It’s been very hectic several months since I last wrote. Here’s a recap of what I’ve been doing ever since.
In August I played the Segunda Division (the second Spanish league) in the legendary town of Linares. It’s 7-round tournament where I played six games. There is one double-round day and I skip the morning game on that day. I played pretty well, though I have to say that the level of my opposition was unexpectedly high, especially taking into consideration their ratings, which weren’t.
My shortest game in Linares was 41 moves long, the longest was 104 moves, with the average being 61 moves. I don’t remember playing games that long one after another in a single tournament!
In spite of this, I was content how I played. You can see one example on my Youtube channel, where I analysed my game from the penultimate round, one that could have been one of my most brilliant games, but alas, I missed these chances twice.
Still, things weren’t that bad until the last round. As usual, a morning game, and again I failed to adapt. I felt more awful than usual and I simply couldn’t play. To add insult to injury, my opponent mistakenly sacrificed a queen, which gave me a winning position, and while I was aware that I was winning, I was so sluggish in taking decisions and calculating, that I ended up losing.
Losing is no end of pain, and this one was particulaly bad because of the way it happened. I couldn’t win with an extra queen! I tried to look at it from the positive side and drew several important lessons, though I still haven’t figured out what to do with the problem of playing in the morning.
In September I was the official commentator at the FIDE World Senior Team Championship, which was held in my country near the town of Struga on the Ohrid Lake. I enjoyed the part, looking at games as they were played, sharing my thoughts and opinions. The few people who followed me live seemed to be very happy with my commentary, though in view of the very closed market for chess commentary nowadays, I doubt I would get new offers. A pity, I have to add, because I really like commentating.
A few days after Struga I went to Durres, Albania, at the European Club Cup. Usually I have played these events, but this time I went for a different reason. I was one of the lecturers at the Fair Play Seminar. As one of the seven Fair Play Officers (FPOs) in the world I taught a group of players, arbiters, organisers and interested parties about the importance of anti-cheating, prevention and protection measures and a lot of other areas of this wide topic.
After Albania I returned home to finish my new Chessable course 1.d4 Simplified. I enjoy working on openings and doing so allows me to find a lot of new ideas that can be used in my games. Only a fraction of those ideas can make it to the course, so by analysing deeply the openings I enrich my own opening repertoire. I did the same with 1.e4 and now with 1.d4 I have a pretty nice arsenal of ideas to use in my games.
I managed to finish the course and submit it for beta-testing before leaving for Germany. In the upcoming weekend I will play one game for my German team before I set off for the Isle of Man and the Grand Swiss. Ideally I would have loved to play the Grand Swiss, but as things stand this is not a very probable event, so going there as a press officer is the next best thing. I will be writing daily reports from the rounds and this should be interesting, as I will be following high-level games and writing about them for 11 days! As a chess fan, being at the same place where the top events are happening and being able to see the players in the playing hall is priceless.
I don’t have many plans after the Isle of Man. I will likely play more games for my German club until the end of the year and there is also one more possible arrangement that I am currently discussing, but that is all, more or less.
I have always wanted a calm couple of months at the end of the year. As the weather gets colder, I prefer to spend more time at home, not having to travel in adverse conditions. Let’s see if I get them this time.