Thursday, 14 May 2015

My First Chess Tournament

Hello! So, two moderately important school things happened today: my first chess tournament, and voting for the Head Girl (winner to be announced tomorrow at Prizegiving). Now, since I've already blogged about the Head Girl campaigns and people at school had no trouble finding that, I'm going to talk about the tournament here.

The chess teacher told us a while ago that there'd be inter-school tournaments around now, but he never actually confirmed anything - so we didn't actually know until after school had started this morning whether there would be a match. This meant that Sadhbh and I had to run up and get sets and clocks, then as assorted members of the club arrived we had to search the school for students who hadn't heard the announcements, fetch bags etc. without missing the bus.

I found it exciting - my first chess outing. Used to all the running around from Young Scientist anyway. I was a bit annoyed about missing Chemistry, though. 

Anyway, off we went in the bus. I was quite nervous on the way there, not going to lie, and doubly so when we actually got in. They were all there waiting for us, these posh private school students, and it was intimidating. 

But anyway. I'm on the school team now, a recent achievement, as Board 7, so I was playing the opposing school's seventh-best player. Not amazing, but still good considering I started this year. Because I was on an odd-numbered board, I got to play as white. Which was great.

The chess teacher said I had to write down our moves, which was a pain. For example, one set of moves would be:

P e2 - e4 | N b8 - c6

I wrote down thirty-something sets of moves, but after our "marathon" (according to the coach) game went on so long we were put on clocks, I stopped taking them down. It was my first time ever taking down moves as I went along.

The game definitely wasn't easy, and my heart was pounding a lot of the time. A couple of times I got lucky, as she didn't notice potentially devastating moves she could've done. I'm not very good at recognising checkmates, so I kept on checking her until finally she got away and checked me for ages. I do think I played well though, and I eventually checkmated her. It was a big relief to win - especially considering that ours was the longest game out of anyone there, so at one point both our and the opposing chess coach were standing there staring at our board. 

Anyway. My school lost 6 games to 2, with Charley (Board 8) and I being the only ones to win our game, although one of our subs, Caitlín, got a draw. I'm really happy I won my first tournament game though, and it was a very good experience.

I'm also very proud that I managed to deal with the clock. I'm really bad under pressure, so chess clocks just destroy me normally. It helped that there was a lot of time on my clock (15 minutes), but still, I didn't make any stupid moves despite the panic I was in. 

Now that I look at the checkmate, it's a nice one. Typically of me, though, I didn't actually know it would be a checkmate at the time - I just thought it was a very nice check. 

I them hung around for a bit while people finished their extra games. Here's a picture of my sister playing someone from the opposing school. 

The bus back was nice, and the principal gave us chocolate. I had to write up a description of how we did and give it to her, and she'll announce that soon apparently. So that's cool. My name's on the intercom a lot lately. I love the chess team. 

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