Olympiad Diary 2002, by Heather Lang

This diary is part of the British Women's Chess Association website. The BWCA is a non-profit organisation whose aim is to promote girls' and women's chess throughout the British Isles.

The diary was last updated on .

Other coverage of the Olympiad :

Thursday 24th October 2002, Day before going

Not the ideal preparation for an Olympiad. I broke my wrist and my cycle helmet falling off my bike two weeks ago, and had to withdraw from a couple of tournaments I'd planned to play in. Fortunately it's a stable fracture, and the plaster is coming off the day after I get back from Bled. Carey Wilman, our board 2 this time, had a broken arm at the 1996 Olympiad in Yerevan, and got her moment of fame by getting her picture in the bulletin. Maybe it'll be my turn this time, an accolade even greater than getting a diagram in one of your games! :-)

The Scottish teams this time are :


  1. GM Jonathan Rowson
  2. GM Paul Motwani
  3. IM John Shaw
  4. GM Colin McNab
  5. IM Steve Mannion
  6. IM Douglas Bryson


  1. WFM Helen Milligan
  2. Carey Wilman
  3. Heather Lang
  4. Louise Macnab

Oh well, at least it wasn't cricket I was supposed to be playing - the World Cup qualifying is next summer, and I should be fine for that!

Friday 25th October, Travel Day

Got to Stanstead eventually after getting stuck in a traffic jam and having to jump off the bus to take the Underground from Hillingdon. Fortunately it's on the Metropolitan Line the same as London Liverpool St, which is where the Stanstead Express leaves from.

Met up with the rest of the team there, and we had quite a nice RyanAir flight. I'm just recovering from a cold, so had sore ears and was half-deaf for the next few hours - hate that! We were efficiently met and bussed from Trieste to Bled. It was dark by the time we arrived, but on the way we spotted some huge mountains that started suddenly and towered spectaculary above the land. Helen and Dougie have both brought guidebooks, so we genned up on Bled on the bus and oworked out which hotel we were staying in.

RyanAir don't do free food, and most of us wanted dinner by the time we arrived. The Opening Ceremonay was going out live on Slovenian Television, and as the bus hadn't made it in time for the 7:30pm start, we couldn't go in late and instead had our first taste of the food. Very good. The tap water is OK to drink here too, so finding a supermarket isn't as important as it often is in eastern Europe.

We are staying in Hotel Trst (thankfully not in Trieste, as we first misheard!). It's an 'extension' of the Grand Hotel Toplice, which is where most of the top teams are staying. The Aussies found the name especially amusing, speculating about whether there was a Toplice Bar, but apparently the correct pronunciation is to rhyme with 'splice'.

The restaurant we are eating in is called the Panorama. In the dark, you can see Bled Castle, high on a rock above the lake. It looks even more unclimbable than Stirling Castle, though according to the guidebook there are two differetnt paths up to it round the back somewhere. A spectacučar fireworks display rounded the opening ceremony off - we went out onto the patio for a better look. Just when you thought it had come to an end, an even more spectacular barrage came along.

We went back to the Toplice to collect our passports, and the Macnabs' day was made when we swept through the door to find Kasparov and some of the other Russian players hanging around chatting in the lobby. Helen and I, comparative veterans, had both played in events where he had been playing before, but the general consensus among the other two is that he has 'lovely eyes'. :-)

The Trst is quite nice, clean, en suite, etc etc. All f the radiators were jammed on full when we arrived, but with a bit of knob-twiddling and window-opening, we got the temperature to reasonable levels. Team meeting tomorrow at breakfast.

Saturday 26th October, Round 1 - Aga-do-do-don't!

When we went to breakfast this morning, we realised why the restaurant is called the Panorama. Wow. Sepectaclar. Amazing. Breathtaking. It is dificult to describe the view. The photograophs in the guidebook don't do it justice. They don't even start to. It's so clear and beautiful and panoramic (good name!)

There's the castle up on the cliffside - we'd seen that already of course. The lake is massive, and the hills and mountains range from 700m-2500m high. Some are snow-capped, some will be comparitively easy to climb if we feel like doing so on the rest day. It's completely and utterly totally gorgeous!

At the other end of the lake from us is an island, which is apparently the only island in the whole of Slovenia. There is a church there, and a few other bits and pieces - it's really tiny but also really beautiful. It's a lovely sunny day too! We all got a goodie bag yesterday, including various brochures about Bled and the Olympiad and a pretty glass vase with the Olympiad logo engraved on it. We also received an official Chess Olympiad umbrella. Yes, umbrella. Apparently Bled rivals Manchester at this time of year when it comes to rain. Hopefully not earthquakes though!

We were paired against Moldova - a tough team with a 2350 on board 4! As we didn't have player names before the start of the round, my preparation consisted of leafing through my new Closed Sicilian book until I fell asleep. Sorry Gary - your book's just that boring! :-)

The team meeting had been postponed until after breakfast, and Carey, who's acting as team captain on the playing side, confirmed that we would be playing the top three for this match. We also discussed the unusual time control - all moves in 90 minutes, with 30s adeed each time you make a move. No extra time at move 40. The main concern was what if we needed to go to the toilet. Various ideas were punted around, including catheters, pit-stops and time-outs. Lovely. We're just going to have to live with it!

In my game, I got a very very nice position against Agababena (2356 or so). Helen told me before the game that she plays on ICC as 'Agababy'. Not helpful. Have you ever tried playing chess with 'Aga-do-do-do' going round and round in your head? I think I deserve a medal for remaining sane! I wanted to play c3, kicking a N from d4, and all I could think of was 'push pineapple'. And exf5 was 'shake the tree' of course. Argh! I think she somehow knew - her counterplay came on the queenside, then she mated me on the kingside. To the left, to the right ...

heth vs Agababy

I'd love to blame 'Aga-do-do-do' for how I spoiled the very good position I had, but I think that'd be taking it a bit too far! I thought I'd build up, missed a shot, didn't find the best moves and lost. Th time control was weird too - it really punishes you if you get behind on the clock. I was all set up for blitzing moves out, and then found myself with much much more time and had to slow down again. Quite strange. I'll get used to it in a couple of games' time I think, but treating it like a 'normal' Olympiad game (ie 40 in 2h, extra hour etc) was too slow and I paid the price for not playing obvious moves instantly. Bah.

