reviewed by Lumpy Kustud
14 March 2017
Five members of the club went off to spend the weekend in Blackpool. The pretext was the Blackpool Chess Congress (which snobbily calls itself a Conference but is a Congress all the same).
It was of course a golden opportunity to explore the delights of this exciting, vibrant resort (so far as they exist in mid-March) and generally paint the town red – but we will draw a veil over that.
And where did they all stay? Was it here, close to Cocker Street?
Nevertheless, it was whispered that one of the Limewood party enjoyed female company at night. (Yes, Philip took his wife along.)
And the chess? Ah yes, the chess.
With the huge number of competitors, the play was spread over 3 massive halls (and even then it was a bit crowded) located as far from each other as humanly possible. The trek between them was not to be lightly undertaken and preferably with a guide and emergency rations.
Four of our number, being in the lowest of the 5 competition sections, found themselves in the basement. Anyone who goes caving as a hobby would have felt at home in the labyrinth of subterranean tunnels traversed to reach the Underworld playing area.
Paul, by contrast, had been exiled to Planet Zog in a distant galaxy 12 lightyears away, never to be seen again.
As to performance, well, on Sunday morning for 4th round, down in the catacombs, 3 of our 4 Troglodytes were stationed next to each other at the duffers’ end of the hall, having all scored zilch points from the first three rounds. Painting the town red was perhaps not such a good idea after all.
Or perhaps they were fazed by rumours that an ossuary of previous players’ bones lurked just behind the walls.
Whatever the reason, their final tally for the congress has been classified as Top Secret.
Their clubmate, Philip May, fared rather better, collecting 3 points out of a possible 5.
Late news: Paul May has escaped from Planet Zog and is fleeing back to Earth by way of a fracture in the space-time continuum, hoping to make it in time for Wednesday’s league match at the Fox and Grapes. Intergalactic messaging reveals that he scored 2 wins and 2 draws from his games, giving him 3 points, the same as his dad. So no one-upmanship possible in the May family then.
Finally: our luckiest win of the tournament. In the final game down in the dungeons, one of our squad unleashed a blockbuster attack so intimidating that his opponent took fright and instantly resigned. Reviewing the game later showed that the ‘blockbuster’ was in fact an almighty blunder that would have cost our man the game if his opponent had just paused a few seconds to look at the situation.
Clearly a case of premature capitulation.
But a win is a win is a win – especially when they are in short supply.