After a flight from one of the smallest airports I have flown from, Cheltenham, I arrived in Douglas, it is well suited to a chess event – everything is nearby and weather permitting there is good potential for walks along the pretty seafront.
Pokerstars are the main sponsor of the tournament which began with a combined chess poker event, a clever novelty due to the mutual interest and respect between players of both disciplines this seemed to be greatly enjoyed by all. I certainly found it entertaining despite performing equally ineptly in both sections losing to Fressinet and MVL in the blitz for a 3/5 to carry forward a modest number of additional chips into the poker part. A random draw resulted in many of the higher rated chess players clustering on my table and with a bit of luck I survived a fairly long time, Chris Duncan who was a couple of seats away from me was eliminated on the same hand when there were around 11 of the original 24 starters left.
The more serious stuff started the next day, I played ok to move to 3/4 but in round 5 this tricky rook and pawn ending was pivotal to my tournament.
My opponent was one of many young under-rated players several of whom had traveled from Israel to participate which made things rather hazardous ELO rating wise. The following round dashed any hopes as I lost to David Howell after things went wrong in the opening, and although I sensed the opportunity I couldn’t find a hidden tactic to change the direction of the game later. Although my 6.5/9 wasn’t very successful I liked the style of the tournament very much and many thanks to Alan Ormsby,for his efforts to put the tournament together I’m looking forward to going back for the second edition this year.