Elsewhere, great stuff was going on. Helen drew a rook ending defending 4v3 all on the same side - once her opponent had allowed her to get h4 in, it was always going to be difficult to win. And Carey demonstrated how to play the Pirc against their up-and-coming middle board. She was always in control of the position, and reached an ending of N+g-pawn vs N, with white's king way way off-side. The lass may have missed some drawing chances by choosing to cover g1 with her N from the start, instead of covering g2 first in order to get her king a couple of squares closer. At the end of the game, it was unclear whether she would lose on time, resign or get mated first, but she chose the middle option, and Scotland had drawn with the 17th-seeded team, and had the better of the third game for a while!

The guys beat Liechtenstein (sp?) 4-0. One of the traditions I enjoy most is gathering in a room in the evening to go through the games from the day. Dougie showed us his "I last had this against a 1600, 12 years ago. At the time I analysed one line out to a perpetual, so I played the other one." It was very like a theoretical position from the Meran, with the omission of Nc3 for W and c6 for B. The 'other line' (the non-perpetual one) looked like 'normal' ... except for the point at which black is supposed to play ... Qd8-a5. Oops. Well he won anyway, and so did everyone else.

Elsewhere, England, Russia and a load of other top teams dropped half-points (Short and Morozevich the culprits), so the Scottish men are in the lead. :-) In the women's event, China, Russia and most of the usual suspects are on 100%, thought the Georgians did drop points to Canada today.. The English women (seeded 12th; we are 62nd) with the young team of Harriet Hunt, Jovanka Houska, Heather Richards and Ruth Sheldon also dropped half a point against Peru.

Saturday 27th October, Round 2 - In Training?!

The men have France today, and the women have drawn Iran. They're much weaker than Moldova, but have also taken a point and a half off strong opposition, so it doesn't pay to be complacent. Louise is making her senior debut today, which is why I'm at the Tourism College, hammering away on one of ther 36 computers that chess players have access to. It's not to busy in the mornings, and as long as you're not doing much web-based stuff, the conention is fine. Alan spent 20 fretful minutes trying to log himself into his hotmail account before giving up, but my telnet connection to compsoc is fine. :-)

We're planning on going up to explore the castle later. I'm also planning to run round the lake. Colin walked round it in 1h10m yesterday, and Alan (Minnican, team captain) managed 1h15m this morning, but I get the feeling that the record is about to go!

The clocks went back today. I wondered why Paul and Steve were down at breakfast so early - they hadn't realised. Neither had Carey or Alan when they'd gone to get the pairings and submit the teams. Not too pleased. I wonder how many people are going to arrive at the tournament hall an hour early - there was no announcement about it before the start fo play yesterday. Though they dod make a cerimonial first move. On board 1 of the open Olympiad? For the strongest Slovenian player? No, and no. Showing that they truly knew how market chess for the TV cameras, the organisers made the first move for the Slovenian Women's team. Not quite Kosteniuk, but hey!

The Scottish men are playing France today on board 3. We gave them a good run for their money in Moscow 1994 - we'll see how it goes this time.

As with the last 2 Olympiads, the games are being recorded using auto-sensory boards. They should be live on the official website soon, though they had technical problems vesterday. In Istanbul, the easiest way to see how your team-mates were getting on was from an internet cafe, as people who weren't actually playing were banned from the playing area. Again, we have 'playing player' badges then let us onto the ice rink (carpeted and not too cold!) where the games are being staged. There's room for spectators round the outside, and if anyone fancies a wee holiday with a bit of chess then RyanAir fly cheap to Trieste and (I think) Klagenfurt, which are both reasonably close by.

Lunch time

Well, the record time for going round the lake tumbled. 32m47s with one arm in a stookie. Nice. :-) The views are even more gorgeous from round the corner a bit - it was difficult to watch for my footing and watch the lake simultaneously.

There's a little white 'train', which is Bled's equivalent of an open-topped bus. It sounds like a milk float as it purrs along, and loops around the lake picking up and settign down pasengers, and tooting occasionally. Me and it set off at around the same time - it's faster than I am (though Paula Radcliffe would give it a very good run for its money!) but it was handicapped by having to take a longer route while I swished through autumn leaves on footpaths, and also by having to stop for passengers. We overtook each other a couple of times, then I outsprinted it down the home straight and felt quite chuffed, if you'll excuse the pun. It was especially pleasing, as I'd initially thought I'd bitten off a bit more than I could choo.

Speaking of which, the official website has a small corner on the ront page reserved for chess jokes. The one there at the moment is so terrible, I feel it ought to be preserved for future generations.

Paul visits his friend Steve and finds him playing a game of chess with his dog. 'This dog of yours is really clever,' says Paul. Steve responds: 'Not really. He only wins one game in three.'

Oh dear. Alex MacFarlane - look out, your crown is not safe!

A quick change later. In the tournament hall, spectators have a reasonable chance of seeing the games if their team is playing close to the edge. You have to use the seats from where you'd normally watch the ice hockey. I had a good view of my team mates' games - everyone looked fine out of the opening.

Free days means the chance to explore. I decided to go up to the castle. It was literally breathtaking - the hill is ultra-steep and the path zig-zags skywards - you travel 100m vertically in almost no space at all! And the view was also breathtaking (predictably). I played the 'studentka' clause, and got 30p off my entry ticket as well. Lots more photos ...

Back to the tournament hall in time to see Carey win, Helen draw and Louise go a piece down. The guys finished as well, though as they were playing on one of the top boards in the middle of the hall I wasn't able to see their individual results. Also noticed that the England ladies had gone down 2-1 to Azerbaijan, with Harriet winning and Heather and Ruth losing.

We went through the games in reasonably good spirits. Paul had gone down against Bacrot in a Berlin, but had come up with what seems to be an interesting new idea in the course of the game (though he didn't actually play it over the board). John and Colin were our 'stars', drawing and winning respectively. Carey had played well, and there are thoughts of a possible 13-round WIM title, but it's early days yet.

Scotland vs 

The first round bulletin is a real disappointment. No number of beautiful b+w photos of Bled can make up for the fact that it contained very few games, making preparation from it impossible unless you happened to be playing one of the very top teams. The guys have drawn Germany though - another big big match (they're seeded higher than France), and we have Bosnia. They are minus the 'blonde bombshell' 2400 I played in the 1998 Olympiad, and with us playing well so far a good result is within our reach.

There have been problems with getting the pairings out on time. Rather than become more effieient, the organisers have decided to start the games at 2:30pm instead. Oh well, less time to wait for dinner, I suppose.

Monday 28th October, Round 3 - Caught in a Trap?

