Revisiting the Spanish and French

In July myself, Zebedee Jones and James Corrigan went to Gijon in northern Spain to play in the Gijon Open. Our hosts and good friends, Ana and Ruben as usual provided wonderful hospitality. Gijon is by the sea, has a beautiful beach and many festivals during the summer. We sampled the local tipple, which is cider, and had many superb meals, the best one being a seafood paella cooked by Ruben’s sister Malena. We visited the Picos de Europa mountains and the lakes of Covadonga. We took in a beer festival in Oviedo and an air display over the Gijon seafront. We also tackled an ‘escape room’ (think Crystal Maze) and spent hours practising our Spanish. As you can imagine we were far too exhausted to compete at the higher end of the tournament. Young James produced the best result achieving 50%. Fellow club member and chess fanatic Francis Chin joined us halfway through to provide moral support. ‘What are you taking byes for?’ ‘Your chess is terrible’ ‘I’m playing every round next year’.
After a brief period of recovery in London I, Zeb and Richard Britton set off to play in Dieppe. This tournament also had an excellent location and was very well run. Unlike Gijon there were 4 sections and it was great to see so many children and women playing. Two of the sections were held in the local Casino. The most striking difference between these and the U.K. Tournaments is the average age. About 30 in France and Spain and in the UK well over 50. I’m known by some people at Paignton as young Burgoyne and I’m 67. As in Gijon none of us managed to make the frame, at the prize giving ceremony in the Casino, but the organisers provided canap├ęs and a cocktail to assuage our disappointment.
Both tournaments were great experiences and very much worth repeating next year.