisible, stupid pieces about chessboxing aside. Elsewhere in media Ray Keene continues to get away with it - perhaps somebody should try copying chunks of Chess and presenting it as their own work, and then we'd see if Malcolm Pein was still prepared to devote several pages of his magazine to an interview by an acolyte.
Still, there was the Olympiad, of which my most outstanding memory is was the close, close call Switzerland had against a Welsh side rated several hundred points a man below them - the Welsh eventually going down 2.5-1.5 when they should have done better. Of course there's nothing like an international sporting competition to encourage stupidity and my second most outstanding memory involves a particularly ignorant loudmouth on the English Chess Forum declaring Dagne Ciuksyte "a traitor to her country" and subsequently writing of Ingrid Lauterbach as if she were something to do with the Wehrmacht. Elsewhere in English chess the Chess Sets for Schools fiasco remains a fiasco even if not everybody who says so is able to refrain from a rather wearying and childish campaign of personal abuse.
Not many high points then? Maybe not, though it was certainly entertaining to have an increasingly off-balance Nigel Davies accuse the blog of engaging in a Red conspiracy to undermine the market system by inflating the public's expectations when it comes to chess books. Where Nigel is concerned, my expectations will always be of the highest: and Nigel would probably have won my chess moment of the year for the second year running - were it not for the fact that after the first round of the Benasque tournament, back at the campsite, I found myself making a marriage proposal and having it accepted. I think that might be the moment of the year. Or maybe any other.