More tough opponents today, and a much more usual routine for me - preparing rather than being a tourist! Another Sicilian - I think my opponent (Dengler) was expecting 3.f4 which I do play sometimes, but not today! I got quite a nice position, chickened out of a line which I would have played instantly in a five minute game, and ended up with the prospect of being ground for hours in a good N vs not quite so good B ending.

Being me, I sacced three pawns for activity. It shouldn't have been good enough, but she got a bit confused and I won them all back, with the game ending as an exciting draw. I played on for a bit with level material, hoping that nominative determinism would prevail and she'd leave a piece dengling, but she spotted all my cheapos. Song in my head today - "Suspicious Minds" ("we're caught in a trap"). The Elvis version of course! Louise played a wee bit passively and lost, as did Carey.

Paul drew against the "2600 and a big chunk"-rated Graf, who plaed a slightly dubious line in a Slav, and Dougie followed a game that Graham Burgess had when he played 500-odd people in a simul! He played the same as the punter had, and drew against Luther. Colin lost and John got ground down in a long ending where both players were down to the 'last 30 seconds' for ages and ages.

Gathering in John's room to look through the games, Dougie had John perturbed by turning his laptop into a music centre. Dougie has brought a CD stuffed full of MP3s, ranging in quality from mighty fine to very dubious. There was the odd hic-cup or two as well - we reckon that Fritz has some taste and won't allow Whitesnake to be inflicted on our poor sensitive ears.

The round 2 bulletin is no more impressive than the first round one. It has the merit of containing the individual board results at least, but it's still very thin as far as games are concerned. Just as well loads of us have Chessbase!

Tuesday 29th October, Round 4 - Notable Authority?!

We have Mexico today. When we last played them (Yerevan, 1996), Carey rested and turned up to watch wearing a very large sunhat that could almost have passed for a sombrero.

I was preparing general stuff as I didn't know what my opponent did, and was leafing through a new opening book. It looks pretty much like a database dump, but it's up-to-date, and the only book that I know of specialising int he variation in question. As part of my general prep, I decided to look up a line that had given me trouble in the World Junior in 1997, and again more recently in the local league.

So I worked my way through to variation B23432ab(ii)4 (or something like that) and found ... my game from 1997. A database dump right enough! To give the author (or Fritz) some credit though, he had suggested an improvement over what I had played the previous time.

On announcing my new-found fame at lunch, Dougie mentioned that Chessbase had reckoned that I was an 'authority' on one of the lines he had been preparing yesterday. Apparently ChessBase has some kind of opening summary function where it effectively 'writes a book' for you (bet that's how he did it!) and as well as the super-GMs who have played the line in the past, it gives other 'notable' players. And I was one of them, despite only having two games in the line, both against 1700-ish opponents. Notable authority. Go me. :-)

I was quite disappointed with my draw today. I thought I'd equalised comfortably with Black, then was pleased when she fell for a cheapo ... but it didn't work so I had to play another move and suddenly she was a bit better. I think she might have missed a win, and I bailed out into a queen ending where she had the choice of randomising and both of us having a passed pawn, or sitting tight. She went for the latter, and I gave a perpetual.

Louise got on the board today against a rated opponent, a nicely played game ending in a draw. As I type, Helen is still trying to hold an inferior ending. (I see now via the webcast that she's drawn.) Good to see that the live games are up and running now. Dire warnings today about how we must leave the playing area when our games are finished, so I don't know how the guys are getting on. England ladies are playing Switzerland today, and Hund-Hunt has already ended in a draw.

Ah, the wonders of modern technology. The guys are 2-1 up (Paul won, Colin and Dougie drew, Steve is still playing).

In just about every game so far, film director Helen has had a bad bishop, with her pawns welded to the same coloured squares as it wants to move on. She claims that it's in her contract, and is actually a subtle form of advertising. Aye. She also revealed that she had a good idea about the opening in her match today because she's in the middle of editing a video on it! Nice one.

It was Alan's turn for his computer to be turned into a music centre this evening, with the Champion's League match between Deportivo and Bayern also vying for our attention. Good goals! Dougie uploaded the pictures from his digital camera, and we were able to have a chuckle at a few of them. Hopefully he'll reduce the filesize a bit, and some will be appearing here soon.

Alan's computer turned out to be as good as playing mp3s as his ankle currently is at bearing weight. He had a bit of a tumble a couple of days ago and ended up in hospital. Fortunately nothing is broken, but it looks like he has a golf ball in there as well. Of coures I have to point out that for him, this is turning into an o-limp-iad.

Wednesday 30th October, Round 5 - Blanket Coverage?

Firstly, a word about blankets. I appear to have gained a reputation among the Scottish team for going around everywhere in a blanket. This is mainly due to this picture, which was taken a couple of Olympiads ago.

It was cold, right? See, I'm wearing a jumper and I'm still cold. So I used the blanket too. Hardly a criminal offence, is it? OK, so the blanket also went to breakfast with me fairly regularly, but all the teams were being catered for individually in their own apartments - it's not like I took it to the board or anything. And yes, blankets are provided by the hotel in Bled. And yes, I was doing preparation wrapped in one this morning. But my reputation is entirely unwarranted - I assure you!

Now, when the team were looking at Dougie's photos last night, they spotted this in the one from our match against Moldova that I've already posted on here :

So I got severely told off for taking my blanket to the board with me. It's so unfair!

Today we were playing Lebanon. As with many of the women's teams here, they have a comparitively strong board 1 who tends to score a lot of their points for them. Carey won in about 15 moves or something, I eventually picked up a loose piece, and Helen, again left with a bishop at the end, drew. Her opponent offered despite having an extra pawn, but it looks like there's a nuance which means that it's actually won for her. So 2.5-0.5, and we ought to have a tough pairing tomorrow.

The guys - one day Germany, the next, Barbados (basically a team of 2250s). They've just shut them out 4-0, so they should be back in with the big boys in time for Jonathan Rowson arriving. Jonathan, I can exclusively reveal, was in Stuart Conquest's suitcase(1). D'oh. To explain, England are a player short - Stuart's case, which contained his passport and laptop, was stolen at London Victoria, and he's currently trying to get express replacements in order to join the rest of the team. Neither of the English teams are performing to their seeding - Adams lost to Steffanson yesterday and the women went down to Switzerland, seeded far below them.

(1) - This may not be strictly 100% true.

Thursday 31st October, Round 6

The USA surprisingly beat China yesterday, and Georgia whitewashed the young Indian team. On board 3, Russia defeated Poland 2-1. So the women's leaderboard currently looks like this :

Georgia 12
USA 11.5
Czech Republic

England are 28th= with 8.5, Scotland and Wales 46th= with 7.5, Ireland 75th= on 4.5.

