I'm sure some of our fellow chess bloggers have been wondering why I've blogged so much in the last couple of days. Well, that's because my studies are finally out of the way and I can now comfortably work on my chess.
I was particularly upset yesterday as I had just learnt that a family friend had passed away in the afternoon. He had been ill and was suffering from cancer for a year now. My wife and I were intending to visit him this weekend as we learned that his condition had worsened and was warded at West Mead hospital. We were very shocked to learn that after taking his X-Ray at half-past twelve yesterday, he suddenly couldn't breathe and just collapsed and was gone. Just like that.
The news knocked me out of my stride. While I turned up last night to play our scheduled games against Parrammatta, I told the U1400 team captain Greig that I was in no mood to play but if he cannot find a replacement at such short notice to play, I would fill in. I didn't really feel like playing but I didn't want to let the team down either. Unfortunately, there was no able replacement so I ended up playing. After all our games finished, Greig informed me that our U1400 team's 3-1 win over Parrammatta was enough to secure the final 4th place for the next round. Our team had garnered 12.5 points to Parrammatta's 10.5.
During my game, I was very surprised to see Weng turning up at the chess club with his son. Weng is my brother-in-law's Steven friend (we went over to his place a few times for a nice Christmas meal) who is also another chess fan. He's currently taking his Masters and is thus not available to play for the club. When my game ended, I had a good long conversation with Weng. Weng's concern was his son's chess progress. I offered to help him by passing him some chess materials which hopefully can be of some use to him.
Vladimir turned up (!) as well and he and Shane had a good conversation and were in a jovial mood. When Steven finished his game, Vladimir proceeded to do a simul against Steven, Shane and me in 5 minute blitz chess. He wiped us off all the board with me being the first to fall. In our second round, again, I was the first to fall, Steven resigned a few moves later after me and Shane kept talking to Vladimir and made him forgot his clock was still running and Vladimir lost on time. It was hilarious. Many thanks to Vladimir for being so gracious in taking time to play against patzers like me and to Shane for helping to lighten up the atmosphere of the game. I really needed that as their good nature helped lessened the impact of the news of the death.
The U1600 Team Captain, Les informed me that I would need to fill in to play the North Sydney chess club next Tuesday on Board 4. That's it from me for now.