We started our online tournaments last year (2020) when lockdown stopped us from meeting up in person and playing some friendly games together, which we normally do during our annual summer and Christmas party. With the added bonus of being able to do live commentary it turned out to be an incredibly fun and exciting event and even coaches who live on the other side of the world (Malaysia) were able to join. So when it was time for the second tournament this February we had enough players to split the group into two section which added even more thrills to the evening.
Interview with Gabriel
– winner Section 1 –
- What was the most memorable game during the tournament and why?
There were a number of memorable games (not all for good reasons!) but the one that will last longest in the memory will be the game vs Tibor in the final. I felt the pressure of having all eyes on my game and John-Paul commentating and wasn’t playing as freely as I like to usually. I was well down and out of ideas so I just tried to open up the game and make things difficult for Tibor. In these quick games anything can happen and I just got lucky in the end and found a way through.
- How did you find the tournament overall and playing old workmates/teammates (all Anand’s on deck)
I found the tournament a lot of fun. These blitz tournaments are always enjoyable as they encourage attacking play and often go down to the wire with winning chances for both players. I hadn’t played that many of the players before as I haven’t been coaching for a while. However, I’ve played Tibor lots of times so know how a formidable competitor he is!
- What’s your highest achievement been in your chess career?
It has to be my victory over Sophie Millet a few years back for Streatham and Brixton vs Wood Green in the London Chess League. I’m not sure it will ever be topped, though I’m ready to make John-Paul my second IM scalp!
- If you were to give your 10 year old self some good advice from what you have learnt on your chess journey up until today what would it be?
It may be quite obvious, but play lots of competitive chess. I played in lots of tournaments as a junior, and it gets you comfortable playing under pressure. If you are more relaxed in such situations, you’ll think clearer and play better chess. It’s also easier to play high-level competitive chess with the amount of online chess that is available these days, so get online and play!
- Anything else you would like to add?
Looking forward to the next tournament!
Interview with Peter
– winner Section 2 –
- Most memorable game was probably my loss again Steven Macfarlane (the losses always seem to stick in the mind longer…). I was up on material but my pieces, unlike Steven’s, weren’t very coordinated or working together as a team. Eventually Steven managed to win back some material with a skewer, before checkmating my exposed, vulnerable King. It’s always disappointing to throw away a game you’re winning, but you can’t win them all!
- The tournament was a lot of fun, there were loads of great matches and some really strong players. It was the first time I have played in a tournament where my game was being commentated on, which really added to the excitement!
- My chess career hasn’t been the most illustrious, but the pinnacle was probably winning the national schools chess championship twice with my school team at U9 and U11.
- I stopped playing chess when I was 12 after I narrowly missed out on a place in the England squad. It was a really tough moment for me and I lost interest in playing the game. If I could go back in time, I would encourage my younger self to not give up because there is so much enjoyment in playing chess and you can develop so quickly when you are young!
- Just a big thank you to Wallace Chess and all the other volunteers/helpers who helped run such a great event.