We have the Aussies today, and the guys have Spain. With the Ashes starting soon and the same restaurant catering for both teams, we're anticipating banter.

I've been ill today, quite gutting as I was meant to be playing. Fortunately I realised in time and Louise went on the teamsheet instead.

So, nothing much to report, except that it was a lot lot colder and duller today, though the sun did peep through for a while. Found the European edition of the Guardian for Tuesday 29th, quite a good read, though I'm stuck on the crossword after doing a few clues in two corners.

Lagging hugely wrt access to live games (and indeed in general), so i don't think I'll know how we got on until I meet up witht he rest of the team later.

Helen drew on board 1 - it looked like she was getting crushed, but she came up with a cheapo that I'd have been proud of to escape with a perpetual. John, when going through Carey's game, pointed out a trap that might have happened in a few moves' time ... only for Carey to realise that it had been on and she could have won a pawn instead of going a pawn down herself. Louise offered a draw when running a little short of time. As her opponent scored 8.5/9 at the Istanbul Olympiad, it was quite a good result! England lost 2-1 to Lithuania, and are still only just ahead of us.

The guys lost 3.5-0.5 to Spain, but were buoyed by Jonathan's arrival from Harvard. Stuff's going fine there, and he's ready to play against Peru (Granda Zuniga - 2600+ on board 1) tomorrow.

Token nod at Halloween in the restaurant this evening, with a lantern on the bar. Speaking of which, the drug testing team are supposed to be arriving in the net few days. The following er, interesting article has been pointed out to me, in keeping with these themes.

Friday 1st November, Round 7

I'm being rested today in case I still feel ill. I'm probably around 90%, and am feeling a whole lot better. I've had a wander round the lake as it's another beautiful day, but it's a bank holiday, so most things are closed. Shame. I'd like to play - we have Uzbekistan, who are about as strong as the bottom 3 or 4 boards of the Peruvian men's team.

I've been browsing the 35chessolympiad.com website while the traffic's not been too high, and have found some pictures.

Definitely no 

In amongst the ones of good players and the Slovenian women's team, there's one of someone with a plaster cast. My moment of fame at last.

I've heard via email that the live games and video of the 'playground' (playing hall) are quite watchable, so the lag we get here is probably the cyber room's (their terminology) and not the server's. Even the post-game live press conferences are watchable, apparently.

According to /usr/local/var/log/httpd-access.log, the diary has been viewed 1420 times in the week since it started. Now, granted, some of these visits were me and some have been search engine bots, but not all of them! BCM and Chess Scotland have linked which has probably helped.

Being rested for a couple of days has been quite good for my Slovenian. As well as the usual run-of-the-mill and pedestrian 'please', 'thankyou', 'yes', 'no' and 'water', I have learned 'notepad', 'file', 'open', 'new' and 'save'. Granted these are unlikely to be as useful as the ones I knew already, but they're all quite important when it comes to spodding. Fortunately the programs all have the same filenames as they do in English versions of windows, so finding ftp to upload the page hasn't been a problem.

Technology has certainly come on a long way in the last wee while - I can remember the good old days of keeping a watchful eye on Teletext in the hope that it would have news and results a few days after they'd happened. However, there may well be a bit of technological jiggery-pokery going on. And I don't mean the autosensory move-entry system, which may cut down on manual labour but has produced some rather 'amazing' games.

During my game the other day, I popped into the loo while my opponent was having a big think. I heard a tinkle coming from one of the other cubicles. Quite normal you may think, but it was the tinkle a mobile phone makes when it receives an SMS. Now, no doubt it was someone saying "saw u on wbcam, cu l8r m8"(1), or "free minutes when you top up this month" but it could well have been "Nxg5 wins - you have Qh7+ at the end". This is fairly plausible when the games are being beamed out live worldwide. If they were in fact cheating they weren't doing a very good job and should at least have had their phone on silent. But still ... Very difficult to legislate against, unless the drug testing team go a bit beyond their call of duty, and monitor everyone's call of nature.

(1) Who did this to the English language? Who?!

Speaking of live internet coverage, the team have all had long games so far - they've made around 40 moves on average and are in endings. Carey's a pawn down and grovelling, Helen's 2 down but with a dangerous passer supported by her king but her opponent can probably sac her rook for it and remains with 3 connected passed pawns, and Louise is slightly passive with more pawn islands in a rook ending with equal pawns.

Jonathan's not the only player to have arrived late for the tournament. Stuart Conquest eventually made it a couple of days ago, and Boris Gelfand has just come over to play for Israel - he defeated Anatoly Karpov 2-0 in the final of the Cap d'Agde Chess Festival.

Saturday 2nd November, Round 8

There are a few certainties in life. One is that Scotland will almost definitely meet Ireland at some point during the Olympiad. We've played for at least the last two years (with us winning 3-0 on both occasions), and sure enough there it was in the draw again for the day before the rest day.

This time, we were coming off a 0-3 reverse in round 7, and they had just yo-yo-ed up the other way. Boing. A good result and we'd be well placed with six rounds to go and could go into the rest day with smiles (and chocolate if it was 3-0).

The guys also have a team they played in Istanbul 2000 - Venezuala. They're mainly a bunch of young IMs and could be quite dangerous. Drama first thing in the morning, as Dougie, in the team as agreed the night before didn't feel too good and didn't want to play, but couldn't find Alan to tell him to swap things around. Eventually, Alan was located as he was just about to hand the teams in, and had to lurch back (ankle still dodgy) to make sure Steve was OK to play. All sorted out in the end, with Jonathan, Paul, John and Steve in the team.

I played my opponent in the 1998 Olympiad but didn't have much more information on what she played. so decided that sleep was the best kind of preparation. Arriving at the board, we were asked to pose by Cathy Rogers, who was taking photos for the Chessbase player database. I think that my current one is from my player badge at the 1996 Olympiad in Yerevan. I'd do anything to banish that checked shirt from photographic records. So I grinned, both with plaster and without. :-)

The game went well. She went a bit wrong int he opening and I had a nice position, then she gave me a bit of help near the end and I picked up a few extra pawns. After the game when I'd unsoundly sacced three pawns, Carey had told me to keep a careful count of them in the future. Colin pointed out that if that was the case, I ought to be getting rid of them, as then there would be fewer to count, so I'd save a lot of time, and at this rate of play it could make all the difference! So I've compromised on counting both my pawns and my opponents', so that it's OK for me to win some too.

