I will fix
If you ever hear the phrase above, don’t get your hopes up. Aix-les-Bains was an amazing location for the European Individual Championship, but unfortunately, neither the organizers nor the reception at our hotel had foreseen that air condition might be necessary. As a consequence, the players were cooked alive at the Congress Center – the venue for the top 100 boards. I am told the Casino, which hosted the rest of the games, was excellent. Too bad you had to lose your games to get decent playing conditions! At some point, I joined forces with Pelletier and Edouard in begging the arbiter to keep the doors open, in order to get some fresh air. He seemed very understanding, but claimed his hands were tied as another participant had asked if he could keep the doors shut. So here’s the thing: Keeping the doors open would cause disruption for many players, as every single bird in France (or at least in Aix-les-Bains) had discovered that it was summer, and celebrated with some major tweeting (I do NOT mean the social network!) I learned that very early on, as I got woken up at 5 am one of the first days! So, to sum up: Very hot, no A/C, lots of birds. Luckily, I asked the reception at my (supposedly) four star hotel to help me. This is were the “I will fix.” comes into play. As it turns out, he had absolutely nothing he could do, as the air conditioning was not working. Still, he left me with false hope for many days, right until the 5th time I complained – after which he suddenly came clean and said that there was nothing he could do. Essentially: Burn in hell.
The casino: Reportedly excellent playing conditions. I never got the chance to experience it for myself
Idyllic surroundings! Home of loud, unidentified birds.
I must admit, I tend to be very critical, especially when the chess doesn’t fulfill my gigantic expectations. Truth is, apart from this major but, Aix-les-Bains was amazing. Well worth a visit, but you might wanna talk to your hotel about air conditioning, as well as what Radisson’s “100% Satisfaction Guarantee”. I kinda just assume it’s just a joke
The tournament got a sad ending, as I squandered a lot by losing two straight games after the rest day. On the final day, I played ‘über solid’-Smaids, but nevertheless felt I was outplaying him. Unfortunately, I burned ridiculous amounts of time in the early stages, and let any chance of a win go in the process of making up for lost time (blitzing with 8 minutes left). As it turned out, I wouldn’t have qualified even with a win, as the tie break on chess-results – which I assumed was wrong, based on the fact that it seemed to be some completely random number – was indeed the right one. Thanks to my win against my highest-rated opponent (Sutovsky), I never stood a chance. I was very well aware of what the ECU rules stated in the early rounds of the tournament, but I simply didn’t interpret it the “correct” way. I thought it meant that the highest and lowest rated were to be cut from calculating the average of opponents. Cutting the result too (which was ECU’s reading of the rules) is just ludicrus, and incomprehensible to any sensible person. After all, the reason people need to be separated is because they had the same amount of points, why would you then suddenly remove their points?! You could just as well use the “ECU-rules” as the scoring system! That might get some people to react quickly! I personally helped GM Nielsen of Denmark to calculate his tie break (according to my interpretation), so it feels extremely sad to see his spot in the World Cup possibly lost because of this system – And which is why I am somewhat biased in the use of certain (not all) adjectives. We should have protested before the event (although that would very probably have been futile), but our imagination simply didn’t allow us to spot ECU’s creative intention.
Determined room mate. Getz completed all his IM-norms! Apparently my presence is enough to boost a person’s playing strength!