Monday, December 24, 2007

My chess moment of 2007

That's the chess year wrapped up - for most people, anyway, save those of you playing at Hastings and those of us playing the first Casino Jaque Open in Huesca.

The year's highlights - for the club - included Streatham and Brixton's fourth place in the London League and the second team's shock promotion: also a shock are the colours in the Surrey League website. In that league, S&B came a very good third: and actually won the Croydon League, which they never did when I was playing in it.

That's my old team: my new team, Casino Jaque, escaped the threat of relegation on the last day of the regular season, a highlight of my year. My only game of real note this year - give or take a nice win over Michael Yeo in the 4NCL - involved knocking over a 2477-graded Bulgarian in Benasque, the strongest opponent by some margin that I've ever beaten. While in rather more consequential international chess news, we finally have an undisputed world champion again for the first time in a decade and a half.

Lowlights would include the almost entire failure of the BBC to cover the world championship tournament - and from my point of view, discovering that an administrative cock-up deprived me of my first ever win over an International Master.

Of perhaps greater consequence was the boneheaded decision of the Aragonese Chess Federation to exclude resident non-Spaniards from their championship: so much for gens una sumus. But of certainly greater consequence was the death of Loki, Streatham chessplayer, decades before his proper time and before we had even met.

So my chess moment of 2007? Had my Bulgarian opponent actually had the IM title he had earned, it would probably have been that game at Benasque. As it is, I have to look elsewhere. I had considered choosing "Mad" Mike Basman's ravings about the infantilism of the population in a recent issue of Chess Monthly, reading, which at least gave me a laugh during an otherwise miserable Metropolitan tournament in October. Or I could select the moment I was told that this blog had been selected as the ECF Website of the Year.

But for sheer entertainment value, the opening paragraph from Nigel Davies' July 2007 column for the Chess Café sticks in the mind:
Back in the 1990s the woman who used to cut my hair invited me for a meal and to play chess against her husband and a family friend. She was slightly taken aback when I asked to be compensated for my time, but I explained that chess is what I did for a living and that this was essentially a chess engagement.
Marvellous. This blog is taking a break until the third of January: may my colleagues and I wish a sociable holiday period and a generous 2008 to all our readers.

LATE NEWS: I think my chess moment of 2007 might actually be "logging on on Xmas day to find out that the Xmas tournament in Huesca has been cancelled". I dunno, barred from one, the next one cancelled at the last minute. A very Merry bloody Xmas to you all.


Anonymous said...

Hi Justin,
And a merry Xmas to you as well. I particularly liked the Nigel Davies story!
It will be even more of a shock if the LL2 side can avoid relegation from Division 2 at the end of this season... apart from one stuffing at the hands of Met 1 (9-1!) we've held our own, but seem to be on the end of too many 5.5 - 4.5 defeats. Hopefully 2008 will bring us some luck!

Ryan said...

Merry Xmas everyone and a very happy 2008! :)

Jonathan B said...

The Nigel Davies story reminds me of the following joke.

A person sees a friend, who happens to be a lawyer, walking along in the street...

Person: Good morning

Friend: Indeed it is - and you'll receive my bill for that opinion very shortly

Anonymous said...


is between
Pert, N &
Gagunashvili, M

(looks like wanted to be in world's shortest draw chess game record)


ejh said...

Not as short as 1.e4 e5 1/2-1/2, Butterworth-Horton, from the final round at Kidlington some years ago.

Anonymous said...