Louise's opponents always plays wild gambits, but our lass took and hung onto the extra material - she was about 12 points up when her opponent eventually resigned, havign seen that she wasn't about to get back-ranked. Carey won with a nice cheapo. I looked at the position thinkign that black was going to lose a pawn, and then before I knew it she'd resigned after blundering a whole lot more than that.


It being the evening before the first rest day, it was time for the 'not the Bermudan party'. To explain, every Olympiad, the Bermudans organise a (in)famous party the night before one of the rest days. The organisers had caught on to this, so billed the get-together as a 'Bermudan Party'. Basically it was a very good live band in a large permanent marquee outside the tournament hall that also has a bar, a pig roast etc etc and during the day is also populated by stallholders selling chess books, souvenirs, and even glass-bolwing ornaments while you wait.

The band's lead singer was quick to point out that this was a 'traditional Slovenian get-together party' and that she 'hoped that lots of us would be getting together'. Not much dancing going on, though the Ketchup Song drew some Aussies and some others onto the dance floor, and Carey's rendition of the birdie Dance has to be seen to be believed!

They were playing quite a wide mixture of rock 'n' roll, country, and pop, and harmonised and played together very well indeed. 'The Express band', they were called.

There are a lot of things I didn't think I would be doing at this Olympiad, but have ended up doing. In increasing order of improbability.

  1. Saccing three pawns in an ending.
  2. Saccing three pawns in an ending and managing to draw.
  1. Running round a lake.
  2. Running round a lake without falling in.
  1. Hearing a Slovenian band play Buddy Holly covers in a mixture of languages.
  2. Being lead singer in a Slovenian band playing Buddy Holly covers.

I assure you that nothing stronger than orange juice was involved. After the third bit of their set I was all ready to wander off and get some sleep, but thought I'd compliment the band on how good I thought they were and how well they played together. We got chatting and they asked me if I played anything. Yes, I play the guitar and sing, but I can't at the moment because of my arm. So did I want to sing? Oh. Ah. Um. Alright, why not?!

"I took a photo of you giving it laldy," was Dougie's worrying comment.

The main problem was finding where our repertoires intersected. We eventually settled on "That'll be the day", a three chord Buddy Holly classic. So I was introduced as "Heather from Scotland" and sung that. Then they asked me to sing another one (not sure if the crowd were calling out for more, but the band were. :-) And they sprung "Satisfaction" (The Rolling Stones) on me. Thanks guys. It was a bit too low so I went up an octave. I don't think Mick Jagger ever sung it like that.

It was fun to have a go anyway. I returned to join my shell-shocked team. I'm not sure if they were shellshocked with how bad I'd been or how good I'd been, or a bit of both. But anyway, hey, it was fun.

Sunday 3rd November, 1st Rest Day

After a hilarious breakfast with a lot of good chat going on, I went out for a short run then seven of us went out to the island that is in the middle of the lake. Apparently it is the only island in Slovenia, and a popular tourist attraction.

The little boats that go out to the island are 'rowed' from the back by a person standing up and looking forwards. Quite bizarre and probably very bad for your back, that. There's a church on the island, and a souvenir shop / cafe, and not a lot else. The church has lots of pictures inside - we may have Powerpoint nowadays, but when not many people could read it's a good way of getting things across. There is also a rope hanging from the ceiling. Now, a rope with 'Pull Me' written on it in glowing 6ft neon letters has less chance of being randomly pulled than that rope. At least it solved the mystery of the seemingly random tintinabulation(1) that has been going on all week.

(1) Now that Jonathan has arrived, I must get at least one big word into every diary update. I learned this one from the Catchword gameshow, hosted by Paul Coia. Floccinaucinihilipilifiction was also a candidate, btu I couldn't quite work out how to incorporate it.

As the island takes at most 20 mintues to explore (the record for 'once round the lake' well and truly fell!) and the gondoliers allow you half an hour to look around, the little tea and souvenir shop does roaring trade from boredom-induced impulse trinket buying.

Dougie has also asked me to upload some more photos, so I've been sent down here with a disc. So here goes. I've put some of them earlier in the diary, eg the one of the castle.

The tournament hall looking busy.

Triglav is the big mountain that some big goat with golden horns was meant to live up or something. The goat's on the 5 Tolar (approx 0.013 pence) coins.

The women's team on some steps on the island.

The castle is 100m higher than the lakeside. Most of it is 16th century, as a lot of the older building was knocked down by an earthquake.

Gazza. Not wearing his player badge - naughty!

Monday 4th November, Round 9 - Hundreds of moves!

You may have wondered why the diary wasn't updated on the 4th (I'm doing it retrospectively the next day). Simple reason - my game went on for absolutely ages! As white, I chucked a pawn in the opening (Alan said that he decided to stop watching then!) - for a chuck it wasn't bad as I got a little bit of play for it. I'd actually seen the line when I played my move, but thought I was more actively placed in an ending with level material - I'd failed to take Carey's advice and keep on counting my pawns. D'oh.

Alan had gone back and told John the opening moves of all the games, and when they looked mine up, they discovered that it had been played before, but the most recent occasion was 1905. However, Rubenstein had actually gone down (as black) in the 'line', and sure enough I had a few tricks. She played a bit passively, then blundered a rook.

Plain sailing, you'd think?! Well. What can I say. She had a knight left, and I was careless. I could have played Rxf6+ at one point, swappign everything off, and remaining a rook up. But I miscounted my rooks (!) - as Jonathan said later "how many did you think you had?!" - and instead played Bxf6, threatening all sorts of nasty discoveries. I'd seen that she had ... Ne2+ but knew I could just move my king. So I was happy that I had everything covered. But she played ... Ne4+ instead. Which also hit one of my rooks. D'oh. After losing the exchange, I only had one pawn left, and eventually ended up in the infamous R+B v R ending. This is theoretically drawn, but there are reasonable practical winning chances.

Thing is, I didn't know how to win it. I had a vague idea of what to aim for, but wasn't sure of the technique once there. And with only the added 30s for every move left on my clock, I didn't have time to work out the method over the board. But fortunately she didn't knwo how to draw it either, I got her king to the edge of the board, and was winnign anyway when she fell into a mate in two. Phew.

Big sighs of relief and congratulations from my team mates, who had been through the mill watching, and the 2-1 result that we'd hoped for at the start of the day.

Elsewhere, the boys took 1.5 points off the USA, with Paul winning a very accurately played game against Gulko and Colin drawing. A good result in just about any sport, with the exceptions of cricket and rugby!

Tuesday 5th November, Round 10 - Bah!

