The European Team Championship competition was held in a pleasant hotel in the centre of Warsaw, the organisers made a good job of airport transfers, providing reliable internet access and decent meals and playing conditions. The chess side of things was less smoothly run, it was hard to ascertain the point of metal detectors at the entrance of the playing hall when the players were reminded to turn off their mobile phones before the game. As usual zero tolerance created problems as the lifts became log jammed shortly before the games.
Luke McShane had taken time off work for the event so we had a good team out but things didn’t quite work for us. Just as at the last European Team, we took on Greece in round 2, unfortunately our performance isn’t improving as we lost by an even heavier 3-1 this time. History continued to repeat as the next day we, for no obvious reason other than the inadequacies of the pairing system, we faced the strongest other team on the score group, Russia. I butchered an easy win against Grischuk but the 2-2 draw still wasn’t bad and after a couple of wins we were in good shape heading into the free day.
Disappointingly we finished with 4 consecutive tied matches, I’ve mentioned some key moments in my own games from rounds 6, 7 and 9. The last round coincided with my birthday: this wasn’t a positive alignment last time this occured whilst on England duty, against Caruana at the Dresden Olympiad, as I lost a fine position. At least this time I eventually salvaged half a point, although my play was no more convincing.
Many thanks to all those who generously supported the team.