Not long after the London Grand Prix I was heading for the Eurocup this time held in Eilat in Israel. This made for a grueling and expensive journey which may explain why the number of teams participating fell from 62 in 2011 to 34. Unfortunately the organisation was unimpressive; the playing hall was much too small causing my chair to be knocked on a regular basis by players returning to their boards. It was also rather warm which is rather more serious than it used to be bearing in mind the draconian ECU dress code.
The hotels were very pretty but despite paying in full and in advance, the hotel tried to expel at least four of our group from our rooms several days prematurely and before one of my games I was sufficiently concerned about this possibility to pack our belongings in case the hotel followed through on their threats.
The team wasn’t favoured by the disgracefully bad pairing system that was totally lacking in logic and fairness and considerably worse than the poor effort they had used previously. It is unclear why the ECU is so reluctant to remedy this long standing problem.
Still there are no good excuses for a bad result and I didn’t play as well as would have liked.
On a brighter note, Tara and I stayed on as tourists for a few days afterwards and had a good time visiting the Old City in Jerusalem, floating in the spectacular Dead Sea, and spending a relaxing day in Tel Aviv before heading home.