We were playing Slovenia A today, one of the 'glamorous' ties in the sense that there is a reasonable chance we'll end up on TV tonight! Just how much publicity the Olympiad is getting here was apparent when I went to check their previous day's result at the hotel reception to try and second-guess the board order. The receptionist thought I was looking for today's board pairings, and helpfully said "this is yesterday's". "I know," I said "we're playing Slovenia today, and I'm seeing how they did yesterday." "Yes I know, it was on the radio this morning," was her reply! Gosh.

Well, I remembered to count my pawns, and my rooks, and put pressure on her throughout. At the critical point, I was pleased to see that I could swap into an ending where I was temporarily a pawn down, but thanks to activity and a couple of nuances, I was winning two pawns back again. The I thought I was winning another, played too quickly (i still had 10 minutes left, so no excuse!) and got cheapoed. Bah. Double bah. No way to make progress without a lot of help. I made sure that she was going to draw it, before offering a draw - this time control means that you can keep on playing more or less indefinitely (until the 50 move rule kicks in), so there are fewer draw offers because the side standing better is about to run out of time. John was ground down in an ending like that a few rounds ago - it's horrible to keep on having to make a move every 30s and knowing that it's going to take almost an hour to draw by the 50 move rule.

Carey drew and Helen lost, so a decent result against much higher-rated opposition. Paul was the only one to get points on the board, with a draw against his Moldovan opponent. He was also randomly selected for a drug test as well, so I'm told, so we'll see how that went later, I guess.

Wednesday 6th November, Round 11 - Key Wee?

The latest bulletin (they now have all the games in them by the way) has a comprehensive summary of all of the individual results so far, along with individual board placings. The problem is - it's completely and utterly wrong. They not only have the wrong players playing in some of the matches, they have given points to the wrong people. So Carey is apparently on 5.5/7 (actual score 4.5/8) and has snaffled half of my rating points and some of Helen's as well. No fair!

Scotland are definitely not the only team affected, and there'll be a huge backlash if the results go in for grading as they are at the moment. This is despite the organisers having :

  1. Signed scoresheets from each game showing the correct players and results.
  2. Signed match result cards showing the correct players and results.
  3. PGN files of games featuring the correct players and results (even if some of the moves are a bit skewy).

What more do they need?!?! Carey was wondering why people were making comments to her last night about what a good score she was on, and now it's all become apparent.

More details of the drug tests this morning. Paul said that they didn't actually supervise the sample being given, which makes the whole thing utterly pointless (nice bit of apple juice, anyone?!). Amusingly, when the sample was split into the A and B containers, the guy pressed the lids on, and then to make absolutely sure they were jammed on tight turned the pots upside-down and stood on them. We were wondering how he managed to balance - perhaps they 'randomly' selected short people so that they could balance on their shoulder. Paul showed us the form he had to sign, which also gives details of time taken (what, in case someone sets a record?!), pH (stops the apple juice trick, I suppose) and another few things. And Paul had to sign it. On the line that said 'Podpis' next to it. Brilliant.

Much much colder again this morning - I definitely needed a jumper while running round the lake. We are playing Peru today. So why am I in fiddling around on computers while I should be preparing? Well, it's all down to a kiwi fruit. The other day, I left dinner with an orange in one pocket and a kiwi fruit in the other.

I digress slightly. There is another story about kiwi fruits that is worth passing on. At every meal, there is a large fruit basket with a good selection of fruit in it. After all, that is what fruit baskets are for. But anyway, one day several Scots had kiwi fruits. So naturally enough, the course of the conversation turned to kiwi fruits. And Helen mentioned that she had a relative who was a kiwi fruit farmer. Funny - John also has a relative who is a kiwi fruit farmer. What was helen's relative's name? Cameron. If the look on John's face could be bottled, it would be marketed as 'sheer surprise, disbelief and terror'. But it turned out that there are two Camerons who are kiwi fruit farmers.

Back to Peru. And the kiwi fruit. I ate the orange that evening, but totally forgot about the kiwi fruit. And then I took my jacket to the board for my game against Slovenia. And then I sat on the pocket. Bravo! The rather fetching green disc that I've been transporting PGN files, diary updates, photos etc etc backwards and forwards on was in the same pocket. D'oh.

The girl I am playing today has only played one game so far (as far as we can see) - in round 9. And despite my best efforts with Scandisk to rescue the data, this one game apparently lasted only 5 moves. The first of which was ... Qxg3+. Oops. So I have bought a new disc, from a shop called Pik-Pok. It's yellow this time. Hopefully it'll survive a bit better than the other one did.

After the game ...

I'm absolutely exhausted. I just claimed a draw by threefold repetiion when my opponent had 2 queens and I only had 1. She doesn't need to repeat either - her king can escape from the checks. Thing is, she was adamant that it wasn't three times, and she didn't speak English.

The match arbiter passed the buck to the senior arbiter. The senior arbiter declared it a draw and left the scene, but still my opponent wouldn't sign the scoresheets. It looked like she was going to when another guy in a 'team captain' badge in addition to the one who had been watching the match appeared.

He insisted on going over to the senior arbiter despite there having been several of their delegation present when the senior arbiter made her initial decision. I'm afraid that I was extremely wound up by this stage (having pointed out the moves both on my scoresheet and hers - even she had the threefold written down). I was a little rude to this new captain, but apologised afterwards - hope that was alright.

With hindsight, it appears that she didn't realise how to claim a draw by threefold repetition. the player claiming the draw must stop the clocks and write their intended move on their scoresheet - the one that produces the same position with the same person to move for the third time. The position on the board had indeed not occured three times, but my intended move, ... Qb2+, would have been the third occurence. She was also one move behind on her scoresheet, which didn't help.

Phew. Carey unfortunately lost - there was a fair bit of babbling going on at my board which didn't help her defend a tricky ending with less time on her clock. (The dispute went on for about 10 minutes.) I tried to move the babbling over a bit, with limited success. I guess the senior arbiter should have made my opponent sign the scoresheets at the time she made her decision, or something. But hey, it was the right result in the end.

I think I managed to wriggle out because I had jam for breakfast. Jammy.

Thursday 8th November, Round 12

After the exertions of the last three days, I'm having a rest today. Phew. Gives me time to comment on some of what's been going on elsewhere in the Olympiad.

Georgia looked to have it sewn up - 2.5 points ahead of China, havign already defeated them in their individul match. They faced the young Polish team (all 24 and under, and all 2400 or thereabouts) yesterday ... and lost 2.5 - 0.5. Meanwhile China were chalking up a 2.5 - 0.5 win, so suddenly the gap is only half a point. I'm not expecting to see any package deals of draws this time around!

I just had a quiet day - I'd been up fairly late trying to work out exactly how I should have handled yesterday's incident. Options (a) Leave the board as soon as the senior arbiter has made her decision. doesn't work, as there are still five people gathered roudn the board babbling. (b) Take command. Say 'Right, one player, one player, one captain, one captain, one arbiter, everyone else get out!' And discuss it then. But that's the arbiter's job. (c) Do as I did, but without being rude right at the end. I think this would have been optimal.

So all I did was run round the lake (twice - 1h15m :-), eat and sleep. I found the supermarket for the first time - the shopping centre is up a flight of steps that I'd missed the first time. There is also a giant chess set up there - not sure if it's a permanent fixture or if it's specially for us. A lot of the shops have made an effort to have some kind of chess designs in their windows, even if they don't sell anything chess-related (eg the sports shop where I bouzght my trainers after realising that my new plaster was light enough for me to running).

The team won 2-1 against the Dominican Republic (Helen and Louise got the points), and the men beat Lebanon 3-1. The evenings have started to become noted for Carey's games of charades when she's gone to find out the pairings. She tried to mime a cedar tree for Lebanon the evening before, but we thought it was a pyramid and got stuck. The Dominican Republic was just as bad, though afterwards we reckoned that there was some mileage in miming (Alan) Minnican for it.

Friday 8th November, Round 13

The title race in the women's event is still balanced on a knife-edge. Vietnam defeated Georgia 2-1 yesterday (they surprisingly beat them 3-0 in 1998) but China didn't take full advantage, drawing 1.5-1.5 with Armenia. These two now stand 1st= on 25.5 points. Just half a point behind are Russia, who have been gaining ground on their rivals - they crushed Hungary 2.5-0.5 and are on 25. Poland drew with Yugoslavia, and on 23 (along with Vietnam) are outside chances for a medal.

England scored (I think) their first 3-0 shut-out in their match against Canada. They have been rewarded with a pairing against Hungary for their efforts. Who knows - a couple of good results in the last two matches and they may finish around their seeding, after under-performing for most of the tournament.

A little essay on the subject of propoganda. I woke this morning to find a red bag on the table, resting on top of my computer. The hotel receptionist had given two to Helen when she'd gone down for breakfast earlier. There is a bag for every player, captain etc at the Olympiad.

On it, the bag says, in bold white letters 'Kirsan with FIDE, FIDE with Kirsan'. An improvement on 'Four legs good, two legs bad' I suppose. I opened the bag.

  1. A baseball cap. 'Kirsan with FIDE, FIDE with Kirsan'. FIDE logo. Embroidered. I thought that it may be possible to unpick the stitching, but they've thought of that - the front two panes of the hat have sturdy material reinforcing them.
  2. A badge. 'Kirsan with FIDE, FIDE with Kirsan'. Picture of said Kirsan.
  3. A shirt. 'Kirsan with FIDE, FIDE with Kirsan'. Picture of said Kirsan. What a complete and utter waste of what could have been a nice cricket shirt. the bright side is that the logo may iron off. The down side is that this will probably damage the iron.
  4. A pen. 'Kirsan with FIDE, FIDE with Kirsan'. It is a two-colour pen, and probably the best thing in the bag, as the logo looks fairly easy to scrape off.
  5. A watch. Unlike the other items, it says only 'KIRSAN' on it, and a FIDE logo. The strap is so big I could probably fit it on over my plaster.
  6. A poster. 'Kirsan with FIDE, FIDE with Kirsan'. A mellow, moody blue background, with a small calender on it. In stark relief against the background, the Man Himself, grinning away, dwarfing the calender into insignificance.

I was going to write about the other freebies we received earlier in the tournament - the 'energy T-shirts', but more of these another time. It's good. It's well worth the wait.

But our goodie-bag this morning is beyond belief. Having been involved in kitting out cricket teams, I know how much these kinds of things cost (in Britain at least) ... and there are 2000 people here for the Olympiad! I wonder how many people will have run out of clean clothes by the last couple of days and will be desperate enough to wear the shirt with Our Great Leader on it. I think they're more likely to play in their pyjamas, to be honest!

You never know, there may be a referendum.(1)

Vote (name-logged).

The socio-politico-economo-oraganisational structure of FIDE should be a Kirsanocracy. We, the people, proclaim and reaffirm Kirsan as our mighty leader and solemnly request that he continues to reign over us and the empire of FIDE. Gens una Sumus!


  1. Yes.

Vote now!

The democratic process is wonderful!

(1) I made this bit up. But the rest is true.

I'll get all the old, tired, boring and obvious jokes out of the way now. Early Christmas presents for Turkey. Stuffed by Turkey. What a fowl joke! Turkey gobbled us up. OK, done. It was one of these matches where I'd almost swap my individual win for a better team result (ie we lost 2-1)

My opponent had obviously been primed with a number of moves and ideas, but once out of the opening she made a 'typical mistake' and my attack basically played itself. All that work I've been putting into my openings and typical middlegame positions recently is certainly paying off! And I'm very glad that I was doing a lot of tactics before coming here - there were a few nice little ideas in my attack today (which I think was sound), and I didn't lose my nerve in the same way I did against Slovenia A.

A bit of insight into what we get up to in the evenings. After eating together, the Scottish team tends to play through and analyse all the games of the day before people go off and do their own thing.. This is obviously extremely useful, especially if an opponent decides to repeat a line from earlier in the tournament. It's also great to see strong players explaining their games (and having other strong players chipping in with suggestions they think are better than what was played!) - seemingly 'quiet' positions suddenly brim with tactics and pertty ideas, and my enthusiasm for chess increases. Whatever my result in Round 14, I've had a really enjoyable tournament, have learned loads, and have seen my playing strength increase (I think ...)

I'm certainly thinking about the game in more dimensions as a result of all the analysis. In some positions, it is alright to play quiet moves, strengthen your position gradually, maybe improve your king or your pawn structure, or something like that. I've been trying to do that more. I've also been realising that a worse ending isn't the end of the world, and that's sometimes a much better option than going for a few cheapos 'just in case' then resigning five moves later.

With my PhD winding up soon, I'm hoping to find a lot more time for chess, both playing and working. I have a fair idea of what I need to do to improve even more, and hopefully I'll actually get round to doing it too! If I suddenly jump to 2200, you'll know why!

The guys have already finished - a 3.5-0.5 win over Iraq that puts them back up where they should be. In the same competition, Russia - Israel and Hungary - Armenia have already ended 2-2 (four draws in each match). In the women's Olympiad, it looks like Russia and Vietnam may have done likewise (though the connection here is too slow for me to check) - the match has certainly ended 1.5-1.5 (three draws) - leavign all to play for after the last rest day for the bronze medals.

Ber-limey! China only drew 1.5-1.5. And Georgia LOST 2-1. Wonder if Russia / Vietnam are ruing their early draw?!

Saturday 9th November, 2nd Rest Day

Yesterday evening was the Bermuda Party. A party organised by the Bermudan team. It's been an Olympiad tradition for as long as most people can remember. Great entertainment - chess players dancing. Need I say more?! Of coure I am a chess player and can't dance either, but in a crowd of people, half of them seemingly doing Thunderbird impressions, it really doesn't matter!

It was a good evening anyway! Even if the organisers did turn up in their shorts.

Looking at some of the individual performances, the reason for the Chinese and Russian teams fighting back has become apparent. Funnily enough, the two board fours are both on 9/10, with performance ratings of 2695 (17 year-old Xue Zhao) and 2655 (16 year-old Tatiana Kosintseva) respectively! Maia Chiburdanidze is 3rd in the performance rating rankings, and the Vietnamese board one Thanh Trang Hoang is also in there, having performed to 2600+ so far..

In the open tournament, the Zimbabwean board 1 is on 9/9, which is theroetically a rating of infinity! Next is Garry Kasparov, at a phenomenal 2938 for his 7.5/9 against the best in the world.

I've just been looking at the hits for the diary. 11041 since the 1st of November! (The logs reset themselves monthly, and I don't have full details for October - suffice to say there were at least 1400 hits in the few days then.) I've had a few people coming up to me and saying that they are reading and enjoying the diary. I'd thought that all the hits from Slovenia were me updating the pages, but it looks like I'm not the only one viewing them from here. I'm staggered.

Right. The energy T-shirts. A few days ago, we returned to the hotel to discover that the receptionist had a bag for each player. We eagerly ripped them open, thinking that the rather nice colourful tournament T-shirt would be inside. Instead, there were shirts with a strange round symbol on the front, and a small Chess Olympiad logo on the sleeve. We wondered what they were for, then realisied that each T-shirt came with an official letter from the organisers and a leaflet explaining everything. Some choice quotes :

  • Improve your mental, emotional and physical capacities.
  • T-shirts with printed energy symbols intensified a person's bio-electromagnetic field.
  • The shirt should be put on at least 30 minutes before a stressful event is expected.
  • The brain will be ready to activate its latent capacity.
  • When facing an extremely stressful situation, you can even wear the T-shirt the night before.

Um, er, wonderful! I wonder what happens if you wear two at once. Actually, it did improve my mood - I hadn't rolled on the floor laughing so much in a long time! Scientifically, rather than the clap-trap I didn't quote, I think the T-shirt will give out most energy when it is eaten or burned - that's usually the way things work!

NB: Note to the T-shirt manufacturers. This does not represent an endorsement. I think your product is silly. Please do not quote me on your website!

Sunday 10th November, Round 14

Phew. Another Olympiad over. It's been my best one so far I think. Once Louise had reminded me that I was playing board 2, I prepared for the correct person for two hours yesterday, and it really paid dividends. I learned something that is a bit different from what I usually play, and hoped that either she'd have prepared for the latter and would get the lines mixed up, or wouldn't have prepared at all. Anyway, she made a mistake on move 10, after which I was clearly better, and a few moves later I had a winning position the exchange and a pawn up.

Quite a nice way to end the Olympiad really! Helen had already won - I saw her with a very nice position, and the next thing I knew her opponent's queen was leaving the board. Louise's opponent used her white to stodge around, and we won the match 2.5-0.5.

Carey had been swooping around being captainly, and checking on the other teams in the running for the section prize (basically a grading prize), and it looks as if we've come second (Turkey will probably win it - their board 3 was a piece up and if she won it'd take them ahead of us). I wandered through to take a look at the round 13 bulletin. I realised yesterday that I was in with an outside chance of a board prize if I won today to reach 7/10. However, it depended on the four people already ahead of me dropping points today, so i decided not to think about it.

First up - Socko had won her game. Well I wasn't going to catch her anyway. The Croatian who'd already been on 7/10? Draw. Good. Unfortunately for me, the other two both won, so 4th for me. Oh well, at least I gain rating points, have enjoyed the chess a lot, and am feeling prepared to prepare to win!

The men had a tough one against Azerbaijan - Radjabov et al. Jonathan drew on board 1 and Colin won nicely, but Steve and Paul both lost. Russia halved out to secure the gold medals, Hungary came second, and Armenia third.

At the top of the women's tournament, Georgia lost again - 2-1 this time. After having a lead of 2.5 points at one stage, their players haven't won an individual game between them for the last four rounds. China demolished Bulgaria 2.5-0.5, which was the score they needed - even though Russia beat Slovakia by the same scoreline they still remained half a point behind. Poland won 3-0 against Vietnam to take the bronze medals.

I decided to assault the record for running round the lake after my game. It wasn't the best day to pick - literally the whole of Bled and their dog (and their other dogs, and their children, and their grannies) were out, and with all the zig-zagging, especially at the end, I didn't run quite as fast as I think I would given a clear path. Despite this, I was still on course to be inside 30 minutes ... until right at the end, around 30m from home, I got stuck behind some slow-moving people between the train (yes, the train again!) and some parked cars. There was no way round the other side of the cars, so I had to walk the length of the train, and finished in 30m5s. Gah! Oh well, a moral victory I suppose.

I'm not sure how the other UK teams have done. Wales were half a point oahead of us, goign into today, having been behind us all the way, but I think we must have finished ahead of them, and Ireland too. England drew with Germany (three draws in the individual games).

Here are our round by ropund results summarised. Big thanks to Alexander Bisset who is rewriting the Chess Scotland grading program (to include, among other things, online grade lookup, etc). He posted the results up to round 11 a few days ago, and I modified his HTML to produce the table.

 Name   ELO   MDA   IRA   BIH   MEX   LEB   AUS   UZB   IRL   ICE   SLO   PER   DOM   TUR   IRQ   Pts   Plyd 
Helen Milligan  2135  =  =    =  =  =  0    =  0  0  1  0  1  5  12
Carey Wilman  2044  1  1  0    1  0  0  1    =  0  0  0    4.5  11
Heather Lang  2058  0    =  =  1      1  1  =  =    1  1  7  10
Louise MacNab  1951    0  0  =    =  0  1  =      1    =  4  9